1.06.2007

action and reaction

this is a long post
another long post

at first I was not going to put it up here
but... I figure maybe GeWilli will scan it and make me feel like it had been read



men are not all that evolved

we are very much still animals
animals that act more out of impluse than thought
action and reaction

there are times when I give into my animal instincts
where there is an action
rather than thought
there is just a reaction
action and reaction

it was at the end of the afternoon
an afternoon on an unseasonably warm winter day
not sure of the actual measure but I think it may have been around 70 degress
70 degrees and muggy
it was the end of the afternoon
it was the end of an afternoon ride

after a morning with kids and hikes and kids and other kids
come afternoon lisa subbed in as den mother
she was refreshed from yoga and some time away from the kids
her return to the task of watching the kids freed things up
this offered my window of opportunity
and I must tell you...
napping came very close to winning over riding

but... I did not give into my nature and I got out on the bike
the multiple days of rain prior removed dirt from my list of options
sure gambril state park drains well
but my window of opportunity did not offer for an hour up and an hour back in the car
then parking lot time
oh... there was the issue of not having someone to ride with
as gambril is a nice little collection of east coast granite rock gardens
not the most wise place to ride alone
always good to ride with a buddy
especially at someplace like gambril
not just to have a someone to drag you out if you get hurt
but also riding with someone aides in picking up the intensity and the focus

so...
with the kids being entertained by the wife I went to the basement to suit up for the ride
while selecting my gear
I also selected my bike
the selection of the bike would also dictate the destination of the ride

with under two hours in this saturday afternoon window of opportunity
the frankenbike fixie seemed like as good an option as any
the specialized cross bike still has a rear flat from the Capital Cross Classic
the geared karate monkey needs a new middle ring
the middle ring on the bike is mangled such that there is a little ring or big ring option
without having shifting as an option
the jamis nova has yet to be built
as the components including Midge bars have not arrived
sure the Karate Monkey Single Speed is ready to roll
as that bike is sharing the still functional front wheel that was on the geared Monkey
it was almost through deduction that the 30 year old colnago built into a fixie was selected

suiting up was simple enough
just a pair of knickers and a long sleeve baggy jersey over a standard jersey
then the pair of pearlizumi shoes that have the shimano cleats that almost match the mix match shimano pedals that exist on this bike
time pedals are my modern pedals of choice
but... on my beaters, commuters, and frankenbike projects I often use whatever old and broken pedals I can find floating around the various boxes in my basement

rolled down the alley then onto the street
in less than a mile's time I was on the closed section of Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park
so were all sorts of other cyclists, roller bladers, people with dogs, adults with children
there were all sorts of couple activities
it was late afternoon on an unseasonably warm weekend day
everyone was out for an afternoon in the park
the high speed peletons had long since finished their morning loops
sure there were plenty of people in le Tour de Joker
that is to be expected

it had been a while since I had done anything more than ride around downtown on the fixie
it was good just to get the bike spinning and maintain that comfortable cadence
some speed changes for various varibles
but no need for stopping and starting again

the ride out past the Mormon temple was less than eventful
once the road opened up again to traffic there was the standard bullshit
nothing to get bothered by
the standard bullshit from car driving assholes

rode the winding asphalt out to the point where the road comes to a T
not sure of the name
not that far... maybe 12 miles from home
then turned it around
there were a few more close passes that I was able to work through with some breathing exercises and the mantra serenity now

making the pass on several of these vehicles as the stop lights favored me
having them stuck in the queue gave me some pleasure
of course there was anxiety on their next approach
but... having not made and gestures or screamed any words there was no need for me to fear any intentional contact
there was no confrontation

at various points in the ride I snapped some shots of the other riders and the sights around me
the camera battery was shutting the camera down on me
but there was enough juice for a few moving shots
only one person merited the attention of me stopping
that was a man riding on the bike path with his family
his family was all riding bicycles
while he was riding a large wheel unicycle

there was a very positive vibe to the day
there was pleasant eye contact and enjoyable exchanges
at various parts in the ride I slowed for conversation with a few of the other cyclists
but usually no more than a hello or nice bike

the ride back was similar to the ride up
uneventful
pleasureably uneventful

on the final blocks of my ride
I worked the small geared fixie up the hill to where I live
the standard tailgating and unsafe passes occured
but the day was too nice for it to bother me
again there was the pleasure when I passed some of the cars stuck at the red light
all waiting for the green turn arrow at the top of the hill


sure enough
the green arrow lit up for me perfectly
no need for me to do more than pause at the intersection
this gave me pleasure
this apparetnly gave the following car aggravation
in the short squat city block that had a stop sign just 15 yards ahead the car tried to make a pass
passing wide and fast he broke the double center line
only to see a white van coming down the hill straight at him
in an effort to avoid a head on collision the car cut fast in front of me
cutting me off
forcing me to make a panic stop
had I not anticipated his aggressive re-entry to the lane
I would have most certainly been knocked off the bike

with the car stopped at the stop sign I rode up along side of him
there were words exchanged

as he drove away I gave him the bird
he stopped
I yelled
I roded up the hill along side of his driver's side window
he drove in an aggressive manner directly towards me
I moved for shelter between the parked cars
oncoming traffic forced him to stop rather than.... well... chase me down or run me down with my car
not sure what would have happened had his efforts had not been slowed by downhill traffic

then things got stupid
more words from both sides
all sorts of words
very few words about the actual incident
more words about nothing

then when he put his car in gear and his focus forward I in a very ignorant and immature fashion issued the last profane utterance
whatever I said was enough to get him to get out of his car
again
being a fool I called his bluff
with a poker face I avoided anything even close to a flinch
but... I used my bike as a barrier between us
as this barrier would surely slow his attack
had this man been trained in Gracie Ju-Jitsu or another UFC discipline my bicycle between us would have slowed him from kicking my ass in 5 seconds to 8 or 9 seconds

his bark lessened
as I did not flee
although I had called his bluff I was not looking to take this confrontation to a physical level

steam started to settle
but only after some more ignorant exchanges
traffic was already starting to back up
residents were certainly looking out their windows

although I was not looking to make a friend out of this altercation
I most certainly did not want him as a foe
as it had been revealed that I lived in this area
which would leave him eager to see me here again
so I asked that we each learn from this encounter

we revisited what had happened
we had spend so much time argueing the idea of the speed limit and the law that we had not ever discussed exactly what had happened
the driver felt justified in zipping back in an effort to dodge the head on
but... the driver never thought about how he has jepordized my safety

it was an ugly and awkward situation
the details are not important
it is odd that this all turned out okay
on another day I could aggitate the driver so much that I am pinned between the grill of their car and the side of a parked car
the rage was intense
the car is a dangerous weapon

but on this day...
shockingly
it was not that I walked away friends
but that I think that the driver may rethink his steps of the day and his approach when passing a cyclist in the future
he claimed to be a cyclist
but he did not pass me as if he were a cyclist himself

in the end
I was pleased he did not run me down
I was pleased he did not beat me up
I was pleased that he did not rush me forcing me to fight him
I was pleased that we sorted things out
in the end
I think it turned out okay
although
I wish he had not risked my life to save himself two seconds in traffic

okay
never mind
I was going to proof this
but
no dice rock slice
it is too far down the blog
no one cares
no one listens
I will just move on to the next adventure

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Damn .long post but i got thru it..whew..lol j/k

fucking drivers,maks me wanna pack some brass knuckles but then i might beat someone up and he in turn will wipeout some other poor cyclist..
OR

i could get shot as I do live in brooklyn after all..def not worth it.

My strategy is to go slower than i usually do and let the fuckers go by..anyway i will be passing em at he next light so why kill myself over it?

Bryn said...

you are one prolific fellow...yeah, this story is a third of the way down the page - I am playing catch-up here.

gwadzilla said...

yes

it was a long post
and well

it could have been longer

Anonymous said...

great gwadziman!

although

i have a hard time getting one thing clear...

you ain't exactly small...

you don't exactly seem to be of the frail and feeble appearance...

your advantage would seem to be once they leave the car...

with the assumption that they are not packing something more intimidating than bad breath and attitude...

you got lucky - and i can 100% absolutely understand the desire to reach a level of getting the drive to understand... to recognize...

that's all i can hope or in confrontation...

today - no trailer i still found my self riding almost as conservatively as if i did have the trailer...

planning evasive as with trailer and carrying speed that could be stopped with trailer through intersections... that speed is much slower than stopping w/o trailer...

Still...

confrontation is not fun...

at least you are on the bike enough to hopefully not worry about elevated BP ;)

peace out compatriot

MRussell said...

Glad the encounter was resolved in a manner that allows you to tell us about it.

Rolled 50+ miles yesterday uneventful until 2 blocks from my house when a driver, oblivious to the world pulled a u-turn in front of me. She apologized profusely, my only comment was that Mirrors work well.

Be Safe.

gwadzilla said...

I AM A BEAST OF A MAN

but

CAR IS BEST WEAPON

and
in a fight
the one trained to fight will in the fight
I am not trained to fight

it falls back on a simple notion

those who are right often stand their ground
while those who are wrong fail to stand humble
which brings it to a situation of aggression
where the issue tends not to be solved
in which case the argument can become physical

ending up proving not who was right or who was wrong
but who is a better fighter

I am too old to be concerned with being a tough guy
as I did not develop the skills to be at tough guy in my prolonged adolescents
I do not possess them now

yes

glad to be alive to tell that story

Anonymous said...

You need to get it more than once a month. That would limit your stupid confrontations.

gwadzilla said...

yes....

I will check with the wife
see if I can get a note from a doctor
or maybe a psychiatrist

tell her I need it for medical reasons

good plan!