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Archive for Monday, October 8, 2007

A ride in the country

Almost 700 cyclists, veterans and rookies alike, tour Douglas County

Bikers progress through the countryside Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007 during the Octoginta 80-mile bike ride.

Bikers progress through the countryside Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007 during the Octoginta 80-mile bike ride.

October 8, 2007

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Bikers set off for the next leg of the ride after stopping for breakfast on County Road 458 during the Octoginta ride in this file photo. This summer's national Ironman triathlon competition will bring about 2000 athletes to Douglas County.  The event cleared its biggest hurdle Monday by winning approval to use county roads for part of the 70.3-mile course.

Bikers set off for the next leg of the ride after stopping for breakfast on County Road 458 during the Octoginta ride in this file photo. This summer's national Ironman triathlon competition will bring about 2000 athletes to Douglas County. The event cleared its biggest hurdle Monday by winning approval to use county roads for part of the 70.3-mile course.

Octoginta riders lounge in the grass off of County Road 458 near Lone Star on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007, at a breakfast stop along the ride. From left is James Ronnau, of Overland Park, Jud Jarett, of Lincoln, Neb., Keith Stewart, of Manhattan, Mike Lovin, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Andy Powell, of Long Beach, Calif. The group consists of KU alumni and has made the yearly migration back to Lawrence for the ride since 1984.

Octoginta riders lounge in the grass off of County Road 458 near Lone Star on Sunday, Oct. 7, 2007, at a breakfast stop along the ride. From left is James Ronnau, of Overland Park, Jud Jarett, of Lincoln, Neb., Keith Stewart, of Manhattan, Mike Lovin, of Atlanta, Georgia, and Andy Powell, of Long Beach, Calif. The group consists of KU alumni and has made the yearly migration back to Lawrence for the ride since 1984.

A throng of spandex-clad cyclists caught its breath Sunday afternoon at South Park after returning from 80-mile or 40-mile rides, which tested the riders' endurance, thanks to heavy humidity and winds.

In all, nearly 700 riders from all over the country descended upon Lawrence for the 38th annual Octoginta, organized by the Lawrence Bicycle Club.

The summer-like temperatures made the Douglas County tour more difficult, but that didn't deter cyclists who came from as far as Utah and Minnesota for the event, which gained national recognition after a mention in "Bicycling Magazine."

Chris Sprecker, president of the Lawrence Bicycling Club, said it was atypical to have so many people from out of state participate in the event.

"I'd like to say it's because we have a good ride," Sprecker said. "I hope that's what it is."

For many riders, like Lawrence resident Keith McMahon, cycling is a passion. "I've been riding for 35 years, so it's my favorite form of exercise. It's a regular part of my life," said McMahon, who rode 80 miles before 1 p.m. McMahon said he has ridden in at least 10 Octogintas.

Long rides like Octoginta are also motivation to keep fit, said Stacy White, of Liberty, Mo. She also participated last year.

"I like to stay active, and it's a good way to stay in shape," she said. "I think rides like this make you stay fit."

The rural routes also offered scenic views of the area as fall starts to turn leaves red and orange. The warm temperatures couldn't mask the presence of autumn in the air.

"Today you can really smell the leaves and smell fall," said White, who pedaled 40 miles. "It was really nice."

It was the Lawrence Bicycle Club's final major ride of the year, Sprecker said.

Maury Brown, of Kansas City, Mo., wanted to have one last fling before organized rides go into hibernation for the winter.

"It's one of the last rides this big and this long of the year," Brown said. Though he rides his bike year-round, he said, most organized rides take place in the spring and summer.

Riders praised the Lawrence Bicycle Club for its organization and hospitality.

Stop-and-go, or SAG, sites were placed at 20-mile intervals and provided riders with water and bicycle repair tools.

"The support on the ride is phenomenal," White said. "I think the Lawrence Bicycle Club does a great job."

Gail Cox, a SAG volunteer, said the coordination between organizers and volunteers is an important aspect of long rides.

While many Octoginta veterans populated the ride, rookies also joined the pack. Bruce Sergeant, Lecompton, said he had known about the ride for years and recently regained an interest in cycling.

"I'll probably do it again," he said. "If I can stay in shape."

- Staff writer Alexander Parker can be reached at 832-7145.

Comments

okjhok 6 years, 9 months ago

Some of you "lifetime drivers" would do good to get out of that auto and get on a bike for a change. Might help to change our status as fattest nation in the world. You must be so proud of that accomplishment.

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gmemusic 6 years, 9 months ago

An excerpt from the Driver's License Handbook for Kansas: Bicycles: Motorists in Kansas should expect to encounter bicyclists on all state and local roadways except for the Interstate system where bicyclists are prohibited or where prohibited by local ordinance. Please be considerate of bicyclists who have rights to the roadway. Expect bicyclists to be two feet from the right edge of the roadway or curb. When passing a bicyclist use extreme caution and pass four feet to the left of the bicyclist.

I rode the Octoginta on Sunday and most motorists were very considerate of us, and the groups I rode with tried to be considerate of them. But there were many other motorists who passed us at full highway speed only a foot or two away from our handlebars, even on a four lane divided highway with the left lane empty. As madmike so eloquently put it, "Buttheads".

Admitted, there are some inconsiderate cyclists out there, but in my opinion, for every one inconsiderate cyclist, there's at least a half-dozen inconsiderate motorists who do not slow down, who do not exercise "extreme caution", and who do not give adequate room when they pass, even when we do ride single file.

Other than that, it was a great day, a great ride, and many thanks to LBC for putting it together again, to Sunflower for the great breakfast SAG, to CycleWorks for the support and repairs, and to the CONSIDERATE motorists of Douglas county for sharing the roads.

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bd 6 years, 9 months ago

I met a couple of riders near Richland as I crested a hill, I had to slam on my brakes! Three wide taking up the whole lane , scared the crap out of my wife, she wanted to roll down the window and yell obcenities but I stopped her! This is what gives the bikers a bad name/rap! No signs etc.......

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dirkleisure 6 years, 9 months ago

Since you complainers read this story, you should have seen this one:

This is a well publicized event which drew people from miles around. I think you can handle some extra bikers on the road for one day a year, and there's no reason why this should have been a major shock to you.

As for the bike path comment... Grow up. If you can't share the road, then you're the one who needs to stay off the streets.

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Baille 6 years, 9 months ago

There are only a handful of paths for the exclusive use of bikes within the city limits and none in the county. Of those we have in the city, most if not all of them start/end before the terminus of any particular street.

Absent such paths, cyclists have the right to use the road just like any other person so long as they follow the relevant traffic laws.

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Baille 6 years, 9 months ago

8-1590. Riding on bicycles or mopeds; riding on roadways and bicycle paths.

(a) Every person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable, except under any of the following situations when: (1) Overtaking and passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction; (2) preparing for a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or (3) reasonably necessary to avoid conditions including, but not limited to, fixed or moving objects, parked or moving bicycles, bicycles, pedestrians, animals, surface hazards or narrow width lanes that make it unsafe to continue along the right-hand edge of the roadway.

(b) Any person operating a bicycle or a moped upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes may ride as near to the left side of the roadway as practicable.

(c) Persons riding bicycles upon a roadway shall not ride more than two abreast, except on paths or parts of roadways set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles.

(d) Wherever a usable path for bicycles has been provided adjacent to a roadway, bicycle riders shall use such path and shall not use the roadway.

(e) For purposes of this section, "narrow width lane" means a lane that is too narrow for a bicycle and a vehicle to travel safely side-by-side within the lane.

But note: "[A] sidewalk is not a "usable path" for bicycles as mandated by K.S.A. 8-1590(c). Instead, ...the legislature intended mandatory bicycle use of only those paths set aside for the exclusive use of bicycles." Schallenberger v. Rudd, 244 Kan. 230 (1989).

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gmemusic 6 years, 9 months ago

I'm curious about the comment from bd, if it would have been a tractor, or combine, or horse and buggy, or stalled car, or ___ (other example here), rather than a cyclist as you crested the top of the hill and had to hit the brakes, would the reaction have been the same? Would your wife have wanted to roll down the window and cuss out the farmer, or person with the stalled car, or whatever? Or is it just because it was a cyclist? I have had many instances on the same roads where my vehicular progress was slowed or halted by farm machinery, yet I do not hear an outcry of people wanting to ban those from the roads, or telling those overall wearing boys and girls to stay on their farms. Must be spandexophobia that causes the animosity towards cyclists....

I am a cyclist, and I am also a motorist. I try to be courteous to both when I'm doing either, and courtesy will go much farther than finger pointing and name calling.

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lily 6 years, 9 months ago

I must agree that bicyclists on county roads with no shoulders make me very nervous. I'm not opposed to sharing the road but sometimes it isn't most practical. I too consider myself more than courteous when encountering bicyclists. I have dealt with consideration in return and total ignorance but the same could be said for some motorists I've dealt with. It comes down to OBEY THE LAWS whoever you are and whatever form of transportation you're using.

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Baille 6 years, 9 months ago

""bicyclists to be two feet from the right edge of the roadway or curb."

If the freaking bicyclists would abide by the same rules they like to shove in our faces, there wouldn't be a problem."

That is not the law. The law says that cyclists "shall ride as near to the right side of the roadway as practicable" and can not ride more than two abreast. Cyclists should be expected to follow the law. When they don't, they should be held accountable. When they do, Richards in cars should respect the law and give cyclists the same regard as every other person on the road.

That said, a little common sense goes a long way. I like the river ride toward Lecompton, but an abundance of caution beats citing to the law any day when it comes to a few thousand pounds of metal driven by impatient sphincter.

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Baille 6 years, 9 months ago

It's not. It also violates 8-1590(c). Didn't read the whole thread?

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Baille 6 years, 9 months ago

Which is why I added this, He-Who-Calls-Names:

"Cyclists should be expected to follow the law. When they don't, they should be held accountable. When they do, Richards in cars should respect the law and give cyclists the same regard as every other person on the road."

My "argument," or more appropriately my pointing out that your argument misstated the law, was offered so that everyone knows what the law is and isn't just making up stuff as they blithely offer shallow ruminations on limiting full and fair access to our shared roadways.

In any case, no one is to blame for another's lack of patience, "inconsideracy," and/or stupidity. Those characteristics are by definition inherent to the individual. However, I could see where a cyclist violating the law could act as a catalyst for such individuals leading them to develop feelings if frustration and not-so-impotent-yet-still-irrational-rage. However, the responsibility - or in your words "the blame" - for acting on such feelings remains with the actor not with the catalyst.

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sharron5rs 6 years, 9 months ago

As stated above. In a car/bicycle collision, the car will win every time. Period.

After working in emergency care for quite a while, and helping scrape people from the pavement. It makes you give a little more respect for the slower and smaller vehicles sharing the road with you. Come on give them a break!

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BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

I followed a cyclist through the downtown and he never stopped for one red light.

The police need to crackdown on these renegade bicyclists. Increasing their fines would be a great start.

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gmemusic 6 years, 9 months ago

In a car/bicycle collision, the car will win every time. Period. To what extent varies, but the fact remains that the car will win every time. A portion of the collisions are the cyclists fault, a portion are the motorists fault, but truth be told, if I'm lying in a heaping mess on the road or zipped up in a body bag, does it really matter whose fault it is? Does it truly matter to me? Will it make everything all better? I may be right, but I'm still crippled in a wheelchair for the rest of my life, or my family now has to go on without me. The fact remains that the car will win every time. Period. But since both have an equal right to the road, drivers, understand that you are operating a piece of machinery that has the ability to crumple a bicycle and injure or kill a cyclist (or pedestrian), regardless of fault. No one wants to live with that, regardless of whose fault it was. Cyclists, understand that as the slower, smaller vehicle, you need to act safely and smartly to avoid a collision, and be aware of your surroundings and the traffic in front of and behind you. Be visible, be courteous, be respectful, one to another.

Ok, so I've said it, and I'll do my best to practice it. Anyone else?

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matahari 6 years, 9 months ago

yea, and who is it that gets sued IF they cough, swerve, run over a rock, lean over to talk, answer a cell phone or what ever! tehe driver of the car does! nuff said!

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Soup2Nuts 6 years, 9 months ago

Wow, gmemusic just made the most sensible comment of the day. I've just been reflecting on some of the comments here and would like to add a few points.

Point #1: Cycling on the road single file or two abreast is legal and therefore expect to see cyclists on the road.

Point #2: "Road" bike riders going 20 mph should not be riding on bike paths populated with recreational slow cyclists and pedestrians walking their dogs. They should be on the road or on bike lanes built as part of the road. 700 riders on the Hollywood theater bike path? Jeesshhh! Gimme a break.

Point #3: Some cyclists shouldn't wear spandex. Agreed.

Point #4: Ticket the lawbreakers. Motorist or cyclist, if you break the law you get a ticket. I would venture a guess that most cyclists are also motorists. Why risk your neck and run a red light? Furthermore, there are bike club rides every weekend over established routes. If the county sheriff folks really wanted to bust some cyclists, all they have to do is wait along the route and when the four-abreast pack rolls by start issuing some tickets for riding more than two abreast. Likewise when the vehicle buzzes a cyclist too close issue a ticket for that.

Point #5: Will this motorist vs cyclist debate ever end? I doubt it. As long as people have to share anything, it will always be an issue.

Be careful out there

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mick 6 years, 9 months ago

Our highways were built for motor vehicles not pleasure cyclists. We need to have our laws changed to make this illegal before someone gets hurt. Write your state legislators.

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Baille 6 years, 9 months ago

Who says? Anyway we have had the current laws in substantial form since 1974. Things are going fine the way they are.

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