What is it about Mondays?
Last Monday, we were on a group ride when a car pulled up beside us and a lady within said, “Y’all are gonna get killed.”
Now, I don’t know if the was a threat, a prediction or a friendly warning, but as the car pulled away it was followed by waves and cries of “Thank you! Have a nice day!” (A 2000 lb beast is much bigger than a bicycle and, as a consequence, inertia is not on our side, so let’s be nice out there.”
Now it is true that the road is not a place where never is heard a discouraging word, and all of the “Have a nice day’s” were followed by a single discouraging word, but I think the car was too far away by that time for the word to have been heard.
Today, I commuted in to work. I had some errands to run on my lunch break, which I was in the process of doing – climbing a long hill with the temperature in the mideighties and the humidity unpleasantly high when I saw a pedestrian ahead of me. We were both obeying the law, so we were on the same side of the road headed in opposite directions. I glance behind me – clear, so I pulled out to go around him. I nodded at him, and he said, “You’re about to get hit bro’.”
Now, the look on his face and the tone of his voice indicated to me that he was merely giving me a friendly warning. There was no car behind me, so he clearly didn’t mean “right now,” though.
Is this sort of thing going to happen to me every Monday?
A little ahead, still recovering from the hill, I saw a sign that said, “Begin 35 1000 feet ahead.”
“I hope that’s not a command.”
Well, it’s hard to be clever when you’re as hot as I was and have just climbed a hill.
Actually, despite nearly being plastered by a pickup truck and being told I was about to get hit, today has been a pretty good riding day. If I hadn’t commuted, I wouldn’t have gotten any saddle time at all, and here I got six miles to work, three miles to where my errands were, three miles back to work, and I’ll get six miles back home later on today.
Thinking about this, I was struck with how differently cyclists view the road from other people. A friend was aghast that I was riding my bike to work because it was “such a long way.” I explained that I viewed six miles as a short way, but I think we had to agree to disagree on that one.
There’s a spot on the road I was riding where the shoulder shrinks from two feet wide to less than two inches wide. I remember approaching that spot in the 2000 lb beast and spotting a cyclist ahead of me. There was enough room to pass, but I knew from personal experience how unpleasant it is when a car passes you at that point, so I waited and passed at a better spot. I knew the road and did it without thinking about it much.
It occurs to me that the road would be a nicer place if drivers were forced to ride the roads on a bike for awhile so that they would have the right perspective on things.
Anyway, later in the day I met the cyclist who turned out to be someone I knew and who had recognized my car. She thanked me for what I had done.
There’s a moral in there somewhere.
See you on the road.