Tuesday, August 08, 2006

On Bird Watching & Bicycling

Dear Mr. Man-Who-Flipped-Me-The-Bird-While-Driving-The-Other-Direction-On-A-Certain-Local-Road,

While I was riding eastbound on the road, enjoying a summer evening ride with my husband, you were driving westbound enjoying a ride in your pick-up truck. And though we were riding as close to the white line as possible, and though we were not disturbing you, and though we were riding in your opposite direction, you still felt compelled to honk your horn, stick your arm out the window, and flip us the bird.

I was wondering how that felt for you – did it make you feel bigger, stronger, better? Was it the most exciting highlight of your day? And, most importantly, was it necessary?

I was hoping that you would be able to help me understand why you did this – because you are not the only one who drives around flipping bicyclists the bird. You see, it happens a lot. And, more often than not, it happens while riding in a certain local town.

I was wondering if there was a club in this certain town united in their growing hatred of cyclists. This is one of several incidents in which I have been cussed at, shouted at, flipped off, or nearly ridden off the road by someone driving through this town. I was wondering why it seems that everyone in this particular town is too busy, too cool, or too mean to share the road with cyclists. What is the big rush in this town? Where is everyone going? And why is everyone so insistent upon acting like an ass towards cyclists on their way there?

Since you likely do not have the ability to assemble an intelligent or meaningful answer to my questions, I thought I would just come up with a few theories on my own. Here’s why I think you honked and flipped me off on the road:

Because you wanted to politely inform me that your 4,000 pound truck was indeed bigger than my 19 pound bicycle. You’re right – math never was my forte and maybe this is a mathematical lesson that I need to learn. But I think by age 3, I had developed the ability to understand that bigger things can hold big things. For example, a big jackhole can easily fit in a big truck.

Because you wanted to convey that your V-8 hemi full of horsepower was more powerful than my legs that at most can push out 490 watts for about 5 seconds. Again, you’re right, I am about as powerful as a light bulb when it comes to wattage. But I’d like to think that in terms of brainpower, my V-10 will outrun your V-8 anyday (that's right, they gave me 2 extra cylinders).

Because you were drunk, stoned, or seeing whether synergism really works – all excellent choices when driving. Seems like you might want to get a little friendlier with the cycling community since that may one day be your only transportation option after you receive your 3rd DUI. You might just need to buy a bicycle from me one day and we might just meet again since the best way to meet a drunk is to run an ad in the newspaper for a used bicycle.

Because you were in a big hurry and we, going the other way, were clearly in your way. Again, this may be a math problem too sophisticated for me, but how did my 62 inch body seated vertically on a 48 cm frame that occupied about 3 inches of the road mostly on the shoulder become the equivalent of a monster-sized obstacle that you had to maneuver around.

Because your brain is as big as your balls. That goes without saying because you drive a big truck.

Because you thought that my husband and I, sporting brightly colored jerseys, socks, glasses, and helmets looked ‘gay’. No gayer than you looked as a grown man behaving like a 13-year old.

Because you were very bored and had nothing else to do but drive around the suburbs and pump gas @ $3.19 per gallon into your guzzling truck. I don’t really care too much about this one because I’m sure that with your minimum wage job you cannot afford to do more than put gas into your truck and drive around at night.

I think I’m overthinking this. Because the longer I sit here, the harder it is for me to come up with a reason why you would feel it was necessary to impose your ignorant self on my recreational ride.

I may just have hit it there – the recreational part. Maybe you don’t approve of my idea of recreation. But that’s ok – because chances are that I don’t approve of yours either. I am guessing that your idea of recreation involves driving around in your big truck or parking your booty, again bigger than your brain, on your oversized couch with a 6-pack and bag of Cheetos. I have nothing against Cheetos but I am also guessing that you lick your fingers after each one which is disgusting. And I am guessing that you enjoy watching a television show each evening. I don’t watch too much t.v. so I can’t guess which one but it’s probably something ‘gay’. How about tomorrow night I visit you during your recreational time and park myself in your driveway and blow my horn until I get your attention and then when I do, I’ll flip you the bird. How does that sound?

If you don’t like bicycles then do cyclists a favor - don’t ever buy one. Or ride one. That is how you can proactively and provocatively communicate your feelings about bicycles. Avoid the whole industry, don’t spend your money on it, and don’t give it any attention. That’s meaningful. That’s controllable. That will work.

But flipping me the bird because you hate bicycles won’t do you much good. You see, I love bicycles and I’m going to keep spending my money on wheels, components, and brightly colored jerseys. And I will teach my children to love bicycles and ride them carefully down the road, too.

So your opinion doesn’t really mean that much to me and I would greatly appreciate if you would abstain from trying to force your opinion on me in the form a middle finger in the middle of my ride.

Toot-Toot-To-You-Too,

The-Woman-Riding-A-Bike-Down-A-Certain-Local-Road-On-Thursday-Night

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