A few years back I read an article in a fitness magazine written by a cyclist who, while he was out riding, got a close swipe by a convertible full of laughing teenage girls who yelled as they passed, “Get a car!” Since the car came so dangerously close to him, the cyclist was able to get a good view of his hecklers and noticed they weren’t exactly a svelte group. As he wobbled to keep his balance and stay on the road he yelled back at his chubby bullies, “Get a bike!”
My thoughts exactly. As a fellow biker I’ve endured plenty of honks, swipes and flipping birds when I’m out on the road and I know such thoughtlessness could only come from people who’ve never been on a road bike themselves. How dare those pudgy punks purposely pester an innocent cyclist when all he is trying to do is keep from becoming an American obesity statistic. Perhaps this explains the root of the hostilities that constantly erupt between motorists and cyclists on the road and in the editorial section. When we ride along side others on the road maybe we’re just too much of a reminder that it’s been too long since their heart rate reached a cardio level.
I had yet another bike bullying incident of my own just last week. My friend and I were biking a country road on the outskirts of the valley when a big old truck pulling a trailer with a port-a-pot strapped on it swiped intentionally close. A plump lady rolled her window down and yelled, “Single file!” As my friend and I struggled to keep from toppling over each other into the nearby ditch, I yelled, “Double chin!”
Now I’m not proud of my pettiness, but we had every right to be on that road and if you’re going to get all up in my handlebars with your port-a-pot, then you get what’s comin’ to ya. My friend and I nearly turfed it into a ditch just so a country plumpkin could spout ignorance out the window. Maybe if she’d ever been on a road bike before she’d be interested enough to actually look up Utah state road laws and discover that it is legal to ride two abreast so long as you aren’t impeding traffic. I can assure you the deserted road between Trenton and Clarkston on a Thursday afternoon could easily accommodate me, my friend, and the port-a-pot.
After my friend and I managed to stabilize ourselves back on the road we noticed the truck had stopped just ahead of us. Maybe they wanted to rumble. Or perhaps they felt bad about being so rude and wanted to offer us use of the port-a-pot. I don’t know what they wanted, but I know what I wanted with this opportunity. I wanted to educate them about Utah state road laws so they would no longer be so embarrassingly uniformed to the point of purposely endangering human life. I started to pull up alongside the driver side of the truck, when they suddenly drove away.
As I got closer they must have seen how tough biking has made me so they got scared and took off. I’m telling you people, “Get a bike.”