So I just received an email from an old college buddy – one of those fairly funny “random thoughts” emails, and one of them was:
“As a driver I hate pedestrians, and as a pedestrian I hate drivers, but no matter what the mode of transportation I always hate cyclists.”
Not so funny, but pretty much the vibe you get out there on the road. Reminded me of a few random (in the saddle) thoughts of my own:
The Pickup Rule: I am convinced that in order to become a pickup truck owner, you must first prove that you drive like a total jack**s. There is almost no such thing as a good driver in a pickup. There are two broad categories here: the first we all know well – BIG pickup truck, loud exhaust, small @$#!, insists on passing you with the thing floored and close enough to brush the hairs on your arms (you don’t shave your arms do you?).
We actually had one of these guys busted once. He was a repeat offender – every morning he’d buzz us on the same stretch. So I finally had enough and waited in my car for him one morning. Sure enough right on schedule he passed by going 70 on a narrow country road in his lifted Ram pickup. Followed him, got his license, passed it on via an insider to the local police force. They sent a cruiser out one morning and nailed him speeding. Turns out his license was expired, and he was behind on truck payments. Karma baby.
The other category is fairly innocuous to bikers. You invariably wind up behind these guys when you’re late for a race. You know the type – they drive those TINY pickups, preferably models at least 20 yrs old. I assume they have a hamster wheel under the hood since you never see these guys exceed 20mph. On the bike you can just drop them so no biggie. In a car they will drive you to distraction. And it’s tough to yell at them since the driver’s head rarely sticks up much above the steering wheel.
I was reminded on an easy ride this morning of another type of jerk. In this case a pickup is not required although it certainly helps. You know these guys too: deserted country road, early morning, you’re riding with your buds maybe two abreast (single file works too). This guy sneaks up behind you, and even though he can see a mile up the deserted road, he REFUSES to cross the center line and LEANS on the horn. Once you land back on your bike it is nearly impossible to prevent your middle finger from extending. This is the same guy who 5 minutes later swerves into oncoming traffic because he’s too busy sending a text message to steer.
That all said, if you drive a pickup and ARE a good driver, congrats – just don’t let the Pickup Patrol find out. Finally, let’s avoid making things worse. Single file on busy roads, keep right, signal turns, thank motorists even if they don’t really deserve it. And above all, be careful out there.