I’ve had more verbal altercations with motorists this month (two) than I’ve had in my previous eight months of daily commuting combined. (Non-December Total: Zero.)
Either people are extra-spooked by winter cyclists, or they’re just REALLY excited for the holidays.
The first incident was pretty ridiculous; I was riding across Veteran’s Memorial Bridge into North Mankato, coming down from the crest and approaching the stoplight. Suddenly, I felt a bath of headlights, a horn blaring, and an SUV speeding around me as it veered into the left lane, well above the speed limit. (I was, per Minnesota state law, riding on the right side of the right lane, adorned with front and rear flashers with reflective tape strapped to my rear rack and backpack.)
After pulling into my parking lot–I live above one of the bars in Lower North–I was seething; dude had shaken my blood for no reason other than him being surprised that there was a bicycle on the road. And unfortunately for this driver, he decided to wait for me, take a loop around the block, and pull up to my doorstep to give me a piece of his mind. From the “comfort” of his ass-blue Nissan Xterra, of course, which is basically the Pontiac Aztek of gas-guzzling shitboxes.
Well, I know you’ve got lights on, and you’re within your legal rights to be on the road, but you’re really hard to see, and [looks me up and down] I don’t know if you’re drunk or whatever…
…and then I lost it.
Initially, I was willing to have a decent conversation with this guy the importance of noticing law-abiding bicyclists on a well-lit road, but as soon as he pulled the “you must have 8 DUIs and be high on THE MARIJUANA if you’re not employing a loan officer, an insurance agent, and the entire goddamn military-industrial complex with your transportation choices” card, I went ballistic.
Here’s the deal, people: Bicycles are vehicles. In fact, “bicyclists have all rights and duties of any other vehicle driver.” So, if you’re the gussied-up crone in the late-model SUV that slowed down to croak “USE THE SIDEWALK” at me yesterday in BROAD DAYLIGHT as you turned off the road in which we were the only two users, stick that in your Williams-Sonoma catalog and blow it up Ina Garten’s butthole.
But riding a bike isn’t all about suffering fools and bumpkins that have strong takes on roundabout construction. Sometimes, you can stop mid-ride and appreciate the beauty of your ‘hood, such as this little display behind the North Mankato Library:
Seriously, aren’t blue Christmas lights just the best? Red is terrible. Knock that shit off. This isn’t an emergency, it’s a freaking holiday.
(Yeah, you got me. It’s finals week, and this post is totally half-assed. Sorry for the filler, humans. I’ll rebound next week. Promise. ‘Til then, listen to Killing Joke and enjoy those reasonable gas prices.)