Sunday, June 7, 2015

Never Trust A Stranger on a Bicycle

The following incident was totally my fault.  Mary said it 2 miles earlier, Sundays are bad days to ride because the trails are full of "the less experienced, "newbies" and what I call nachwachts (literally new growths)."  But we were not on the trail.  We were on Ingersoll Ave heading to Joe & Tammy's yard sale.  The road.  The streets.  No room for novice error.  Full game on, sensors on maximum.

There were quite a few bikes out.  most were bunched up at the intersection of 15th and MLK waiting for the trail to pass.  We opted to continue to old Fleur and go over the train.  15th would be a madhouse once the train got out of the way.  Weaving our way to Ingersoll we stopped at the red light at the MLK intersection.

There were 2 bikes there when we arrived.  A man and a woman on roadies.  Just wait for the light to turn green and give the crowd a laugh as we positioned for the narrow bike lane.  Then they were off.  Raise foot off pavement, shove off and click into the pedal and be grateful that I remembered to downshift before stopping.  While I was doing this I was watching the woman struggle on her white bike.  A little wobbly, rat trap pedals and starting in big ring.  I bet knee doctors love people like her.  She was half way across when she got her shit together and commenced forward with confidence.  That's when I looked up.

The light was red.  I am halfway through the intersection during a red light.  There are lots of cars stopped to my right and to my left most likely behind the white line.  No one is honking.  No one is pulling up waiting for our candy asses to get out of the right of way.  Perhaps it was a turn light that nobody needed so it was like everyone has a red light except for the 3 criminals on bicycles who just  dropped their pants and said "KISS MY ASS, CAGERS!" or "ANARCHY!!!"  I felt both ashamed and angry.  Dropped my head and finished crossing MLK.

I was livid.  How dare they?  All my friends and I fight so hard to do, change perception of bicyclists ruined in 20 seconds of free for all.  And why was I not paying attention to the light?  Clear throat and prepare for the blast of pain that yelling was going to cause.  I'm sick.  Bronchitis.  I should be at home in the a/c drinking lots of fluids and resting.  Instead I think I can ride despite lacking 40% of my power.  Keep the oxygen intake low to prevent the throat and bronchial tubes from experiencing that sandblaster feeling.

"Mary, was that light red?"
"Fuck.  Fuckers!"

I don't know if they heard me.  Hard to compete with all the other noise.  I can barely raise my voice today anyway.  Decision time.  Do a redline burn to catch up and ask them again or save that energy to climb Ingersoll at a respectable speed pain free.  Let them go.  A few intersections later they were in the middle of the road doing something stupid or turning.  Let karma have the day.

I wonder how many times this happens.  Sitting at a light and then crossing the intersection only because the vehicle in front moved.  Pay attention.

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