Friday, April 13, 2012

Getting "Buzzed"

I got buzzed by a car this morning while I was riding to the bike lane. :/

The car sped up next to me, gunning its engine, and then swerved in front on me, taking the bike lane. He slowed for a couple seconds, and then tore off. Surprisingly, I wasn't all that startled by the event, just bewildered, and perhaps a bit discouraged.

All I could think was, "Jeez, despite the fact that I am in no way impeding his travel, this man finds my mere presence so offensive, that he has chosen the alter his course, in order to prove to me how unwanted I am by him. I can only imagine the reaction I caused within him; the momentary elevation in pulse and blood pressure, perhaps he perspired a bit. Did he fling unheard curse words at me through tinted glass? Or, did he laugh or cheer in some sort of victory as he sped past me in his late model BMW? Who knows. The bottom line is that neither one of us really felt very good.

Getting buzzed by cars really sucks. I have had my fair share of it too. Here are a few of my favorite "Buzz History Highlights":

I was riding in Arlington along this stretch of the Centennial Trail that hadn't been completed yet, (a ~3 mile gap where you had to jump on the country road) when this convertible comes flying by. They had to have been within inches of hitting me. As they pass, the guy yells at me, "Stupid bi***! Get off the road!" Just as this is happening, we all pass a big yellow sign on the side of the road that says, "SHARE THE ROAD" with a picture of a bike on it. >.< The best part was that a block later, we got stuck at the same red light. Awkward...FOR HIM!

Last year, while riding in Lake Forest Park on Ballinger Way with my ex, a huge pickup truck - you know the kind; ridiculously large, never been off pavement, spotlessly clean, gigantic tires, lifted, and sports a bumper sticker that provides evidence that this vehicle's driver could be a victim of de-evolution of mankind?? Um... where was I?? I think I just went off on a tangent... So the BIG pickup blares past me, revving engine and all, and barely missing me. I was so startled I jumped in my seat and momentarily lost control of my bike! I then looked up ahead. He who Shall Not Be Named was riding up ahead, and they were rapidly approaching him. I knew he was in for a "truck surprise" too, so I yelled "CAR BACK!" but it was no use, my little voice was no match to that V-8! They roared right up to him, but this time they had something extra special; they had rolled down their passenger's side window, and just as they passed "Him," they held their dog, who was viciously and hysterically barking its head off, out of the window! I cringed as I saw "Him" quite nearly have a minor heart attack. At least he didn't fall. How mean was that though?? (Poor dog.) PS. I am SO finished with Ballinger Way. I've been buzzed by a car every time I've ridden that damn road, and it's full of pot holes anyway.

A couple months ago I was riding in Kirkland (or maybe I was in Kenmore) on a street where bikes can take the whole lane. The speed limit was 25mph, (but I was only doing ~20) and since the lane was wide, and I didn't want to slow people up if I didn't need to, I had chosen to ride to the right. Several cars passed me. A couple passed without altering their course, but this still allowed a reasonably safe distance between us, while others crossed the center-line to give me a wider birth. (I am quite tickled by this gesture. I do not want anyone to endanger themselves unnecessarily or anything, I just think of it as chivalrous.) :) Anyways, can you believe that I got buzzed by a flippin' LAMBORGHINI?? And on a road that I could have been riding smack dab down the middle of, but chose not to?? Who drives a Lamborghini anyway? Gross. I can think of lot better ways to spend a whole ton of money. [insert Want it Wednesday here] Hehehe.

So that's just few stories of many, and I know there will be many more to come, unfortunately.

Not good.
Riding a bike on the road isn't as easy as it looks! There is a lot going on; traffic moving around you at high speeds, road turtles, pot holes, road debris, storm drains, wheel-swallowing parallel drain grates, sticker-bush branches, and other general crappiness that tends to accumulate on the shoulder. Navigating all of this, at high speeds, while exerting massive energy, (well at least in my case, because I'm fast *wink*) takes skill and concentration. I am never trying to ruin a motorist's day, make them late, or take more than my share of the roadway. I know that I am small and I am squishy.

Motorists just have no idea how dangerous their little prank is, or how huge the consequences can be. Merely being startled can cause a cyclist to lose control of their bike enough to cause them to crash. Speaking from experience, crashing hurts. Pavement is hard, and road rash is hellishly painful, and then equally as itchy later on.  Even a minor crash can result in broken bones and other serious injury. Let's not forget the other traffic out there either. If a cyclist falls, another car could then hit them, which we all know could be potentially fatal.

Injury and death aside, there is also the issue of the damage caused to the cyclist's bike and gear. For many, a bike is their primary mode of transportation, and the loss of its use would be devastating. Not everyone can afford Lamborghini's, ya know! Not everyone can afford to fix or replace a damaged bike either.

Oh Rodney, you say it best, "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?"

Other than BMW guy, everyone else I encountered this morning on my bike was lovely. I am even choosing to include the two "Texas Roadblocks," just because they were all so sweet when I came up behind them and politely made myself known. I'm telling you, when the sun shines in Seattle, people get super nice...except BMW guy...he was a poo head. I encountered him in Lynnwood though, and Lynnwood does suck in general.

I did all my travel today via Lucy, which got in my bike time and my hills (which I took standing up.) I also got in a pool workout (focused on kick drills), and a massage! I'd call it a good day with a little "hiccup."


  1. Whoa! You have certainly put me off wanting to ride my skinnies in your area! Thought it was bad here, but I can hardly complain now. Time to get a mtb as well!! Lol

  2. It must be something in the air, or the alignment of the stars. I had two people bark at me, in separate incidents, during my medium ride yesterday. Usually I shrug it off, but I was in no mood so both were told to F off. IMO What they are saying by their actions is " Wish I had the ability and discipline to do that."

    Einstein quote: "Great spirits have always found violent opposition from mediocrities." Be careful but remember you are a winner and some people will be envious.

    On a positive note the Spring weather is here and I hope you are feeling great from all the training you did over the winter.

    1. I've never seen you riled up before! Of course, we still haven't ridden together. We seriously need to change that!

      Thanks for the encouraging words though. The spring weather has me as happy as a lark, that's for sure. :)

      Let's get together soon!

  3. I've had a few buzzing incidents over the years, but not as many as expected. People who pull moronic stunts like that obviously have a few screws loose.

    Stay safe...