Had a somewhat conflicted moment when driving to my daughter's school today.
Two rather charming-looking young women (attractive, wearing normal/chic clothes) were ambling down the road toward me on their humble citizen-cycles (upright, chainguard, basket, you get the picture). They were not going very fast, very leisurely.
They weren't riding single file, they were riding next to each other so they could chat as they went along, basically blocked the single lane of traffic. It was a residential street (5th Street southbound, north of Grant Circle) in a fairly quiet neighborhood (Petworth) but there is some through-traffic along there.
I had a double-reaction. First thought, as their comrade in the Chainguard Revolution - 'hey, cool, that's my kind of cyclists'.
Followed quickly by 'you know girls, you're going to piss someone off blocking the road like that, and make a bad name for cyclists'. Right on cue, as I got closer, a stressed-out looking woman in her SUV gave them a wide berth with a distinctly irritated look on her face.
I felt a little ashamed chastising the bikers like that, albeit internally. I guess when driving it's hard not to think like a driver.
What do you think, were they inconsiderate or perfectly within their rights? Somewhere in between? Were they creating a positive model of biking, and was the driver just another negative example of North American car-centrism? Or, given the narrow road with no bike lane, should the bikers have made room for cars? Was this a case of citizen cyclists paradoxically claiming the vehicular cycling mantra of 'claim your lane'? How would drivers' reactions (including my own) to them differed in certain bike-friendly European cities? Was I being the ass I strive to oppose, or just being realistic?