Back in the Saddle Again (very long)

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Jim_F, Jun 16, 2003.

  1. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    Finally, I'm getting around to training for this year's bicycling vacation. I rode my bicycle for the 2nd ride in two days for the first time in a long time today. As soon as my sit bones got over the shock, I started thinking of making a "happy, happy, joy, joy" post here about overcoming inertia and ennui from family illness, 9/11, my previous accident, home improvements and all the other BS that I've allowed to controvert my motivation. Not to mention that three expert bicyclist clubmates of mine have passed in accidents within the past few years, two in car vs. solo bicycle collisions.

    However, I soon thereafter began encountering the bottom third of the driving school class.

    First up, I pulled up to an intersection, doing a semi-trackstand and a driver is sitting there at a green light, right turn signal blazing, weighing her options. Not knowing if she was aware of my presence, I implored her to GO!GO!GO! before she caught on.

    A few miles later, "safely" into an opulent older subdivision, I approach my left turn with arm extended, finger pointing. Motorist #2 rolls through a yield sign and is primed to pancake me until I greet her with WHOA!WHOA!WHOA!

    Motorist #3 was a very special driver. I'm riding past some parked cars (on a not-too-busy street) just far enough left not to get "doored" and Mr. 3 buzzes me with his shiny black pickup, closely following the car before him. My smart response would have been no response, but there he was, sitting in the left turn lane at the next light. I take a quick look, and he doesn't look like a mass murderer, more of a clean-cut working man, so I say "That was a little close, wasn't it?" Oh, maybe there was just the tiniest ring of condescension in my tone, but nothing really rude, I thought. He pulls on straight through the left turn lane, full of 'roid/road rage and follows me, pulls alongside screaming "Get out of the fuckin' street, motherfucker! Don't tell me what to fuckin' do!" By now I've got my common sense back and I just keep going.

    This was not somebody with whom I could reason. What, he doesn't want to grant me a few extra inches of space, so I should be dead? My family should have to bury me and only have his house and his truck to show for it? The fact is, it's illegal for adults to ride bicycles on sidewalks hereabouts (not that 20MPH travel would be viable there, anyway) and bicycling on unrestricted roads, unlike operating a motor vehicle, is a right, not a privilege. Also, the driving privilege is contingent upon, among other things, sharing the road with bicyclists. No, those things had to be left unsaid.

    In a more perfect world, I suppose I might have stopped and said, "I'm sorry we got off on the wrong foot sir. I was just requesting a little courtesy and perhaps didn't express myself as politely as I might have. Maybe I'm having a bad day, maybe you are, maybe I'm an asshole, but right now, I wish you a great day. I hope you win the lottery and have all the best of luck. As for that anger, it would be great if you could use it productively. I hope you can take that anger, and find a way to use it effectively in your next interaction with the next person you meet, and I can only hope that they will knife you to death."

    I don't know, maybe I need to ride trails and gravel roads on the ATB. It just burns my grits to know I'm right, but also know that being alive sometimes outweighs being right, and I must choose my battles wisely. At the very least, I'll need to always carry the cell phone on the bike. Maybe I can throw my bike in the car and start my road rides a little further out. I musn't stop riding. It's the only real exercise that I love, and if I don't stay in shape, I'll die just as surely as if I got creamed by a cement truck.

    I guess I'm just fishing for some words of encouragement here. I'm sure that Jay_H has more than his share of horror/happy stories. I have less than five weeks to train. It's (otherwise) starting out much better than I feared, but I need to get out there, early and often.

    Thank you for your indulgence. I'll be OK.
     
  2. Andrej Dolenc

    Andrej Dolenc Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, there's assholes out there. But one thing that I just recently got reminded of - afterwards, it's only the good things you remember. With biking, it's the peace and calm that you find when you fall into a rhythm on the bike. Your mind kinda shuts down as your legs keep spinning and you look down the road at what's coming.

    Had a great ride yesterday. Good thing it's time to leave the office and go for a ride!

    Andrej
     
  3. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Sorry to hear about that Jim, I have been away from things in the past 4 days, up backpacking in the ADKs and enjoying life away from work and even the HTF.

    After a while, you really just have to let things ride, don't let the assholes out there get to you. I go out early in the morning so that I don't have to deal with a lot of the crap out there. I am on the road in the morning by 6:15, at work by 7 and on the way home by 4pm. Thereby miss out on rush hour.

    Can't avoid them all and I've had a small share of them but then again, my commute is still mostly off road and on my mountain bike.

    If I was you, I wouldn't of confronted the guy in the truck, there's not much you are going to be able to do to convince this idiot anything other than the road is his, etc. etc. So it's only going to make you mad and might even be dangerous if you keep focusing on it.

    Better off just trying to get the license plate and see if you can get a nice cop to check it out.

    Been off the bike for a couple days now on vacation, and will be away this week. I'll be a week without riding myself.. Gasp!

    Jay
     
  4. Jim_F

    Jim_F Screenwriter

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    The server crash shrunk this thread a bit.

    Thanks, Jay. Glad you had a good trip. You're absolutely right, it's best just to let the crap go by the wayside.

    I'm probably going to avoid that street on weekdays. It seems like one that should be navigable by bike, but most of my negative encounters occur there. One of our senior club members had a horrific collision there some years back. It's otherwise the most boring part of my routes, anyway.

    I feel good. Every time I start up again, I wonder why I ever stopped.
     
  5. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Thats great Jim, it's amazing how a few miles can brighten one's day. Honestly, the ride in to work makes going to work so much more fun for me. There are days that I don't feel like biking home after a long day at work, but usually after the first 100 yards, it goes away. The key to commuting to is to change the route every now and then. I've got so many options to get home, road, trail, hills, flat. One thing that NJ has in abundance is roads and surprisingly there are always multiple ways to get places and ways that aren't that much longer than the shortest way. That ability allows me to commute pretty much year round, through the winter.

    Jay
     

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