With the tragedy so fresh, the editor's comments are uncomfortable, but are they vitriolic?Though I didn't know Matt at all, his death has left me shaken. As a cyclist who often takes part in and organises alleycats I find myself asking a lot of the questions the editors are addressing. From a decidedly different perspective, I'm coming to some of the same conclusions. I'll not participate in any further alleycats as a racer or (certainly not!) as an organiser. While I do not hold the organisers of the TdC accountable, I could not bear, in the event of such a tragedy, the strain they are currently experiencing. I think the editors are right to examine alleycats in the larger context of bicycle advocacy and transportation safety. Calling attention to the apparent hypocrisy of persistently-complaining cyclists when some of their number intentionally endanger themselves is short-sighted, but not vitriolic. I know that I have personally done damage to my local cycling community because of my conduct in alleycats - to pretend otherwise is not helpful to myself or that community. I do not, as the editors seem to, believe that alleycats and underground racing are necessarily harmful, but I can see their potential for harm both to the racers and those with whom, like the driver of the SUV that collided with Matt, we must share the road.
jmgorman- After a second and third read of the Tribune's story, perhaps "vitriol" wasn't the best word choice. Regardless, the article strikes a consistently negative tone toward cyclists. Though my reflexive bias may be reading between the lines looking for scapegoats other than the culture I choose to stand with, I believe "vitriol", while perhaps too strong a word, represents the way I interpret it.Thanks for your well reasoned input.s.
Hey Strangelife,I am just delving into your blog having been pointed over from Le Grimpeur. I'm a Chicago bike rider too. I have read many stories about bike issues that I have decried, but I didn't really find anything objectionable in that piece. I myself have been known to break some laws, etc. riding around, but I really can't get any wind in my sails about defending myself doing this. As tragic as this death is, it's really hard to find a balanced point of view on dudes screaming through red lights in traffic. It's a pretty cut and dry thing to me. I go through red lights, but I certainly don't expect any cars to stop or in any way, make exception for my unlawful actions. I commend you for your ability to think through your original post, but I have to sit with the Tribune (blech) on this particular piece. In other news, I hope to run into you sometime, great blog! I am more of a born again biker than a longtime road rider, but I think that aside, I am finding all your cultural references sounding like we grew up together! best,Jason Wardjason@jasonward.org
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