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After yet another road bike crash, one of my friends keeps telling me that I should take up gravel biking or mountain biking.

Yes, there’s less chance of getting hit by a car (except driving over to the place where I’ll be gravel/mountain-biking, I suppose). Or trying to park at one of these places on a weekend, which seems pretty aggro to me when I make the mistake of driving by.

But ‘gravel biking’ is what I did as a kid on the roads around the ranch, and I’ve got the scars to prove it. I was pretty psyched to move someplace where you could actually bike on a paved road without getting hit by a truck. Seemed like a positive change.

And all my mountain biking friends have the broken collarbones to prove it. I guess there’s something fun about it? Yet another sport with an expensive buy-in.

In either case, all the gravel/mountain bikers I meet as a regular dog-walker, on the trails that formerly had zero gravel/mountain bikers, and which used to be overgrown ‘single-track’ (except that no one was biking down them before the current craze), and which are now four-lane highways because these jerks can’t stay off of them after a rain, are assholes. So I’m not sure why my friend is suggesting I start doing something that turns regular people into assholes with almost 100% reliability.

Say what you will about road-biking (or climbing), the act of doing it doesn’t seem to turn its adherents fundamentally into assholes without exception.

If you think I’m exaggerating, ask yourself when the last time a gravel/mountain biker yielded to you and your dog, and you didn’t have to pay attention and get the heck out of the way of someone going way too fast on a mixed use trail. That’s right, never.

Probably room for a whole essay here about the how too many people using a limited resource which they have to share with other users turns people (by which I mean white dudes) into territorial assholes.

See also surfing.