I’d hoped to write about something more fun today (like my new road bike which is totally awesome but I’m not going to write about it until I have some time to do it properly). Instead, I have to dutifully file another….
A motorist honked at me yesterday on my ride to work. I was riding in the right-most lane that is allowed to go straight through the intersection (the far-right lane is right-turn only). A Volvo station wagon honked at me. When he pulled into the adjacent lane to pass me (there was plenty of room to do so), I asked him what his problem was. He said I needed to get over to the right. I pointed out that I was over as far to the right as was safely possible. He hurried off down the street. He was then stuck in a small traffic jam when a truck needed to back across both lanes of traffic in order to make a drop at the hotel. I had continued at my usual 15 MPH so I easily caught up to him. For some reason he didn’t feel the need to honk at all of the cars in his way. Eventually they cleared up and he raced ahead. Then he was caught by the traffic light. It was very much a tortoise and hare situation so I enjoyed going in the same direction as he, always easily catching up with him without expending much effort. I never passed him, just pulled up behind him. I lost my concentration on my bike handling a couple times which led to this:
Greasy Khakis! I have shamed my people.
As I was biking down Benefit this morning (minding my own, cruising slowly on the ’68 Raleigh Sports), I was behind a Cable company van that was followed by an Accord. A Honda Element turned into the street just in front of me and then followed the Accord quite closely, weaving out to the left on occasion. The cable van was going pretty slow – 15 MPH on a 25 MPH speed limit street. This was not sufficiently fast enough for the driver of the Element. He passed the Accord and the cable van in one quick move, darting into the opposing lane. I’d seen RI drivers pull this sort of stunt before (passing on a two-lane street), but not on a street as narrow as Benefit. For those unfamiliar with Benefit – it is a two-way street, one lane in each directions with a parking lane on one side. At some points on the street, there’s not enough room for cars to pass each other going in opposite directions. So the Element passes both the car and cable van. A little bit later, I see that the driver has made a U-turn and is parallel parking in the opposite direction (this maneuvre caused the Cable van and Accord to slow down). I stopped opposite the Element and pulled my bike up onto the sidewalk. I just wanted to see what kind of idiot would pull this sort of move in order to save himself 20 seconds. The driver got out of his car and calmly walked to a RISD building. If he was in such a hurry, why wasn’t he running?
After installing a cup holder on the Raleigh Sports, I’m often looking for excuses to use it. It’s iced coffee season here in Rhode Island, so for this morning’s coffee break, I headed to the Seven Stars on Broadway for some cool, caffeinated refreshment. I gotta admit, I love cruising down a street and reaching out to my cup holder to take a sip of iced coffee. Anyhow, I approached the part of Broadway just before it crossed I-95 and heads downtown. There are two distinct lanes her, plus a non-marked lane on the right that people use to turn right. I signaled and moved into the legitimate right hand lane so that cars could pass me on the right in order to make right-hand turns. And a car did just that. However, the driver felt it necessary to yell, “You’re not a car!” at me as she passed. I have tried to bike in a more curteous manner, obeying (almost) all traffic laws and exercising a vehicular cycling strategy. And yet, I still have interactions like this. Oh well. I swear this whole biking thing is going to turn me into a crabby old man before I turn 40.
* I’ve borrowed the idea of the Honk Report from Andy at Carbon Trace. For me it’s an attempt to quantify the number or rude interactions I have with motorists. It’s always easy to remember an egregious incident, but hard to spot a trend. Today’s report counts as a double. That makes 10 honks since May 7, 2010 – slightly less than 1 per week. Andy gets honked at less.
Alright, I can’t help it, here’s a shot of the new road bike, peeking out from just outside my office.