Tossing and Tortured 'Till Dawn

I come back to you now, at the turn of the tide.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Silly Things Said to Me While on a Bike:

One of the things that I would not have expected before becoming a cyclist is the number of people who decide to say something to me while riding, usually from their cars. Now, because these cars are typically moving at different speeds than me, they don't seem to realize that the doppler effect means I won't hear anything except something that sounds like, "heeeEE-EE-YYyyy..." Unless that IS what they mean to say, and, if so, that's not terribly creative. Neither is, "get off the road, fag!" and other such clever insults. We'll leave those be, too. But just this week I've had a handful of really funny ones. I'm going to see if I can't remember any more.

SCUBA bike:

I had on full cold-weather rain gear: tights, booties, and a balaclava. That last one's a hood. I had had laid my bike over, and was getting my pump out to change a spare tire, when a 30-something lady pulls out of the parking lot I'm in. It's to an office building. She slows and asks "what kind of suit is that?"
"Um, suit?"
"Yeah," she gestures to me, "what kind of suit are you wearing? Is it like, SCUBA?"

I hope so, too:

Today, at a stoplight, the Cadillac that I'd stayed ahead of during the descent I'd just come down pulls alongside me. It's black, tinted windows, big chrome wheels, some gold pinstripes, four younger passengers. The back window rolls down, and the guy says, "Hey, man! I hope you make it to the Tour de France!"
"Thanks!" I reply, though I can never quite tell if these types are mocking me.
"How many miles you ride?" asks the guy.
"Um, this week, I guess three hundred and some."
"Day-amn. Keep ridin'!"

Professional Bike-Guy:

This week, I go to get some groceries at Safeway. I'm wearing my team jersey, plain shorts, and I've got my Chrome messenger bag. I lock my cyclocross bike to the grocery-cart rack . It's not as though a supermarket in Milton, Washington has a bike rack! I shop, my cleated mountain bike shoes make a bit of extra noise, but nothing like the road-pedal duckwalk. If this were back in downtown Portland, I think I would look decidedly ordinary. But this is Milton, and my getup is enough to make the cashier, a fairly pretty young lady, ask, "Wow, are you like, a professional ... um. Bike ... guy? What do they call that?"

A cyclist? I think I'm going to stick with Bike-guy. I like that better.

The Money:

I'm chugging along up the (newly-paved) McMurray last week, in the pouring rain. I've got about 40 pounds of stuff in my panniers, mostly because I've just set these things up and I want to see what it's like to climb with them. It's slow going, in fact. A driver in an older Honda passes me midway up the climb. When I get to the top, he's pulled over to the side of the road, reading a map. He rolls down his window as he sees me coming -- middle aged, shaved head, big glasses, a bigger smile.

"Atta way!" He cheers. "That's how you do it! Right on the money!" He flashes a thumbs up. Thanks, man.

Do you have any to share? Any insights on why people feel like exclaiming stuff at people on bikes?


  • At 11:39 AM , Blogger STOKED I AM said...

    From the staff at the Sultan bakery: "Are those metal cleats on your shoes? We'll have to ask you not to come back."

    From a girl, maybe 8, at ye olde Wedgwood Bike Shop: "Are you a professional bike racer?"

  • At 8:44 PM , Blogger josh said...

    how about this one...

    car drives past, we are climbing a hill. it pulls the ebrake, swerves/skids was trying to look cool I guess...guy in his 20's...some honda/acura whatever with tints and a loud muffler....but guy cant drive, and skids right into a road sign post, denting his bumper.

    gets out and starts screaming, inluding at us as we ride by laughing our asses off

  • At 8:53 AM , Anonymous cruzer said...

    not mine... but still cool never the less...

  • At 8:57 AM , Anonymous cruzer2424 said...

    CAR BACK!!

    ... its better like this.

  • At 12:58 PM , Anonymous VA Biker said...

    I recently was the recipient of a very cool comment from someone (at least to me). I just started my first ever European cyclo-touring trip in western Switzerland. I'm passing through one of the very idyllic villages in western Switzerland, when a boy with his classmates comes running to the edge of the road and shouts, "Allez! Allez! Allez!". They were on lunch break, headed back to school.

    NOT what I expected. In the US, it'd be something far more negative (or at least my 20+yrs of road cycling tells me that).

    Anyway, it's affirmation that not all is bad with cycling!

  • At 1:09 PM , Blogger STOKED I AM said...

    Many moons ago I descended off Conor Pass on the Dingle Peninsula in Ireland about 15 minutes ahead of the peloton in the FBD Milk Ras. One of the advance motos was in front of me to clear the course, and when I came into a town, all the school children were lined up along the road, waving flags and cheering me on. I just waved back and probably left them more than a little puzzled....

  • At 5:49 PM , Blogger Miriam said...

    While riding around Angkor Wat a bunch of little kids on adult bikes (one pedaling and one sitting on the saddle...their legs werent long enough to do both) swarmed around us and started yelling "yeah-yo" (hello) to us and giggling/smiling with us. So frickin cool.

    Of course it wasnt in the states.

  • At 6:51 PM , Blogger STOKED I AM said...

    Just tonight, I walk into my neighborhood Safeway. I'm in full cycling kit, including helmet. The clerk says "did you ride your bike down here?" No, this is my costume for Halloween and I want to make sure it fits/works/draws attention?

  • At 10:35 PM , Blogger Daniel said...

    I was riding home from work tonight and I passed a guy going over the Broadway bridge. Unfortunately the light was red at the first intersection so I stopped. The guy I passed went around me through the red.

    The light turned green and I caught up with and passed the dude at the next light. As I passed I stated "It's super awesome how you passed me at the red, and I still was able to catch you at the next light...." I admit that it was a smart a$$ comment, but this is a pet peeve of mine.

    Anyway, the guy started spouting that if he had a road bike and wasn't a pro rider I would not have been able to catch him...

    I was riding my fixie and riding full rain gear at the time... How unPRO is that?


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