Taliban Steals Local Bicycle Club
- Bob Fugett, President American Road Cycling
The following is an account of a local bike club abdicating its
responsibility to its membership by failing to support the local cycling community's
rights. The story will be of interest to other cycling organizations, as
well as individuals who may be facing a situation similar to
SlingShot's Freedom of Speech difficulties.
U.S. Citizens have rather broad rights which allow
bicycling on public roadways. However, lack of understanding by the public
at large causes those rights to be in constant jeopardy. If bicyclists,
as a community, do not press for public education, along with legislative
and administrative confirmation that these rights exist, they will be lost
forever—with opportunities missed which would increase the legitimate,
safe and healthful use of our public roadways.
The American Road Cycling organization helps assure
that these rights will remain constant by assembling a database of concerned
citizens to be used as supporting evidence that strong interest in shared
roadways exists, thus allowing pressure to be applied to the appropriate
administrative and legislative bodies.
Anyone can add to this
by submitting a
MEMBERSHIP FORM, while the following describes a local problem that has relevance
to numerous cycling organizations.
A local cycling club has sold out its membership by failing
to protect cycling rights that are under attack. A situation exists where
local drivers are complaining that cyclists are filling the roadways and
impeding traffic. Actually, these complaints are not aimed at bringing the
cyclists into mere conformance with the letter of the law but are meant to totally remove cyclists
from the streets altogether. Unfortunately the drivers are not being made
aware of the fact that the cyclists do have the right to be on the road
and that the compliance they are looking for would actually only make things
worse for the drivers.
The local club's leadership seems unable to grasp the idea
that the drivers are truly asking for unreasonable compliance, and club
rolled over several times when the question has been brought to their
attention. Instead of asking that drivers be better educated with regard
to road sharing laws, they have attacked their own membership.
At this point in the narrative, many people will save themselves time by simply submitting
MEMBERSHIP FORM in order to add their name to the
LIST and forgo the lengthy
explanation below. Otherwise, here's the background. We can start with my
e-mail response to my nephew's reaction after he first saw the American
Road Cycling web site. His reaction is bracketed (<<...>>), and my
Response to e-mail query, regarding first viewing of
American Road Cycling web site.
Hey j : )
> Very nice. Is it a bit of real animosity that I
> am picking up about another organization?
Yep, and that other organization will be punished by never having their name mentioned on the
American Road Cycling web site.
When I joined that other Club, there were lots of real cyclists in it.
Eventually the place loaded up with socialites who were more interested in
eating snacks at meetings than they were in biking.
Eventually, and unfortunately, the Editor of the Newsletter quit because her husband
was retiring, and they were setting off on their own U.S. bike tour, which
would dip up into
She was the best possible Editor. Near the time of her quitting I got a chance to
her Pagemaker templates. They took my breath away. I was pretty
certain the Club would not survive without her. Plus her husband was
definitely the spiritual leader of the B riders. It was a horrible loss.
I was asked to take over as Editor of the newsletter but demurred explaining that
my writing a monthly column was a far cry from editing the
whole Newsletter. When the Perfect Editor left, my
predictions came true. The Club was not the same without its central core.
That's when the Taliban took over.
My next article, after the Taliban took over the Club and Newsletter,
received a letter of complaint which itself ran in the issue afterwards, without
me being given an opportunity to respond. The person who wrote
the letter said that they had thrown down their Newsletter in disgust when
they read the words "Spin Bitch," and how horrible it was "...that somebody
could say such a demeaning thing about a woman."
Apparently the complainer had not considered that the woman in question might like to have
some say in the matter herself. In fact it was the "Spin Bitch" herself who chose "Bitch"
over "Witch." I gave her the choice before submitting the article. She taught
spin classes at a local gym, and she also planned a Dear Spin Bitch column
for the newsletter in which she would harangue questioners, then provide them
with good training advice.
Her first article was hilarious, and I was the butt of it. Unfortunately, her e-mail submitting
that first article to the Taliban was
totally ignored, not so much as a "No, thank you." I can hardly endure the
irony: now that she's dead, the
Taliban is putting her on
the Club's riding jersey, but
that's another story.
I did not so much mind my not being given a chance to respond to the
complaint, but my article in the very same newsletter in which the
complaint ran was CENSORED—not edited mind you, but CENSORED. The
article began with, "Holy Shit!" which was changed to, "Holy S__t!"
which was the only
edit in 1200 words.
Plus my byline was bumped to the bottom of the article, which meant that
all the people who had told me they generally opened up their newsletters,
found my article, read it and then tossed out their newsletter, would not
even see it. Although my articles are humorous, I take Freedom of Speech very, very
seriously. Therefore, that was the last article I submitted.
In contrast, an article about a famous female mountain bike racer ran in that week's issue of Velo News
ending with the honorific, "Spin
Bitch Spin." Apparently, only the fast and the furious can understand the fast and the
In any case, I stopped submitting articles because of my acute awareness that
a Taliban takeover never ever starts out with women being dragged down to the soccer field
and having bullets summarily snapped into their heads—they work up to that real slow
like. I had no choice but to stop supporting such shenanigans in the early
stages, so in further protest I also stopped paying dues.
Here was my
theory, "Ok, somebody got upset, but when you CENSORED you lost MONEY plus
a whole lot more."
The next spring, a new Club President chose to make an example of me in
the parking lot before a ride. Actually it happened at two rides before
my wife went off on the guy. She pointed out, rather loudly, that I had personally paid
dues for six other people the year before (so they would not get harassed
at rides), and I had worked several years
writing Newsletter articles which received raves, and I had
provided SAG vehicles and done my fair share of volunteering and bringing
food to the yearly Big Ride, and especially that most of the people
in the parking lot that day (both days actually) were also not paying
Since there are more than enough rides
around here outside the Club to attend, I never went back. As
protest, my wife
Mary immediately put a little "Bitch" license plate on her
own bike, in order to show up to rides and put it in front of the original
letter of complaint writer every possible chance. Of course that complainer
(we call her PunchBag) is slow, so Mary gets to put the "Bitch" license plate in her face
only momentarily. The
complainer is so enamored of her own myopic little world, she has probably never
even seen it. As you might expect, I have been asked not to mention the American Road Cycling
to the complainer, because it would get her upset to see the kind of
language that is used.
These days I keep hearing through the grape vine that the Taliban would like the
Club to be split in two, "...because the A riders are out of control." It
seems the local motorists are complaining about bikers on the road
Saturday mornings. The Club's answer is to disown the best and fastest,
and try to rein in the rest. What the Taliban does not understand is that the
people complaining are not complaining because cyclists are taking up the
WHOLE ROAD. They are complaining because cyclists are on the road AT ALL.
There is a widespread misunderstanding about the fact that cyclists DO
have a legal and legitimate right to be on the roads. The motorists who are
complaining would be complaining whether the letter of the law (two
abreast) is met or not. They would only complain more if the
went a step further than mere compliance and actually stayed single file. In that case,
motorists would have
to pass a single line of 50+ cyclists, as apposed to waiting a few moments
the ride to take the next turn and get out of their way. Besides, the
fast ride is progressing only slightly slower (and sometimes a little
faster) than the posted speed limit. What's the big deal? As the Starkmeister best described it,
sorry I made you move your big toe
over to the left." [read: "Touch your brake."]
Apparently, couch potatoes need to get back to their couches (or the jobs
that support those couches) as fast as they can possibly drive.
So rather than confront the issue head on, the local Club chooses to
attack the best and most enthusiastic riders they have. At one point I
was asked to say something to the front group. There was even a suggestion
to split up Saturday's fast ride into Team Time Trials, so there
would be smaller more controlled groups going out at intervals!?!
person who asked me to
do it was clueless about how NOBODY talks to the front group.
It is not the nature of the
members of that beast to listen to, and comply with direct address. Not to mention that the riders in the front group
have a legitimate right to be doing what they are doing, local club or
I hear reports that a great
number of rides such as the Club's fast ride proceed regularly without any club attachments
whatsoever. There is even one ride near here that generally hosts over 400
riders—no club, no insurance, no newsletter. I also know a famous
ride all the way down in San Antonio, Florida that sometimes has Pro Race Teams
from Europe show up—again, no club, no insurance, no newsletter—and it's
been going on for 50 years. It is the ride that attracts, not the social
In our case, the local club has descended into being a Social Club of slow
riders who give themselves titles and use their positions to realize their dreams of being petit bureaucrats,
something they are not allowed to do in real life where things are
I am in pretty good shape this year and will be attending
The Hump again (per
because it is truly one of the best ways to test yourself. Plus there is no
better way to achieve that level of workout, even if being egged on by a
Thanks to American Road Cycling I have a
sanctioned event, an
ID Card, and a perfectly good excuse to
show up. So does everybody else. Hopefully this will outweigh the
Taliban's lack of acknowledgement that the local Club is providing no
services for this ride, that the ride is held on public roads (which we
are all paying for and have a right to ride on), and that the Club does
not own the parking lot they are trying to control. The Club has no legal
standing in these matters.
A number of the members of the Club
have contacted me personally and expressed their horror at the leadership's lack of
acknowledgement regarding their lack of standing, along with their intransigence.
Maybe the Club leadership will finally catch on that it might be nice to
encourage riders to show up for rides instead of throwing up bull-shit
In any case, American Road Cycling sanctioning now makes
accessible to ALL riders who would like (and who have the cycling prowess) to be
there...not that anyone
ever needed permission in the first place.
Since this page was first posted, the heat applied to Mr.
Fugett has only increased.
He believes the next step will be the
Club trying to extract dues from migrant workers who ride their bikes
along the roads at the same time as the Saturday morning ride. Something
like, "Hola, muchacho. Hold on there. You can't be riding your bike along
these roads like this. Our Club's insurance is in jeopardy."
After that the Club
may even begin attacking people in the parking lot on their way to the ice-cream stand,
"Sorry, buddy. You can't
park here. This is a CLUB RIDE! You are fucking up our insurance."
Thankfully, Mr. Fugett finally suckered
the club president on the record stating the honest truth.
this page last updated:
02/01/2015 10:38:49 PM