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Thursday, August 16, 2007

Metro East Cycling

The Belleville News-Democrat today reports on a new cycling club serving the Illinois counties on the St. Louis metropolitan area, Metro East Cycling.

From what the article says, Metro East Cycling gears itself toward high-end cyclists who have a competitive bent. For example:

"Everybody's on a higher-end, performance-oriented road bike," said Bob Crow, 53, a truck driver from Trenton. "You won't see any comfort bikes or mountain bikes."

Crow wasn't bragging or passing judgment. He was explaining the difference between Metro East and other bike clubs that are focused more on family recreation than athletic training.

I think there's plenty of room for groups like Metro East Cycling and the Belleville Area Bicycling and Eating Society. The BABES, of which I am a ride leader, tends to draw medium-to-fast recreational riders. Other groups, such as Trailnet and the Gateway Council of Hostelling International, tend to have rides intended for all levels of cyclists.

The one thing that did concern me was a photo that accompanies the story. It showed cyclists riding three abreast on a street, a clear violation of Illinois traffic laws. In most cases, riding more than two abreast on Illinois roads is illegal.

I don't mean to single out Metro East Cycling on this point. I've seen some BABES riders riding more than two abreast on some of our rides, and the News-Democrat has run photos of cyclists riding more than two abreast on other group rides, including -- unfortunately -- the Tour de Stooges, the ride I lead for the Gateway Council.

The point I'm making is that those of us who lead rides in the region really need to stress that cyclists must obey the rules of the road.

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