Thursday, November 16, 2006

I want to ride my bicycle

I have the luxury of being able to ride my bike to work. It's 3.5 miles each way, and mostly flat with subtle inclines and declines. And luckily for me, there's a bike lane most of the way. And being that I live in lovely Southern California, where the weather is gorgeous most of the time, I don't have to worry about the elements too much. It's been fun to ride past all the people sitting in their cars in my traffic-free lane meant just for me. That is, until recently.

You'd think with the mornings getting a tad more chilly here, there'd be fewer cyclists on the road. But in fact, the opposite is true. My once-clear bike lane has become congested with other riders. Riders who like to go different speeds than I do. Riders on beach cruisers who aren't attempting to get to work in a timely manner. Riders decked out in racing gear who aren't attempting to race.

And the worst of all: riders who pass me.

The last few weeks I've finally been able to arrange my morning so that I leave my house and get on the road at the same time. Can you believe that? I can't. Anyway, 8:30 it is. Apparently it's the same time this other guy leaves his house every morning too. And he passes me every day. I thought I was fast (certain writers on this website have referred to me as "super-sonic bee" before), but apparently I've slowed in my old age. And the thing that kills me most about this guy is that he looks like Napoleon Dynamite. Huge blonde hair under his helmet, lanky, on a road bike with a huge frame, messenger bag slung over his shoulder. I can almost hear "Tina! Come get some ham!" as he rides away. The worst part about getting passed by the biking Napoleon Dynamite is that it looks so effortless as he goes by. La la la, just in probably the highest gear possible, slowly cranking, but making huge strides forward. La la la. I hate him.

But worse than that, there was a guy who even inspired a bit of road rage recently. I'm just past the first 1/5 of my ride, stopped at a light, and this joker with no helmet meanders past me and runs the red. Fine. If he wants to get run over, fine. So when the light turns green, I start pedaling and eventually catch up to him. I figure he's not going too too slow, so I coast behind for a bit, knowing that I'm gonna zip by him when we reach the next stop light. But after a couple blocks of green lights, another guy blows past both of us. I decide I've had enough, so I pass the red-light-running-guy. A couple lights later, there's a red. I stop and wait, and then I feel something bump against my back tire. I turn around and it's red-light-running-guy. I stare at him for a second, then turn around.

It's at that point, I decide to mess with this guy a little, so I ride the next leg of the trip more slowly than usual. Eventually he passes me, and at the next stop light, he's not running the red. So I do what any good SoCal citizen would do and obey the golden rule of the road: Do unto others as they've done unto you. I bump his tire. He doesn't turn around at all. He looks both ways and runs the red. I'm not gonna let this guy win the race, so I pedal my ass off until I reach him, but he starts veering into the oncoming lanes (there's no cars coming, don't worry about red-light-running-guy) like he's gonna take a left. I ride past him and raise my arms in victory. I haven't seen him since. I sure showed him. That morning, it took me about 20 minutes to catch my breath. I'm gettin too old for this shit.