The Golden Wrench

A blog about bicycle repair and maintenance by the mechanics at Freewheel Bike.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Looking out for #1

I made a quick trip to the grocery store this afternoon, partly because I was out of egg nog (ask me about the yuletide cocktail I invented) and partly because it was so mild out. My ride to the store was fairly uneventful, just the usual serpentine detours through snow-covered fields and unplowed sections of bike path. I got what I needed for groceries, made a side-trip to the liquor store (ask me about the yuletide cocktail I invented), and pointed my Nokians toward home.

I was coasting down a slight hill into a nondescript intersection, preparing to make a left turn, when I heard a car coming fast and close on my six o'clock. I glanced back as I altered my line to stay in the part of the lane I had already claimed and got ready to brake hard. The motorist practically squealed their tires while making a move that eventually became a right turn and that forced me to drastically alter my line and, yes, get on the brakes. In the middle of all that I somehow found time to shout some choice words at the passenger window a mere foot from the end of my handlebars. I'll forgo a direct quote, lest the children overhear.

What bothers me here isn't some abstract notion of disrespect or inequality, even though this driver clearly saw me as an (inanimate?) obstacle rather than someone with whom they needed to share the road. What bothers me is that this motorist left it completely in my hands whether I went to the hospital. If I hadn't heard them coming (from behind me, going in the same direction!) and taken action (while they were still behind me!), I would have gone under their front wheels. Instead of helping me write this blog post, my brains would be packed with snow and sodium chloride into some potholes on Lowry Hill.

What's my point? Be careful out there, people. The life you save may be your own.

Now I plan to have a couple glasses of 'nog. And I'm gonna mix it strong...