Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Share the Road. Damn it.

So, I got flipped off again.

It's amazing how often people flip you off on a bicycle. I've been flipped off, honked at, brushed by a car and even had someone shoot fireworks at me - just for riding my bike. Have you ever heard what the doppler effect does to the sound of a profanity as they scream out a car window at 55 mph? I am always amazed how angry people get at cyclist for doing nothing other than riding down the road. Just so you know, in Alabama, cyclists have all the rights of car.

I never see people flipping or yelling profanities at tractors, cotton trucks, or mobile homes moving down the road. Maybe they do and I'm just not around them enough to know? I know someone who hates the local marathon because she has to navigate the runners on her street. The marathon happens once a year - on a Saturday. Nobody flips off a funeral as it passes and everyone has to stop. Or do they? (Maybe only Alabamaians are the only folks left who still stop for funerals.)

Are we in such a hurry that we can't give a few seconds to someone on a bike? I'm out there busting my hump on my forty-second mile of a fifty mile ride and your screaming a profanity at me from your air-conditioned Honda on your way to WalMart to get more Swizzle Sticks to impress your girlfriend or to get that camo gun rack for your beat up pick-up? It's true, what's the hurry. It just takes a few more seconds to pass a cyclist safely.

I know I'm hyper-aware of the car-bike feud this year. Two friends died on their bikes this year. I think of Mike and Sharon on every ride. They were the kindest, funniest people you could ever meet. I think most cyclists are pretty good people, especially when they are riding. We're a happy lot when we're riding. It's what we like to do in out free time. I'll never understand the angst drivers feel toward cyclists.

My friend, Sharon, who was hit and killed by a truck on the Mini Coldwater ride in Tennessee, used to wave at people who flipped her off or yelled a profanity. If someone drove by and doppler-screamed, "Get your ------- --- of the road before I knock the ---- out of you and your bike!" Sharon would wave and say "Have a nice day." The perfect Turn The Other Cheek. I don't know if it made them crazy or they ever heard her, but it always made me feel good to hear her say "Have a nice day."

I, on the other hand, use the long miles to plot on how I will get even with flip-off cars and screaming jerks. I think how I'll catch up to the car and ring out my bike shorts' sweat all over the driver. I think of how I'll give them a good talking to through their rolled-up window. I think about packing my gun on my ride and shooting at the car as they pass. But where do you keep your gun when your wearing spandex? I thought about carrying a bottle of bees to throw into the window of the offending car. Carrying a bottle of bees around creates its own problems. Maybe I'll just collect some of the roadkill we pass on our rides in a bag and I can throw that at the offensive drivers. How much fun would it be to throw a rotting armadillo or festering possum through a car window?

Well, these are just the thoughts which drift through your mind as your ride your bike through the rolling countryside on a blue-sky day...and a passer by yells "Get off the road you mooooottttthhhhhheeeeerrrr fffffuuuu...........

Share the Road. Damn it.


MeilingM said...

I get _really_ upset when people don't even get all the way out of the lane to pass a cyclist. They wouldn't do that to a car!! And it's more dangerous for the cyclist! Ugh!!

AllisonGregg said...

Great post - serious, but funny! Wonderful visuals, too... gun and spandex! Great job.