Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cat 6 and other cranky observations

I was riding home today and a guy on a bike was riding down the wrong way of the street towards me. This happens sometimes. I just hold my line and they always move.

But in this case, it turns out the guy was running down a guy in a car that must've blown the stop sign at the Centennial Trail crossing. The biker guy was yelling at the car dude while riding toward me.

Thankfully, I had Greg Graffin yelling at me in my ear buds so I couldn't hear the biker guy or what his particular beef was.

Then the biker guy swung off behind the car, did a u-turn, and then rode on the wrong side of the road in the opposite direction, just in time to cut me off as he turned onto the Hamilton St overpass. As I climbed the overpass to pass him, he drifted left. Ugh. I paused. He drifted back to the right, then I passed on top of the over pass.

That was it for that deal. I took off and was on my way.

I had forgotten about him until I approached nun statue where I had to pass some walkers. I was shocked to see this dude right on my wheel when I looked over my shoulder before passing the walkers.

Whoa. Freaky. Like one of those horror movies where the victim is looking out a dark window, the lightening flashes, and a big scary face is just right there. He was in my bike bubble for sure.

I immediately figured out that I had unwittingly just participated in my first Cat 6 stage and I wanted out. I slowed down and just focused on not paying attention to the guy, who thankfully peeled off under the Opera House.

One thing I've learned after lots of riding is to let stuff roll off. People (regardless of their mode of transportation) do unpredictable stuff all the time that has the potential to ruin my day/life when I ride. I watch for it. I expect it. Most of it is not done out of malice. And even if it is, what's the point of running them down?

This guy was pretty amped up. He was on a fancy double-boinger mountain bike and was all kitted up. I'm thinking he doesn't get out in traffic much because if you took the time to run down every cyclist or driver or pedestrian that does unpredictable silly stuff, then you'd never get anywhere. And you would be angry a lot. And the fun part of being on a bike would go away.

Speaking of which, I'm kind of fed up with the fact that fun is sort of a side-benefit of a lot of "why you should bike" stuff that I read. Newsflash: Fun is the point. All the other stuff (health, environment, easy parking, etc) is a side benefit. I've got enough to say on that to do a full rant and I just might do that.

Also while I'm cranking out the crankiness: I don't really say hi or wave to cyclists anymore. I used to. And I used to get sort of huffy when other cyclists didn't wave. But when I drive a car, I don't wave to all the other car drivers. Why would would I? I'm not unfriendly and I'll wave back if someone waves, but generally, I'm just spacing out and in my own world when I'm riding. And I like that.


Anonymous said...

Fun IS the point... There's your next t-shirt Joe T

Christopher Grande said...

One time I was riding a fixed gear down a busy street keeping at the same speed as the rest of traffic when this dood in a full kit and some carbon $1000+ deal passes me, points at his rear wheel and yells, "FREEWHEEL!" I yelled "cassette" back, but still was kind of frustrated.

Did the photos have anything to do with this post? Or were they teasers for a later one? Or earlier???

John Speare said...

Joe: I like it.

Christopher: I think you had a perfect come back there. Maybe "pawls" would've been a bit more rad in its obtuseness and similar sound to "balls," but this is all arm chair stuff.

The pics are from past posts. to break up the current whiney post...

alex wetmore said...

I read all of the text, but what I really enjoyed about this entry were the photos.

Hank Greer said...

If I didn't know better, I'd say that someone at OTM showed you the Every Day cyclist piece for February. Fun is what bike riding is all about.

Instead of waving at other cyclists while we're riding, we should wave at vehicle drivers. It will help them take notice of us and possibly unnerve them. "Do I know that person?"

Anonymous said...

It would be impractical and perhaps even dangerous to wave at every cyclist.

So, I just wave at the good-looking ones.

rory said...

I'm kinda in the same boat with waving, but kinda not. when i was riding my motorcycle, almost every other motorcyclist puts up a hand, no matter where there riding, what their riding, or what is going on. when i walk, i make it a point to wave at drivers who actually stop for people in the crosswalk or come to a stop for people walking.

nowadays, i ride and tend not to wave, unless its to someoone i know. but i always feel like i should. maybe not on the burke gilman trail, but when people are in traffic riding, i feel there is some comradery. of course, there is something to be said about the fact that I AM definately faster then them, and waving would show a sign of weakness, and if i take my hands off the bar and they strike there sprint at that time, i could lose. and all would be lost.

i think you're suffering from a lack of competitiveness.

Jason Gilman said...

How weird, I was just finishing my lunchtime run and returning to work at GU when I passed and recognized you (at the last moment by your distinctive retro cool white helmet with stripes- too late to get out a proper greeting) heading west in the opposite direction on the Centennial Trail. I didn't recognize the guy riding with you, but he was definitely in your bike bubble at the time so I just figured you were out on a ride together.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for sucking your wheel. I was suffering from a testosterone flashback.


Pax said...

I look forward to the day when there are too many cyclists to wave to. I do. (I'm just not that naturally friendly). But we're still in the 'community-building' phase here (SLC), so yeah, I make a point to raise a snotty mitten to every cyclist I see out there, c'muter, BMX, 29'er, PRO, or 'unseen'. Riffing on Rory: I also make a point of waving to drivers who made a special effort not to kill me...

Formative car-based examples. Back in the early post-Hippy days, all the vw drivers would nod & wave to the brotherhood. And in rural everywhere-I've-ever-lived, there are real & observed social hierarchies of wave: one-finger (cops, acquaintances & co-workers), two-finger (people you like at work but don't hang out with, in-laws you don't like), 4-finger (friends at work, in-laws you like), and full-hand off-the-wheel (family & drinkin' buds).

Anonymous said...

Fun is not the point. I often have fun, sometimes I don't, usually it's a mix or a blur. If commuting crosstown was so much fun, I'd bike to work on my days off. Instead, I head for quiet country roads. That's fun.

Fun isn't the point. Getting to work and back is the point.