Emboldened by Car (Not a Good Thing)

Posted: 21 September 2010 in Riding
Tags: ,

The first time it happened was where it always seems to happen: narrow road; no shoulder; cranking uphill toting too much weight; feeling unsteady.  The first time it happened “they” were the stereotype: heavy pick-up; four wheel drive; young (and, presumably, testosterone-laden).  The first time it happened I felt the same: scared then mad; superior in oh-so-many ways.  The first time it happened–on this trip…

He screamed “Get the fuck off the road!”  Then laughed, flipped me off and they were gone.

It happened again, and again and again, and… Well you get the picture.  People in trucks, RVs, cars.  After a while the stereotypes faded and I realized pretty much anyone could hate a cyclist, just because.  But they all did have a few things in common: there was steel and glass between them and me in each case and, in each case, they had the ability to drive far away from me very fast.  They did not meet me without the bias of motor technology interposed.  That technology, that glass, that steel, that speed all conspired to make them very bold indeed. It conspired to make me scared.

But then I pulled into campgrounds–tired, dusty, wobbly from the climbs and the descents.  Feeling satisfied but humbled by how hard it can be to just ride a bike.  And there “they” were: standing by their RVs, seated next to their pick-ups, lounging near their fast cars.  No steel, no glass, no 70 years of “Detroit” wizardry between us.

And they smiled and offered me fresh fish just caught in a nearby lake.  Yes they did.  And they served me wine (from a box–just like home).  Yes they did.  And they listened to my stories of the road and told me theirs.  Yes they did.  And we talked about family and travels and the beauty and mosquitoes and all manner of trivia.  Yes.  We did.

  1. Lisa Schirch says:

    wow… your photos were so idyllic, i didn’t know about this other side. thanks for sharing this very mixed, but whole picture.

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