YGR Road StampThis morning, within a few minutes of each other, I had two emails come in regarding interactions with rural residents on two of our favorite road routes, Rist Canyon and Carter Lake. One very positive, one very negative and potentially dangerous.  

First the bad; 

I just had the lead Park Ranger for Carter Lake State Park in the clinic last night and he asked that I pass this along…

There is a guy that is notorious for harassing cyclists, trying to provoke them into conflict, etc. that has a property on the south end of the lake/park.

He is mentally unstable and a loose trigger.

My patient/ranger and his staff have had many interactions with him, written up citations, and done everything they can do legally. The other day, this guy punched a cyclist, however the Sheriff was called in before my friend was – and again, the only thing they could do w/o the history that my friend has was give him another citation. The ranger wishes he (or a colleague) would have been called b/c they have an ‘arrest’ order for their next interaction. I guess the two districts don’t share a database?

He is currently driving a ford f150 with a topper/cap. As the ranger was leaving my clinic, he said to youtube Carter Lake Bike Rage – and that this guy would be the first hit. So I did, and I believe this is the guy = which if it is, I have had one unfriendly encounter with this guy myself and it’s scary:

His advice was to NOT engage this guy…he will go off on you. He did recommend to interrupt his rage w/ something like ‘Hey Pat’ or ‘How about those Broncos’ and then ride the other way and call the ranger district to take over. Get anything on video that you can. My understanding is they do not have a direct line at the rangers, so when you call 911 ask for the Carter Lake Ranger’s instead of Sheriff’s. 


And the good via Steve Stefko;

I tend to ride Rist quite often, probably in the once to twice per week range. Last fall when training in the dark I got into the habit of waving to the vehicles that were coming up behind me before they passed. I’ve continued this practice to this day and have had fantastic results. Nearly everyone gives space and waves back.

Last night there were a slug of cars coming up behind me a couple miles after Whale Rock; 5 in total. I waved to each one as I tried to ride on the white line. They all gave me plenty of room and 4 of the 5 waved back at me after they passed. About a 1/4 mile up the road an SUV was stopped at the entrance to a driveway. As I approached the driver rolled down her window and waved for me to come over. I stopped with hesitation thinking negative actions/words would be dished out to me.

Funny thing is though, she thanked me for stopping to talk and being polite. She’s noticed me riding my “blue bike” up the hill many evenings prior and the fact that I’ve waved each time. She went on to say that she know’s some locals harass cyclists, but assured me most don’t mind us if we follow the rules of the road. She also said she’s encountered other cyclists that don’t single up after being 2 or 3 wide and yell profanities or gesture as she passes. She definitely appreciated the friendly demeanor. We had a short discussion of how much I (and other cyclists) love Rist Canyon and the fact that we, as a cycling community, had a fundraiser for Rist after the fire. It was the sort of discussion that made me feel awesome and proud to be part of our community.

In fact, I’ve only had one “drive by” since I started this last fall. It helps to humanize us and hopefully diffuse any anger that is directed towards us as objects and not humans. Most drivers do wave back and give me plenty of room.

So I ask all FCCT teammates that if you are riding up Rist, or any of our canyon roads, please try to give a wave before the vehicle comes up and single up if you are 2 wide. Our polite actions do get noticed and will hopefully foster a better relationship between cars and bikes on our canyon roads. Happy training and racing!