“Here’s what you should write about in your blog,” said my friend David, as we cruised the Veloway on an easy after-work ride. “Stuff like that.”
He pointed to the side of the road. There was a bicycle tire inner tube, obviously tossed away after an unlucky cyclist replaced it after a flat.
“Now that the weather is getting better, and more people are out riding, I see that kind of thing more often,” he said. I recalled that on Sunday’s ride out in the country, I had seen a crumpled up tube next to the road, too. “Heck, on one stretch of Mopac, I saw three of ’em,” continued David.
“Now I know someone is probably really pissed off that he had a flat. Maybe the group he was riding with rode off without him. That’s still no excuse. I don’t care if you’re mad. Fix the flat, roll up the bad tube, and stick it in your jersey pocket.
“You can take it home and throw it out there,” he added. “Or patch it. Or use it for a whole variety of other things. There’s no excuse for leaving it as litter.”
I mentioned that leaving a tube behind was a contradiction, since many bikers feel that by riding instead of driving, they’re being green.
“Green, or pink — it doesn’t matter,” he said. He was really on a roll now. “You just do the right thing.
“You know, that’s all we need. Some guy in a big Ford pickup with duallies sees that tube by the road, and he thinks, ‘Hm. Those ******* cyclists.’ Then the next time he comes up on a group ride, maybe he gets his mirror a little too close to one of ’em, and knocks him over. We can do without other bikers creating a bad image for us.”
Then he came up with an addendum. “And water bottles. You can’t tell me someone’s not aware of it when a water bottle pops out of its cage. You just stop and pick it up. This isn’t the Tour de France, where when Lance tosses a bottle, a hundred people try to beat each other to it. It’s a souvenir. Stop, turn around, and get the bottle.”
He’s right, of course. There is no excuse for leaving our junk by the roadside. Most people don’t toss garbage out of their cars on the road. Let’s not leave our biking detritus behind, either.