Over the weekend it emerged that a hotel in New Zealand put a ban on cyclists wearing lycra shorts from entering his café.
Mike Saunders co-owner of the Plough Hotel in Rangiora put up this ban a few days ago. His reasons been that the shorts show “unsightly…. bumps and bulges.”
Cyclists have always been a target from motorists and it’s sad to see that café owners have jumped on that band wagon too.
Dress codes are a good thing, “no shirt no service” and the likes have stopped many a crazy person from entering establishments and putting people off their food. However, this hotel did not ban flip-flops or tracksuit pants.
I for one can vouch that if a group of track suit wearing flip-flop walkers came into a café, I would be much more put off my food than if a group of cyclists looking for coffee did. They are much worse eye and ear sores than our lycra shorts.
That is besides the point. Banning lycra shorts is no different from banning cyclists. By saying that he allows flip-flops is not a defence. Cyclists are a group of people that belong to clubs and are brothers (or sisters) of the saddle. They race together, train together and hang out together. They are a community. Flip-flop and track suit wearers are not a community.
This shift in attitude is quite worrying for cyclists. Most motorists don’t want them on the road and now even café owners are closing their doors on them. Arguments of them not paying road tax and cycling two abreast are only a few of the problems people have with them.
The problem people are having is, when they see a cyclist, they see a cyclist, not the person who is on the bike. This discrimination and hostility needs to be spear-headed. We are not soccer hooligans or track suit wearing hoodlums but people with a passion for a sport that we don’t want to have to give up on.
We go out and do our thing regardless of the fact that motorists show hostility towards us and people laugh at the way we are dressed. We are confident and unafraid of inconsiderate motorists that blow their horns at us.
“Muddy football boots are fine. Tracksuit pants are fine. Jandels [flip flops] are fine” Saunders said. All he’s said is that we are less than the muck on someone’s shoe. People like this don’t deserve cyclist’s business and shouldn’t have their opinion’s spread so far and wide. It seems like everyone’s out to get us.
There are people out there that are now trying to stand up for cyclists and their rights. These people seem to be needed now more than ever.
A website called “carinsurance4cyclists” offers cyclists lower insurance premiums when driving because it says, “Your on-road cycling experience has made you more alert and road aware than the average car driver and that deserves special attention. Let us source you the best car insurance deal via our scheme that rewards you for your improved driving skills.”
‘Stayin’ Alive 1.5’ is an Irish initiative that also fights for cyclist’s rights on the roads. It hopes to achieve a minimum distance of at least 1.5 meters when passing a cyclist. Currently there is no law against unsafe overtaking.
As a community we are expected to ride in the gutter and shy away from using the same roads as cars.
Cycling is a sport and it is done by people with families, who are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters. Have some respect and consideration the next time you pass one of us on the road.
By Nick Moloney