Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

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HK12K   10 kW

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Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by HK12K » Sep 26 2019 12:07pm

There is a huge cycling community here in BC and I come across lots of other cyclists in my travels, not that usually we stop to chat or anything. Most of these interactions are unremarkable, though I usually find smiling faces looking back. There have however been a handful of times where I've crossed paths with riders who seem hellbent on proving something, and I get a chuckle out of it.

It usually happens a little something like this: 700c-tired cyclist and I end up stopped in close proximity to each other at a light, crosswalk, etc. They look at me and instead of a smile the expression on their face can be best described as utter contempt, or perhaps complete disgust. Then, at the first opportunity, they do their best to prove their cycling worth. They force their way past, hammering at the pedals like Lance on a fresh dose of HGH, usually looking over their shoulder or into their mirror to see how badly they're "dropping" the fat guy on the heavy bike pulling a trailer.

This pleases me.

Now being a responsible ebike ambassador I'm not going to ride like a reckless jerk through the city, so hammering the throttle from a stop and drawing a bunch of attention to myself really isn't the way to go. Besides, drag racing pedal bikes isn't much of a challenge. Instead I accelerate at my regular pace, gently leaning on the throttle until I'm around 15' from their rear tire, and hold it there. When they look back I simply smile. They pedal harder and faster, sprinting away, and again they look back... and there I am at the same distance, and again I smile. This may repeat a few times until their cadence invariably begins to slow.

At that point I either get a smile back, or when safe I blow past them like they're standing still and rarely see them again. Sometimes both.

You don't have to smile at me, don't get me wrong, but if you're going to act with a heightened sense of superiority I'm going to watch you wear yourself out and then humble you.

I also found something a little surprising to me. Historically we've heard about the kitted out roadies having attitudes, acting entitled, lashing out, etc, but in my experience in the past 1600km hasn't shown that to be the case at all. Not once this year has a lycra clad roadie thrown me a dirty look or acted like they had something to prove. They always seem to smile and continue to do their thing without being rude showoffs, if they seem to notice me at all. Also they always seem to be very appreciative when I do something polite like stop to let them pass when heading opposite directions on narrow pathways, yield to let them cross, etc. Some of the "commuters" on the other hand look as if they'd like to spit on me for using "their" infrastructure and will seem to do anything to prove how much faster and more aggressively they can ride. Maybe it's a man vs machine complex, or perhaps they just want the lanes and paths to themselves. Maybe they just really don't like being behind fat guys pedaling freight trains. That's exactly where they end up though.

Anyone else have similar experiences in their travels, or vastly different?

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by markz » Sep 26 2019 2:42pm

British Columbia, Canada is a huge province. So where exactly, general area, are you talking about?
Kelowna, Victoria, Vancouver, GVA, Whistler...........

As for chest puffing Lycra's, the 700C's you talk about. I dont pay no attention. I usually just fall in behind one and go at their pace, atleast on the pathways here in Calgary.

TBH I have never ran across no Lycra, no cyclist of any kind with an attitude. Its the assholee drivers!

On occasion I have ridden downtown, on the few bike lanes we have on the roadway. Never have I came across people like you mention. I try my best to have room for them to pass. I have seen one courier that had a hub motor, and a small one wheeled trailer.
HK12K wrote:
Sep 26 2019 12:07pm
There is a huge cycling community here in BC and I come across lots of other cyclists in my travels, not that usually we stop to chat or anything.

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by HK12K » Sep 26 2019 3:36pm

Vancouver and surrounding areas. Primarily Vancouver when it comes to this type of behaviour, but I've seen it in surrounding cities as well to some degree. Though cyclist density increases the closer to Van you get, so you're going to have more cyclist interaction there than surrounding areas.

It's not really the lycras either in my experience. At a glance they'd probably be viewed as commuters, on metal frames with fenders, 28-38x700c tires, sometimes pannier(s). The lycras on the other hand just tend to seem focused on riding their bikes, not trying to prove to everyone around them what badasses they are as they force past other cyclists and swerve around pedestrians just to get ahead, momentarily. Just kind of contrary to what I expected is all.

Is there a large cycling presence in Calgary?

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by The fingers » Sep 26 2019 5:30pm

For me the greatest satisfaction is going past a guy walking a stink bike who ran out of cas. :lol:
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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by markz » Sep 26 2019 5:41pm

I read to guy walking....and thought you were going to say "up a hill"
Them gasser bicycles are around, very rare do I see one. Perhaps in the poorer neighborhoods its more common.
The fingers wrote:
Sep 26 2019 5:30pm
For me the greatest satisfaction is going past a guy walking a stink bike who ran out of cas. :lol:

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by markz » Sep 26 2019 5:43pm

In the winter only the hard core studs, like myself ride.
In the summer/spring/fall, casual riders. I'm in the burbs. Downtown there are more riders, especially now with Lime bike.

Miro may know more. I just dont pay attention.

HK12K wrote:
Sep 26 2019 3:36pm
Is there a large cycling presence in Calgary?

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by John in CR » Sep 26 2019 7:02pm

I run across them, but at 2-3 or more times their speed, so I wouldn't even know it. It's been a couple of years, but I did have a cyclist at an LBS ask if I the electric bike was mine. I replied yes, and he then asked "Isn't that cheating?". I said, no of course not. I race against cars and motorcycles, not cyclists. Since that got a smile out of him, he got my whole explanation about how my bike was safer, much cheaper to operate, and better for the planet than cycling as transportation. At the time I was using only recycled batteries, so even my batteries had no carbon footprint. I have tons of respect for cycling as sport and/or exercise, but for transportation ebikes blow cycling away in every respect unless the cyclist grows his own food.

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by nicobie » Sep 27 2019 3:56pm

John in CR wrote:
Sep 26 2019 7:02pm
... unless the cyclist grows his own food.
:thumb: John
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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by mrzed » Sep 28 2019 10:55am

I can provide some counter perspective here. Context for my ebike experience is: I got my first ebike to pull the kid trailer for commuting about 12 years ago. Kid 1 has since grown well past trailer size, Kid 2 also. Moved closer to kid schools, got a used Nissan Leaf for other kid hauling duties, went back to pedal bikes because no kid hauling meant no motor needed, and maintaining kit ebikes and batteries was too much trouble given full time demanding job + 2 kids.

In the years since, the bike trails here in Victoria have become much busier. This is a good thing. I'm a big fan of light commuter transport. The last 2 years in particular has also seen a huge surge in ebikes, mostly commercial off the shelf ones.

So with busier trails comes the need for more consideration while riding, and if you are blowing past fast commuter cyclists, then it sounds like you are going well above legal ebike speed (while pulling a trailer). I also think your choice of words is a bit off, and that you are not humbling anyone, just pissing them off. They all know you have a motor.

I have no problem with ebikes ridden at above legal speeds, but I think that's better for the open road and not during busy commute times. When I was pulling a trailer with a motor, I made a point never to pass fast cyclists with all my kit. It wouldn't make my trip much faster, but would be jarring to them. In the last while, I've also noted a lot more ebikers doing 40k+ on the trails during the commute, and almost all of these are on home builds, not commercial ebikes. And lots are pulling trailers. Maybe the same thing happens in Vancouver, and you are getting lumped into that group.

You might not generally be passing people unless you think they are looking down at you. It's quite possible you are also getting fat-shamed as part of this (and that sucks, and some people are jerks), but if it was me I would try taking the high road, because I think if anything you might be making the situation a little worse by giving potentially aggressive riders another thing to be pissed off at.

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by markz » Sep 28 2019 1:58pm

Fat shamed - well how is that possible, words are not exchanged while riding. Its probably time to act like a new comer and not say a word, or act dumb (like acting confused) which I've had to do with a city transit train driver and city transit ticket maids. Everyone else seems to be intrigued, and those only come when riding the city transit train, having a rest to charge up, or going about getting groceries or other tasks. Most of the time while riding, its just a head turn, or the eyes widen but then I am well past them.

I agree though and thats what I do, many times I will ride behind a Lycra or fast rider. The not so fast rider, will be the same if I am pleasure cruising. Otherwise its a gentleman pass, giving lots of room, or even completely stopping if its jam packed.



mrzed wrote:
Sep 28 2019 10:55am
It's quite possible you are also getting fat-shamed as part of this (and that sucks, and some people are jerks), but if it was me I would try taking the high road, because I think if anything you might be making the situation a little worse by giving potentially aggressive riders another thing to be pissed off at.

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by mrzed » Sep 28 2019 3:10pm

Ya. Bad choice of words and i let jargon in. I meant more that some cyclists are a-holes who judge people on their body and look down on people that aren't "fit"

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by markz » Sep 29 2019 9:58pm

No ones every said bad words to my face. Most people are pussies anyways.

mrzed wrote:
Sep 28 2019 3:10pm
Ya. Bad choice of words and i let jargon in. I meant more that some cyclists are a-holes who judge people on their body and look down on people that aren't "fit"

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by RLutz » Sep 30 2019 10:17am

Hi HK12K, I have been on both sides of this topic. When I was in my mid 20’s I began commuting to work on a bike for exercise. I was getting heavy and didn’t want to give up beer and ice cream. In a few months, I was getting pretty strong and I started riding 150 to 200 KM on the weekends and taking longer routes home from work. I began competing in local races and events. I don’t think I ever placed better than 10th in a race but I met some good friends and lots of guys with attitudes.

This was in the early to mid-’90s and e-bikes hadn’t become a thing yet. I recall visiting Endless Sphere in the early 2000s to learn about building an electric car, but I digress.

I still ride with one of my friends from the Lycra days. He likes that when I am on my e-bike he can get a decent workout. I mostly let him lead and we usually ride 40 km at an average speed of 30KPH. When he wants a break he will draft me for a bit. The only issue we have had is during an emergency stop I nearly collided with him. I weigh 105KG and my bike is 32 so all up total is 137 (302 lbs) bringing all that to a stop just takes more room, no matter how good the breaks are.

My buddy was training for a race last year when a car hit him and broke his femur. He is back riding again and his endurance is still way higher than mine but he doesn’t think he will ever be able to compete again. Because he rides every day and has competed locally, he knows or has met most of the local competitive riders. When we ride together, he will comment on the attitudes of various riders we encounter. He will mention things like, “He never waves” or “He is going to attack the next hill to try and put us in our place”.

We have come to the conclusion that some people just aren’t naturally nice; some are hyper-competitive and are competing with everyone around them at all times. In their minds everyone else is always wrong and if you are passing them you must be cheating in some way e-bike or not.

I guess in conclusion, HK12K, just continue being yourself, continue to smile and be polite and don’t let the other people stuck in a funk pull you in.

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by HK12K » Oct 01 2019 12:58pm

John in CR wrote:
Sep 26 2019 7:02pm
I run across them, but at 2-3 or more times their speed, so I wouldn't even know it. It's been a couple of years, but I did have a cyclist at an LBS ask if I the electric bike was mine. I replied yes, and he then asked "Isn't that cheating?". I said, no of course not. I race against cars and motorcycles, not cyclists. Since that got a smile out of him, he got my whole explanation about how my bike was safer, much cheaper to operate, and better for the planet than cycling as transportation. At the time I was using only recycled batteries, so even my batteries had no carbon footprint. I have tons of respect for cycling as sport and/or exercise, but for transportation ebikes blow cycling away in every respect unless the cyclist grows his own food.
lol, nice. Due to the law here we're limited to 32kph, on flat ground anyway, so I don't get much opportunity to see those kinds of speeds. Probably for the best as 20ah doesn't last as long as I'd like as it is. :lol:
mrzed wrote:
Sep 28 2019 10:55am
I can provide some counter perspective here. Context for my ebike experience is: I got my first ebike to pull the kid trailer for commuting about 12 years ago. Kid 1 has since grown well past trailer size, Kid 2 also. Moved closer to kid schools, got a used Nissan Leaf for other kid hauling duties, went back to pedal bikes because no kid hauling meant no motor needed, and maintaining kit ebikes and batteries was too much trouble given full time demanding job + 2 kids.

In the years since, the bike trails here in Victoria have become much busier. This is a good thing. I'm a big fan of light commuter transport. The last 2 years in particular has also seen a huge surge in ebikes, mostly commercial off the shelf ones.

So with busier trails comes the need for more consideration while riding, and if you are blowing past fast commuter cyclists, then it sounds like you are going well above legal ebike speed (while pulling a trailer). I also think your choice of words is a bit off, and that you are not humbling anyone, just pissing them off. They all know you have a motor.

I have no problem with ebikes ridden at above legal speeds, but I think that's better for the open road and not during busy commute times. When I was pulling a trailer with a motor, I made a point never to pass fast cyclists with all my kit. It wouldn't make my trip much faster, but would be jarring to them. In the last while, I've also noted a lot more ebikers doing 40k+ on the trails during the commute, and almost all of these are on home builds, not commercial ebikes. And lots are pulling trailers. Maybe the same thing happens in Vancouver, and you are getting lumped into that group.

You might not generally be passing people unless you think they are looking down at you. It's quite possible you are also getting fat-shamed as part of this (and that sucks, and some people are jerks), but if it was me I would try taking the high road, because I think if anything you might be making the situation a little worse by giving potentially aggressive riders another thing to be pissed off at.
Ah, please don't misinterpret me, I may have spoken with a bit of hyperbole earlier when I said I blow past them. When it comes to mixed use paths I try to be very courteous. If there is literally anyone within view in front of me I drop my speed to what would be expected of any other bike until I get closer to them, at which point I slow to a relative crawl and pass wide when safe. Once I'm clear of them I'll get back on it if there is no one ahead. Pedestrians are generally oblivious and will stray into your path at literally any moment so it pays to go slowly and not end up in a bad situation, and a lot of cyclists aren't much better. When encountering these speed racer types on busy paths I just ride normally, but eventually we'll find ourselves on an unobstructed straight or getting dumped out onto a roadway, and they usually get passed at that point.

On the road, if there is a bike lane and someone is in front of me, I'll wait until the coast is clear and then take the lane to the left to pass. Nobody likes getting passed at a close distance and I'm not going to be the guy to do it if I can help it.

Keep in mind too, that trailer I mentioned has my 2 year old in it so I'm not out there riding like an idiot. In "Normal" mode I have a speed limit set to a max of 40kph and with the kid trailing behind I rarely if ever see that limit. My average speeds are usually around 25kph over the course of most of my 50km rides according to my Adaptto. I may be running 110 battery and 230 phase amps however, so getting to that 25kph happens as quickly as I choose. :wink:

markz wrote:
Sep 29 2019 9:58pm
No ones every said bad words to my face. Most people are pussies anyways.
Truth.

Reminds me of something that happened a few years back. To set the scene, we were in the car, leaving the bank, second in line for the exit. On the street ahead cars were lining up at a red light. The driver on the street who was approaching the bank exit stopped short to let us out, but the guy ahead of him had like 3 car lengths space in front of him and was blocking the exit. So, I beeped to get his attention. This beep apparently enraged the approximately 16 year old, 5'7", 100lb soaking wet Russian kid driving the car in front of me. He flips off his seatbelt and jumps out of his car shouting at me. Me, having just dealt with the bank, was in no mood for that shit. So I stepped out of my car.

He immediately became very apologetic.

By this time I was right up on him and my facial expression instantly went from "I'm about to kill you" to shit-eating-grin. I laughed, told him I wasn't even beeping at him, then slapped him on the back and threw my arm around over his shoulder like we were best buds.

He was terrified, lmfao.

Told him to have a good day and we parted ways. I went back to my car to laugh, he probably went home to change his undies.
mrzed wrote:
Sep 28 2019 3:10pm
Ya. Bad choice of words and i let jargon in. I meant more that some cyclists are a-holes who judge people on their body and look down on people that aren't "fit"
Yeah, without speaking with them it's hard to say what their prejudice of choice might have been. The look of disapproval could have been about fitness, ebike hate, or even my choice of bike if they didn't realize it was electric. If you're a pedal cyclist who uses their bike a lot you might shake your head at someone who bought a "cool looking" bike that you can tell is terrible to ride just by looking at it. A lot of those folks will spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to shave a few grams, so if they don't realize mine is an e-bike they might just think I'm an idiot... or a masochist. Or perhaps they DO realize it's electric and think I'm "cheating" or that I wasted my time and money because *pedals furiously* "look how much faster I can go" ...which I guess I can't really blame them for, because a lot of the e-bikes in our area are 250-500W SLA powered slugs.

Hard to say, but if they don't have an appreciation for e-bikes after we're finished they can go home grumpy. I'd rather they think about how much fun they could be having on one of their own though.

RLutz wrote:
Sep 30 2019 10:17am
Hi HK12K, I have been on both sides of this topic. When I was in my mid 20’s I began commuting to work on a bike for exercise. I was getting heavy and didn’t want to give up beer and ice cream. In a few months, I was getting pretty strong and I started riding 150 to 200 KM on the weekends and taking longer routes home from work. I began competing in local races and events. I don’t think I ever placed better than 10th in a race but I met some good friends and lots of guys with attitudes.

This was in the early to mid-’90s and e-bikes hadn’t become a thing yet. I recall visiting Endless Sphere in the early 2000s to learn about building an electric car, but I digress.

I still ride with one of my friends from the Lycra days. He likes that when I am on my e-bike he can get a decent workout. I mostly let him lead and we usually ride 40 km at an average speed of 30KPH. When he wants a break he will draft me for a bit. The only issue we have had is during an emergency stop I nearly collided with him. I weigh 105KG and my bike is 32 so all up total is 137 (302 lbs) bringing all that to a stop just takes more room, no matter how good the breaks are.

My buddy was training for a race last year when a car hit him and broke his femur. He is back riding again and his endurance is still way higher than mine but he doesn’t think he will ever be able to compete again. Because he rides every day and has competed locally, he knows or has met most of the local competitive riders. When we ride together, he will comment on the attitudes of various riders we encounter. He will mention things like, “He never waves” or “He is going to attack the next hill to try and put us in our place”.

We have come to the conclusion that some people just aren’t naturally nice; some are hyper-competitive and are competing with everyone around them at all times. In their minds everyone else is always wrong and if you are passing them you must be cheating in some way e-bike or not.

I guess in conclusion, HK12K, just continue being yourself, continue to smile and be polite and don’t let the other people stuck in a funk pull you in.
I'm going to continue to do my thing and hope that e-bike grin is infectious.

I've always been on the heavier side and have always loved cycling, though it has been an on again and off again type of thing. We live in the mountains and the hills kill me. Also as much as I like riding in the rain when I want to, it rains for 9 months out of the year here, so unless you really want to go out and ride it's easy to come up with excuses not to. Too hot, too cold, too wet, too tired. Still though around 15 years ago I rode everywhere for fun, constantly pushing my limits, exploring new places, and really loving every minute of it. Then I got a job in construction that kept me busy 6 days a week with little time or energy to ride, but I'd still get out and go at every opportunity. Then I started dating a girl, spent all of my free time with her, married her, and the bike sat idle... until last year when I bought a bike for my wife, a roof rack, and a trailer for our son. Just about every nice day I'd suggest we go for a ride. The bug had bitten me once again. I think we went on 3 rides. It's now October of the following year and though I've suggested we go for a ride a few times, both bikes are sitting on the balcony unused. I still wanted to get out and go but the topography here is daunting, especially considering the weight I've gained and the ever growing kid I'd be pulling behind me, so riding from home to pretty much anywhere means multiple climbs I'm not really prepared to handle. The other option of putting the bike on the roof, the trailer in back, the kid in the car, and going somewhere to ride just isn't practical without the help of my wife so I just wasn't getting out there. The e-bike opened that whole world back up to me. My son and I travel to places we otherwise wouldn't be able to go, explore places we'd never otherwise see, and get out more than we otherwise would. I think I bought the ebike in June, and last i checked we had put over 1600km on it.

Strangers can think what they want, we're having a blast.

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by markz » Oct 01 2019 4:25pm

How tall and heavy are you?
Size plays a very important role when others are the aggressor, even the tall/big dudes as the aggressor plays an important role.

Just the other day, I was getting a coffee and had some dumb frock assume I did not know how tall and big I am. It gets annoying. It wasnt the fact someone just turned around and said "Hey bossman" which is a sign of respect. No no, the dumb frock in question, saw me from 20' away as he entered the room, and still pulled his dumb frock questions. Asking if I ever played football or basketball.
Normally I get the dumb frock questions from drunk people.

I am like 6'5" and 375lbs with a bit of a gut, but its stretched out when I am standing. More pronounced sitting here at the desk on the computer. Its still obese, I agree. Way beyond any healthy Body Mass Index #.


HK12K wrote:
Oct 01 2019 12:58pm
.

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by HK12K » Oct 01 2019 7:23pm

6'4' and between 255 and 265 depending on the time of day, with a gut that makes me reminiscent of the late great Mustard Tiger Philip Collins. Ok, perhaps not quite that big, but whatcha lookin' at my gut fer anyway? (Lol, I trust you recognize the reference.)

My size is enough to make most people not want to chance it, but if the shit ever goes down I hope you and I are on the same team. :)

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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by hypertoric_amplituhedron » Oct 02 2019 8:55pm

Yep, had a kitted guy riding a fat tire bike pulling 28mph with me, for a good quarter mile down the trail one day. Lol, that was some serious output, man.

And I get the whole spectrum of sneers, blank faces, and people cracking up when I roll past them saying that I'm sorry for cheating. Around here, most people think ebikes are cool, though.
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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by thundercamel » Oct 11 2019 4:06pm

Illinois north of Chicago here. I pretty much only use the road for biking when I choose to ride to work, and then I wave (lift two fingers off my handlebar) to every other bike I see. Some even wave back!

I do see some dangerous moves pulled by the lycra "pro bikers" at intersections, always due to their obsession with momentum. One nearly crashed into me from behind the trees, since he plowed through a right turn without a single look or reduction in speed. Thankfully there were no cars at the moment, and I was able to drift into the lane to make room for him. Yelled out "BOO!" right in his ear as he merged next to me and I went by. Come on now, safety before momentum:
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Re: Do you run across overly competitive/aggressive cyclists?

Post by markz » Oct 11 2019 4:52pm

They will have their dog 50' away from them on a leash!

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