Thursday, October 04, 2007

Fun with cagers

Yesterday, I had a nice, pleasant ride home with the exception of crossing 67th street on the Turkey Creek Trail. All along the trail, road crossings are garnished with signs in the middle of the road with a stop sign saying "Stop for pedestrians in crosswalk" or something. These signs are almost universally ignored by motorists, who charge onward with cavalier abandon. One guy, though, knew exactly what he was doing. Westbound traffic stopped for me, and I entered the intersection. This usually gets the attention of eastbound traffic and they stop as well. A guy in a red pickup had other plans. With no intention of stopping, I raised my hands in a "what the hell?!" kind of fashion, to which he greeted me with the fickle finger of fate. As he passed, I yelled "you too, pal!" and he screeched on his brakes. I sealed the deal with "The stop sign was back here!" then carried on down the trail as he revved angrily and took off with a bark of the tires.

I usually dismiss such asshattery silently, but it felt good to let loose. More ironic is the fact that he then got stopped by a train because of his little display. Hope that 5 seconds you saved by illegally skating that crossing was worth the 5 minute delay to your day, numbskull! This was definitely a textbook cager (reckless or antagonistic motor vehicle operator that poses a threat to smaller vehicles, namely motorcycles and bicycles.)

Looking back, I guess the crossing of 67th street wasn't bad. I'll remember it with a smile for weeks to come. All in all, I made it back home pretty quick.

This morning, I was really, really tired and a little bit sore. By the time I get home tonight, I will have ridden the same number of round trips by bike this week as I'd ridden all of last month. My laziness in September is really hurting me this month. I haven't ached after 3 days of commuting in a long time. Despite my fatigue, I slipped out the door on time for a change thanks to the fact that I actually got all my stuff together last night. I also made it to work in a reasonable amount of time. For some reason, everything downtown was in my favor. The traffic patterns and the traffic signals gave me safe and solo passage all the way from the brewery to deep within the downtown loop. There were just as many cars as usual, they were just two traffic lights behind me the whole time, which was a bit odd. The signals stayed green just long enough for me to slip through ahead of everyone else, too.

Tomorrow, my boss is taking my security team (myself and two others) out to lunch somewhere out by Kansas Speedway, and tomorrow was already going to be frantic. The lunch is a good 15 miles from work, and almost 20 miles from home. There's no good way to bike to there, or bike home from there. In fact, I'd be forced to ride on a state highway with 55 MPH limits (70+ MPH traffic) and at-grade intersections for a few miles simply to get back across the Kansas river to have any hope of getting home. To make matters more complicated, I am making my monthly pilgrimage to the Maul tomorrow evening. I can hitch a ride to lunch with a co-worker. Getting to work and getting home from lunch will be interesting. We aren't coming back to work after lunch -- instead, it will be a "team building" outing.

I can't bring the bike to work, because my co-worker's Saturn won't hold it. I'll probably walk to the Maul (where the bus stop is) and catch the express bus. alternatively, I could take my hybrid and lock it up at the Maul and just pick it up when I get back down there tomorrow evening.

Then, there's the issue of getting home. It's *SORT OF* on the way to my co-worker's place, so perhaps I can catch a ride back with him as well. My wife was going to drive out there and pick me up after having some fun with me at Dave & Buster's since it's right close to where I'll be for lunch anyways, but she expressed a lack of interest in that option yesterday night. Gah. I'll hash this all out today.

Random Tunage:
The Act - Something about you


Anonymous said...

Hi Noah,

I know it feels so good to let loose sometimes, but this particular cager is now wound up just a little tighter for the next cyclist he encounters.

Not a criticism of you (Lord knows we've all been there in that situation), just a speculation on possible consequences.

Should cyclists always play Gandhi in these situations? I honestly don't know; historically, no marginalized minority ever got its rights handed to them by being meek and playing nice.

Enjoy your blog - keep blogging & commuting.

Best regards, Eric in Santa Clara, CA

Noah said...

Thanks or the comments. I usually do "play Ghandi" (or whatever you want to call it) when these situations arise. Fortunately, they're usually sparse. I take what's rightfully mine (the lane, when I'm able) and I ride predictably. Riding the gutter and darting out into the lane to avoid a gnarly pothole doesn't help. I simply let them pass me in the other lane and everything is usually alright. Sure, people yell stuff at me. It's hard to understand what's said, so I usually pretend they're cheering me on.

This guy knew darn well what he was doing, and I don't care if I bumped his temper up a bit. For all he knows, he bumped my temper up a bit and the next jackass motorist is going to get their window smashed in with a U-lock no thanks to him.

Was it the right thing to do? Certainly not. Oh well.

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