3.01.2011

not the same... not treated the same

the other day when riding my bike on Beach Drive on a short out and back to the Mormon Temple before going to a community meeting at the National Zoo about some planned work on the Bicycle Paths in Rock Creek Park and a multi-use trail that goes through a park that parallels P Street between Dupont Circle and Georgetown there was an accident... or at least one car stopped in the middle of the road left there after a fender bender

there was lots of traffic
car traffic backed up that acted to anger the already aggressive drivers
I felt the backlash
the congestion played upon my right to space and my feeling of safety
on my way out climbing up the hill I passed the car with a woman sitting helpless in her car with a crumpled grill
she did not look injured
but her radiator did look busted

I am not sure if the car was drivable
it is not clear to me if she could have driven the car twenty feet forward and to the side or twenty five feet forward and then left to a vacant side street
I did not see anyone stop their car to offer aid
I did not see any men stop their cars to help her push her car to the side of the road

cars were backed up
cars coming up the hill were forced to go around the car into on coming traffic
it was sloppy
the cars that passed me after then encountered me on the open road were consistently obnoxiously fast and obnoxiously close
I was relieved when I to to the Mormon Temple as was able to head back towards home where I could ride a few moments car free

passing the accident the other way I saw the women out of the car and in the arms of what appeared to be her husband or boyfriend.. or a very lucky passerby
it seemed like enough... the embrace was long...
I wondered if he was ever going stop hugging that woman and start pushing that car to the side of the road
in fact... there was enough time for me to shout...
"okay... enough with the hug... how about moving that car?"

this rant was not supposed to be about me getting buzzed fast and close a hundred and one times
although that did happen
this was supposed to be a rant about my ride back from Capitol Hill today were I was riding the double yellow line down from Capital Hill proper
it seems more safe to roll down at high speed in the vacant lane of oncoming traffic than to cruise at any speed in the door zone all the way to the right

then something happened
I hear a click from the back end of my stylish new to be me but slightly used Trek road bike
still moving at speed
not pedaling already going fast enough that there was no need to pedal
I started to break as the click sound and made another noise and I felt unsure if my bike was safe
then the rear wheel locked up and I went into a long skid

with the wheel locked up
the rear wheel fishtailing leaving rubber on the asphalt
I pulled the brakes and adjusted my body weight to control things
then breaking to a stop at the base of the hill

quickly off the bike and reviewing the bike for damage
trying to make a snap judgment of what may have happened
then a cop starts barking at me
not checking to see if I am okay... just barking at me
this capitol hill police officer is telling me to move

seconds have not passed and he is on my ass

I tell him that this coat hanger had been caught up in my wheel and caused me to lose control of my bike
he told me I needed to clear the lane
I did not disagree
but I did think it was funny
cars always block the road when broken down
here I am broken down
and seconds into things and I am being barked at

barked at
aggressed
accosted
not assisted... there was not a second of care or concern
never in the approach was there an "excuse me Mr. Bicycle Person are you okay"
nor was the request friendly asking me to move... it was police speak
no one likes police speak

so... with hanger untangled from the rear brake and rear wheel
with the bike lifted off the ground I gave the rear wheel a spin
still... I am being barked at
while still trying to resolve my issue

remember... I have been racing bikes for over a decade
I have had bicycle malfunctions that have been accessed.... repairs... and kept me in the race
I can change a flat on my mountain bike in under two minutes
basic repairs also done in minutes

listening to the capital hill cop talk to me in his cop speak I checked the intersection and did as I was asked
I moved on
rolling through one clear intersection and then bobbing and weaving through the next
tossing the coat hanger along side a trash can on the sidewalk out front of Department of Labor

angered

angered because of the inconsistency
amused by the inconsistency


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