Efforts to crack down on this Tour de Hygiene reached their peak on Bastille Day in 1987, when the Colorado State Patrol and the Boulder County Sheriff's Department used an airplane, video cameras and eight or more police cars to bust the Bustoppers. "We wanted to show the community that we were serious," says Smith. "We had enough complaints and observation to show that this was a huge nuisance, and we wanted to document exactly what the problems were."
The increased enforcement has convinced some riders that they are being harassed. Roy Knickman, a member of the Coors Light team until he retired this year and a professional rider for nine years, says he has ridden the Bustop eight times in eight years and has been pulled over four times. "I shy away from it," he says. "The harassment tactics work with me."
Other cyclists also feel that they are the victims. Thomas Knox, who rides for the Moots Titanium Cycles team, participates in the Bustop every two or three weeks and has been ticketed three times for failure to obey the bicycling code. "Twenty-five to 50 percent of the riders are all over the road," he says. "I have no problem with the police pulling over riders who break the law." But what happens all too often, according to Knox, is that a deputy sees a bunch of bicyclists run a stop sign, then pulls over the entire pack somewhere down the road and gives out tickets indiscriminately.
People on both sides of the conflict offer varying solutions. One is to widen the shoulder of the roads to six to eight feet. Another is to require bicycles to have license plates, and a third suggests police escorts for the Bustop Ride. Most recently, three Colorado cycling groups proposed closing off a 1.1-mile block of Boulder's streets once a week for races. So far, none of these seem likely to happen anytime in the near future.
Standing outside the Hygiene Cafe, farmer Russell Zweck echoes what those on both sides of the issue have said: "People have to learn to live with each other." As he finishes speaking, three spandexed bicyclists cruise past the Hygiene stop sign.
"Now look at that," he quickly adds. "There go three of the sons of bitches right there!"