Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Yin Yang

The universe remains in balance.

Yesterday afternoon the wind was out of the northwest. I took the low route through Mohawk Park on the way home, because the trees and lower terrain help break up the wind.

When I reached the turn onto Mingo road, an almost solid line of traffic streamed north. This happens from time to time when the highway is blocked for construction or a traffic accident. I got through a break and rolled north along the wide shoulder. The bridge is a bottleneck and just north of the bridge the shoulder ends.

I could see cars and trucks lined up for half a mile, waiting to get through the T intersection at 76th Street. Traffic slowed and stopped, then crawled forward as the head of the line managed to get through the intersection.

Normally I wouldn't pass stopped traffic on the right if I were on a city street. There's nowhere to go when parked cars and curbs are present. But this is a 2-lane rural road through a pecan grove. There's nothing on the shoulder and there are no driveways, sidewalks, or curbs. I rode slowly along the fog line.

This has happened before so it wasn't a surprise. Some of those motorists who'd passed me further south were now stuck in the traffic jam. Since they were stuck, they apparently thought I should be stuck too. The first was a guy in a honkin' big diesel pickup, the kind with dualies in the back. I've often wondered if the dualies were an indicator of the type of driver inside. I mean, the truck has a fat ass, so would it be reasonable to assume the driver does too?

He was moving very slowly, probably at less than a walking pace, but he was edging over to the right in an attempt to prevent me from passing on the roadway. I was on the Centurion, and in a previous incarnation, it was my cyclocross bike. I've never hesitated to take it off-road, so I didn't hesitate. I wasn't going fast, just barely faster than the truck in fact, so I sidestepped over the edge of the road, down onto the gravel, and passed him.

Several other motorists tried the same trick. I passed them too.

That was last night. This morning, the universe retaliated.

I was on the way to work, riding along 86th Street. It's a 4-lane city street with numerous traffic lights. I was approaching the first one when a mini-van came up the lane behind me. The rest of the traffic had moved over into the left lane. This is fairly routine now that most of the drivers expect to find a cyclist on the road somewhere. My mini-van driver, on the other hand, wanted to pass all that traffic though the 'vacant' lane only to find a pesky cyclist occupying it. He dodged left into a hole between two other cars.

Would it be fair to say that experienced cyclists can read a motorist's 'body language'? His throttle position, braking, and lane change summed up as an impatient driver, unaccustomed to being around bicycles on the road. I can't really describe why I focused on this one. It was almost unconscious. But I could see that he'd be a problem.

The light changed before I reached the intersection. The next one is only a hundred yards or so further west. My mini-van man moved to the right hand edge of the lane, and then realized I was keeping pace with him. He couldn't merge right. We stopped for the next light and I rolled ahead to the pedestrian crossing. I moved to the center of the lane to allow a right-turning vehicle to get by.

When the light changed, I stayed in the center across the intersection, and then moved back over to the right hand tire track. I'd just cleared the intersection when the mini-van zoomed past inches away from my elbow! I was pissed. I considered sprinting after him because the next light is fairly close and it too was red. But my knee is hurting and until I'm thoroughly warmed up, I wouldn't want to try a sprint. Still, it was VERY tempting!

Oscar Wilde said the best way to overcome temptation is to yield to it, but it's just as well that I didn't. A cop sat in his car just up the street. I could see it now, me beating the crap out of some idiot's car while a cop watches the events unfold.

So I got a good break last night, and the balance of the universe was restored this morning. Still, I’m looking forward to a rematch.


Blogger Paul Tay said...

Too bad it would be bad form to wear a Santa suit to work. I've found it to be more protection than kevlar. First of all, it's very difficult to be mean to Santa. Some have managed a lame bird. But, most simply pass without incident. Also, it's difficult to be mean in return. So, Santa is killing goomba drivers with kindness. Whatever gestures Santa receives, the perp always gets a friendly V sign. And, da TPD Santa Task Force? Nowhere to be found, except to accept a piece of candy.

4:46 PM  
Blogger gwadzilla said...

too drunk to appreciate the words here
will have to bookmark you and head back

looks like some good stuff
some good ridng
some good living

makes me want to proof my last post about my ride home
which was described without proof read
which means it may not make sense

gotta refill this drink and sit back

enough computer

10:11 PM  

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