So You Think You’re Lance Armstrong

Jimmy Izzo sees and hears everything.

Whether holding court at Crossroads Hardware (which he owns) or driving around town (which he also owns), he’s got his eyes and ears opened.

The other day Jimmy posted this on Facebook:

Almost hit another 2 “Lance Armstrong wannabes” this morning on their bikes.  These arrogant idiots who seem to make up their own rules of the road are without a doubt on a suicide mission.

Cyclists blowing through red lights and stop signs is a practice that needs to be stopped.  Tickets and fines should be given, just as they are to motor vehicles.

Jimmy didn’t hit any cyclists — but he struck a chord.

Comments poured in:

  • I totally agree…riding in the middle of the road…not looking crossing intersections.
  • By law, they are supposed to obey the same laws of the road.  I was avoiding 2 octogenarians on bikes one day.  They rolled through a stop sign.  I was working NOT to pass them.  And who gets the $124 ticket?
  • I actually had a biker hit ME at Minute Men Cleaners.  My baby was sleeping in the back seat, my mom was with me.  And he started yelling at ME about his $3K bike and how I would have to replace it.
  • Weston concurs!  Stay to the side; ride single file!
  • There really should be a campaign about it, because Westport has made the effort to put in bike lanes around a lot of the town.  Single file is right!  Ride with traffic!
  • I ride all the time, and stay as far to the edge of the road as possible.  I never ride side by side with anyone.  The police need to start ticketing the riders who obstruct the roadways.
  • Saugatuck Avenue is loaded with these pains-in-the-asses.  Every Sunday morning they are out there yelling their messages to each other, waking the rest of us up.
  • Sounds like someone should bring this up at a Westport town meeting.  I don’t know what this would fall under, but I bet it would pass unanimously.

And if it does — though nothing, not even a request for world peace, would pass unanimously here — I’ve got the next issue:

The logo-plastered Spandex that bicyclists feel compelled to wear.  If they really want to pretend they’re Lance Armstrong, do it the right way.

Take performance-enhancing drugs.

I'm cool. And I'll mow you down.

67 responses to “So You Think You’re Lance Armstrong

  1. Dan:

    Thanks for the information on Mr. Izzo. I now know which local business to avoid patronizing. BTW, since he owns the town, should I start sending my property taxes directly to him? Let cut to the chase, I believe Mr. Izzo is anti-bike and would like the bikes get out of his way since HE owns the roads and would like to use them unimpeded.

    I agree that there are some bikers out there that do break the laws. However, Mr. Izzo should join me on a bike on my commute to work some day. He will see cars passing us with less than the legal 3 feet of room, cars drag racing us to corners to make right hand turns (Mr. Izzo better ride fast because I am riding 20+ MPH), cars cutting us off to make left turns, cars running stop signs, cars drifting from side streets onto a main street so we will not know what the cars are going to do, and my personal favorite, cars going into the bike lanes while texting, on cell phones, shaving, doing make up, or simply passing other cars that are waiting to make left hand turns.

    or how about the day when I was waiting at a stop sign on my bike like Mr. Izzo would like us all to do and I was rear-ended by a car that “forgot that I was there”?

    This will be tough for most self involved Westporters: cars and bikes need to share the roads, follow the rules and get a little patience. As an added bonus, my guess is that the BMIs of the complainers would decline if they rode a little more and complained a little less.

    BTW, I look damn good in spandex 😉

    • Pauly G…I’m very sorry you feel that I am anti bike…just to let you know..I DO NOT own the town, Just a business…I don’t quite understand why Mr. Woog would even make a statement like that…I have been in town all my life and I am very much pro Westport and all activities including cycling..all I’m saying is the rules of the road should apply to all of us…myself the end I just don’t want to see anyone killed or injured…our roads should be shared and safe for everyone..including yourself…appreciate your business and would be happy to discuss live at store or over a cup of coffee…thanks Jim

      • Jimmy — my bad — it was a joke! I meant to imply that you are one of the mayors of the town — a well-respected person who grew up here, who everyone knows and admires, and who always has the town’s best interests at heart. If that came out the wrong way — I’m sorry!

      • Jim:

        Thanks for the kind words and I apologize that I was out of line. I agree that there are lots of dumb bikers out there and that both bikers and cars have gotten more aggressive over the past few years. I guess it upsets me to see the amount of bile that is spilled on this blog by drivers versus bikes. It could be that we are now so immune while we are driving to the offenses of other cars that the offenses of bikes really stand out. I just think that if more people were bikers, they would get a better picture of what is going on out there. I think that for every stupid biker action versus a car are probably 10 stupid car incidents versus bikes. I don’t know what the solution is but we need to get both bikers and drivers more aware of each other.

    • The Dude Abides

      Several points in rebuttal:
      (1) The Izzo family runs a very friendly efficient store. They are some of the kindest merchants in Westport. For those runners, like myself, it is a great stopping point for water too;
      (2) Bikers (and I include myself) DO have to obey traffic laws but automobile drivers also have to respect the bike lanes. They are those little white lines to the right of every roadway;
      (3) Lance Armstrong has never tested positive for any performance enhancing drug. His foundation has also donated over 30 million dollars to the cure of cancer;
      (4) We men bikers are certainly not “Lance wannabes”. We like our testicles!!!!

  2. “or how about the day when I was waiting at a stop sign on my bike like Mr. Izzo would like us all to do and I was rear-ended by a car that “forgot that I was there”?”

    Hey Pauly G………..

    That’s probably because you were wearing colors that blend in to the background and the driver couldn’t see you…..Moron.

    Try wearing clothing that makes you more visible or how about a traffic safety vest like road construction workers do.

    And if it it was at dusk/dawn…..I bet you didn’t have any lights on your bike like the majority of your spandex-wearing ilk do.

    Get a clue “Lance” and stay to the right too!

    • Hey genius: It was the middle of the day and I wear bright colors. But since you seem to know everything about that accident, there is no need to explain it further.

      BTW, I have a light brighter than a headlight on the front and 2 very bright lights off the back of my bike and reflective stripes on my helmet. I have been a serious rider for over 30 years so I think even a dope like myself has a clue.

      Paul (aka the Moron)

  3. Running Scared

    I understand both sides of this issue. I run and bike. I like running better and feel safer doing it. I like running facing traffic because there are so many people still on their cells talking and texting. I do agree that some bikers do seem to think they have different rules. I think both the bikers and the drivers should both follow the law. The speeding and cell phone issue in this town is as urgent as the biking issue. Tailgating is also something that needs be addressed. North Ave is like being on 95. Ticketing both bikers and drivers could be a revenue bonanza. We have a great town.
    let us all slowdown and enjoy it. We are spoiled and need to learn to appreciate where we live and the life we live, with a little less bitching. Life is Good. Enjoy it

  4. My experience of late is a lot like Jimmy Izzo’s: Trying to hang back while bikers ride side-by-side in pairs or threes, driving behind a line of 5 or 6 bikers in the middle of the road – for about a mile and HOPING against hope they stop at the cross roads and wait for me to turn past them – which I did – having to cross into the oncoming traffic land to get around the clot of them.
    Although many of our streets have bike lanes, many do not – and there’s scarce room to drive when you are deathly afraid a biker will fall in front of your car.
    From what I see, many bikers either don’t know or choose not to follow the road rules.

  5. I almost kit someone on Norfield Road last night at dusk. A hilly, winding road, and a few jerks riding in the middle of it when I came around a sharp bend. I have NEVER seen any biker stop at a stop sign. At least those wearing designer spandex can be seen. And how many times do I have to slow to 20 mph because two riders are in front of me side-by-side, not over to the side, talking, and totally oblivious. I want to lean on my horn and scare them, but I don’t.
    Silly me.

  6. Sook – a bike does not look like a tree, or a car, or a building. We do not “blend in” during daylight unless a driver isn’t paying attention.

    I am cyclist as well as a driver, though I usually do my cycling alone and try to get north into the quiet roads of Weston/Ridgefield/Redding as quickly as possible. I usually wear a bright yellow jersey, and I come to a rolling stop at any stop. Perhaps this isn’t the letter of the law, but going 10mph with my eyes even with the stop sign doesn’t pose a danger to anyone (as opposed to in a car, where I am sitting 5 feet or so behind the front of the car). I stay to the right as long as the road is not filled with potholes or debris. As a reminder, the law says that cyclists “shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable” – if the gutter is filled with potholes, debris, or cars nosing out of driverways, it is neither practicable nor safe to ride all the way to the right.

    I know that Mr. Izzo has been a supporter of cyclists in the past, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt that cyclists have perhaps gotten worse. On the other hand, driving around Westport I am appalled at the lack of driving skills I see. Nobody seems to understand how 4-way stop signs work, that a red light means “stop,” what a hands-free device is, or what a speed limit means. While a law-breaking cyclist may be a nuisance, a law-breaking driver can be deadly.

  7. Dan,
    Maybe you could also talk about pedestrians who walk with traffic. Yesterday a woman in a gray dress was pushing a red stroller walking w/ traffic on Compo North. Her dress matched the road and only the stroller saved her. Why people don’t follow the simple rule of walking against traffic and riding their bikes with it is beyond me.

    • Westport Newbie

      Speaking of walking on roadways, it would be a lot easier NOT to do so at all, if there were some sidewalks in this town. I once went to drop my car off at Toyota for service and wrongly assumed I’d be able to safely walk home via sidewalks on the Post Road. Who knew how wrong I was?! Why is this town so anti-sidewalk? Is it that we don’t want “those kids of people” (the kind without cars) walking through our town?

  8. “Sook – a bike does not look like a tree, or a car, or a building. We do not “blend in” during daylight unless a driver isn’t paying attention.”

    Tubulus –

    I never said a bike looks like a tree, or a car, or a building. I said they blend into the background. You are obviously ignorant to the fact that many bikers/bikes blend into the background when they are on dark colored bikes and the riders are wearing dark colored clothing. This is especially dangeous on the heavily canopied back roads you spandex queens like to ride on.

    I do applaude you for at least making the effort to wear bright yellow jersey while riding.

    Maybe you could pass the word along to your fellow queens so they don’t become Road Pizza someday.

  9. I see an endless parade of bikers down here at Compo. Most of them do not obey the rules of the road. Bikers want to be able to use the public roadways, but they do not seem to know what is required of them if they do. They do not stop at stop signs, they do not signal when they turn, they wander all over the road, they go the wrong way on one-way streets, they are the epitome of the entitlement mentality. If bikers want to share the road, they should be required to get a license just as drivers of cars are.

    • The Dude Abides

      Jeffxs: You are advocating that government step in to license bikers?????
      What has happened to our born to be free advocate????

      • Dude: If I am forced to subsidize these clowns, then they should bear the same burdens I bear. They ride on roads I am forced to pay for, if I must get a license to drive on those roads why shouldn’t they? I must have all sorts of safety devices on my car, why shouldn’t they be forced to do the same on their bikes? I think everyone should be pissed off at the government; it’s a 1960’s thing.

  10. And unless your Lance Armstrong and looking to go fast to win…. (which most of these wannabees are doing it to get and stay in shape) why wouldn’t they want to wear loose fitting close to increase drag and provide resistance so they get a better workout.

    I watched a cyclist dressed to WIN, disobey the traffic light and cross the Sherwood Island Connector against the traffic signal, and get hit by a car driving properly… Thankfully he was not hurt, but the driver of the auto almost swerved into oncoming traffic to avoid the cyclist.

    The need for speed, in tights, must be a hallucination!

  11. By the way, to those curious, we don’t wear spandex shorts for fashion or aerodynamic reasons . Try cycling in regular gym shorts for over an hour, then take a look at your thighs and posterior. I will spare you a graphic description of the chafing you’ll see… In addition, especially for the males, tight spandex shorts keeps “everything in place” if you know what I mean. Regular underwear and shorts have seams in all the wrong places. Tight shorts and relatively tight non-cotton shirts also keep the sweat off your body (same reason why everyone loves underarmour). Unless you’re a world-class time trialist or it’s very windy, slightly tighter or looser clothing won’t make much of a difference in speed – maybe 5-10% – though having loose clothing blowing around can be very annoying.

    I will agree though that those cyclists who choose to wear team gear of a team they are not actually on (looking at you, guy who was cycling down post road in a full Astana kit last night) are idiots.

    • Try talcum powder.

    • Baloney!!! I am a triath of old and before these ridiculous outfits, we did fine biking for 100 miles or so with a pair of running shorts and no shirt (unfortunately no helmets either). I think bikers who wear such outfits look like clowns and in fact, wannabes of something. Certainly by their posteriors, it is not to duplicate Tour de France riders.

  12. I read this blog every day and am overwhelmed at the Negativity! It is a gross generalization to say Westporters suffer from entitlement, It is rediculas to say bikers should be required to have a drivers licience and it is not fair to malign Jimmy for a FaceBook post that was meant for his “Friends” and I gotta say Jeffxs you are one negatitive glass half EMPTY guy! if you think Westport is so horrible you should move!
    Everyone needs to be more aware on the road – drivers as well as bikers commit infractions- maybe if everyone just took a deep breath and thought about the other guy. I don’t think anyone sets out on their journey to screw everyone they come in contact w/ people just tend to push the edge. This is a community full of hard working driven people that’s a great thing but sometime is spills over.

    • KBW; Nice set of ad hominem arguments.

    • Yes, you’re right. I read Jimmy’s friends comments and was smiling when I clicked on the comments. And then I kept wincing at the nasty comments, the 4th grade humor, the belittling of everyone. Blogs are no fun when 90% of the comments are negative and the same people keep making them. KBW, I don’t think anything will change while the biased folk love seeing their comments in print and others taking their bait. Dan Woog’s articles are so interesting, so balanced and fair, just full of genuine humor. And then the groupies start their comments (not about what Dan actually said but bringing up their same old topics, day after day).

      • Innocent Bystander

        Onlooker: That is what you do on a blog, you blog. If Mr. Woog wanted to just place essays on this site, that would be his right. But the scattered chatter of people creates an open discussion of free speech and for some reason that scares you. And for some reason, that scares me. Ease up, open your mind to new things. Perhaps you should just read Dan’s column in the newspaper every week. This blog is not for weak hearted.

  13. Like it or not, AIR HEAD drivers, runners, bikers are out there. It IS an issue in Westport. I am not sure what can be done but it does seem to me like the bikers are getting more and more emboldened and are taking more risks “for their sport” (Don’t get me started … not everyone shares that outlook, ok? Hello????) I almost hit an AIR HEAD runner the other day as he crossed – without looking – directly in front of my car. I saw him but he was blissfully unaware of my car. I got a scare and he just kept on running. Uggh. In the Hill Street Blues lingo: “let’s be careful out there!”

  14. What a Fool Believes

    Do away with the cars altogether and have everyone bike. Then such problems as obesity, pollution, dependence on oil and crazy drivers will be eliminated.

  15. I’m with Jimmy on this one. I do understand we all have the “right” to be on the road … of course we do (yawn). But, with that right comes responsiblity and there is something to be said about being aware of other people and sharing the road. I do not text, talk on the phone, or do anything other than drive when I’m behind the wheel – period. The only offense I may make is changing my radio station, but I do that when I’m at a light. Cars are for driving, not for updating my facebook status (that’s what work is for – ha).

    People are people. There are rude ones and there are polite ones. There are good drivers and bad drivers and there are good cyclists and bad cyclists. If you are driving and updating your facebook status, chances are you are not a very good driver. If you do not say “please and thank you” chances are you are not a polite person. Finally, if you are not riding single file, do not obey the rules of the road, chances are you are a bad cyclist.

    I’m sure this is not a Westport thing, although I know how much people love to complain about living in one of the most beautiful communities (albeit with some nasty people). There are cyclists taking up the streets all over the world, I’m sure. There are bad drivers all over the world and there are rude people all over the world.

    I get frustrated when there are a pack of cyclists taking up the road, talking, and acting as if they have more of a right to be on the road than I do. I also get frustrated when I see a highly distracted driver not paying attention at a light, and talking on the phone as the light turns from green to red. We all have the right to be on the road, perhaps some of us could just use a good knock-down off the pedestal and a little less sense of entitlement.

    Whether you are on a bike, in a car, or on foot – pay attention and follow the rules. Otherwise, you may get hurt or hurt someone else.

    Pretty simple stuff. This isn’t the most complicated of issues, here. Just pay attention and be respectful. Westport is still a beautiful town and I love it. Seriously, can’t we all just get along? Must everything be an issue with such devide? Maybe Jimmy Izzo got back from a frustrating drive and vented on his facebook page … he has the right. Must everything be blown so far out of proportion? Wow, how exhausting!

  16. To the bikers: Single file please, with the traffic.

    To the walkers/runners/pedestrians: Face the traffic (unless unsafe) and single file when you see a vehicle approaching.

    To the drivers: Your vehicle is bigger than the pedestrians and bikers; give them leeway and don’t cross the double-line when you see another vehicle coming toward you.

    To the motorcyclists: Drive without the noise and speed.

    • The Dude Abides

      The perfect world. How boring. But you do make some valid points (although not very “curious” as pointed out in an earlier blog entry). Ever check out the Staples boys runners???? 15 of them running with traffic and taking up half North Avenue. The girls run against the traffic in single file. And who voted against Hillary??? And what is it with motorcycles?? Don’t they have noise pollution laws on those mufflers of theirs?? And has anyone seen a non-fat motorcycle driver?? They are like fat clones. Much like the
      bikers in their little clown outfits. Much like the baseball hat-sun glass-convertible driver you see every Sunday. Like cattle. Round ’em up, herd em’ on. But the Dude abides.

  17. Oh the irony! I was teaching my 6 year old to ride his bike without training wheels on the Bedford Middle School track last weekend, which just happened to coincide with a Staples Boys Soccer practice. At the start of practice, parents like me watched in horror as a parent drove onto the track to drop off his child and circled at least 3 times before locating an exit. I guess these players are not conditioned well enough at this point to meet the challenge of the long 100ft walk from the curb to the field.

  18. Incorrect. I was there. The driver came through the tiny road from Staples, drove behind Bedford Middle School, and around the track. He did not circle 3 times, and he was not dropping off a soccer player. I was appalled at what the driver was doing, and told him so.

  19. The Dude Abides

    I was there yesterday and Wooger, you need to wear a hat on that head of yours. Fry an egg on that skillet.

  20. So many acerbic comments, so much to respond to, and so little time. But can we just take one thing here? Can we drop the “Lance Armstrong wannabe” insult?

    Really, cyclists don’t mock the purpose-specific clothing of soccer players, tennis players, skiers, baseball players, football players, or any other athletes. We don’t call tennis players “Serena Williams wannabes” or “Rafael Nadal wannabes.” We don’t call golfers “Tiger Woods wannabes” (less so lately, I suppose). We don’t call soccer players “Reynaldo wannabes” or “Beckham wannabes.” We assume that people who participate in a sport do so because they like it. We give them credit for that, and reckon that they do it because they enjoy it, not because they think they are someone they are not. And we understand that different sports have evolved clothing and equipment that is functional for the particular and peculiar demands of that sport.

    Could the rest of you please extend the same basic courtesy to cyclists?

    • No. Perhaps if we could pronounce or spell any other cyclist, we would lay off Lance but your clown outfits are too hard to resist. No other uniform is quite as absurd especially for common amateur.

      • I can easily pronounce Greg Lemond, Eddy Mercx, Fausto Coppi and Bernard Hinault. And I have never been a fan of Lance as he is just a one-race specialist.

        BTW, Triathlete, I have never see anyone finishing where I finish in races wearing anything but “clown outfits”.

        What is absurd to me is seeing completely sedentary people wearing the outfits of their heroes and, no doubt, watching them on TV for endless hours instead of getting exercise. If wearing a clown outfit gets a person excited to exercise and interact with the world what is the problem here?

        • Ironman Triathlete

          Feisty. I like that. I applaud all forms of exercise but in my eyes, the outfits are stupid looking and degrade the sport. As with every other in vogue fashion, amateurs go out and buy whatever the pros are wearing. I find that stupid as well. Biking is all about freedom, speed and finding the energy to excel from within. If you need a group of cyclists and spandex to find that, I frown on your mindset. Try biking in a pair of running shorts and your sports bra. I am sure you will have no problem with drivers then. If that sounds sexist, it is not meant to be.

          • IM:

            The last time I looked, I did not need a manzere:

            Riding alone is fun (I easily put in 150 miles per week that way) but don’t we have enough isolation in our lives? Cars and houses with air conditioning and closed windows, few sidewalks, iPods with headphones, etc. so we can shut ourselves off from the world. If people interacted more often, maybe there would be more understanding on the road.

            No one is forcing you to wear spandex but if that motivates someone to get out and exercise and interact with others, I am all for it.

            See you at the beginning of the next race……

          • Whatever floats your boat. Spandex, girdles. Whatever.
            All I need is some running shorts and shoes. I am intriqued
            by your comment about isolation, however. Because I see it in a different light. I think people spend very little time really alone and I think they are afraid of being so. That is why you see walkers, runners and even bikers with Ipods stuck to their heads or even cell phones. People can’t stand to be alone. Check out guru George Shehan on that subject. If you are running NYC marathon, see ya. If not, no bike tours for me.

          • no NYC for me this year. Will be completing the Westport Road Runners Series Saturday, however and then onto the fall biathlon and cyclocross seasons…

        • The Dude Abides

          Well I have trouble pronouncing all your list but for Lemond and he is, like Landis, a rat fink. Are the others alive??

          • Dude:

            Eddy “the Cannibal” Merckx, the greatest cyclist ever, is alive and well in Belgium building some of the finest bikes in the world. Mr. Hinault now is one of the people who runs Le Tour de France. Fausto Coppi, who was the dominant cyclist after WWII, died of malaria in 1960.

          • BTW, looks like Eddy at 65 yrs old could still kick all of our respective rears:


          • The Dude Abides

            Well I don’t want to be a Merckx wannabe. I used to have a lake house two doors down from Lance on Lake Travis when he was still a teenager. At 7:00 a.m., he would leave the house and not return until 6 or so. Biking the whole time. I wanna be a Lance wannabe anytime anywhere. No sure why you find it insulting. The guy has done more for cycling than any other biker.

          • I am not insulted, I just prefer the pros that did all the big races competitively, unlike Lance who really just focused on Le Tour. Eddy did them all and even Lance would likely tell you that Merckx was the greatest. Eddy might be old, and I am not a wannabe of anyone, but even Lance will be old some day. I am just not sure Lance will have the grace that Eddy shows.

            I understand and respect Lance’s training regimen; that is what is takes to be a champ in any sport. However, I do remember his pro days before cancer and his coronation as St. Lance; he was a class A jerk. Perhaps he has done a lot for biking in the USA, and that is great, but his effect in the rest of the cycling world (Europe, really) has been marginal.


          • The Dude Abides

            Agreed on the jerk aspect. He can be a real a-hole but I still like the guy for some odd reason. I see that he may return to triathlons so Ironman will be pleased. Safe biking. Jimmy Izzo is a sweetheart by the way. Beats the hell out of Home Depot. But you were right to call him to the sidebar. Woog should have been scolded too. He ain’t gonna be on my Facebook.

  21. Catherine Burnett

    Apologies for continuing the “off track” conversation (pun intended), but I must say that I did the same thing driving around the track last Fall.

    As a Staples Alum, I remember that the track went around the “south side” of the Staples fields and continued behind the field house to the parking lot on the North side. I understand that Bedford is now there — but there was no signage that indicated it wasn’t a through roadway or not ending in a parking lot like I expected. Embarrassed as I was, I was glad it was a quiet Sunday morning so I didn’t bother anyone. But I look more understandingly at the above incident.

  22. Dan–we and two other couples watched a participant in your practice exit the car and join the team in practice. My wife and I were laughing at how a soccer player needed to be carried the extra distance so as to not have to make the long journey from the curb! And the car lapped us twice on the track. At least one other party on the track phoned in a complaint to the police about this and that’s why I understand several patrol cars showed up near your practice. Thanks for voicing your disgust with the driver.

    • I missed it — and the patrol cars. And I was the first person at the field every time. If I had seen it, there would have been consequences.

  23. Thanks Paul…I think there is some frustration on both sides of this issue…after reading through some of the comments…we all need to be aware and respectful of the rules of the road…we all share them and we all have a responsibility to look out for everyone…pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, nanny’s in cross walks on cell phones with baby strollers, joggers, etc…As adults I don’t think any of us want to see anyone seriously hurt or lose a life…valid points have been made here by everyone…the most important thing is that we have created an awareness here where we all know that the roads we share need a little more mental attention by everyone using them..No one, be it a cyclist or motorist needs to suffer the consequences of bad judgement.

  24. Wendy Crowther

    Okay, first let me vent about “outfits.” We all wear them, one way or another. We wear certain “uniforms” because they are functional, traditional, or fashionable. Is a wedding dress, or a necktie, or pantyhose, or a suit jacket, or a pair of skin tight jeans stupid? You bet! So, let’s lay off criticizing the bikers for their colorful, functional, chafe-reducing, sweat-wicking, I-love-biking clothing. Or, at least until the rest of us go back to wearing fig leaves.

    Now, about cars vs. bikes. I’ve been aboard a bike since I moved here nearly 40 years ago. My reasons for biking have varied. I’ve biked because I lacked a car. I’ve biked to raise money for charity. I’ve done it to save money on gas, and I’ve always done it for fitness.

    About 20 years ago, I wrote a letter to the editor of the Westport News. In that letter, I begged drivers to be more aware of those with whom they shared the road. Even back then, before cell phones, and texting, and our current, in-a-rush-Westport, I’d had a few harrowing encounters with cars. I didn’t attribute these near-misses to distraction, or entitlement. I attributed them to a driver’s lack of knowledge about bikers, and the road we shared. My letter was meant to “instruct” in hopes of avoiding a disaster. I guess this will be my new biking letter, for a new world.

    Today…I’ll admit it…I’m afraid while riding my bike in Westport. I have an excellent fitness bike, and I have my functional “outfit.” What I lack is the confidence that I’m safe. I can’t relax the way I used to. I’m on guard, and I’m defensively-postured for the worst to happen. I’m prepared for drivers to edge too close, or to rush their turn to avoid waiting for me to pass, or to not see me approaching as they gas their way out of their driveway to beat an oncoming car.

    The result? Today, I have a hard time talking myself into a ride.

    When I DO ride, I do it early or late, to minimize exposure. I completely avoid the Post Rd., and I choose my arterial roads and intersections carefully. Gone are the days when I’d just strike out, with no particular plan, to enjoy the scenery, the physicality, and the serenity of an open, country road. I really miss those days.

    Drivers – you guys are lots bigger, and your speed is way faster. All I’ve got is a few pounds of metal, a pair of one-inch tires, and a thin sheet of polyester/spandex between me and the emergency room. And, except for Compo Road South and a few roads down by Compo Beach, I don’t have a bike lane. Even when I do have a strip of shoulder (uncommon), or a bike lane (nearly non-existent), it can be filled with hazards – potholes, branches, broken glass, storm drains, grates, walkers/joggers, litter, divots and curbs. It’s much more hazardous than the road in front of your windshields. Yes, we share the road with you, but you’ve got all of the power. Please, for all of our sakes, even if it seems we bikers misbehave occasionally, try a little patience.

    As cars and homes fill the Westport landscape, our roads are busier, our temperaments are testier, and our tolerances are narrower. It’s tough out there. So, let’s watch out for the two-wheeled, little guy who’s getting some exercise, preserving fossil fuel, and/or just looking for some fresh air. Even if you have to slow down to pass me or make your turn, chances are good that you and your 2 ton vehicle will get where you need to go, safer and sooner than I will.

    In return, when my bike and I have the courage to hit the road (hopefully not literally), I promise, as always, to keep you in mind.

    • So here’s what Westport should do to make sure that you and your fellow bike riders don’t feel apprehensive and put upon. We should build a bike path throughout the town of Westport, AKA People’s Republic of Joseloff, couldn’t cost more than $50 million to $60 million. The ninnies who run the town could condemn any and all property needed to make room for the path, and make hours or self-serving speeches while doing so. Think about the endless opportunities for meetings and commssions and environmental impact studies and all manner of bureacratic nonsense this town relishes. And why not? We did it for the dogs, so why not for the bike riders? Once they have their own paths they don’t need to obey any of the traffic laws that might slow them down as they careen around on streets they must share with those awful awful cars, not to mention SUV’s. And drivers will not need to strain to avoid the antics of the oblivious bike rider; a win-win situation. Except for the poor clods who will need to give up their homes, but no matter, it’s for the good of the community.

      • Jeffxs:

        I understand Wendy’s apprehension and her description of biking conditions in town. I feel bad that she bikes much less than in the past. I am too stupid or too set in my ways, having cycled in rural, suburban and urban areas for over 37 years to stop biking. Unfortunately it appears to me that there is an implication that you believe cyclists are all left wing weaklings that need some of their own medicine via massive spending to be saved from themselves.

        Since it appears that you only see one side of the story, I invite you to join me (a lifelong free market Republican and endurance athlete) on a bike ride to see for yourself the challenges of cycling in Fairfield County. I will give you a prize if you don’t soil yourself from fear after 30 or 40 miles of the typical shenanigans I see regularly.

        Politeness and responsibility by both cyclists and drivers on the road costs nothing. This should strike a positive chord with you and will make life better for both drivers and cyclists.

        But remember, in car vs. bike, the car will always win…..

      • Innocent Bystander

        Actually, Jeffxs, they have done that on the Cape (Taxachusetts) where they have about 50 miles of biking paths. It is quite nice actually. In line with the obvious line of spit for spat, bikers v. autos, I personally don’t find that to be the case. I have been biking in this town since 1955 when I biked to Coleytown Elementary as a lowly 5th grader. I still bike three days a week down to Southport Beach. I find the great majority of drivers very courteous to bikers. They often slow and usually pull out away from my bike. So dont think this “let’s rumble” atmosphere is warranted. However, I do have problems with gangs of bikers who hog the road and do not ride single file. They should be ticketed when they do so (if you can get a cop to ticket for anything in this town except for DWP ((driving while poor))) As to the apparel, it is not a uniform and you aren’t in country day school. If you have ever seen a professional biker train, it ain’t in those hideous outfits. The best thing I can say about such wear, you can miss it when you are driving.

      • Cranky Old Man

        Jeffxs: I totally agree on Winslow Park. What a waste for just dogs to roam. It would be a nice place for a new YMCA or at worst, a nice long distance running track that is very much lacking in this town.

  25. I don’t know which is more offensive, that you accuse Lance Armstrong of using performance-enhancing drugs, or encouraging cyclists to do so.

    Perhaps you can a better service by encouraging contributions to the Lance Armstrong Foundation

    • Innocent Bystander

      Tony: Thank you for pointing that out. I am usually a big fan of Mr. Woog’s essays but I think he was way out line here.