Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Honey; don't read this post. Please.

My wife reads this blog frequently, trying to spy on me and make sure I'm actually at work and not off on a bike ride or something. So honey, if you've gotten this far despite the warning, turn away and run now.

Today on my ride, on my way back to the office, I was flying up a shallow climb. Seated, big ring, hammering away and feeling pretty good actually. I was on a section of the climb that is essentially a false flat, so I was moving pretty quick. Just as the climb started to get steep again, I stood up to maintain my speed. At that precise moment, a car load of teenage/ twenty-something guys drives by and throws a full Super-Big-Gulp-Soda-Supertanker at me and the bike. Fortunately it happened as I was standing so I acclerated and the soda bomb nailed the rear wheel and sent ice and soda all over the back of the bike and not into the front wheel and spokes. I skid a little on the ice and soda, but was otherwise unhurt and didn't crash. Had I been seated, with my weight on the rear wheel and going slightly slower, the tanker would have hit my front wheel and would have likely caused me to crash. The jackasses sped off, directly behind another car and then passed them in a turn, going uphill. The car that was behind them and closest to me honked and waved to them, so I'm not sure if they were expressing a show of support or what. All in all, the experience was a bit unreal.

Now, this occurrence is nowhere near uncommon to me, as I seem to have a bullseye painted on my back. I have had so many close calls, and direct hits, over the years that I ride very defensively and pretty much assume that most people are out to kill me. Paranoid, I know, but with two children and a wife, I believe in watching my back closely. Very closely.

This is the kind of thing that makes my wife scared to let me out of the house to ride at all. I can't even ride my rollers in the driveway without her getting a little jumpy. She did, after all, see me after I was hit and nearly killed last year. She has good reason to be nervous, as do all of our friends, loved ones and spouses/ significant others.

I drive a car too, but I have never had the thought to toss crap out of my car with the intent to scare or injure somebody else. What sort of tweaked pathology are we looking at here? What crazy group mentality overtook the passengers in the car? Where did the thrill of trying to kill me come from?

If you follow the conversations going on these days and see the cycling news, lots of people are getting killed on their bikes. It just crushes me each time I read or hear of another cyclist getting killed by a motorist.

If I would have caught the car, and I sprinted my ass off to try, I would have enjoyed busting a window or two. Idiots...

Ultimately, I'm glad I wasn't hurt and I was having a great ride on a gorgeous day. I was doing something I enjoy, planning new ways to take over the bike world. I was distracted by the attack, but I still finished my ride and got to come back to a job I enjoy and will see my family tonight.

I am lucky. You stay lucky too.

Tim

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Lucky you did not catch them as they would have prevailed in court.

Cuz S

stickboy said...

I have often wondered how to efficently throw a left jab and then planting the rear, riding cleat laden rear foot for a kidney shot...

jbech said...

my favorite is tossing a light traffic flair in the back of the pickup truck [different part of san diego county]. but in the end you did the right thing, we just have to grin and bare it, and realize that we are just cooler....

James said...

In the distant past, I have chased down cars when something was thrown at me (including a full can of beer once). It feels to good in the short term to retaliate by wacking the car with a pump or a nice sharp cycling cleat. The problem is that it just adds fuel to the fire and an already angry (or stupid) driver will be worse when he comes across the next cyclist. Nowadays, if I catch someone I try to stay calm to talk to them about what they did. Sometime it helps to show them that there is a real person behind the helmet and glasses. Of course, people generally don't want to roll down the window or even look my way. On top of that, I have a harder time catching them at a light than I did ten years ago. Still, I think it is best to take the high road, but it is certainly not easy.

Glad you were not hurt.

E Fresh said...

I only had an "empty" Big Gulp thrown on my back many years ago, but of course it still had all the ice, and scared the crap out of me. A friend had it happen more recently (what is the fascination with cyclists and Big Gulps?!) by some clever high school kids that promptly got stuck in a long lind of cars at a stop sign. They picked the wrong guy on a bad day - he pulled his U-lock from his messenger bag and creased their hood. I wouldn't have done the same - you never know who is packing heat, but I have to say that I smiled when I heard the story.

Paterfamilias said...

Tim, just be happy this happens to you when you are on a bike ride. This is a daily occurrence for me at the office...

Paterfamilias said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
annie said...

In August (I think) I was on a well-attended women's ride when some jackass in a pickup truck threw a Coke can at us. We were honestly confused. Not to be sexist about it, but we're talking about 20 fit women in spandex here. What guy in his right mind would be HOSTILE toward that? F*cking weird.

The best one I've ever gotten, though, was when a different jackass threw a cup of ice at me. It hit me in the ankle. A moment later, I realized it smelled like beer. Ice? Beer? I still haven't figured that one out.

DT said...

You should still report those incidents to the police. Otherwise it looks like it doesn't happen very often, when in fact it happens everyday, but people just go on with their day.

Anonymous said...

Fun is a relative term. You and I see no fun being on the receiving end of such a prank. However, those that do see this as fun usually never realize the potential pain they could cause.

You were exactly right not to try to catch them...who knows what might have happened. If it was a car load...I wouldn't like those odds.

Near misses are the best kind...they keep me honest and on my toes. As for me, if they did get me...the place I'm going is a lot better than this one.

BC said...

Something similar happened to me a few years ago... only I was hit by a half-full can of Natural Light. All the way home I smelled of bad beer... good beer I could have been ok with, but bad beer? C'mon!?!?

hands said...

Maybe a support group ought to be formed for concerned spouses/partners.

haggisman said...

I'll be sure to throw things at Tim in the office as I pass the MASI WORLDWIDE HEADQUARTERS so he doesn't have to risk his neck out on the road. You need something less dangerous like cordless bungi jumping, javelin catching, or Lacrosse