I’ll start by stating that I have spandex cycling shorts. They’re not very flattering, unless I wear the ones that have a built in skirt. I get that they’re more aerodynamic and comfortable. I’m not averse to them.

I don’t have a very far commute to work so I never wear cycling shorts unless I’m going for a long ride right after work.  Most mornings I ride along Scott to Parkdale then zigzag to the roundabout and cross the ORP to get to the river pathway. This is the fastest, but not necessarily the most enjoyable route.

This morning a cyclist ahead of me had already pressed the button to cross Scott so I decided to follow her down Carleton  the path, avoiding four sets of lights but riding a bit farther.

The first spandex guy almost ran into me as he turned off the path to head under the parkway. No apology or braking. He just ran me off the path. I turned right and passed my first cyclist, ringing my bell first, then calling out “On your left” as I passed.

After passing by the rock sculptures, about a dozen spandex guys passed me. Not one called out that he was passing. I don’t think any of them even had bells on their bikes. Half of them passed on blind corners going at least 35 km/h. The pathway was busy this morning and there were a few near misses.

So, to those spandex guys, here are the rules of the pathway, according to the City of Ottawa:

Rules of the pathways

Bicycles are permitted on mixed-use pathways, but cyclists should follow these guidelines:

  • Keep to the right of the yellow centre line (where one exists)
  • Pass other users only when it is safe to do so
  • Use your bell or voice to warn others when you are passing e.g., “Passing on your left!”
  • Ride at a suitable speed for a mixed-use pathway (recommended speed of no more than 20 km/hr)
  • Be cautious at night, especially along pathways that are not lit. Ride more slowly, especially around dark curves, and stay visible by dressing brightly and using bicycle lights.

But since they probably won’t even consider other cyclists, I’ll continue to wear my sunglass mirror so at least I can see the slow ones coming.

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