TATUM: Attentiveness important for bicycle enthusiasts

A local bike rider gives a signal at a stop sign. Reasonableness and accountability should be foremost for cyclists, writes Carlos Tatum. (Carlos Tatum)

Chilled Coca-Cola and ice-cold beer.

For the refreshment connoisseur, they can serve as the consummate source of rejuvenation.

They can also become a dangerous road hazard.

It is no secret that cyclists near and afar cherish the frosty realm of liquid hydration.

Unfortunately, for Sharon McCord, Treasurer of the Longview Bicycle Club, “bone-chilling” invigoration became twofold.

“I was on a group ride and felt something explode against my backside,” McCord said. “The other riders said some guy in a car threw a full can of beer at me. It really hurt.”

McCord continued with a chuckle: “I knew they couldn’t be that smart. I mean, any reasonable person wouldn’t waste a full can of beer.”

Maybe, the misinformed chap felt that she needed to try his beverage of liking.

Obviously, he didn’t realize that Sharon McCord is the most interesting cyclist in the world.

And she doesn’t always drink beer.

But when she does, she prefers …

Said Category 4 time trialist Nathan Lesniewski: “I got hit with a full can of Coke and it left a knot on my shin for about a year.”

Roadway attentiveness is a must for any cyclist. Any distraction, apart from what’s within the route, can lead to disastrous consequences for all parties involved.

Thirty-five thousand pounds of unhinged locomotion rolling, effortlessly, atop the revolution of 18 wheels. For the one who motions up and down, to its driver, with a tightly gripped fist, the faintly-heard echo of “beep-beep” resonates through the air.

Charles Allen is a 68-year old competitive cyclist of Berridge Bikes in Texarkana. He rallies the call of more liability to safety upon cyclists themselves.

“All cyclists should wear helmets and ride with the flow of traffic,” said the elder statesman. “If a car is going 20 and you’re doing 15 and there is a collision, it’s a 35 mile per hour collision in opposite directions. It’s a 5 mile per hour collision riding with the flow of traffic.”

Allen validated his firm stance on the use of reasoning faculties on the part of road warriors.

“Even if you have the right-of-way, don’t take on an 18-wheeler or any automobile,” he said. “We can’t win. We have to be reasonable.”

While reasonableness and accountability should be foremost for all asphalt combatants, sometimes there is little to be accomplished when dealing with the instinctive.

A dauntless german shepherd in a bold exhibition of valor.

This and many more dreaded canines have wreaked horror and struck terror into the bravest of pavement crusaders.

Not because they can rip strands of streamlined tissue from the most chiseled calves in the peloton.

It’s because in less than three seconds, they can run you off the road, onto the pavement, and into the E.R. Not to mention the eerie epiphany of “That’s five-thousand dollars down the drain on a bicycle!”

LAMA (Longview Area Multi-sport Association) member, Kelly Carroll said: “Just the other night, a dog ran right in front of me. He ran right under my front tire and kept going.”

She added, “I’m really surprised that he didn’t wreck me. I love my pets, too. But people need to take responsibility for their dogs. I would never want my dog to be the cause of an accident.”

So, while ice-cold drinks, canines of valor and the teeny-tiny yelp of “beep-beep” from Optimus Prime are a firm institution for the masses, there is one faculty that must remain solid for all cyclists — the one of found reasoning.

Carlos Tatum is a bicycle enthusiast who offers a unique take on the sport and its competitors each week. He loves feedback from readers. His email is lostee2001@gmail.com or tweet him at @CarlosTatum.


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