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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Insurrection of Connection [Bicycling] - How do you handle irate motorists? #letsride

By Bill Strickland
All the stiffest climbs of the day were behind us—at least until we turned around—and the seven of us were on the winding, rolling, smooth two-lane with the gradual drop that, on a good day, for thirty minutes or so feels like a sled ride. We were two-up, with the last rider sitting in the most sheltered spot, between the last two paired rear wheels, the place we call the cradle. I was thinking about how an uneven number in the pack means the combination reshuffles every time you finish a pull and go to the back and the solo rider slots in with one of you: the conversations change up, the new pairings can lead to two calm and steady riders at the front or two half-wheelers or a learning (or teaching) opportunity if an old lion sets up next to a cub. Sometimes two people who don’t talk much wind up next to each other and go on in amiable silence until they rotate back and swap. And the draft changes as bigger or smaller riders end up in front of you, and—
A white wagon pulled up alongside us, in the other lane on a double-yellow section, and the driver, a woman about my age, leaned across and, through the open passenger window, yelled, “Single file! Single file!”
We were a good, steady group that day, men and women who are regular commuters, who have ridden all over the world, who were racers of various experience and ability and frequency. We held our lines and our speed and we pedaled on. I lifted a hand, palm down, and gave the sign for easy, easy, okay, okay.
“Single file!” she screamed again. Behind us, a car honked. Honked again. She yelled at us again, more words, intelligible only as fury. The car behind honked. The wagon jerked away to the left, farther over the yellow line. The driver accelerated and passed us, then so did the car behind.


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