Sunday, May 9, 2010


"People are really good." That is the thought I had as I was riding along the Springwater Corridor, today. I was thinking about a tweet I had seen by a woman who has traveled the world on her bicycle. "We can trust 99% of the people we meet," she had said. I thought that was really lovely.

About 30 seconds after I had that thought, someone flipped me off as I waved to them in thanks for stopping for me at an intersection. "Except for the assholes," I think. And, I can't help but wonder what percentage of assholes fit into that 99% number. Then I shake my head and say, "No, it's just cars. People become assholes when they are driving."

It's a funny juxtaposition between a cyclist and a driver. On a bicycle, you are powered by your own energy and releasing frustration. You are admiring the beautiful cherry tree, smelling the amazingly potent honeybush, chuckling at the kid learning to flip up his skateboard up on its side and balance. It's an incredibly rewarding experience and leaves you feeling refreshed when you get to your destination.

Driving, on the other hand, makes the best of us feel impatient and the worst of us feel malicious. I feel it in myself as I drive. I just want to GET THERE! I am conscientious about stopping for pedestrians and cyclists, but the process of driving is so unpleasant that I only do it when I absolutely CAN'T ride my bike. My husband talks about feeling his chest and neck tighten as he drives to work 14 days a month. I think, while driving, it is the only time he experiences true rage. Idiot drivers just bring it out in him. He HATES it and it is part of the reason the car mostly just sits in the driveway on his weekends.

These are the thoughts I have as I ride to Powell Butte, passing on the way a father with his daughter who is driving a battery powered miniature car. I can't help but roll my eyes. I get to Powell Butte, drink some water and eat a couple of dolmas. 15 miles and my back is already feeling tired. Am I crazy to have signed up for 442 miles in a week? Remains to be seen.

For the most part, the ride was lovely. I passed lots of families with their 2.2 kids and I thought a ride on Mother's Day seemed like a fine idea. The sun was shining and I was comfortable in my Sheila Moon halter top bike jersey. But, I was a mile from home when I almost got creamed by a, you guessed it, impatient driver coming off the Hawthorne Bridge. I heard him slam on the gas and slowed down just in time for him to cut me off as he exited. "Idiot," I think. I hope that 1.5 seconds helps him whenever he gets to where he is going. Seriously, where can someone possibly have to go that it would be worth slamming into, breaking the bones of, and possibly killing a fellow human being? I try to shake it off and say to myself, "Cars just bring out the worst in people."

And, the wonderful thing is, there is such a fantastic alternative...something that brings out the best in people...a bicycle. I think it is best to just ignore asshole drivers. Even if they are revving their engine behind you and pass you with just a foot to spare. Because, even on a day when I run into someone like that, I'm still glad I rode my bike. I'm glad because I used my body and refreshed my mind. I earned my way to my destination and I didn't miss the honeybush along the way. The amazing thing is that I got flipped off and almost got smashed into today, but I still felt great after my 30-mile ride. Asshole drivers or no asshole drivers, I look forward to many more rides to come...long, short and every distance in between.

No comments:

Post a Comment