Join Date: May 4, 2010
One good example, is that at 35 or so, I started taking day classes at the college here. it was a 2-3 mile drive, and I decided to start biking to classes. I had about a 3 block run on a 2 lane street, 35 mph, but busy. I rode with traffic there. I was amazed at how many people honked, yelled, and brushed me while passing. I was ALWAYS riding in the gutter, just off of the curb, and heck, all they had to do was drive by.
After a right turn, it was a long 4 block, very steep downhill run, on a 4 lane business route 45 mph highway. Nice shoulder. I rode the shoulder against traffic. One day, I was ripping down that downhill run, maybe even 40 mph, and a driver of an 18 wheeler, staring me right in the eye, pulled off onto the shoulder, and forced me off into the brushy drainage area. I almost went down.
I've taken my share of hits with garbage and drinks over my life. One time I was hit by a chunk of wood by a bunch of guys in a pickup. Once, I was riding main street, about the same period of the truck, on the sidewalk. a car made a right turn into a parking lot, I had to brake hard to avoid hitting him. Funny, it was a neighbor who constantly caused me trouble. seemed deliberate. I seriously thought about confronting him, but didn't.
Just a few years ago, I was driving down a 4 lane street, behind 2 guys in a truck. There was what appeared to be a 20+ year old guy on a beat up old bike riding along in the gutter; the passenger of the truck leaned out, and smacked him hard with a heavy jacket. He went down, I'm pretty sure, right behind me. He nearly ran into my car as he tried to stay on the bike. I saw his bike on the road, and he was on the grass (no sidewalk there) when I could see him in my rearview.
You guys have sign wavers in your cities? Little caesers used to have a guy waving signs in front of their place. They hired some ridiculous little goober, looked an awful lot like carrot top. He'd get out their, crank up his MP3 player, and dance like the village idiot. It was hysterical. Eventually, they had a sign made that was shaped like a guitar, and he'd stand out there all day, blowing his brains out with his mp3 player, and playing air guitar.
It was funny. they guy became a local institution. One day in the news, they did an interview; a car full of punks had driven past, and pelted him with a handful of D cells. Car going 45 mph, add the velocity of a good hard throw, Can you imagine what those bruises looked like? very lucky that he saw it coming and held the sign to shield his face.
I live in an area that has a large population of low class rednecks that love this stuff. I quit biking on the road after the truck forced me off of the road. At that point I decided it wasn't worth it to commute by bike where people actually wanted to hurt me or kill me. Some of them just think it's funny, some of them really hate people and bikes are an easy target.
I'm lucky that I never lived in an even worse place. It's fortunate that we bought a new home not long after the truck incident in a very old part of town, and I could negotiate most of the city from there on only residential low traffic streets.