Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'm Trying To Save Your Life, Asshole

I rode home tonight in a strong thunderstorm. Each raindrop was a fluid ounce. Traction and visibility were out of the question. The bike lane, a place that begs—and renders—constant hazard, is especially dangerous in conditions like this. Motorists are agitated, and they keep whipping in and out of the protected lane, as if to peek around gridlock traffic. Some even squeeze through and speed past their less audacious counterparts. There were big dirty raindrops in my eyes and I couldn't help but feel a little endangered. One car barged in, braking inches from my revolving shins. I shouted. The window rolled down and a kind-eyed older man said, with apparent remorse, "I'm sorry!" I glared. I think I said, "You're gonna kill somebody," or some PG admonition like that (I have tried to stopped cursing on the road) and rode on. He yelled after me, over the din of the rain and traffic, a vitriolic "Fuck You!" His mock remorse didn't instantly earn him a pardon, so he gave it up and reverted back to blind rage.

It reminded me of a story I just read about an off-duty firefighter who shot a cyclist in the head because he thought the biker was endangering himself. Amazingly the victim was unharmed (wear your helmets, kids).

I think the message here is, "If you don't acknowledge I'm looking out for your best interests, I'm going to kill you."

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Courtesy, Professionalism, & Respect

I went for a long bike ride on Sunday.

By "long" I mean 40 miles; I am working up to a century. I like the idea of pedaling every last inch of 100 miles.

I left my house in Brooklyn at 7am to avoid the crowds, but ended up running into the New York City Triathlon on 96th street and Riverside Park. The participants were just emerging from the water and running, dripping, barefoot, to their bikes. I heard one ask as he ran, "Did you feel a current? I like, didn't feel any fuckin' current at all!"

My intended route was totally blocked by wet running people, orange temporary fencing, and otiose police officers. I asked one of the officers, "Excuse me, do you know how far up the path is blocked?"

He said, "How the fuck did you get here?"

I said, "On my bike."

He said. "Oh, we got a smart ass here."

So I biked off in the opposite direction and found my own way.