Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Yesterday morning was very crisp and frosty. The previous night had been clear, not overcast, so the temperature was quite low. Fun for riding because you get that crunchy hissing sound when you ride over frost.

Anyway, I was riding along and I saw a car approaching from the left on a cross-street about half a block ahead. It stopped at the stop sign (weeeeeeelllllll, rolling stop) and then made several little tentative moves forward. I moved a little to the left just to make sure that the driver would have a really good chance to see me. Just as I get there, though, the car jolts forward and makes a left turn, almost right into me. I had to swerve to the right to avoid a collision.

I was a little ticked off. How could this driver not have seen me? Or did they see me and turn anyway? That would not have surprised me. Then I noticed the windows on the right side of the car; the side closest to me, and the side the driver would have been looking through to make sure the path was clear for the left turn. The windows of the front and rear passenger doors were completely covered in opaque white frost. The rear window was not much better.

You can't make this sh*t up. Would you drive around with your eyes closed? Would you drive around with garbage bags taped over most of your car's windows?

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Monday, February 26, 2007

Battle of Wits

The situation: I'm riding home along a two-way street (westbound) approaching a red light with no one in front of me. The cross street is one-way street (northbound). So I stop in the left side of my lane to allow any cars behind me to turn right on the red light. Pretty courteous, eh?

I hear a car sidle up beside/behind me and look back to see if it has its signal light on. By the way, it was a black SUV. If it had had its turn signal on, I would have indicated that it should go ahead and turn right. But its signal light is not on. My rule of thumb is that an activated signal light can generally be trusted (that is, they're probably going to turn) but a lack of a signal cannot be trusted (that is, who the h*ll knows where that car is going?).

Anyway, my light changes to green and I start going. Not to brag, but I accelerated pretty quickly. I hadn't really geared down before stopping, my backpack was half-empty, and I had a lot of energy for some unknown reason. So I was already half way through the next block when the SUV buzzed me about a foot to my left with its big manly engine roaring etc. Then it slammed on its brakes because, surprise, the next traffic light was red.

What is a fella to do? I'll tell you what I did. Without really thinking I pulled up on this guy's right side and knocked on his passenger window. Then I made the anachronistic "roll your window down" motion. The driver obediently followed my instructions.

Me (surprisingly calm): You didn't have to do that.
Him (spitting with rage, pitiful really): YoU were In my WAY!
Me: Where do you want me to ride, the sidewalk? I'm allowed on the road, you know!
Him: You're supposed to ride on the RIGHT!
Me: (silent, but with a dismissive "whatever" type look on my face).

Presently the light turns green. I didn't have all night to argue with this guy. I wanted to go home. So it was at this point that I deployed my famous (in certain circles!) wit. I'll tell you now, my intention was to flummox this mouth-breather. To leave him speechless and instantly aware not only of his total defeat in the matter at hand, but also of the bleak futility of even trying to marshal a response.

Me: Go F*CK yourself!

Slam dunk, right? Mission Accomplished? You'd think so. But I had made a fatal mistake in this Battle of Wits. I had underestimated my opponent. I knew I had played the ultimate trump card (coincidentally that is the phrase I yell as I slam down the Right Bower when playing Euchre). But incredibly this guy found something that beats the ultimate trump card. As he made a right turn:

Him: Go F*CK yourself!

Since I was turning left and I was almost home, I decided not to chase him. This battle was over. There is nothing at that anonymous and ordinary intersection to commemorate the night these two cagey adversaries joined in feirce mental combat. And if there were any witnesses and anyone cared to ask their opinion, they might be heard to say, with grudging respect and, yes, even awe: those idiots should run for city council.

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Another Cycling Anecdote

This took place before Christmas but I have not posted it until now. Not for any particular reason, since it's not a sensational story or anything.

I was coming down Cypress and was passed by a guy on a yellow racing bike who was wearing a matching yellow spandex/lycra (?) outfit. Of course I caught up to him at every major intersection.

He also passed a woman on one of those electric assist bicycles. Now she was going pretty slow, but I did not pass her because I knew that we would all catch up to each other at 16th, 12th, Broadway, 4th, etc. So at 12th I talked to her a bit about the electric assist bicycle. She says that it is great on hills but everybody passes her on flat sections. Before I passed her on the next flat section I told her that there would always be another hill coming up for her to catch up...

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