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Response to Gilmore

Typically I wouldn’t write a local newspaper...I usually have more time allotted for other things.  However, I found the letter to the editor on the September 14th issue of the Farragut Press somewhat disturbing.  I read the press for its local flavor, police reports, and to keep track of local news, but I never thought someone would think to compare Farragut Tennessee to (of all places) France. 

Tom Gilmore of Farragut wrote: “ I have never felt uncomfortable while cycling on French roads. No one honked at us, no one threw trash at us and no one shouted obscenities at us.  Cycling is an accepted form of transportation and exercise on city and county roads. They willingly share the roads.  I think this is true throughout most of Europe.”

As awful as the aforementioned scenario is (comparison to east TN), I find it hard to imagine that Tom gets trash and obscenities thrown at him on a regular basis here in Knoxville. If he does, it’s probably not for being a cyclist, just being himself.  I have been to France and it is absolutely the worst kept country I have ever visited.  Poor sanitary conditions make city water simply un-potable and city hotels are “greasy” at best.  So I’m confused why Tom would even try to compare Tennessee hospitality and “cyclist treatment” to that of France.  I have been on my bicycle many times in East Tennessee and have never once been subject to “trash throwing” or


He goes on to say in his rant about our local community and people: “I saw no litter on the roadsides in France. NONE!” Really Tom?  You saw absolutely no litter? Wow, France must really have their litter under control!  Also, Tom saw that the obese people were kept to a minimum: “I observed very few obese or overweight people in France. They have fewer fast food restaurants.” Call me crazy, but I thought the premise of your argument was about the “narrow-minded comments and attitudes concerning bicyclists in East Tennessee.” Not the globe, or obese people for that matter.

The truth of the matter is that cyclists that are on public roads should watch out for themselves and the automobiles (what our roads were built for) that accompany them. Cyclists have a right to be on our public roads, but don’t have a right to “clog” them up. I have waited on Smith road on several occasions while multiple bicyclists slow up traffic to a mere standstill just so they can feel like Lance Armstrong or some other spandex clad “hero.” Way to go Tom, you just caused a traffic jam on a two lane road!

So finally I wish to ask Mr. Gilmore a question: Is it that we don’t have bright enough clothing, our waists are too big, or that we just don’t live in France?  One way or the other, I’m sure France would be happy to have you.


Travis Gose



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