Bobby Bigwheels

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Back in college, I played a lot of hockey. Just like in cycling, guys on a hockey team tend to have pretty varied personalities, and we would often come up with names for those personalities instead of just the person.

One such type of person was the guy on the team who thought he was way better at hockey than he actually was, and he never missed a chance to tell you how good he was. This man’s name was Bobby Bigwheels.

This man exists in cycling, too. I have seen him as recently as today.

Yeah, that asshole.
Big Wheels, Bitches

Bobby Bigwheels does not need to be a racer. He can be an everyday guy riding a bike around town.

If he’s a racer, the characteristics are undeniable. You all know him: he tells you how fast he is, how he ALMOST won that race, but his derailleur was just a bit off, or his brakes weren’t working right, or some other bullshit. He waxes poetic about the “Epic Gnar” he just shredded on his $3000 carbon-titanium-unicorn turd singlespeed. That’s one type of Bobby Bigwheels, and he is, for the most part, bearable because you can make fun of him later on (or right in front of his face) and no one really gets hurt.

There’s another type of Bobby Bigwheels, however, and I encountered him today. This time, ol’ Bobby was out riding his fixie commuter bike…in the middle of the road…with no hands.

I’m all about sharing the road with bikes. I am usually that guy on the bike, and I’ve ended up on more than one hood in my day. And I have ranted about shit motorists before here on DC. But I’m going to flip to the other side of the coin here.  What I’d like to say to Bobby Bigwheels today is this:

You’re not doing anyone any favors by riding like an asshole.

It’s guys like you, with your self-righteous attitude, that get other cyclists hit and killed. And I’m fucking tired of you.

You see, Bobby Bigwheels looked back at me while I patiently drove behind him. He knew I was there. Yet he didn’t put his hands on the bars, didn’t try to move out of the way…in short, he rode like a fucking Bobby Bigwheels.

I bring him up today because when I get on my commuter, I make an effort to follow the rules. Sometimes I don’t, and so I admit I am not perfect by any means. I’ll tell you one thing, though: I’ve followed the rules and still gotten hit by assholes behind the wheel  who think it’s okay to hit cyclists on principle. That principle is perpetuated by you, Bobby Bigwheels, and if I get hit by a car because of you, perhaps next time I’m following you in my own vehicle I’ll pull over and kick your fucking wheel in. Because you don’t deserve to ride. Because you don’t deserve the entire road.

But most importantly, because you don’t deserve to get hit by a car.

Lesson of the day, DC readers: don’t be Bobby Bigwheels.

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About D2

I am a writer and a photographer. I never killed a man in Reno, but I once rode a bike through a casino in Vegas. Bikes are cool, huevos rancheros are for breakfast, whiskey is for dinner. Denver, Colorado, USA

39 Replies to “Bobby Bigwheels”

  1. agreed. good post D2.

    where i live, we have very few bike lanes, it’s a pretty unfriendly place to ride. we have to take the entire lane to survive traffic. im pretty aggressive in traffic, cuz i have to be to survive. cars hate us here. cyclists are few and far between. but i wave a thank you to the cars that are cool, and give me my space, and flip off the assholes who don’t.

  2. I’ve noticed that when I’m on my single speed mtb I tend to ride more holy than when I’m on my road bike. I mean ass holy. But in traffic, vehicular riding is the only way to go and the only way to gain respect from drivers. But I’m sure that guy you encountered is an ass-hole all the time. And an Invitation to a Steamroller.

    That Big Wheels Downhill looks like fun, though.

  3. That’s what horns are for. Don’t be a dick about it, just a couple of polite toots. Riding / driving in boston has eroded all my patience for bullshit like this, some people just suck.

    impressive front wheel deflection on bigwheeler #2 btw.

  4. Here in The Peoples’ Republic Of Maryland, the highway code says you shouldn’t honk at cyclist. Or crowd them. Or yell at them, throw bottles and trash and whatnot at them, or otherwises harrass them.

    It also says the cyclist should ride as far to the left “as possible”*, but that a cyclist is entitled to take the lane if it is not wide enough to be shared, and that cyclists should ride a minimum of three feet out from a line of parked cars, thus avoiding the door zone.

    But these are just words. That’s all laws are; just words. Blah blah blah, am I right, Kitchen?

    They don’t mean a fucking thing if Barney Fife won’t put down the donut and enforce them. Yeah, I see assholitic cyclists everywhere and in increasing numbers. I am embarassed by them and I try not to be one of them. But I’ll be damned if some idiot motorist is going to make me pay for their sins.

    *And who is to determine what is possible? Billy Bob Cletus in his pickumup truck when I’m avoiding riding over, or possibly becoming, roadkill? Zitface McGhee in his fartcan Civic when I’m steering around the busted beer bottles likely tossed by Zitface and his miscreant buddies the night before? Large Marge Trailertrash in her clapped out van with her litter of wee mouthbreathers, when I’m trying to prise out just enough clearance, Clarence, between the pedal of my fixed gear and the curb, thus avoiding a potential pedal strike?

  5. *as far to the right as possible*

    Sorry, got the caffiend defishinsea. Gonn a fix it right now.


  6. @Joe #10

    Lighten up, Francis.

    Put down the coffee and pick up a cup of chill the fuck out.

    Actually, I keed I keed. That’s the best rant you’ve done on DC, IMHO

  7. Yep Johnny was riding in Seattle last night too. I was driving home on a street that’s one way with two lanes with a bike lane on the right side. It’s downhill and I notice a guy a guy riding a fixie. I’m in the far left lane and he’s in the bike lane.

    I notice him because he’s bouncing up and down in the saddle and rocking his hips back and forth because the road’s a pretty good downhill and he’s spun out and can’t hold the cadence very well. Then I notice two cars ahead of us in the right lane.

    The cars are going to turn right and they have their turn signals on. And now I’m wondering what Johnny’s going to do because he’s overtaking them on the right and he’s about to ride himself into a right hook because he can’t or isn’t slowing down.

    Then I get my answer. He swerves between the two cars in the right lane into my lane right in front of me. I slam on the brakes to keep from hitting him. Johnny passes the first car and swerves back to the bike lane. Keeps riding down the road staring straight ahead like no big deal.

    I mean I had the adrenaline spike and everything. You know that second where you panic and then a few seconds later when you’ve had a chance to realize how close it really was you have that second rush of adrenaline?

    I used to think drivers were being silly when they talk about how they’re afraid of bike riders who don’t stop, swerve between lanes. But I tell you, Johnny scared the crap out of me last night.

  8. @Joe:

    I agree with you on a lot of points, but you need to keep in mind that I don’t consider a cyclist taking the safest path to be Bobby Bigwheels. Not sure if you’ve been to Flagstaff, but the road on which I was driving was quiet, plenty of room, no reason to be in the middle of the road at all. I could have understood it if the side of the road was blocked, if the cyclist had no other alternative, yada yada yada, but that wasn’t the case. He was just being a douche for the sake of being a douche. Believe me, I recognize douche when I see it.

    In another part of town, on a really busy road, the city spent a lot of money building a really wide, really nice bike path. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been driving on that road and I’ve had to avoid a cyclist who was in the road instead of on the path, not two feet from the very wide, very nice bike path on which they can ride as fast as they want. It drives me batshit insane, because I ride on the road enough to know that some dumbass motorist is going to take it all out on me.


  9. Just love this………….best rant/commentary I have read in a while.
    Stupid should hurt.

  10. commuting will always suck on both sides. just the way it is. lets get past that and hear some details on that ripping pic.

  11. on a different note: this ‘unicorn turd’ composite of which you speak. Adds lightness; or stiffness; both?

  12. @D2-I read you loud and clear, pal. You know the difference. I know the difference. I know that you know, and so on and so forth.

    It’s the “motorist” who has a two ton missile, no clue of the law and the self-entitled arrogance to enforce his version of it anyway. That is our real enemy. And he’s out there getting stronger every day.

    I’m not much for vacations, but I’m thinking along those lines just the same.

  13. There is a world of difference between taking the lane for safety’s sake, and cruising with no hands.

  14. “share the road” was created to raise awareness of the responsibility needed by both drivers & cyclists yet it’s become a platitude of self righteous entitlement for a lotta ‘bobby bigwheel’ types…

    …if it was only maddening or inconvenient, that would be one thing but a lotta empty headed cyclists wave the ‘share the road’ banner whilst creating seriously dangerous situations & as mentioned, it leads to a constantly angry motoring public who then direct at all cyclists…

    …good post, d2 & btw, speaking of hockey, good fucking stanley cup finals, ya ???…

  15. I had the same douchnozzle flip me off while I was in my VW van. He was hauling ass on the sidewalk, transitioned to the street right in front of me, cutting me off. Put up my hands in a “WTF” way, and got waved at by one hand. Caught up to him at the light and told him he was an embarresment to cyclists. Had to tell him a second time cause he had his earbuds in the first time. Who the fuck flips off a bearded guy in a VW van?! (no comments on lack of speed please)
    Flagstaff is full of douchnozzle hipster fixies who make the rest of us look bad. I ride with my kids on the bike all the time and fear for them because of angry motorists.
    Thank you D2 for writing what I’ve been thinking for some time.

  16. That bigwheel pic. That’s the race they do in San Fran down that windy ass hill eh ?

    I would love to do that shit.

    Tho my fat ass would probably crush a bigwheel.

  17. @Joe: sounds like we’re on the same page.

    @BGW: helluva finals. Don’t give a shit about either team, but it has been exciting as hell..

    About the bigwheel pic: to be honest, I ripped that bad boy off a Google search. Might be able to find out more bout it if you go to the photographer’s website.

  18. D2, great post.

    “You’re not doing anyone any favors by riding like an asshole.”, that fucking slayed me..still laughing.

    Got a pop can chucked at me today…first one in many years. I found it humorous….

  19. BTW….I wasn’t riding like Bobby…two a breast with shit tons of room to pass. What kills me is that pop can chucker doesn’t consider they’re littering….

  20. @joe, i have found the drivers in Frederick and Washington counties more than patient with us. I have had guys on tractors stop and ask if i needed help while fixing tar&chip flats. Sure there are always a brush back or two.. but compared to PHX where I lived before that or Florida where I was before that , i think we have it pretty effin good. Hell I even rate the drivers in Baltimore county better .. I ride alone 90 % of the time because i hate riding with other people … i think we have it pretty good.

  21. I hear ya, greg. I don’t get out of Hancock much, but I’ve got to say it’s better than it was even two-three years ago. Heck, the first time I tried to ride on “their” streets (1988-ish?) I got “barked” at, a Slurpee cup thrown at me and “GEDOFFDAROOOOAAAADDDDDD!!!” at least three times in about two miles. Nowadays I can putter around the town and its environs and hardly be molested.

    I think alot of it has to do with the fact that this town is a major draw to cyclists, with the railtrail and the C&O. Alot of money gets spent here by cyclists. Heck, even the local yokels are getting a sneaking suspicion that we just might be people too.

    Still, it only takes one asshole to ruin your day.

  22. Hipster Trash Compactor – East London from jssjmsvckry on Vimeo.

    My favorite bobby moments: while stopped at a red light (on the right side of the right lane) getting passed, and nearly clipped, by a cyclist usually on the right. My response: “Don’t run red lights, bro!” I’m waiting for the day one of these assholes clips me. I’ll hold him on the ground until the cops show up and I’ll make sure he buys me a new bicycle. Rule are rules, break them and face the consequences. Unfortunately, those consequences are directed generally and not specifically.

    Fuck the scofflaws. No sympathy from me.

  23. …rogbie…that’s a pet peeve of mine also…i’m kitted up, i’m riding the last few miles home after a good spin & at that point my only real concerns are a smooth balanced form on the bike + traffic safety…

    …i come up to a STOP sign, generally pretty quick, brake hard, go to accelerate, only to hear squealing brakes & some dickhead commuter, who’s jumped on my wheel without me realizing it, almost clips me as he passes on the fucking right…

    …i’m with you…scratch or ding up my bike because you’re being a scofflaw & a side of me not often seen is gonna come out…guaranteed…

    …ride a bike, commute by bike, awesome, personally i love it & you’re to be commended…ride like a dickhead & that’s all any of us see…

  24. bgw, that exact thing happened to my lady-friend a few years ago; only, she was the commuter, and it was a dick-headed weekend-warrior who latched her wheel. Well, when she slowed to exit from the bike path he hit her hard from behind. The best part, he yelled at her. All the while, she is bleeding profusely from a 3 inch gash on her knee. Needless to say, he rode off, and was extremely lucky my lady is so benevolent. We, as cyclist, are culpable for our behaviors on the bike. It seems to me, in todays society, if one follows the rules, one is the asshole.

    Now is the time to speak up. Letting bad behavior become the norm is a straight path to losing our privileges.

    On the same note: there is a two-year old, city-sponsored, bike program here (the B-Cycle), where anyone with a credit-card can take a bike and ride it anywhere, and return it to a B-Cycle station. However, at no station is there a sign that states the rules of the road as they apply to bicycles. I asked one of the board members about this before the program launched. He said the reasoning (not his own opinion), is posting the rules would discourage everyday people (non-cyclist) from using the bikes. In other words, the importance of riding a bicycle has been dumbed-down. Instead of educating people on the proper way to ride a bike, this program assumes that people are not intelligent enough to understand how to safely, and properly, ride bicycles according to local and state laws. Not that the idea isn’t great. More people on bikes is better. However, giving someone a bike and turning them loose without a basic understanding of the fundamental rules of riding a bicycle is analogous to handing someone the keys to a car without an understanding of traffic laws. By not posting, even a simple bullet-point of the rules of the road, this program furthers the belief that riding takes little to no skill. Where, as any long-time cyclist knows, riding a bicycle effectively is more demanding than driving a motor-vehicle. In fact, at some point most cyclist realize that cycling becomes safer once one starts to follow the rules of the road. This should not be the case. The realization that cycling according to the rules of the road is safer should be step one in learning to ride a bicycle. Personally, I would have much fewer scars and more money to acquire new (or new to me) parts instead of replacing parts damaged by unsafe, illegal riding.

    Do I get upset when cities and states put in new lights that don’t recognize bicycles, and thus force me to either run a red light, or dismount my bike; walk to the pedestrian cross-walk signal, then have to walk back into a lane of traffic and remount to cross the street (it is illegal to ride a bicycle in the cross-walk, or sidewalk, in Denver)? Yes. Have I called my state representatives, and local bike-advocacy groups? Yes. You have to yell real loud for the ones at the top, who make the decisions, to hear you.

  25. …rogbie…we’re pretty much on the same page about a lotta this…

    …a couple of terms, like ‘courtesy, common sense’ & ‘personal responsibility’ come to mind, as being somewhat lost in this day & age, especially when applied to the activity of cycling & how it fits in with our modern society…

    …i’ll be the first to admit i’ve shown a lack of restraint & broken plenty of cycling laws in the past, so i’m no ‘goody two sidi’s’ about this stuff but the simple idea of personal safety & concern for others whilst on a bike has served me well in my 62 years & i’ve been riding since i was a kid…

    …what you describe is certainly a dichotomy…post rules & discourage participation or post nothing & watch a great majority ride ‘willy – nilly’, endangering themselves & everyone around them…

    …what can you expect when idiots of all ages literally shuffle across intersections so into their phone call or text message that they haven’t the common sense to pay attention to traffic signals or when given the courtesy to cross the roadway, they’ll move so slowly due to one factor alone…their attention is so invested in their ‘personal device’ that they have no consideration for others…

    …it’s endemic of our present society & it’s fucking sad…& plenty of ‘newbies’ who heard cycling was healthy & can afford their plastic bikes & all the gear unfortunately come from that basic mindset…

    …glad to see more people riding but too many of ’em are foolish & inconsiderate & thus dangerous beyond their own comprehension…