Monday, March 5, 2012

I spent last week in West Chester, OH (north of Cincinnati), where you'd swear the people have never seen a bicycle before.  The three funniest things that happened to me:

1.  Riding less than a mile from my hotel to the place where I was getting training, on a 4-lane road, a driver pulls up next to me in a car and tells me I'm impeding traffic.  Rather than get into the legalities of taking the lane (what I was doing has been judged perfectly legal in court cases in Ohio), I said, "So are you.  How fast are you going."  He looked down: "16 miles an hour." Me: "Exactly.  Get moving."  Because, you see, I was not legally impeding traffic (nor physically impeding it, since there were other lanes to pass me) because I am not capable of going any faster.  He, on the other hand, WAS impeding traffic because he was going 30 miles under the speed limit in a vehicle capable of going much faster than the limit.  His response was the unimaginative "But you're breaking the law!"  Then I turned right on red and let him stew while he waited to go straight through the light.

2.  Riding to the hotel from training on a 7- or 8-lane road, a driver pulls up next to me at a light, and it's a warm day so his windows are down.  He says, "You're not a car; get out of the road." "Ignoring the fact that he is a person and also not a car, I point to a truck and say, "He's not a car either; he's a truck and he's using the road." So, now we've established that roads are for the use of ALL vehicles instead of just cars, right?  Well, this guy didn't think so when he responded, "F*** you a**hole.  Get out of the road."  Slow learner?

3.  On a workout ride in Fairfield, OH, on a 4-lane road in a commercial mall area, I'm in the center of the right lane.  A truck comes up behind me, slams his brakes on, and lays on the horn.  I motion toward the left lane to indicate that he's free to change lanes and pass me whenever it's safe to do so.  He doesn't care.  He follows me for about 5-10 minutes literally inches from my back wheel.  I'm scared, because I know that if I have to stomp on the brakes for any reason, he'll run me over before he can react.  We come to a yellow light that's just about to turn red.  I make a dash for it and then slow down so he'll have to wait for the light.  Instead, he runs the solid red light, which means he blocks the intersection for a few seconds once I slow down to try to force him to wait.  He then honks again, for a solid 4 or 5 seconds.  I again motion toward the left lane, and this time he seems to realized that both lanes go the same place, passes me, cuts me off (with no signal, of course), and then turns right!  You just risked my life, your driver's license, and the peace of this neighborhood because you couldn't wait a few extra minutes to turn right?  Unbelievable!

Then there's always the guy from this morning who decided it would be a better idea to pass me left of center... with oncoming traffic... at a three-way intersection when I was in the left lane (to avoid the pothole-riddled right lane) instead of just using the right lane, which was completely empty.  People never cease to amaze me.