Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cars... Cranks & the City!


About once every 2-3 weeks some nutcase in an expensive automobile deems it necessary to remind me my eco-friendly bicycle is slower than a gas-guzzling automobile.

On my 15 mile commute home (from work) this evening, for example, a nice/shiny/new VW SUV driver felt the need to rev his engine as he edged his way towards me from behind -- at a stop. Ahead of me was a cyclist with no lights (after dusk) who couldn't decide whether he wanted to ride on the sidewalk or the street. As we waited for our turn to make our way through the STOP sign, the SUV jockey kept revving his engine. I wondered whether he was simply trying to challenge me in a friendly drag race. But I was ON A BIKE. Of course, I did my best to ignore him. It wasn't a difficult task. Milwaukee boasted 40-55 mph winds today, and I was riding at night in a busy part of the city during rush hour.

We finally got our chance to re-enter moving traffic when the brilliant VW pulled alongside me... and continued to rev that motor. When I glanced over my shoulder, to check traffic behind me, he sped past. And he leered in my direction with a slight sneer painted on his Chevy Chase. I'll be -- a car is faster than my pedal rocket.

As I mentioned earlier, this happens on a semi-regular basis. It's not always the same driver... which makes the happening even more remarkable. It means there is no dearth of drivers who think drag racing against bicycles proves their superiority. And, yes, it's always a male. I'm a male... a Latin one at that... I begrudgingly accept the whole men gauging their manhood based on their prowess over other men. But I was riding a single gear bike in low 30s weather during a wind advisory, and this guy's in a nice warm, fast, wind resistant, motorized coach. Nonetheless, even on a sunny, calm day... and a bike of 500 gears... I'm bowing out of a race against a car, hombre.

It's just a weird thing I go through every so often. So far, I've experienced this ritual with the same GTO 4 times, a few pick-up trucks, a Cadillac, one Hummer, and this nutty VW SUV (click the title for a giggle). "Does this happen to any other cyclists?", is what races through my mind during these surreal moments. Well... does it happen to you?!

And I thought "Roadies" were a bit loony.

Keep on pedaling!


- @

"Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride." -JFK