I’m not some uninformed armchair critic speaking out against the Hell Ride. I completely get it. It feels like competing in a race and everyone treats it as such. The problem is that these are open roads with traffic, parked cars, other cyclists, pedestrians, etc. All the work that advocacy groups do for cycling is hindered and completely negated by this ride alone. If someone can come up with one good defense for the Hell Ride I’d like to hear it. “It’s fun” is not good enough. I’ve become to feel ashamed that I’m part of it.
So, what to do? We’ve already established that when groups this large get together the concept of respect and responsible riding goes out the window. It’s just a matter of time before something horrific happens [again]. Even so, numbers will start building and then by next summer it’ll be back up to 200 riders. Most clubs and and CSV have made their position clear on their riders attending the ride, yet many still do it. It’s not going to die without intervention from the police. That’s what I see happening since the riders themselves are not doing a single thing to make it better. It’s unfortunate because I think that if the Hell Ride was cleaned up it could be a part of Melbourne’s amazing cycling culture. Instead it’s become an embarrassment.