Saturday, February 26, 2011

I Blew Him a Kiss

True story. Now for those who know my cycling, you may well know how I interact with drivers. Most of the time, if they leave me alone, I leave them alone. I will go out of my way to not be a nuisance, I will try to let them know when it may be safe to pass me, I will wave if they wave, I will try my best to be out of their way as soon as I can. But of course, there are times when adrenaline is pumping (in me), the ignorance is boiling over (in them), and my ego will certainly get the better of me.

I will speak for myself here. I know when I am in the wrong and I know when I feel wronged. I think of myself as a type of person that it will take a lot to get me mad. Either when things like my internet connection not working correctly or someone, I feel, is being so terribly ignorant or going out of their way to be rude to me or a close friend. Anyway, today I had another moment with a driver making me boil over. But instead of cursing at him I blew him a kiss. I'll set it all up for you...

My new teammate and next year's cycling club president, David and I set out to do a nice 2 hour ride. I'll say about 20 minutes in we are moving nicely and talking a bit. Whenever a car pull up behind us, one of us will fall behind the other to allow for an easy pass by the car. This happens all the time and drivers will recognize this and sometimes give a nice wave as a "thank you." (I wave back.) What drivers sometimes do not recognize is what a cyclist cannot do. I cannot always hear a car coming up. The wind is passing over my ears that are covered by a hat no less and we cannot ride always looking backwards. When we do not see or hear a car coming up from behind they will either sit on us patiently waiting for us to notice or simply go wide into the other lane and drive on by. What bugs me is when they lay on their horns to scream their presence like we are not allowed to be on the road. That is what one driver felt like doing to us today and heaven forbid we just didn't notice and he was there for more than 20 seconds.

Upon hearing the announcement David and I swung to the right side of the road (no, we weren't taking up the whole road either) and I fell behind to get a look at our seemingly impatient driver. He passed by giving me a stare back and after he had passed I put my right hand up to my lips and blew him a kiss... with a bow no less. I will describe it... (as I did to someone I had to share this with) as an overly exaggerated gesture to "his highness" in the car.  Now don't think I knew what I was doing. I didn't. It was dumb and I am an idiot. Surely it could have been worse, but what happened next makes me laugh. Accidents and situations in cycling always seem to have that taste that "it could've been worse." Maybe that's what keeps us coming back and never faulting to setbacks and suffering.

Upon seeing some gesture from this dumb cyclist in his rearview mirror he slams on the brakes (this happens... I am an idiot more often than I would like to admit) and he actually opened his door to talk to me. I wasn't about to have a conversation with him so I was going to roll on by, but he did ask me "Did you just give me the finger?" "NO!" I replied back, then adding "It was a kiss!" just to clear the air. He got back in his car and passed again, this time with no honking and no rebuttal from me. Had he just waited for us to move over when we saw him he could have been on his way much quicker. We don't ever try to use up the whole road nor hold anyone up. Simple.

In the past I will admit I have given the finger, yelled curse words, and certainly tried to piss driver off after I feel they've put me in danger or been a jerk (I won't react every time...). I have had close calls, road rage drivers, and even a lit cigarette flicked at me while riding. At a certain point, yes a cyclist needs to ride defensively and protect their right to ride and share the road, but actively provoking a driver is never a good thing to do. Some people simply do not know what to do with a cyclist on the road. Others will be having a bad day. Some might just hate cyclists. In any case, I will have to keep my cool and not provoke anyone for an altercation. I get it.

In other news, I almost got hit by a mountain biker on the road during this ride too. I was working on sprints with David at the end of our ride and this one girl must have just been looking to make a turn around on the road and was simply not expecting anything to be going by her. I was going between 25-30mph and she decided to make her turn around and I was not expecting that one. I had to swerve out of that situation and no, I didn't have much to say to her other than "whoa whoa whoa WHOA WHOA!" I believe she yelled a quick "Sorry!" after realizing what had (and narrowly had not) just happened and life goes on. I also tried on some new warming gel for my legs. It felt okay. I think today got cold enough that anything will get cold, but the gel certainly helped. It at least made me fee more badass for not wearing leg warmers and looking tougher than I am.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Duane and Steve blew kisses to each other on rides all the time. Though not to drivers, but to each other.

  2. @ jon -

    @john - I usually know I am making a driver mad when i get hit in the back with a bear can.

  3. haha yeah I think Steve misses Duane the most around here.

  4. I had shit thrown at me one time, among other run-ins.

    This made me think of the ride with you one time JBC, where the guy really was an asshole to us going out the Tanoma way I think. There you really were fired up. Glad to see things went better this time.

    Well played.

  5. Yeah. I can get real pissy. Today was a great ride. Bonked hard, but the cafnasty afterward wasn't so bad.

  6. Johnny, come for a ride with me. We can then co-write a blog post about how nuts drivers can sometimes. I totally can relate to your experience with the driver in your post.

  7. Hell yeah dpat. I imagine NY has got some experiences!