ARMCHAIR ARCHIVES – Roadside Spandex blooms like dandelions


For this week’s blast from the past, I offer the following Armchair Mayor column, which was first published in the Kamloops Daily News on May 29, 2012. Next week is Bike to Work and School Week in Kamloops and throughout B.C.

I MAY BE IMAGINING it, but cyclists and motorists seem to be treating each other with more respect. Must be Bike to Work Week.

Put another way – the armchair mayor is writing about cyclists again; it must be spring.

Indeed, the first sign there’s been a change in weather is the sudden appearance of cyclists, proliferating along rural roadways like dandelions and purple haze, a very profusion of colour in their spandex and lycra.

Goodwill is in the air. I’ve not once seen a driver, in the past couple of days, refuse to give a cyclist an appropriate berth when passing, or heard one honk with annoyance upon pulling up behind a furiously peddling two-wheeler.

Bike to workers are, of course, quite different from the weekend speed demons who spread along our roads on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Those who bike to work are in it for a very special purpose – to get from A to B without being killed, and to save 20 bucks on fuel. It is a noble cause, this going green and clean.

Drivers for whom cycling to work from Barnhartvale or Heffley Creek just isn’t practical, or who would rather die than exercise, respect what the bike-to-workers are doing (and here, I must salute our own Daily News B2WW team).

I suspect, sadly, that next week the workday cyclists – except for Donovan Cavers, of course – may well hop straight back into their gas guzzlers and wheel downtown to the office just like they always did.

But not the weekend road warriors. They’ll be out there come rain or shine in their skin-tight togs tearing along roads that are under built for automobile traffic, let alone bicycles.

They come in flocks, like multi-coloured mandarin ducks migrating north, their only sound the humming of their wheels or the yelling they do at each other as they glide along side by side taking up an entire laneway, ignoring the bumper-to-bumper traffic that has lined up behind them waiting for a straight stretch to pass.

A second species of road hog is the lone ranger who refuses to pull over and allow traffic to pass whether or not there’s a shoulder to rely on.

We shall not, on this day, reprise the many complaints cyclists and motorists have with each other, nor dwell on the dangers they mutually create. We could get into the debate over making cities and countrysides more bicycle friendly, but we all know they were built with the automobile in mind and we’ll have to share the woefully inadequate infrastructure for a good long while yet.

Instead, let’s get along at least for the rest of the week, and continue to demonstrate the good behaviour we’ve started out with.

And, speaking of Bike to Work Week, and that postponed official opening of the Valleyview multi-use pathway overpass, I received a message from MP Cathy McLeod after Saturday’s column, in which I had noted she hadn’t yet confirmed her availability for next week’s event.

Seems she only received her email invitation on Friday. Unfortunately, she must be in Ottawa on June 5 (the date to which the opening was postponed after MLA Terry Lake couldn’t make it on the day that had originally been chosen). An assistant will attend in McLeod’s place.

Somewhere, there’s got to be a manual for these things.

About Mel Rothenburger (7581 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

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