I’m a Winner!

and by that, I mean whiner. Case in point:

One semi-regular feature of this blog is the “honk report” wherein I whine about the latest annoyance I endured when I motorist honked at me for no good reason. It had been happening at a rate of approximately one per week, but now I’ve gone over a month without anyone honking at me.  This lack of honking is making me progressively suspicious.  Am I riding in a different way? I keep thinking that a honk could happen at any moment and I want to be ready so I don’t freak out and go all nutty on the offending motorist. Screaming road rage from a driver inside of a more or less soundproof car is one thing, but screaming road rage from a cyclist tends to draw stares. So, I’ve been preparing myself with special zen exercises and yogic breathing in case anyone should honk at me. I’ll turn, glance and ride on. (turn, glance, ride on. turn, glance, ride on) The zen seems to be working because I was almost squeezed by a bus yesterday morning and it didn’t really bother me. Well, it bothered me, but I didn’t freak out. This happened on Canal Street, which is a three-lane wide one-way street (plenty of room for the bus to take another lane). In the grand scheme of the number of cars that pass me, it’s pretty rare that a car passes too close. When it does happen, I don’t really have much recourse. However, when a bus driver passes too close….

They have an easily identifiable number and a company I can call. After passing me, the bus also ran a red light. I loped along at my usual pace, knowing that the bus would end up at Kennedy Plaza (where I snapped these pictures.) For some reason, the driver seemed in less of a hurry once he’d arrived at the station.

Since I was in a fairly sanguine state, I considered engaging the driver in a discussion of the finer points of Rhode Island law. But I decided to keep my sanguinity to myself and enjoy a stress-free day at work. Instead of risking turning into a fuming jerk in Kennedy Plaza, I called Peter Pan Bus Lines and filed a complaint against the driver. That worked so well with RIPTA, right? (Update on my complaint with RIPTA: nothing).

My mood was lifted when I got to work to see that the bike rack was nearly full!

Six bikes in the rack (one is out of the picture frame, and I’m not counting the pennyfarthing at the far end – that one is merely decorative). How exciting to see! Then I realized that two of the bikes have been sitting there for months. Still, four bikes in the racks! Was there a meeting of the ex-Portlander’s club of Rhode Island? Maybe another Teach For America interview session? Nope, just a visit from the community blood bank. Nothing brings out the do-gooders like a blood drive. But what’s that peaking out between the Cannondale Cyclocross bike and the old Raleigh 10-speed (which has been sitting there for 5 months)?

It’s a floor pump! I know that cyclocross is a demanding sport, but does commuting on a cyclocross bike require constant monitoring of your tire pressure? Or perhaps this cyclocross commuter is a wandering good samaritan, pumping up under-inflated tires across the country, an anti-pinch-flat Johnny Appleseed.

8 responses to “I’m a Winner!

  1. If you think it’s bad on a bike, try being a pedestrian. Hell just waiting for a bus the other day an old man making the turn jumped the curb to avoid a near collision with another car that was in its proper lane and also turning right.

    Downright hazardous. Makes me want to start carrying caltrops in my backpack.

  2. Darling,

    In fact, it WAS my pump. But not so much that ‘cross is such a demanding sport – though it truly is – that a nice young lady who works in the building called for my assistance with a “new to her” ex-‘dale. As a ‘dale man myself (read the seat-tube) – and one thrown to do-gooding a’ la cycliste (read the mission statement of U.S. Open Cycling), how could I resist? So I did portage said pump in my chromed cordura vessel all the way across the rive to assist said damsel in hypo-inflationary distress. I adjusted her post and stem as well whilst I were there (it were talk like a pirate day, were it not).

    But, U.S. Open Cycling is here to take on obesity by helping people INTEGRATE bicycling for fitness, fun and transportation into their daily lives – as you, evidently, have. Bravo! It’s why we’re here!

    To help us on that way, we’re having a hill climb next Sunday (October 3) up Smith Street between 11:30 and 3-ish. The very fine folks at RIDOT are closing the road for us and the PPD are providing one of their best – and hopefully a team on bicycles as well. The imminently wonderful women at the Department of Health’s Initiative for a Healthy Weight will be there to coach us along as well! More at http://USOpenCycling.org/HillClimb

    I hope you come out – and bring friends.

    BTW – there is less honking at you now because the “kids” are back in school so you’re just another bicycle helping to calm the traffic, not the rarity you might have been during summer break.

    God bless! And remember, speed doesn’t kill, Isaac Newton, however, is fairly ruthless!


    • Ha Ha! I’d hoped that if I posted a picture of that bike that the owner would show up. I’m sorry I won’t be able to join the hill climb, it looks like fun.

  3. I’m choosing to see the honking glass as half full for you. Perhaps, in their own special way, motorists are saying “HONK! I really like your bike!” Or, “HONK! Thanks for lowering your carbon footprint!” Or, if they were honking at me, I would just assume they were saying “HONK! I really admire your toned buttocks!” See, that’s better.

    • I don’t know if I can trust the comments of a “29 year old!”

      I did have one honker who when I confronted her, claimed that it was for your last reason listed.

  4. CarFree –

    Didn’t mean to call you “Darling.” Was misinformed as to your identity. So…no interest here in admiring your (presumably) toned buttocks. Amanda’s on the other hand…

    • Ha! My secret identity is still intact! By night (and weekend), I can bring justice to the world through snarky comments on my blog, and by day I can hide to the world as mild-mannered [********]!

  5. Pingback: That Peter Pan kid had better keep off my damn lawn | Car-Free in PVD

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