Monday, February 8, 2010

Pass-Fail (Bike Commute #9, Part 2)

About 2 miles into my ride home last Wednesday I spotted another bicycle up ahead. I locked in with the mission of passing said bike. It was a guy just cruising along; he was making no effort to be in any hurry. From what I could tell this man was riding his bike out of necessity, not any particular passion for bikes or desire to reduce his carbon footprint. He probably didn't have a car. Of course, I'm purely speculating based on appearances. At any rate, I made sure not to pass too close, and there was plenty of room to do so. As I rode by I shouted a pleasantry and the man quickly responded in kind.

Now, I fully realized this man was in no rush, but I was so filled with elation that I finally was able to pass somebody. So many times have I been passed on my cycling travels and not once until this moment had I overtaken another bicycle. Settling into a comfortable cadence, I began to compose a blog post in my head, already recounting the achievement. Not a moment later, the cycling gods woke me from my daydream in the visage of another cyclist mashing away and leaving me in the dust, my small victory now but a fleeting memory.

I tried to make an attempt to chase but reached the red light at the intersection with my assailant nowhere to be seen. I soon began to see the irony of the situation (Isn't it ironic? Maybe not in the literary sense, but at least in the Alanis Morissette-sense) and find the humor in it. Clearly, it wasn't funny enough, yet.

I waited for the green light patiently. It was at least a minute or three that I stood there. As the signal changed I slowly remounted to cross the intersection. As I did so, another cyclist, who apparently was standing right behind me, sprinted to overtake me. So not cool!

Next was a short downhill section. I could see it was an older gentleman who had just dropped me. He coasted down the hill. I closed a bit, but didn't want to ride him, after all, this was not really a race (right!). Another red light appeared ahead. I braked a bit hoping to time the light change. The man was already standing at the light as I cruised to a stop and propped myself up against the curb. "Where the hell are your manners?!" I blurted out. No not really. That's what I should have said. I stood there for a moment, slightly at his flank, looking at the man. He failed to turn and acknowledge my presence. I said hello. He turned, responded (somewhat reluctantly I felt), and returned to his forward gaze.

I don't know what it is. I am not normally one to greet and strike up conversation with random strangers. I guess I am just looking for a little camaraderie from my fellow cyclists. It's not like there are that many of us out there in San Diego. Maybe I'm being delusional about this??

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