Beware the blue-hairs! They’re everywhere around here, and they don’t like to share the road, their tax dollars, or their spot in line at the Wal-Mart Pharmacy. They’re an angry bunch, ready to pipe-off in the opinion column of the local rag about loud Harley pipes, arrogant cyclists, anything Obama, or the local sheriff who lies to the liberal media about Balloon Boy’s family. And this being the wild west, they don’t hesitate to take matters into their own hands, particularly on the subject of who owns the road.
I was almost taken down by one of them yesterday while road skating near work. It’s a road I skate all the time, and I’m very familiar with it. Maybe too familiar.
I was at the top of the hill, and because of the recent snow, the bike lane and shoulder were full of debris. I stayed as far left in the cycle lane as I could so as not to be over the line and in the road as I traversed the hazard, just to be very nearly clipped by a blue-hair in a silver Chevy. She was staying as far right (pun intended) as she could so as to be as close to the bike land line as she could. And when I turned to look, she was looking right at me. And she looked spiteful. Zoinks!
A lot of cyclists have been injured or died on our local roads this year. More than usual. And it’s situations like this, where the road is wide and the bike lane is dirty, when we who share the shoulder need to be more careful. It would be nice if we could just assume that the person passing in a car would leave a little room between us and them, but it leaves room to be maimed or killed with any such assumption.
So starting tomorrow, I’m going to take a new approach on the road:
A set-up like this would come in so handy on the trail. No more courtesy shouts. “Passing on the left!” turns into a genial “meep, meep.” Like Roadrunner. And if you pretend to not have heard me the first, second and even third time, I can zip right up behind you and trail gate while riding the horn and flashing my high beams with abandon. Wouldn’t need to say a word! With this rig, I’d feel empowered. I wouldn’t need to skate at sunrise to own the trail. Think about how free you’d be to roll in confidence, knowing tha you can give and Lance-wannabe a friendly “toot” as you pass him!
With regard to the road however, when you live here long enough you come to find out that these long-timer’s are really just ticked-off about all of the local growth that’s turned their once sleepy bedroom and retirement community into a bustling suburbia. But that’s where my empathy stops. You want to take these issues up with your quilting group or your sober friends at The Village Inn, not on the roads. Share the road, leave us some room, or have really, really good insurance.
11/19/09 Training: Skated 14 miles at lunch. It wasn’t as cold as it’s been and I was only about 9 minutes off peak-season training times. I wasn’t trying to get back into peak season shape, but it’s good to know it’s not far off, considering I wasn’t really putting much gusto into my strides.
P.S. Thanks to Wanderlost for turning me onto Chasers!