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TrainingPeaks founder's video nabs driver

Published September 19, 2012

LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN) — Coach and cycling software developer Dirk Friel's video of a driver who tailed him and a partner on a road ride recently led to the driver being cited for several traffic violations.

Friel's video (below) went viral on YouTube; it's received 125,000 views so far. It shows a driver following Friel and a training partner on a rural two-lane road. The driver refused to pass, although the pair were riding singlefile near the edge of the pavement. Instead, the driver continually honked his horn. The video lasts two minutes, but the driver was tailing the pair for about a minute before Friel began recording with his iPhone.

On Wednesday the Colorado State Patrol said it had identified the driver as James Ernst, 75, of Erie, Colorado. He was ticketed for two counts of misdemeanor harassment, impeding the flow of traffic, and improper use of a horn or warning, according to Boulder's Daily Camera newspaper.

Friel co-founded Peaksware, the maker of the TrainingPeaks training software.  He is a former professional racer and continues to coach several top professionals. 

"I'm happy they were able to find (Ernst), and maybe something like this won't happen again with him," Friel, who is at Interbike this week, told BRAIN Wednesday.

Friel, who raced Het Volk and other tough Belgian one-day races as a professional, obviously has excellent handling skills. He said the situation could have rattled less experienced riders. 

"I wouldn't want that to happen to my mother, who is 70 and rides a bike every day in Boulder," Friel said. "There shouldn't be this kind of hindrance to anyone who wants to ride and live a healthy lifestyle."

Friel said viewers of the video on YouTube contacted the police, asking them to investigate. The investigation started when Friel called the State Patrol.

"They were waiting for us to call them," he said. Another rider who had a similar experience with a driver who may have been the same one in the video also came forward, Friel said.

He said the investigators were very receptive to pursuing the case. "It was exactly what you'd want from a cyclist's point of view." 

Friel has turned on YouTube's advertising function on the video and said he will donate any revenue to Bicycle Colorado, a statewide advocacy group.

Topics associated with this article: People, Interbike

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