Well, the International Sign of Constructive Criticism made a rare appearance today, on my ride to work. I couldn’t help it — it just got out there.
I was early in my commute, on Olson Road. I was on a downhill stretch so doing pretty good speed, but slow, of course, compared to the drivers, and too slow, it seemed, for the tubby guy behind me.
I saw him back there in my mirror, and I wondered if he was going to pull an ill-timed maneuver. I should have waved him to stay in place. In fact, I should have been riding bigger in the lane, but I was out earlier than usual, so traffic was light, and I had let my awareness ebb.
The guy behind decided he just had to pass, but another car approached from the other direction. Though the car coming at us was in clear view — you could see half a mile or more — Mr. Impatient Driver could not be deterred. He came around, just as the other car reached us.
There we were, three travelers sharing two lanes. It got crowded, of course, so Mr. Impatient found room by squeezing me. Gave me a horn blast, too, as if to say, “Get off my road!”
He got a quick flash of the I-S-C-C for that.
I tried to catch him at the light at Centerville Road to, uh, offer more constructive criticism, but he scooted away. Just as well, as those on-road education sessions are never productive.
The interesting thing is that this was the first time I’ve been burned on the road in a long time. I can’t even remember the last time I invoked the I-S-C-C. It was months ago, maybe many months, perhaps a year or more.
Of course, had I been up on my commuting game this morning it wouldn’t have happened this time, either. Had I been riding big in the lane, there would have been no room for Mr. Impatient Driver to squeeze by. He’d have had to go wide, and with a car zooming his way, tubby would have waited for safe passage.
And had I took good notice of his can’t wait intentions, I could have swatted him back.
Instead, I got greased by a driver about to wet his pantsE2�™t happen very often, thanks to the calm, assertive riding method I’ve adopted, thanks to the CyclingSavvy courses sponsored by the Capital City Cyclists (I’m now an instructor). That stuff works.
I’ll use that riding style on the way home, and on the rides after, to keep me safe and happy on two wheels and to keep my I-S-C-C in its holster.
Submitted by Bill Edmonds
Cycling Savvy Instructor