The white-chinned mansplainers of spring

Angry old white men are so 15 minutes ago.

Must be spring. Herself has already spotted her first white-chinned mansplainer of 2019.

It was a busy weekend. One of Herself’s pals came to town on family business and on Friday they did an exercise class plus a trail run together. Then on Saturday she wanted to ride the bike for the first time this year, and so the two of us rolled around and about for a while.

Yesterday she joined a colleague and another woman for another, longer ride. And that’s when the white-chinned mansplainer flapped past, screeching its distinctive and decidedly off-key tune.

Like the black-chinned hummingbird, the white-chinned mansplainer is a sure sign of prime cycling weather. But while the hummers enjoy sipping nectar from flowers and feeders, the ’splainer prefers sticking his snotty little beak in your business.

Case in point: As Herself and a colleague were taking five on a Duke City bike path, waiting for the third member of their party to catch up, they spotted a white-chinned mansplainer rolling toward them.

This particular exemplar of the species was a geezer on a recumbent with a Chihuahua tucked into his vest, and Herself anticipated a prime opportunity to coo briefly over a cute little pocket pooch.

Alas, she lost interest after the geezer barked at them: “If you’re gonna stop you should get off the trail!”

Now, I’m told this bird had plenty of room to make a clean pass without threat to life, limb, or Chihuahua. Yet he felt compelled to sing his sour little song anyway, possibly because these were two women who seemed unlikely to slap his beak around to the other side of his head so he could squawk into his own ear and see how he liked it.

As a lifelong student of the bon mot and the righteous riposte I inquired whether they had replied that he should proceed elsewhere with all possible haste to consume excrement, enjoy carnal knowledge of himself, and perish. Herself said no, they hadn’t, but her buddy had flicked a soupçon of snark his way, “thanking” him for his unsolicited and oh-so-helpful advice.

Now, I don’t know much about other sports, but I’m certain ours has too many of these entitled old buzzards flapping around, shitting on everything and everyone in their path. I would not put it past them to drill chickens on the use of crosswalks. They certainly feel free to enlighten their fellow cyclists on a wide range of topics.

I encountered more than a few of these self-appointed bike cops during my Fred period. Happily, years of newspaper work had hardened my hide and I stuck it out instead of abandoning the sport for golf, bowling, or blackjack. By which I mean the use of an actual blackjack. One sap deserves another.

Not everyone is so tenacious. Some folks have a low threshold for gratuitous douchebaggery. Especially on Easter Sunday. I’ll wager Jesus wasn’t nearly so rude to the multitudes when he rode his dinosaur to Sunday school.

And yet we wonder why cycling fails to attract and retain new participants.

At least two of these women are in the market for new bicycles, and have cycling events penciled on their calendars. That’s good news for anyone who makes bikes, sells bikes, or writes about bikes. Just like this horizontal fart in a whirlwind is bad news for anyone condemned to those rackets.

Now, I know nobody in my crowd engages in this sort of appalling behavior. But if you know somebody who does, tell them in no uncertain terms to knock it the fuck off. Yapping at random strangers is the Chihuahua’s job.

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30 Responses to “The white-chinned mansplainers of spring”

  1. B Lester Says:

    Me mates and I have been on an ongoing “show that not all roadies are assholes” campaign for many years. You know, smiling, wishing a g’day, saying thank you etc.

    Our lack of progress was on full display this weekend. I was in disguise on a flat bar road bike with smarter wife and college daughter. A smile and a wave to the roadies was met with the usual stony indifference. Or was it derision?

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      Poseurs don’t wave. Must stink to not have fun when you ride.

      Patrick, if Herself sees that picture, your ass will be living in a van down by the river.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Well done, B. I do likewise, even when all I get back is that thousand-yard stare that says, “You dolt, can’t you see I’m training?”

      The pros I’ve known generally seemed to enjoy riding the bike and saved the stone-cold-killer routine for race day. Some of them remained happy warriors even then.

      Pat, you like that mugshot, didja? I used Photo Booth and one of its filters to get that Night King on Brown Acid look.

  2. khal spencer Says:

    I was humping my increasingly Fat Italian Ass up Hyde Park Road on Sunday, riding the ‘cross bike because with the 50/34 front and 11/34 rear I figured I could struggle my way to the top without having to get off and push. Riding past Thousand Waves, I was passed by a small peloton that shot by me like I was headed the other way. I commented “I must be pretty slow” and one of the fit and lean young riders shot back “naw, we are all riding e-bikes”.

    Now that’s how we should all behave. A bit of good-natured kidding rather than behaving like grumpy, self-important assholes. If as Patrick sez, the bike biz is to survive, we should realize that all Freds are not created equal.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      My favortie reply when I called out “on your left.” He said, “shit buddy, everybody’s on my left.” Not the first time I have mentioned that on this great forum.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I recall racing the ski basin one year when the Colorado masters mafia was out in force. A couple of them were chatting merrily away in midpack on the climb just below Hyde State Park, and one of our local grumps said something like, “If you’ve got the breath to chat you can get up there and take a pull.”

      “OK,” one replied, they did, and that was that. Never saw ’em again. Gotta be careful who you woof at, is what.

  3. SAO' Says:

    I try to remember to ask myself, what horrible thing must have just happened in his life for him to act like that? It doesn’t always work, doesn’t always help, but at least it buys me 5-10 seconds so they can get out of left jab range.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Their mamas didn’t raise ’em right, is what. There’s no learnin’ ’em after a certain age. You just have to shake your head, mourn the death of civility, and get on with your day.

  4. not Jusuk Says:

    It’s not just the more manly of the sexes that does this. I remember a ride down 115 when a female version railed on me telling me in no short order that I should learn how to ride my bike. Twas then I noticed the female had no spare and was riding sew-ups as I always did. When I told her I’d leave her fat as on the side of the road if she flatted and not give her my spare. I suddenly became the best rider in the world. I still told her to pound sand. Any guesses?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Hah. I remember exactly who that was. She crashed The Geek once through reckless maneuvering on a training ride, amirite? She crashed herself more, of course. Like the Czechoslovak Brothers, she was too dangerous to have around and too strong to drop.

  5. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    Well, the guy WAS riding a two-wheeled lawn chair with a dog in his lap, so what do you expect? Sorry, but from my experience those folks might be on two (or sometimes three) wheels and pedaling, but they’re not cyclists in the way I imagine them.
    On a similar note I’ve reached a conclusion on e-bikes: when you put a motor on a bicycle, the people riding them become MOTORISTS. They are not (though they may have been in the past) and never will be cyclists. This was proven to me the other day when someone piloting one of these things did the classic right turn move on the wife. You know, the drive past and hook right into a driveway like you weren’t even there! This dolt might as well been piloting a Chevrolet Subdivision while staring at a video screen.
    E-bikes that are not cars or trucks are wonderful things, but the folks operating them are no more cyclists than I am Eddy Merckx!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Funny you should mention it, Larry. I was on the Paseo de las Montañas bike path the other day when I heard music behind me, getting louder very fast.

      I thought maybe the Devil had finally gotten my number and was coming to collect the soul I owe him (1954, high mileage, scratched and dented, not worth a tinker’s damn), but nope. It was a young jagoff on an ebike who whizzed past at scooter speed, way too fast for a bike path, but about right for the mean streets of ’Burque.

      It was just past a signal-controlled intersection, so he may have blown the light, who knows? But it was a motorist-style pass, and there was no way I was gonna catch him to employ corrective measures.

      I’m not one to say “There orter be a law,” but y’know, there orter be a law.

      • larryatcycleitalia Says:

        Yep, I’m sorry for the those who think getting more folks on these things is somehow going to benefit those of us who skip the batteries. It ain’t gonna happen. If infrastructure is built for cycling that includes them, it’ll be no time at all before it’s the same old, “outta my way!” one too often gets from motorists on the roads of the USA. The MOTORIST mindset takes over, no matter what kind of motor it is. The “cycling viagra” types might be different, but they’ll be a-holes of another sort, part of a fad that I hope passes quickly.

        • SAO' Says:

          The economics are interesting. I’m no expert but trying to compare frames, looks like the battery and extras adds $1.5k to the bike. The really interesting market is the ride-share biz. On the left coast, Lyft and Uber are tripping over each other with their scooters and e-bikes. But not only are they more expensive, you also need bipodal permanbulators to chase them down and swap batteries.

          Around NOCO, they’re a thriving market. But best I can tell, it’s all for old folks, moms and dads pulling burleys with kids to and fro school, and carless commuters. Our bike lanes can handle the load, so it’s a win-win here. But we’re also unique, I guess, in having bike lanes that attract commuters and then country roads that get the racers and hard core training types, so we’re rarely crossing streams, which I recall from Ghostbusters as being a bad thing.

          • SAO' Says:

            The daily school drop off e-bike market is crazy here, by the way.

            RideKick is based here, and I’ve seen a few tandems with the booster trailer dropping kids off for K-5.

            I’ve seen at least a dozen tandems pulling a ride-along, but can only confirm that one of them was an E bike.

            Xtracycles are a dime a dozen here. You put a kid on the handlebars, two kids on the back, and two kids in the burly trailer, and you can’t fault a guy for wanting an extra 250 W, even if the route is pancake flat.

            And I keep forgetting to write down the name brand, but there are a couple of moms and dads that ride these things that look more like ice cream carts , three wheelers with chopper style high-rise handlebars and cargo in both the front and the back. If I had to ride one of those, I don’t think they make batteries big enough. Maybe with a John Deere 6.6L diesel.

            And there’s one guy with one of these Scandinavian sidecar bikes, but pretty sure his is not electric

            I think I’ve seen every bike on this list doing a K-5 drop off

          • larryatcycleitalia Says:

            The things here in Napoli are 20″ fat-tired and folding. They sell for around $2K. No insurance, no license, no crash-hat, no parking issues. What’s not to like? Nothing, until the dolt piloting the thing cuts you off just like a motor scooter or Chevrolet Subdivision. So yes, far better than either of those but still a menace to the rest of us while doing little to nothing to improve the respect on the road for us who are pedaling. Get back to me when you get taken out on the bike path by an e-bakfiet….it’ll happen!

          • Steve O Says:

            I think that’s what I was trying to say. Around here, there’s no “mixed use” problem. Everyone stays in their own lane. Obviously speaking hyperbolically here, but more true than not. Plus we’re a hippy college town, so 18 year olds acting stupid, with or without a bike, is just shrugged off. The only people e-bikes are cutting off are other e-bikes. The only people not waving at STRAVAniks are other STRAVAniks. So you’ll never catch me saying that something that works here is scalable. We’re definitely a different kettle of fish.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          Wait until the auto/motorcycle industries start rolling out their electric bikes with a vengeance. Then things will get interesting. They can buy more congresscritters than the bike biz.

          Pedego is already selling Fords, looks like. And Harley-Davidson is doing kids’ e-bikes with an eye toward getting the fat boys on Fat Boys down the road.

          Here we are likewise a different kettle of fish. With everybody stealing everybody else’s cars, then shooting or stabbing anyone who complains — along with anyone who doesn’t, plus potential witnesses and other pain-in-the-ass innocent bystanders — geezers jousting with battery-bikes and canes is low on the John Laws’ Big List of Shit Needs Doin’.

  6. Dale Says:

    Way off topic here, but isn’t this thing a blimp? What is old is new again.

  7. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Speaking of angry old white guys, how about the twit in chief getting his shorts all in a wad because he lost 300K followers on twitter? Important shit to be sure. Nobody likes me.

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