He's ok if he's not the fastest on the block, but that doesn't lead him to treat cycling like an adult kickball league as so many do. Cycling is important. It's ok to train for it. It's ok to want to be faster, because that's actually more fun than sucking completely. At the same time, being fast doesn't make you better than anyone else, and he knows that, too.
Friday, July 19, 2013
I'm no Bill Strickland*
So I was out for nice a Friday evening spin. Just a quick hour to wash off the work week and prep for the weekend. Riding down Leeds road, a generally speaking not busy road, I heard him coming. He honked at me, and as I crested the hill, he ran up really close to my rear wheel. Close enough that I knew he was driving an older Cadillac.
The road turned down hill, and I was going about 35 as it twisted down close to the Big Elk River. The speed limit is 25 on this section, but I could hear my guy just off my back wheel, and honking...
The road flattened out and the classic caddy came around to pass me. There was no one else on the road except he and I. Of course he passed close to me, and was foaming at the mouth screaming at me as he drew parallel to me. As he passed, I sat up and took my hands off the bars throwing them in the air. "Really, Dude!" I yelled.
The Cadillac slammed on the brakes in front of me, I quickly put my hands on the bars, and swerved up along side my new friend, who had put down his window at this point.
Calmly, I said to him, "So when you kill me, are you going to be able to look my wife in the eye, and tell her you were in a hurry? How's your life going to be then?"
He was fuming. His face was beat red. He was furious as he shouted at me," YOU FUCKING PIECE OF SHIT. YOU DON'T BELONG..."
Calmly, I said to him, "Sir, you're wrong I do belong, read the law. You have to give me 3 feet to pass in Maryland, it's the law."
"FUCK YOU" he screamed at me as he started to open his door.
I stayed calm, but with purpose I said, "Yeah, go ahead and get out of the car."
At this point one of two things happened. One, the angry driver who was frankly stuffed pretty tightly into his car, realized how much effort it would be for him to get his ass out of the car. Or Two, I'll admit I can have a pretty menacing voice when need be, perhaps he reconsidered my invitation to dance.
Either way, I'm glad he didn't get out of the car, because god knows how that story ends.
"GOD DAMN IT!!!" the angry driver screamed, as he pounded on his steering wheel and he stood on the accelerator and drove away quickly.
The last ten miles of the ride my mind was racing. I was listened for the sound of that classic Cadillac running back to find me, and take me out. Conspiracy theories ran wild as I worked my way home. Shit, this is Cecil County, he's probably getting his freakin' gun. I tried to spin calmly and respect the goal of the ride, and who am I kidding: JUST GET HOME.
At the end of they day, the exchange didn't go well. Maybe I hoped if the angry guy realized I was a human, not just something in his way, he'd get it a bit. There wasn't any reason for our exchange. Frankly, it totally ruined my ride. My guess is it didn't make his day either. I am happy to be alive.
I would like to think that when angry man calms down he'll say, " you know hitting that guy would totally ruin my life." or maybe that when he tells the story of our exchange, his audience might say "you know if you killed a cyclist, it would ruin your life..." But I also know that's probably a pipe dream. I just hope I didn't make things worse for the next cyclist this guy sees on the road.
Hindsight is 20/20, why didn't I pull out my phone and get a picture, or memorize his licence plate, other than being a historic Caddy from Maryland, and the driver being large and missing a few teeth...
Fuck, here's an idea, what if he had just given me some space or passed me legally?
be safe out there folks, be safe.
title reference here.