Completing a century ride, a Gran Fondo or a multi-day bike tour is really fun. For many people, it brings out abilities that might have remained untapped if it weren't for the camaraderie of other cyclists. There is always someone faster, stronger, slower and less able than you and seeing someone you might not expect to be riding, or riding so strong, can be very inspiring.
During these events, it's essential that all cyclists be good citizens and have respect for other people. A mutual respect for vehicles and fellow cyclists goes a long way to contributing to the fun factor and keeping everyone safe.
Unfortunately, there are some cyclists making bone-headed moves that put themselves, and perhaps others, in danger. In some cases it's tough to tell if a dorky move is due to fatigue, low blood sugar or if the person is just a jerk.
More: Don't Be That Guy
Few people aim to be a jerk, but it seems that there is some small segment of the population that puts solid effort into jerkism. If your aim is to be a cycling jerk, here are seven tips that will help secure your title:
#1: When passing slower cyclists, keep quiet, and pass close and surprisingly quick.
Polite cyclists prefer to call out "on your left" to let slower riders know they are about to pass. Those riding in a paceline will often call out "line on your left" or "riders on your left". Riders in the line will let the slower riders know there are several more riders passing. Passing riders should give the cyclist enough room on a pass, while being courteous and safe with approaching motorists.
If you want be a jerk, buzz the slower cyclist while smugly thinking, "I don't need to let them know, after all they should know that they're slow and faster riders will pass them. Additionally, I just get tired of saying 'on your left' all the time. I'm so fast."
#2: Don't look over your left shoulder when you move to pass someone or when you move into a traffic lane.
Cyclists that prefer to remain safe and live to ride another day will look over their left shoulder to see if traffic or other cyclists are approaching before they make a move.
Support vehicles tell me that they constantly see cyclists on organized rides behave as if the roads are closed and they can dart into the lane of traffic anytime they please. This kind of behavior is dangerous for everyone involved, but that fact doesn't seem to faze a cycling jerk.
#3: When riding with a group of friends, ride three and four abreast. If the bike lane is big enough to ride three or more abreast, while still allowing room for other cyclists to safely pass your group on the left side without going into traffic, go ahead and ride several riders abreast. Courteous riders will often check over their shoulders to see if they are still sharing the bike lane and being safe, while riding abreast.
Cycling jerks will do their own thing, riding multiple people abreast, while expecting everyone else to accommodate their little group. After all, the jerks paid their fee and now they expect personal privileges and service--dammit!