I spent a good amount of this holiday weekend on my bike. I did a 70 mile ride on Saturday and some round-town stuff today. I don’t know if it’s the holiday weekend or whatever, but the jackass ratio was through the friggin’ roof. It’s enough that I am now starting to understand the near-rabid hatred that hardcore cyclists can have for cagers and the world in general. I’m feeling the call of the Dark Side, in other words, and I hate it. I’m a happy, nice guy with a good life… I don’t want to be a stereotypical angry cyclist nutjob. But I’m being driven (literally) to it…
Saturday started off nice enough, did a new route from Ventura over to Santa Paula, then up to Ojai and returning to Santa Barbara (got a ride down there from a friend who would be driving back). Things went well enough overall until I parted ways with my riding partners at Ojai, where I’d be returning solo to Santa Barbara. On the long fast downhill descent from the Casitas Pass, I was tailgated by some maniac in a red pickup truck who then proceeded to pass me as we both headed into a blind corner. The car behind him honked for such suicidal insanity and of course I was freaked out… there’d have been no way for me to avoid being involved in the collision or being taken out as he swerved to avoid oncoming traffic.
I fumed over that for a good 15 miles (helped me ignore the 15mph headwind), then as I was on another downhill section coming into Summerland, a large silver Chevy pickup pulled out of a store’s driveway right in front of me. I was able to brake in time, but was pissed. The guy clearly wasn’t paying any attention. I got up alongside and told him to roll down his window.
Me: “Do you realize you pulled out right in front of me when you came out of Cantwell’s?”
Him (chatting on cellphone): “Uh, no…?”
Me: “Ah, didn’t see me, huh?”
Him (getting annoyed at being called out): “No…”
He tries to speed up and blow me off, but he’s stuck in traffic coming up to a stop sign.
Me (loudly as he’s trying to pull away): “Maybe you should HANG UP AND DRIVE!!!”
I admit it, I lost it. I felt like shit after saying it because I’m sure he just blew it off as some “asshole cyclist” who should just grow up and drive a Chevy Silverado like a real man. Whatever.
Anyways, few miles after that, I’m back in Santa Barbara, in a bike lane and just a few miles away from my final destination. Come up on a man & woman couple, recreational riders who were clearly not particularly experienced, though they were both on road bikes. Just as I start to pass them on the left they both turn left. Back on the brakes. It was getting so routine now… the girl said “Sorry!” and I just replied “Might want to signal next time.”
This evening, after a nice day out with the boys in the kiddie trailer, I’m riding home with my wife up State Street and some goofball waiting at the bus stop says “You know how to gig? Apparently Not… Later Mandell” I just ignored him… but fuck, I mean come on, if you want to talk shit and/or pick a fight, don’t do it with the guy pulling the kiddie trailer. I don’t have time for that shit, got diapers to change.
So it was a full weekend of jackassery on the high seas. I felt like I took one long step closer to becoming one of those cyclists who snaps one day, lifts his bike up over his head and charges a car. Sweet jesus, help me turn the other cheek!!