You’ve heard us refer to the “bike douche” constantly along our travels because this particular brand of biker never ceases to amaze us with their lack of common decency, concept of acceptable social behavior (or lack thereof), and fundamentally warped spatial awareness and mathematical understanding (i.e. when a line of eight people are trying to cross through a narrow passage on the bridge does it make sense to try and pass them when there’s oncoming traffic in the other direction?)
How do you define a bike douche? They come in all shapes and sizes, (racing) colors and ages and they’re EVERYWHERE. . . so I suppose the more important question to ask yourself is:
Am I a bike douche?
1.) Do you bark out “On your left!” with hostility to put fear into every person you pass even when there is ample passing space and reverberate with a secret sense of joy every time you do because being faster makes you a better person?
2.) Do you have more than one matching helmet to shoe-cover “bike couture” outfit that you wear out on ordinary weekends for no other reason than for people to infer that your matchy-matchy glory makes you “bigger, better, faster, stronger” . . . or are you just primed for that chance side-by-side picture opp with Lance Armstrong that you dream about at night?
3.) Did you invest more money in the carbon fiber goddess that you affectionate call “Baby” (a.k.a. your bike) than your car . . . that you drive to work? (Assuming that you do work and don’t just terrorize cyclists.)
4.) When another cyclist or pedestrian smiles at you on a multi-use path do you think the socially acceptable convention and appropriate response is to growl, grimace or grunt at them . . . because in an ideal world they wouldn’t even exist on your path?
5.) When another cyclist is attempting to pass you do you think the most productive and logical solution is to speed up to make it more difficult for them to do so? Do you think they are covertly trying to drag race you? Therefore would letting someone pass you make you less of a person?
6.) Is biking at your fastest anytime, all the time more important than anything else? Is it paramount to causing traffic accidents, forcing bikers into fences, stationary objects or OFF THE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE, causing people to be thrown off their bikes, resulting breaking of bikes, injuring someone or otherwise ruining their day, putting people off biking altogether, making people lose faith in humanity, etc.? Is not caring about other bikers what gets you through the day?
7.) Do you consider your “training” of the utmost importance even though it is for no particular reason or goal except simply a hope that someday you’ll qualify for some currently unknown event that will make it all worthwhile – or as we like to call it ‘Le Tour de Douche’?
8.) Do you joy in offering mock encouragement to others such as “Oh keep going, don’t worry you’ll make it!” on minor obstacles such as small hills to reinforce your superiority? (And did that biker reply with “Bite me!”? Nice to meet you.)
9) Does reading this make you feel guilty, defensive or uncomfortable? Do you feel like you need a drink, cigarette or shower right now?
If you answered YES to one or more of these questions you could be a BIKE DOUCHE. But fret not for therapy comes as cheap as $40 by renting a comfort hybrid, complete with front saddle bag and brightly colored helmet. Put on your jeans and a t-shirt to look like a cycling tourist and witness bike douches behaving at their worst to the fine people visiting our fair city. It just might change your life.
On a serious note Jon and I had completely different experiences riding different rentals that cemented our belief in this bike culture. When we rented the comfort bikes and even on our current hybrids we’ve been yelled at and taken advantage of by bikers who think they’re better than us and try to take advantage of the situation without realizing that it’s more dangerous to do so around people with less experience. On a $3000 road bike I was blatantly given more respect and treated with courtesy. It was an appalling double standard considering I was no better of a biker that day than the day before or the day after. We too get frustrated by tourists with less experience but we have patience. While we might make fun, in the end you are a bike douche if your biking puts other people’s safety in jeopardy, you frighten or terrorize people with your voice or riding, you make other’s riding less enjoyable for the sake of your own or you’re just plain douchey.
We like to bike, so don’t be a bike douche.
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“Le Tour De Douche”? Genius! Thanks for sharing the most delightful phrase I’ve heard today.
You are very welcome! In Marin and South Bay we see guys training for Le TdD every weekend with their bike couture, excruciated faces and what one can only assume are very bad saddle sores. Makes you want to be just like them one day. Or not. Hope you enjoy the site!
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I don’t know about #1. Some would say it’s rude not to announce “on your left” when passing, that passing silently is bad etiquette. I’m undecided…
and #8 some people are genuinely trying to be nice and offer encouragement. :shrug:
There is a tone that is not encouraging and most cyclists (ourselves included) do not appreciate it. Like we said, it’s the tone of the comment that makes it douchey.
There’s a time a place for everything…sometimes announcing yourself is proper if the cyclist in front of you doesn’t know you’re there or in traffic. A better way is to say hello. It all depends on the circumstances.
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As a visiting cyclist from the UK this is a breath of fresh air. The cycling aggression took me by surprise in such an otherwise relaxed and friendly city!
Hi Kate! We absolutely understand. The aggression is much worse during tourist season as well, Miko has taken a break from cycling recently because of the aggression. Come back during January and you will experience a bit more relaxed cycling. We hope you had a great ride otherwise 🙂
The competitive nature of strava alters the mind of many a bay area rider, these days. For so long, I was very much oblivious to it. I like to listen to music. I’ll stop randomly and capture a picture or observe a snake with iNaturalist. If I’m passed, I like to ride on the wheel of the strangers to push myself and see what we both got. So maybe that’s trespassing into douche behavior. But I believe I am not a douche. I ride for the joy of seasons and the shifting flora and birdsong.