Experimental music, photography, and adventures

Commutes

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

Yesterday’s commutes were pretty uneventful, but great. On my way to work, I saw an old couple walking in the opposite direction and realized I see them almost every morning. They don’t move very fast, but they still walk together every morning, and they really seemed to enjoy it. I am not really a “good morning” kind of guy; I’m not a morning person in the least, and I always dread getting up. Mornings are almost inherently not good, to me. However, riding to work on a beautiful morning and seeing that old couple, arm in arm, I couldn’t help myself. I said “good morning” to them as I rode by. They reminded me a bit of my grandparents, who took walks together for as long as they could, and I certainly hope that someday Sarah and I will walk together like that. I arrived at work with a dumb grin on my face.

My commute this morning was good, too, pretty similar to yesterday’s. I saw the same old couple again, and once again wished them a good morning. I could see them smile back at me. I had tried to get a photo of the old couple yesterday morning, but it didn’t turn out too well. I tried again this morning, but I think I missed again. I might have to stop and take their photo sometime if they’ll let me, but I feel a candid shot would be better, if I can get one.

I had one incident with a motorist this morning. I was riding on 7th Street, which goes through campus and is a two-lane, fairly low-traffic street with several stop signs. There was a pickup truck behind me that tried to pass me a couple of times, but there wasn’t room to pass. I was riding outside the “door zone” in case someone in a parked car opened their door. The guy in the truck behind me was clearly getting impatient, even trying to pass me within about 10 feet of a stop sign.

When he failed to pass me at that stop sign, the guy in the truck laid on his horn and yelled something at me that I couldn’t understand.  I had had enough;I wasn’t about to ride in the door zone, especially since there still wouldn’t have been enough room for him to pass me. So instead, I took the lane. It felt great to show this truck driver I wasn’t going to take his crap, and simultaneously assert my right to ride on the road and look out for my safety (and really, the safety of others; if the guy had tried to pass me with oncoming traffic, an accident surely would have resulted). When I reached the stoplight at Walnut Street, the light was red, and I turned around and stared down the truck driver. I wish I could have explained to him the safety reasons behind the way I was riding, but there wouldn’t have been time, and I don’t think he would have cared anyway.

7 Responses to “Commutes”

  1. Sarah Says:

    What a jerk. You should start riding the other 7th Street instead. It’s much better.

  2. furiousball Says:

    I say you go the monkey route and carry a bag of poo with you for flinging at all impolite motorists. It will make your blog entries more entertaining to me at least. Can you put a video camera on your helmet?

  3. Bikeboy Says:

    On my morning bike commute, there’s a fella I greet every day. He’s retired – or retirement-age – and it looks like earns a few bucks helping the elementary kids cross a busy intersection. He’s been at the same post for several years. He’s “not from around here” – I’m guessing he’s from one of those Slavic countries, and speaks broken English. But he has a kind face. We say hello and wave every morning. During the summer months when school is out, and he’s “on vacation,” I miss him.

    With regard to your pickup man… sounds like you’re doing everything right, and he’s being a jerk. In my experience, I’ve never gotten much satisfaction from lowering myself to jerk-level, to exchange ideas with jerks. Just let ’em go… it’s not worth it. And maybe he’ll be a little more clued-in the next time he encounters a cyclist.

  4. Revrunner Says:

    I try my hardest to seem indifferent to people’s shouts, honks and gestures. First, I do it so as to better concentrate on what I’m doing and, second, as kind of an act of silent difiance. My problem is–unfortunately–that to do so is pretty much against my nature.

  5. Smudgemo Says:

    That stuff always leads me to believe that people hate to drive, but don’t realize it.

  6. Jett Says:

    Smudgemo, I think you’re on target.

    Riding into the office, I sometimes see upset people stuck in traffic. This makes me think of a hooked fish struggling against the line and how that fish must appear to the fish who are still free.

  7. John Says:

    I have had similar experiences and done things like you mentioned in the post. When I run into a pushy driver, I usually push back. However, most times the driver is very patient, and I do what is needed to allow them to pass. After all, if I was in a hurry, I wouldn’t be on a bike.

    I always think of sharing the road. Sometimes I get out of the way to share with a vehicle, and sometimes I take the lane to make them share with me.

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