I ride to work every morning, rain or shine, with a 30-pound pannier on the back of my bike. It took a little bit of getting used to, as I grew up mountain biking on aluminum frame rock 'n’ roll machines, but after a few years and 15,000 miles, I got the hang of it. It’s my peace and my joy to get on my bike and ride to work.
This morning, after riding in to the University of Minnesota with my partner, who had 60 pounds of anthropology books in her back pannier, I came home for one extra cup of coffee and passed a white male screaming from his carbon fiber road bike at a woman with two panniers. I would estimate this white male had been traversing at 25 mph or more.
Apparently said woman had merged onto the road traveling at a slower rate than he was on his speed machine. He was very clear in his screaming that he felt this was her fault.
Dudes. Dudes. Dudes. We need to have a little talk about male entitlement.
I love being a cyclist. It has literally changed my life and made me a better person. I also love the camaraderie of my other dude friends. I often lovingly refer to my dude male bike friends as "bros" in a sarcastic, loving way.
But my sweet sweet bros, something is very, very wrong with us.
My favorite part about riding a bicycle is seeing the vast diversity of people who ride bikes. There are little kids. There are moms and dads. There are angry looking Lance Armstrong types. There are mountain bikers with jean shorts. (Holla!) There are artists riding devices that do not look safe.
All of this is okay. In fact, this diversity is fantastic. It empowers individuals to find the best features of themselves and share that with the world. That’s really cool.
But when male cyclists raised in Velominati culture refuse to yield to all other types of cyclists while traversing on a path that’s designed to celebrate the diversity of our bike culture, we have a very serious problem.
That’s not bike culture. That’s pure patriarchal sexism and it frankly needs to stop.
I will not stop being different. And I hope the women, children, men, dogs in burleys, and artists whistling while they ride continue to be individuals that respect and love both the diversity and safety of those around them.
By the way, your butt doesn’t look “awesome” in those pants. Frankly, you can kiss mine.