Monday, April 21, 2008

Bikes out, so are the idiots, and I have road rage

Bikes out, so are the idiots, and I have road rage

Well, well, we've finally had a few weather days worthy of saddling up and I am happy to say that I didn't puke on my first great ascent, although I sure as heck felt like it. It was an awful stroke of reality, that near puke, as I was not riding over some mountain or even up some mountain worthy of the heaves, but rather some stinking (central) Iowa roller with a cross wind that made standing up incredibly difficult. Details. Excuses. Call them what you will. I have a ways to go.

But then, we all have a ways to go when it comes to our collective fitness at this early stage of the season no matter where our geographic location may be. So while my former Washington riding buddies are thowing down another can of cold Rainier at the top of Galbraith or stopping for a microbrew in Bow over the top of Chuckanut Pass, I will get my yucks elsewhere. When I figure out where, I will be sure and let you know, but all signs say Woodward at Mr. C's... which is another story for another day.

In the meantime, I plan to bitch about how increbibly ignorant and clueless Iowa drivers seem to be when it comes to bikes. I will give you that after a long cold winter it takes some time to train the general population on actually seeing bicycles, and this generally comes with some practice. The weather gets warmer, more people ride and the behavior tends to improve. But cripes, I was run off the road and onto the shoulder twice in one ride yesterday...and needless to say it's not because it was a long ride. It was also perfectly open road. A highway. Sun high in the sky. And no cars coming in any other direction. In fact both times, there were no cars in any direction as far as I could see aside from the one trying to kill me.

A little road etiquitte for you: if there are no oncoming cars on a two lane highway, there is no law, rule or other asinine reason suggesting you drive by me on my bike at 80 mph in your car or oversized truck and your way by scrape off my handlebar tape. Two lanes, two modes of transportation--that's one lane for me and one for you. SHARE. Or heck, I don't take up much space, tend to ride on the white line on the side of the highway, please just move over enough so that the backdraft doesn't suck me off my seat as you speed by. And one more thing, if you are so inclined to honk, make cat calls, obscene gestures, hang out the window, wave furiously, or whistle while you drive by, hang on to the goddamned steering wheel. I can assure you I look better on my saddle than I look as a hood ornament.

After my second foray into the muck that was called a shoulder and nearly catapulting over my handlebars (but recovering with grace, flipping the asswipe off, and not even clicking out) I decided perhaps it might be a good idea to live to see Monday (although I am not sure why in retrospect). I rolled back into town and decided to hit the trail back from the ISU Research Park through the Vet College, across campus and through Brookside Park. Some idea that was.
The trails were busy yesterday and while the bulk of those frequenting them were adhering to the basics, there were a few particularly annoying people I met along the way:

1. A gaggle of four sorority sisters (and I know they were sorority sisters because they were wearing identifying t-shirts--so cute!) speedwalking hip to hip who refused to break stride and make room for oncoming traffic. To you: next time I will ride right through the middle of your "event" and THEN I will laugh and laugh as I run YOU off the trail. And then I will make your daddy buy me a new bike.

2. A person LAYING DOWN on the trail along the mighty Skunk. To you: I understand the river was hypnotizing yesterday especially near the dam but for god's sake...laying down, and on a curve? To you: next time I will ride my Kona and I will ride right over you. And as you examine the tread marks I leave on your face I will speed off and chalk up your idiocy to Darwinism.

3. Two college aged male rollerbladers (seriously, didn't rollerblading die in the 80's?) gawking at the teenaged skateboarders at the Skate Park and taking up the entire trail. I hit the brakes, and while approaching yell "bike on your left."

Rollerblader number one turns, looks at me with an expressionless blank stare. Rollerblader number two turns, looks at me with an expressionless blank stare.

I yell, "bike on your left."

Rollerblader two moves right. Sweet. One down, one to go.

I yell again, "bike on your left."

Insert stupid blank stare...the smarter of my two rollerblader friends says, "DUDE, move over!" and then in slow motion the less smart of my two rollerblader friends JUMPS directly in front of my bike, which is already off the trail and now the street because my stupid rollerblader friend has indeed moved but he's jumped even further into my path.

To you: you are an idiot and deserve to fall and break your wrist. And I am fairly certain that when I tell you that you are an idiot at the moment when you leap in front of my bike and force me onto the road or into your groin that immediately thereafter you are not going to catch me with all your gangly arms flailing when you try yell obscenities and skate after me telling me you are going to knock me off my bike. Again, to you: you are a complete idiot.

It's Biker Road Rage.

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