Competitive Commuter - AKA 'Sad Man'

Discussion in 'Commuting and Road Safety' started by Black Cat, Jan 18, 2006.

  1. Black Cat

    Black Cat New Member

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    Has anyone else come across the strange beast that is the 'competitive commuter'. I have a 12 mile (one way) commute which i do every day, and regularly close up on one cyclist very rapidly (me riding at my comfortable cruising speed and presumably him too) only to find that the minute I pass him he tucks in behind and then tries to re-overtake me - This is out on the open road not within the town area, and the individual isn't a kid either.

    This has happened repeatedly now, and well, is a tad embarrassing:cool: particulalry in the context of riding to work. The fact that I think I ride at least twice as far as the individual concerned does, and am on a modified MTB versus his light tourer only serves to add to my mystification as to what he is trying to prove. :confused: I have no issue with anyone being quicker than me providing it isn't just for the breif moment when paths cross.

    Interested in anyone else's experiences, or am I just lucky to share part of my route with such a sad individual?
     
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  2. deejbah

    deejbah New Member

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    Happens all the time, especially if the person you pass is either on a bike that is supposed to be faster than yours or if you have panniers and they don't. If you ride a tourer or a hard-tail mountain/commute bike you seem to excite the competitor in anyone riding a roadie, as well as those guys riding anything else who just have to prove how fast they are. There are some strange people out there, who just seem to want to compete, when all your doing is riding pretty much the same speed as you always do.
     
  3. Black Cat

    Black Cat New Member

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    Thanks for the reply - appreciated. Nice to know at least someone else acknowledges this. I'll just continue to ride my bike. All the best.
     
  4. ridinslow

    ridinslow New Member

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    Why worry about it? It could be that the guy is just trying to have a little fun.

    When I ride, I always try to pass the guy in front of me. Its just a way to make the ride more interesting. It has nothing to do with what the person in front of me is riding or how far.

    No one would call me fast, and I almost never actually catch them, its just fun.
     
  5. Geonz

    Geonz New Member

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    I'm afraid I tend to do that, too, but I don't draft first. Last week I was trying to get to a meeting on time and figured this young, gender-inscrutable creature on a hybrid that streaked out at the stop light on his/her/its hybrid (almost the same model as mine) as if s/he simply expected to be faster than me was just sent to make sure I moved faster.
    I generally powered by him/her on upgrades and judging from how s/he didn't speed up at the top of the second hill, s/he was trying hard, too... the only issue was that s/he had a very different riding style (basically, more aggressive and less 'car-friendly') so I really didn't want to be at an intersection at the same time.
    Usually, though, I'd take somebody behind me trying to catch me as a challenge and charge... my ego does get hungry periodically and likes tasty junk food snacks. I'd try to drop the poor fellow... you're much nicer :)
     
  6. super dog

    super dog New Member

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    i find it annoying when i am on tight roads i pass someone who is riding slower than i am (not to prove anything) and then at the next set of lights they jump in front of you again.

    grrr!
     
  7. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    Share the road and try to remember that it's not always about you, you know? Most times the other guy is just riding his ride.
     
  8. Avahi29

    Avahi29 New Member

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    It happens sometimes, I get competitive and then think why bother, and just go at my own pace, it helps that only use 1 gear, it's more difficult to keep it up when your legs are spinning round like a gyro.

    I get far more annoyed at brightly clad cycling commuters doing stupid things like shooting lights all the time and they're generally the ones I want to overtake. It's like cat and mouse, I pass them, they shoot the lights and ride slow, I catch them up and end up having to pass them all over again.

    Yes, traffic lights can be annoying but they are generally there for a reason (not always, mystifyingly) and cyclists are subject to the same rules, although sometimes you wouldn't be able to tell. They need a quick whack to the head and told to stop being so dumb, especially when they're causing a danger to others i.e. me.

    Sorry for the mini-rant.

    A
     
  9. Geonz

    Geonz New Member

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    My competitive commuting is usually based on wanting not to be passed - firstly because of the safety issues of passing, and only second (tho' sometimes it's a close second :) ) because I want to feed my ego.
    My general practice is to avoid having *anybody* (car, bike, Labrador Retriever) have to pass me twice.
     
  10. Black Cat

    Black Cat New Member

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    However strangely they choose to do it....ok point taken:cool:
     
  11. rule62

    rule62 New Member

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    LOL...exactly. Yeah I was thinking about this thread this morning. I was commuting in on a long stretch of road that is bordered by a MUT. The road is psychotically quiet before daylight and in much better shape than is the paved trail. I was working in a 20 minute Tempo interval, not too fast, not too slow, just steady power and cadence in a larger gear. I kept noticing something moving out of the corner of my eye. When I passed underneath the first street light, I noticed that it was an all blacked out, no helmet, no lights mountain bike rider hammering for all that he was worth in order to pace me from the trail. He would look over as we passed under a streetlight, grin ear to ear, then hammer down all the more. He was having so much fun with it. He was hunched over to the point that he looked like a kid on a BMX bike. His knees were coming up to just below his chin. I couldn't help but laugh and enjoy the effort.

    He beat me to the point that the trail peels off away from the road. The last I saw of him was just as he passed under the last street light that lit up my turn. He was hammering away, showing his back to me complete with swinging ponytail, and with one arm raised showing me the back of his hand which was giving me the one finger salute. Somehow he managed to do it in a completely non-confrontational way. I think beating me to the cut-off point made his day. :D
     
  12. Black Cat

    Black Cat New Member

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    Excellent story....makes my guy's behaviour seem rather mundane by comparison, and has certainly put my experience into context, and given me a different view on how to handle such situations.........thanks for the insight and the laugh - :)
     
  13. ejls2

    ejls2 New Member

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    Riding along the embankment in London seems to be the best place to encounter these guys.

    The road runs along the river so there's very few left turns off it when heading west. This means that even more cyclists than normal run the lights regularly but barely break 10-12mph at any point.

    I always seemed to end up overtaking people while riding then having the whole lot ride past me into the path of traffic or jumping onto the pavement (sidewalk) and then hopping back onto the road in front of me without checking over their shoulder first. They do however tend to look round once they've gone past with manic grins on their faces!

    After a few days I started crawling along at the same speed as the besuited commuters but I still felt that it was unsafe as there was still a great deal of overtaking going on at the lights. A few days later, after a couple of near misses, I decided to find another route but later on the same journey was hit from behind and knocked out by another cyclist while stopped at lights (who blamed me for stopping!)

    So... they may be sad, but they can also be dangerous!
     
  14. Jarery

    Jarery New Member

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    Anytime two bikes are headed in the same direction...its a race :D
     
  15. NuCommuter

    NuCommuter New Member

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    I haven't experienced this while commuting yet, but it happens all the time at the swimming pool. I work out at a sort of upscale place, and the triathlete-type polished professional women, especially, are hypercompetitive. Put a guy in the next lane, and they do NOT want to be lapped. I like it--it adds steam to my workouts. I've ended up good friends with several of them, and gotten plenty of good swimming pointers. I always look forward to the extra jolt of adrenaline.

    NuCommuter
     
  16. Ike90

    Ike90 New Member

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    Very well said. I get it all the time, too.

    I have a recumbent that I ride to work in the summer months, and of course, roadies pass me like crazy on the uphill portions of the ride. Once over the crests of the hills though, my wheeled chaise lounge drops right back on them; they can't outrun the extra weight and lower wind resistance. Luckily, my commute ends on a downhill stretch, so I usually win! ;)
     
  17. B Rubble

    B Rubble New Member

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    If I get passed, it's normally for a reason. [​IMG]

    When that does happen, and if the difference in speed is minimal, I will try to keep a respectful distance behind (10-20 yards) and maintain the same pace as long as I can.

    I figure it helps me keep my cadence up, but doesn't provoke the rider in front to speed up even more.
     
  18. ABG

    ABG New Member

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    Ha ha ...

    I am always the one being passed, I rarely pass anyone. Me and my 35 pound upright hybrid bike just can't keep up :)
     
  19. Darkhorse85

    Darkhorse85 New Member

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    i commute 11 miles each way every day to work with my old 2001 Trek 4300 hardtail mtn bike on those crushed stone trails. It has smooth tires and a higher gear ratio deore crankset upgrade. It's a 7 speed, and i dont even have a front derailler so im always on the big ring. I go very very fast... around 18-20mph consistently. In commuting for 6 weeks so far (and getting faster) i can say that i have never been passed.
    I fly by a lot of roadbikers solo and in groups. I even pass cyclists in yellow jerseys =p.

    I honestly feel like i own the trail...weird, but if i see someone ahead of me i keep my power on. It's a great workout. But i really do laugh at the guys on titanium bikes goin 15mph.
    gee, i wish i had money comin out of my ass.



    itll be scary when i can actually afford a road bike.
     
  20. Treky

    Treky New Member

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    I do that too. If I see another cyclist ahead of me I maintain a good average speed to see if I can catch them, most of the time I do, and I see that they are riding an MTB or a hybrid. I ride a road bike. I've never been passed and I've never had anybody trying to catch up after I passed them. I guess it is because I am doing 18-25mph versus their 10-15mph.
     
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