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Sunday, February 05, 2012

The Bicycle Diaries #1

I have written hundreds of entries about my life and bikes but this is a new feature describing brief accounts of the joys and perils of the urban cyclist.

This is either the fucking coolest thing I’ve ever done on a bike or the biggest asshole move ever, although I see no reason why it can’t be both. I was riding down the bike path along Avenida Cortes de Valencia (a very busy thoroughfare) yesterday afternoon. I was crossing an intersection with the green light for pedestrians and cyclists when I saw that a motor scooter was flying through the traffic circle and about to pass through the crosswalk on their yellow light.

He saw me coming through the intersection and he actually accelerated. I said “Fuck it” and accelerated as well, putting us on a collision course in the zebra crossing. The idiot had this crazed look on his face as he gassed it for all it was worth, like a kamikaze pilot rocketing towards an American destroyer.  I’m extremely confident in my cycling skills.  I know that I can judge speed and braking better than anyone on a motor scooter so I kept up our game of “chicken.” At the last second he had to slam on his brakes and his scooter started to slide out from under him right in front of me. I deftly pumped a bit harder and avoided the crash but I could see that he was freaking terrified.  He didn’t fall but he came close. I’m guessing that this tool will think long and hard before trying this stunt again.

I know that this was a stupid thing to do but I’m really sick of assholes bullying cyclists and pedestrians. What I did wasn't anywhere near as stupid as a motorized vehicle accelerating through a crosswalk.

In another episode of aggression against cyclists some numb-nuts honked at me the other day. I'm not talking about a little toot but a sustained blast for no reason other than he didn't care to share the road with a cyclist. He felt that I was in his way even though we were five meters before a red light. I was on the driver's side and he had his window rolled down. He started to say something to me about how I needed to watch where I was going even though I was in my lane.  I cut him off with a wave of the hand. I told him that maybe if he rode a bike once in a while his prick would work for something besides going pee pee (a line in Spanish I have rehearsed so that I call blurt it out rapidly and clearly). Then I stood up on the pedals and acted like I was going to sprint foward through the light but I hit the brakes and did sort of a track stand. He saw me and thinking the light had changed he accelerated through intersection on the red light and almost got T-boned.

I swear that I'm a very considerate and respectful cyclist, at least about 99.99% of the time. More and more I avoid riding in the street and I will go way the fuck out of my way just to use the bike paths. Until police tame drivers Valencia will never be the sort of bike paradise that it deserves to be. People here are afraid to ride bikes and for good reason.