“Nice Spandex”

The driver overshot the white line that marks where the crosswalk begins by about one-and-a-half car lengths.

I was cursing under my breath as I navigated around his car, placing me into the onrushing traffic.

He must have heard as he shouted at me after I passed. Keep riding I told myself, but against my better judgement, circled back and issued a fairly standard reply:

“WHAT?!!!!”, I shouted back.

It’s a busy intersection servicing an even busier interstate interchange. There must be 10,000 cars passing through daily. I’ve passed through myself on a bike countless times and have long since ceased being surprised by what happens here.

It’s an important transition point between riders who stay local and those who want to continue in the greater metro area. To say it’s not built for cyclists is an understatement, but this is the only way out of town.

“Nice Spandex bleep bleep bleep”, was his reply.

“Fuck-off”, I told him nonchalantly and turned back onto the original pathway.

I thought it was over, but this is when his engine roared to life and with tires squealing, he made a right-turn from the left-turn lane, cutting off the other drivers who were in the right-turn lane. He next made another right-turn, hopped the curb, crossed my path and forced me to brake hard to avoid a collision. Clearly this cat’s off his MEDs.

I quickly went around his car yet again, back onto the path and made a beeline for the nearby Circle-K service station, where I knew there’d be witnesses in case the situation escalated further.

Apparently he wasn’t interested in having witnesses and continued on shouting epithets and speeded away.

I was mildly shaken, but continued on with my ride.

On a scale of 1 to 10 this was about a 5. I’ve had much worse. From a danger perspective, it was fairly low. More of an irritation.

I’m not unique, ride enough miles and this kind of event becomes fairly commonplace.

I’ve given up trying to figure out the why. There’s no pay dirt in it. It’s more about trying to make sure it doesn’t bring me down, discourage from engaging in an activity that I have every right to be doing.

A little while later, on the trail, still a bit down, when I passed by a young mother walking. I slowed down and overheard her telling others that her daughter was on a bike but the two separated. I remembered seeing the little girl, stopped, assured the mom that it was going to be OK, that I’d seen her a hundred meters away, and would help them get reunited.

It felt pretty good to help and erased the negativity of earlier. It also helped seeing the other people rallying around the young mother and her lost daughter.

These types of occurrences are not unusual on the trail. Once, I delivered a juice-box to a kid going into diabetic shock on the Big Dam Bridge. His frantic mother had just retrieved it from her car in the parking lot but was maybe a mile from her child. It was one of the best miles that I’ve ever ridden. Another time, an old man who happened to be a veteran, got his electric wheelchair stuck off the path, and couldn’t get back onto it. Helping others in these types of situations is a privilege. We get more from it than they do.

A good metaphor for life. Ignore the bad stuff (that can’t be fixed), embrace the good. Do what you can to help others.

And ride on.

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