Are you riding the Group Health Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic this year? The event has been happening since 1979, and it’s become a bucket list event and life-changing journey for thousands over the years. Despite all of that positive energy, we hear back from people telling us what a great event STP is except for… the other riders.
Here are some of the top complaints, and what you can do to avoid being “that rider.”
Someone passed me on the right!
When riding, stay to the right, as much as possible.
When passing, pass other riders on the left when it is safe to do so.
Signal and call out when passing.
Do not pass on the right.
Someone stopped right in front of me, and I crashed into them.
Leave a safe stopping distance between you and the rider in front of you.
Downshift before you are going uphill and continue shifting down as needed to keep pedaling without dropping your chain.
If you need to stop, pull over to the side of the road first. Call out and signal that you’re stopping.
Riders crossed the yellow line into the oncoming traffic lane!
Stay to the right as much as possible.
Ride no more than two abreast, and only when it is safe to do so.
Ride single file where appropriate. Remember, SINGLE FILE IS SAFER especially when on a narrow road where cars or other bicyclists might want to be able to pass you.
I tried to call out to the rider who was weaving in front of me, but he was lost behind his earbuds.
Never ride with earphones or earbuds. These are not allowed while riding this event. Riders must be able to hear approaching traffic clearly or other riders calling out when passing.
A rider was talking on his phone and riding erratically.
Pull off and stop when using a cell phone.
… that scare people because no one knew they were coming
… that run red lights
… that disobey a police officer at a stop
… that ride unsafely and behave rudely. “OMG, I can’t believe how unsafe they were. They were wearing the jersey of <fill in the blank> team / organization.” Do you want people going online complaining about your organization’s 20-person-long paceline and dragging your organization or company’s reputation down?
… that are so long and riding so closely to me that I was unable to pass people.
Don’t be that paceline.
STP is not a race. Always ride safely, courteously and legally. Obey all law enforcement personnel. Cascade Bicycle Club supports ticketing for violation of traffic laws.
Avoid riding in pacelines if you are unfamiliar with riding safely using this technique
Paceline leaders: call out when passing other riders and indicate there is a paceline.
Be respectful of the size. We highly discourage pacelines longer than six riders.
Be courteous to the communities we are visiting.
Me: Hello, Cascade Bicycle Club.
Community resident: I’m looking out the window at one of your @#%&#!@@ riders with his shorts down as he’s #@#$%^! IN MY YARD!
Me: [Spending the next 20 minutes apologizing and urging a call to the police.]
We get an earful from the neighbors in communities calling to report cyclists littering, urinating (and worse!) in their yards. You wouldn’t behave this way in your own yard, and don’t do it on the event.
NEVER EVER use yards or bushes as your personal porta-potty. We’re shocked and disappointed that this happens, and it is incredibly damaging to our reputation. There are facilities along the way for your comfort. Please note them on the route map and plan accordingly.
Give a friendly wave or nod to our hosts along the way – people in the country acknowledge one another. Smile!
Thank the volunteers and community spectators along the route.
Make sure that your snack wrappers and banana peels are secured deep in your pockets until you get to the rest stop. Pitch in and pick up some trash before you leave the rest stop.
Ride Refs will be on the course as a friendly reminder of the rules. Give them a nod and a thank you too.
This post isn’t meant to totally harsh your mellow. It’s a reality check. The STP is, generally, a great time for the majority of people. We know that most of you 10,000 excited, cheerful riders will do a good job of riding SMART. And if we all work together to ride with more courtesy, the experience will prove to be even better for everyone involved. Thank you for doing your part.