Letter: Breaking away
August 7, 2013
They're baa-aack. The aerodynamically shorn-legged grape smugglers pedaling their way to Bianchi-mounted self-improvement, peak physical condition and new heights of complete disregard for the lowly pedestrian: the Aspen Psyclist.
Everywhere I've ever lived I was taught that sidewalks were for walking, hence the name, and that streets were for cars, bikes and the like. While I'll exclude the Segway from an acceptable sidewalk vehicle, I'll gladly step aside for the wheelchair, the Rascal or even Tom Kruse's Hoveround (except when piloted by the relatively young but morbidly obese who lack self-control) on the sidewalks, but I take exception to side stepping for the Psyclist, or worse, the family of Psyclists.
The Aspen Psyclist will descend the hill from the East End in packs, like helmeted penguins on welded tandems and other machinery suited for Thunderdome; cut across driveways emptying onto Cooper, expecting cars to sense them bearing down from blind spots and then try to negotiate the sidewalks despite their lack of skill or their kids', despite pedestrians pushing baby carriages, or in my case, walking dogs and carrying groceries and most disturbingly, despite the sign that says "Trail ends, dismount here". This, I assume, is because of the Psyclists' sense of superiority and entitlement and that all paths belong to them. The only paths they're truly on are ones that begin with "psycho" or "socio," and the last time I checked, those traveling without wheels always have the right of way.
And while I'm on the subject of right of way and basic human decency, I'd like to remind Aspen motorists that not only is the speed limit 25, but there exists a device in all modern vehicles called a "turn signal" or, sometimes, a "directional." It's about an inch away from the wheel. It requires very low pounds per square inch to activate, and it helps the rest of us with inquiring minds understand what your intentions at an intersection are. An ounce of prevention, if you like. But back to the Sons and Daughters of Sidewalk Anarchy.
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Maybe the tracks are laid, and these Psyclists can't change their course, but for the sake of the frail elderly, or the legs of dogs easily broken by ten speeds, or the moms pushing babies, I can only hope tight spandex and upwardly angled bike seats will work in tandem to render this lot impotent so we won't have to endure more of this "I'm working out, so move" attitude, and we finally end the vicious cycle.