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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Admit it, some Spokane cyclists are jerks

UPDATED: Tue., May 1, 2018

FILE – This is an unlabeled bicycle photo from The Spokesman-Review archives from March 1982. (SR)
FILE – This is an unlabeled bicycle photo from The Spokesman-Review archives from March 1982. (SR)

So let me ask you this.

How are Spokane bike riders similar to the leadership of the National Rifle Association?

Give up? It’s pretty simple really.

They both have demonstrated a reluctance, some might say refusal is a better word, to give an inch.

The NRA leadership, well, you know the story there.

And Spokane bike riders? Well, they seem incapable of acknowledging a fundamental truth. That is, some bike riders are total jerks. At least insofar as their conduct on the road goes.

There, I’ve said it. I presume I now will be summarily drummed out of the cycling community.

I bring this up because Tuesday is the start of a month full of organized cycling activities. It’s my annual fantasy to have some kind of informal acknowledgment that bike riders can be their own worst enemies, public relations-wise.

Now, of course, I’m not privy to every conversation involving Spokane cyclists. For all I know, there has been a great deal of candor and ownership of the “idiot cyclist” issue.

But I have been a bicycle commuter for 10 years, and I have had countless exchanges about bike riding in Spokane. When I bring up the theme of the tiny minority of two-wheel morons who give the rest of us a bad name, I often get blank stares in return from other riders.

A few riders even adopted a wait-and-see attitude about last year’s jaw-dropping “Hot pizza!” speeding cyclist/older walker incident on the Centennial Trail.

I guess it’s easier to think the only problem out there is Bubba or Skeeter leaning out of their smoke-belching pickups and chucking beer cans at us.

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting bike riders are to blame for most of the tension arising from sharing the road. Far from it.

Automobilists, as a former colleague calls drivers, vastly outnumber cyclists in every category, including inattentive nitwits and road ragers.

Still, I can’t see why bike riders in Spokane would be reluctant to admit there are countless cyclists illegally riding on sidewalks downtown or recklessly weaving in and out of traffic on Grand Boulevard.

I mean, that’s simply the truth. Pretending otherwise just makes us seem as if we’re in denial or like those NRA types who appear to believe the answer to any social problem is always more guns.

I’m not naive enough to think the cycling community could somehow effectively police itself. But perhaps we could at least be part of the conversation.

It might help if more bike riders would remember back to before they started cycling.

We don’t need a show of hands. But it’s hard for me to believe many bike riders cannot recall occasions when we were in a car and observed the brainless antics of a cyclist and were tempted to brand the whole two-wheel community with an unflattering label.

Of course, when you actually start riding a bike, you discover two things.

1) Most drivers, the ones who aren’t drunk or looking at their phones, seem OK with sharing the road with cyclists who are considerate and predictable.

2) The vast majority of other cyclists are good people just trying to get to where they’re going.

Up your nose

One of the topics in Sunday’s round of Q-and-A caught the eye of Moses Lake reader Vaughn Blethen.

“I zeroed in on your ‘proud moment’ of mistaking a little bottle of eyeglasses lens cleaner for soothing eye drops,” she wrote.

“Recently my beloved husband, Bud, and I were on a road trip. He’s also been having allergy problems. So he’s driving and says to me ‘Hand me the little bottle that’s in the console.’

“Being the excellent co-pilot that I am, I reached in and found a little bottle and handed it to him. Next thing I know he’s snorting and sputtering all over the place while trying not to drive off the road. He had squirted eyeglasses lens cleaner up his nose instead of his saline spray.

“The cleaner worked similar to Chinese mustard and/or Tabasco sauce on his sinuses. I did point out to him that he did not clarify which little bottle he wanted and did ask why he didn’t realize the bottle I handed him was a different size than what he meant to ask for. But he still wasn’t happy with me.

“So I just want to thank you for giving me some validation that these things do happen on occasion.

“Peace be with you and your allergies.”

In other news, Wade Griffith noticed my use of “narc” in Monday’s column and it reminded him of his college days.

It seems everyone became aware that one dorm resident was sending mail addressed to “N.A.R.C.” The resident “heads” freaked.

Eventually it was discovered the mail sender in question was a regional youth coordinator for the National Association for Retarded Citizens (since renamed).

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