Before I get into the meat and potatoes of it all, I have to mention this:
Backcountry Research. Just use coupon code "GORIDE20" at checkout. Race Straps, Tülbags, Super 8s (new and improved... I don't even have it yet)...
Almost had to consider giving up this whole blogging thing, because of this:
Then again, if everybody bought a Squatty Potty, I could probably drastically reduce the amount of writing I do by 60%.
Paul Basagoitia's wreck at Red Bull Rampage all week long. Other things got published in the mean time, pointing fingers... demanding action. My feelings were wooed one way and then the other. In the end, I feel bad for him but good for me, since I chose a job riding a bike that has health insurance but doesn't require canyon gaps.
I've got better things to occupy my brain. Drink beer or don't. Eat food or don't. Buy a new bike frame or don't. What am I gonna do next "season?" What am I gonna do until next "season?" Keep doing chin ups all winter or let that shit go until March... because... not doing them is easier than doing them.
I guess it's a sign that I'm currently living a good life when I can't muster any decent false indignation. I've tried, believe me. Sure, I'm pissed every morning when I pull up to the intersection of Marvin and North Wendover and watch drivers ignore the stop light, the kids waiting for the bus, the bus itself... me. Basically, everything their supposed to be paying attention to. It's not just the law, it's social contract. Whenever I read some Charlotte driver's negative opinion on the internet regarding the law-violating behavior of cyclists, I should suggest they go hang out here between the hours of 7:00AM and 6:00PM and see how their ilk is performing.
They should learn to just hate humans in general. It's a lot easier.
Here's why drivers hate cyclists running red lights.
When a car runs a red light, it's generally because they see the light turn yellow and go for it, regardless of their slim chance for success. This activity produces one of my top five hazards at work, those being:
Cars running red lights
Cabbies cutting U-turns
Not exactly in that order... unless they happen in that order... or more than one all at once.
These impatient drivers come through the intersection safely by the grace of the fates, the split second that occurs before other drivers anticipating the green light and pedestrians waiting for the "walk" sign to light up have a chance to react. The law-breakers are fortunate... most of the time. I've seen my share of fender benders over the last eighteen(?) years in the saddle in the Queen City.
A cyclist will rarely ever make the same move. We're moving along at 15-20 MPH... maybe. There's no chance in hell we're gonna add another 5-10 MPH with a stomp on the pedal(s). Often times, in my urban environment, I'd have to clear four or more lanes worth of waiting traffic waiting at the stop light, one foot on the gas, one hand on their smartphones. Those are terrible odds. If I can't enter the intersection on yellow, I'm not entering the intersection at all.
Our (we cyclists) running of red lights is more calculated. Thought out. Hated.
We pull up to a light, look around, see nothing coming... and go. We're interested in our safety, being that we're not surrounded by metal, plastic, and air bags. While were in the process of doing this, drivers are watching us... assuming they haven't already pulled out their phones to update their status on FaceBook with a traffic selfie. They get pissed off, not because we're breaking the law, but because we're getting away with it. Kinda like when someone cuts the line at the amusement park or grabs two pieces of pizza at the office party before everyone's had a chance to get one. It's petty, but also pretty human.
I also feel that when drivers have negative interactions with other drivers, they're both insulated from the situation. Fingers are exchanged, "fuck yous" are shared... rarely does it need to escalate, and they both continue on their merry ways. If you're an asshole, maybe you'll go home and take it out on your family or dog. Numb yourself with an appletini. Or maybe just let it go before you have a heart attack.
All drivers should watch that BTW.
When a cyclist is involved, the situation is a little more visceral for the person on two wheels. Without a cage of steel and glass, you feel exposed. Vulnerable. Threatened. It's hard to take an act of aggression lightly.
So we tend to gesticulate much more passionately. Use more profanity. Get much, much angrier... because we feel like our very lives have been threatened. Not just our "road pride."
And heaven help you if we can catch you at the next red light. Prepare for that "faggot" in spandex to go verbal (and perhaps physical) RKO on you.
Breaking the law is not okay for one user group or the other... or it is... until someone dies.
The general population of this country is 10% asshole. I just keep my eyes open for that one in ten.
Ramble, ramble, ramble, we must do something... harrumph. Whatever.