Wanna hear something hilarious? Drivers are more likely to honk at me if I don’t look like I’m hustling my brains out.

Here’s a pattern I noticed while bicycling and commuting in the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, CA.

Let’s take two scenarios. In both scenarios, I am in the middle of the right lane on the same stretch of road and going 15-20mph. (I’m “taking the lane” because it’s not wide enough to be shared.)

First scenario

If I’m wearing my “professional” cycling jersey and shorts and in a low enough gear that allows me to pedal furiously at a very high RPM, drivers will not honk at me.

If I’m dressed up like one of these guys and drivers see that I’m trying my darndest to go as fast as possible, they will quietly change lanes to pass me.

Now picture the same road with just a few changes.

This time, I’m in plainclothes and in a higher gear, so I’m pedaling a lot slower. Even though I’m still going 15-20mph like in the above scenario, it looks like I’m moseying along because I’m just in a different gear. Someone will honk at me real soon.

If I want to guarantee getting honked at within a minute, I just have to stop pedaling and coast.

Apparently nothing infuriates drivers faster than seeing a cyclist taking up “their” lane, and not pedaling their brains out to show that they are worthy of it and deserve it.  I suppose to drivers it looks like I’m being a lazy bastard who just wants to take up the lane for no good reason as opposed to a professional looking guy who looks like he’s training for the Tour de France.  So I need to literally look like I’m working my ass off, for drivers to feel that taking the lane is warranted.  Because when you’re in a car, we all know pressing that gas pedal is super tough work!

Pretty funny!  But anyway, I believe cyclists and cars can ride safely on the street together through the power of education. Please read the article I wrote on how to ride your bicycle safely on the street whether you are a driver or cyclist so that we can all be a little bit more understanding of each other.

  • Evelina S.

    Hahahahahahaha! I love it!