instant gramming

August 20, 2008


On my ride to work this morning, two men in a pickup truck yelled at me to "Get off the road!" as they passed while revving the engine. As loud as I could, just short of cupping my hand around my mouth in appropriate bullhorn fashion, I responded "Fuck you!" It appeared as if they had then entered into a lively discussion about cyclists' disregard for the rights of motor vehicles, affirming their correctness and moral duty to remind me of where bikes don't belong. I recall shaking my fist in the air in a comical, grumpy-old-man sort of way, but I don't think that really happened. I was really hoping the stop-light ahead of us would have turned red so that I could pass and give them an angry look, or to offer them a brief lesson on Ohio roadway legislation; although, I never think "on my feet," as they say, and the whole incident might have escalated into fisticuffs. Almost simultaneously (but unrelated to the ignorant hecklers) I heard a succinct "POOF!" underneath me and concluded I ran over some trash that usually lines the margins of the road. About 100 feet later my deflated front tire sounded the buzzing moan that characterizes the resistance of flabby rubber on pavement. Fortunately, my commute to the office is a short one (~1.5 mi) and I was already two-thirds of the way there. So, I walked. I regret not having a spare tube with me--and I look forward to being better prepared next time, especially if I find myself much further from my destination, down a creek without a paddle, or up a creek with a bike instead of a boat, or whatever...

I've decided not to interpret the flat as karma; a supernatural sign that I shouldn't curse loudly in public or shouldn't respond to ignorance with anger and ill-will. Instead, I've chalked it up to out-of-the-ordinary obstacles trying to derail my enjoyment of biking that add up to an eventful morning before a mundane day at the office.

By the way, cyclists are allowed to be on the road and are allowed to claim the full width of the lane as necessary for safety in certain situations. In some (if not most) cities, bicycles are legally obligated to be ridden on the road, as it has been proven that biking on sidewalks is generally unsafe.

1 comment:

  1. Cyclists should be REQUIRED to ride on the road. Passing/riding on the sidewalk with pedestrians is dangerous/annoying/frustrating for the walker and the rider.
    One event that happened to us (involving ignorance much like your flat tire situation) a biker (helmet, gear, serious biker) on the road riding along while a stupid driver yells out the window, "get on the sidewalk, you stupid idiot" or something to that regard. Dumb!