Thursday, July 31, 2008

Exciting! Drama! On Your Left!

This was originally written on 7/31, but Blogger was on the fritz and wouldn't let me post it. Here it is, a few days late.

So, how's everyone doing? I've been keeping up on your blogs (for those who've commented here and have a blogger profile that links to such) so it sounds like everyone's doing quite well. Congrats to Jason for damn near doubling the amount of miles I got this month, all the while driving your car ZERO times in July. Crazy guy. That's an awesome achievement.

I've had a pretty exciting day.

I went ahead and took the bus to work, like I have been for a while. 5.5 miles every day. Blah. But you know what? I feasted upon beans, rice, pasta, and cheaptastic food for the last week. I spent a mere pittance on survival. And today was pay day. I got the plane ticket for the convention I am going to. My wife and I still need to survive till next payday, and the budget will be kind of tight, but we're in the clear for the most part.

This afternoon, the bug bit me. I had to ride all the way home. The temperatures were in the 80s, which seems pretty cool given some recent hot days. The wind wasn't bad. The air was calling to me to ride. I caught up with Karen by the brewery. She got back from RAGBRAI and has been riding solo the past few days while I take the bus. My cameraphone takes some pretty trippy motion pics:

I got home and the legs were still itching for some miles. I couldn't hold back. No, I had to do the Brookside Ride. I got there plenty early and tested out the PDA I'm planning on using at the convention. It works fine.

It was kind of funny, a stretch of road buried in Mission Hills was torn up for resurfacing. A lot of the riders took it pretty slow, Some of us (like me, with 32mm tires) just kept rolling right along. For me, that meant something in the neighborhood of 12-15 MPH -- I'm NOT fast. All the people who didn't bother slowing down went very wide around the slower folks, who were pretty much sticking near the right gutter. When we got to the first re-group, one lady began scolding every last one of those (me, too) who passed her without an "on your left!" Sorry, I don't think warning is needed when you're passing with a 10-foot berth and at a speed differential of 5 MPH.

I laughed. One of the roadies took it pretty personally, and it almost came to fisticuffs. Eff-Bombs a-plenty, finger pointing and beating of chests. I kept laughing. I almost apologized to the lady after getting scolded, but as I was riding over to her, all hell broke loose and I really didn't feel like getting in her crosshairs. "If you can't follow the ettiquite, don't come on this ride!"

I'll tell you what. If proper ettiquite for the ride is all about picking fights and calling people names, perhaps I *wont* go on that ride. Way to lead by example, curmudgeonly lady. My new troll, "Weston" is going to comment on this, as it's a great example of how I belittle people who are not me. Watch the comments. If you haven't seen his work, it's second to...well, okay. It's snarky, full of misinformation and easy to dismiss, but still good for a chuckle.

I somehow got tangled up between two group rides. On Thursday, the Brookside ride and the Blue Moose ride both cruise a lot of the same roads. The Blue Moose crowd is usually made of riders much faster than I -- or most of the Brooksiders for that matter. I ended up following some Blue Moose stragglers (the slow ones that I could keep up with) back to their start point. That's fine with me, because Prairie Village is closer to home than Brookside. I chatted with JCBC's president (who leads that ride) for a while, then went along my merry way.

Somewhere just past 85th street on Santa Fe Drive, a 1990's Blue Ford Explorer decided to ride my ass while laying on the horn. I chortled merrily without looking back, and pointed to the desolate left lane, where no one was driving. The klaxon remained engaged. After about a whole minute of constant horn, the motorist pulled alongside me, driving between the lanes. Horn is still wailing. I finally paid him a courtesy glance to see what in the world could be so important as to warrant nearly two minutes of honking. The man, was pointing to something. me? No. Well, kind of. I kept my line and began formulating this very part of my blog post in my mind, JUST for Weston.

Oh yes, much loathing of another person who is conveniently NOT me was happening again. It's an epidemic, I swear. Then, I started to get crowded between the SUV and the curb. This had gone from an entertaining but annoying motorist to a dangerous and malevolent one. Once stopped, I was called all sorts of names and understood the word "sidewalk" through a very thick accent that I can't place. "Do you have a driver's licence? Did you read the state handbook? I am supposed to use the road." I said calmly, pretty much at the same time as he continues to scream obscenities at me, now honking intermittently. The light turned green. I laughed. He kept ranting.

Eventually, a few people behind us honked, and he took off, cutting over as if to get in my way. I wasn't going anywhere until he'd gotten past me. Big surprise: he went straight for the liquor store, and I was already on the phone with 911. One Overland Park Police station basically shares a parking lot with that strip mall. I was informed to come to the station since talking to an officer directly would be easier. Before I rode there, I got a good snapshot of his vehicle. I wish I would have thought to stop and show that it was parked at the liquor store.

Anyhow, one police report filed. He'll get a visit from someone tomorrow. If he's stupid enough to admit he harassed me, he'll get cited for road rage. Either way, he'll be briefed first-hand on Kansas laws by an officer, and that's all I really want. It WOULD be epic if this guy said "Yes, that moron was on the road, I kept honking..." to the officer. I'll keep an eye on the case number. :)

No harm done at all, and I was ready to hop up on the curb if I had to. I just don't feel like being victimized anymore. One broken face is enough. Rather than flex my vocal cords or retaliate, I'll just keep letting the boys in blue do their jobs.

I wrapped up today with a little more than 50 miles. And I feel a lot better. I'll probably ride to and from work tomorrow, since it's the first friday of the month. That means it's 2600 time at "The Maul" - We gotta get our geek on!


Jennifer said...

Must be nice to have the police on your side.

Dan said...

That's a great way to handle an idiot like that. Sounds like he has some aggression issues.

Chuong Doan said...

Dude I was wondering why the hell she was yelling at him in the church lot. Some people are really cranky about getting passed. I think if you can't ride straight without getting overtaken at 12 mph then you are the one who needs to stay away from group rides. Man this "on your left" shit is for the bird.

mark said...

Noah, good for you for checkin' in with the cops. Lots of law enforcement types can identify with cyclists, their are a surprising amount of O.P., Lenexa, Shawnee and JOSheriffs that ride.
I think the 'on your left' bit is situational myself. It's a courtesy for sure, but based on your description of the 'incident' didn't sound critical. We might hear a bell in Europe when being overtaken at a slower speed, but mostly people just flow and try to be flexible. I think American may still be in our 'uptight' phase of bicycling. Road anxiety.

amidnightrider said...

That poor woman may have just graduated from one of those "Urban Bike" courses.

Apertome said...

Sometimes I'll say "On your left" or whatever is appropriate, but a lot of times when I do that, people turn to look and end up in my way. Sometimes it's better just to pass them, if they seem to be holding their line. It's weird that lady was being so anal about that.

I'm glad you called the cops on that aggressive motorist. Hopefully something will come of that.

Those action shots with your cell phone are crazy. There's some kinda time warp going on there.

Jason said...

Must be the heat!

The Unabashed Blogger said...

Glad to hear you were able to capture all the information and that something will be done about your overly excited motorist. Last time I did that the local PD stated there was nothing they could do but have me fill our a report that wasn't going to do anything but be a legal document that something happened. I'm not in this for revenge or spite. I only want education...from someone they will listen to...who typically is not me. Imagine that.

Anonymous said...

I had a similar situation occur last Thursday on my ride in the morning (check my blog for details). I was incredulous as this was the first time I experienced an indignant driver since becoming a bicycle commuter.

Noah said...

Apertome: Article on about distorted iPhone Photos. Essentially though, any scanning camera will produce this effect, from low-tech Slit-Scan Photography/Cinematography to the scanning CMOS camera in my LG Chocolate, the iPhone or cheap toy-aisle digicams.

Warren T said...


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