It was a wadded bag full of McDonald’s waste. It flew by my head. I caught some of the paper shrapnel across my back. For me, it was strange, only stirring a small reaction. As I matter of fact, once I thought about it, I smiled at the irony. I pedaled on. I was on the edge of the road, using the white fog line as my guide. I was in no one’s way.
I try to stay on the beautiful bike trails available to me, like the inserted picture. Of course, on high mileage days, it is necessary to ride on trafficked roads. This type of incident has happened to me a few times (I realize that it is worse in places like London, England), but I don’t always take it with a grain of salt.
This past summer, I was making my way through relatively quiet suburban neighborhood when a car skimmed by me and laid down on the horn. It scared the mess out of me, causing me to almost wreck. The car careened around a curve and disappeared. As I gathered myself and moved around the same distant curve, the car was stopped in the road waiting for a train to pass. Weeeeelllllllll . . . I rolled up to the driver’s window (enraged and not thinking) and knocked on the window. The driver greeted me with a smile, as she rolled down the down. The man on the passenger’s side kept staring straight ahead.
“You need me?” I asked.
She shook her head. “No, why?”
“You blew the horn at me, barely missing me, and I thought you needed me for something.”
The smile again. “No, I just accidentally hit my horn. I’m fine. I just–”
“You bumped the horn for that long?”
No answer. The train was still sliding by.
At this point, I leaned down farther and asked the passenger if the driver was his girlfriend. He nodded yes, still staring straight ahead.
I clipped my right foot back in and stood on my left. “Well, you need to help her stay in control of herself.”
He nodded, and I rode off.
I understand there are cyclists out there that set a bad name for us all. I see them when I’m driving a car. I’m not perfect. I make mistakes on the bike, but I try to wave to the driver and let him know that I apologize for my mistake. But when I do nothing wrong, sometimes things need to be said. I know I’ll have things screamed and thrown at me in the future, but all I can do is try to make a difference in how I ride and how I react.