I have this friend at work, Jill. Cute as a button, but she and I disagree on two very important things. First she is a diehard UW Husky fan. That in itself is just wrong. You’d think someone as smart as she is would know better and would route for a real team, the WSU COUGS! But try as I might, she just won’t come over from the dark side…
The other area we will never agree on is cyclists. She dislikes them from the bottom of her heart. She does not believe they belong on the road, and anytime a car lane is given up to make bike lanes (which, as I remind her, gets us out of her way) she gets mad all over again. She likes me as a person and co-worker, but tells me often she is glad my bike commute does NOT get in her way.
So, imagine my surprise when I found myself sounding just like her today…
Yep that’s right, today I was a bit perturbed, if not hacked off at some of my fellow riders. My unhappy thoughts toward other cyclists are generally saved for those rude, speed demons, who don’t understand what a mixed use trail is. They give the rest of us bad names.
But today, my ire is directed at my fellow bike commuters. And that never happens!
Let’s start with this morning. FINALLY, I got a good early start on the commute. I was out the door and heading south by 5:05 AM. I can tell that Winter is Coming (It’s always good to use a Game of Thrones reference) because this morning was the darkest morning commute since April. I got smart though, last night I replaced the batteries in my lights, AND I broke out the clear safety glasses for the ride.
My commute is along the mixed use Burke Gilman trail. There are no motor vehicles allowed at all on this path. So I feel perfectly safe cycling in the pitch dark. That is until I as passed by a bike, without any lights at all, going the other way! Freaked me out! Never saw the guy until he was right there! Had I veered a bit to miss a pot hole, I’da taken him out clean!
“Damn fool” I muttered, as I kept going. But these damn fools travel in packs. During the rest of my time on the trail (and its even darker under the overhanging trees) I had not one, but 2 more damn fools go by me! In the darkest spots, its hard enough to stay on the trail with the light, I have no idea how these twits did it.
The lights aren’t just for cars, it’s for other bikes as well!
So that was this morning.
I got lucky this morning in one way, sometime after I got to work, it started raining! First time in WEEKS! I got to watch it from the office, and it soon cleared. However, when quitting time came around and I saddled up again. I could tell rain was coming.
The good news, was I had a pretty good tail wind, so I was flying home! I felt a few drops here and there, but not much. I had my lights on, and I was using both my bell AND voice “On your left!” when passing people.
Yeah, well some people just don’t listen. I was coming up on a lady with panniers, she was on the right side of the trail. She moved over a little to pass a jogger (or so I thought). I hit the bell and started to say “On your WHOA THERE!!!!!!!”
No signal, no slowing, as I was passing, she decided to turn left onto a little path that I have never seen anyone use! Cat like reflexes kicked in! I hit the brakes and veered to the left with her. She hit my by, but with a lot less impact than it would have. And she slowed as well. I tried to keep her from falling but she skinned her knee a little. Not too bad, and no damage to the bikes.
She didn’t have a mirror, didn’t signal, never looked over her shoulder (I know this cuz I don’t trust people, I am an ex claims adjuster) and just went! She apologized profusely for not looking. She had heard the bell but it just didn’t register….
OK, I know just as there are poor drivers, there are poor cyclists. But its not often I run into SO many poor ones in such a short period. In general I find bike commuters to be the most courteous and careful of all cyclists I meet in my travels.
These 4 people though, just made me think, for a second, “Maybe Jill is correct!” Those Damn Cyclists!
PLUS I got rained on! just a little though, it didn’t rain hard till I got home, the Bike gods smiled on me some!