Saturday, March 11, 2006

I'm a bad, bad man...

I decided to go down to Mohawk Park for the first Freewheel training ride, a traditional start to the cycling season here in Oklahoma. The first ride is always well attended and it’s only 5 miles. By riding there and back, I’d get in about 20 or so for the morning.

Last night, I got my quasi-time trial bike down off the hooks, lubricated the chain, and inflated the tires. This is an old Pennine Re della Corsa road frame in honorable semi-retirement as a fixed gear. It’s a 47x18 gear, higher than my fixed gear commuter, but then this bike isn’t intended for carrying baggage. It felt really good to ride unencumbered.

I was westbound on 86th Street, a 4 lane arterial. A woman roared up to the stop sign on a side street, and actually had to stop because there was one of those pesky cyclists riding through the intersection. She’d intended to roll through the stop sign, but then I just had to be there. “Get the %$*# off the road!”, she yelled.

As soon as I was clear, she floored the accelerator and pulled out behind me. I could see in my mirror that she was intending to buzz by my handlebars with very little clearance.

So I hooked her.

In racing parlance, hooking is the act of intentionally swerving toward another rider, preferably when you are slightly ahead of him. Your back wheel could touch his front wheel, causing him to crash. This is obviously an illegal maneuver and can result in a disqualification. Some hooks are subtle, a slight nudge to the side that may escape the officials attention. Others are blatant attempts at intimidation.

I have never been subtle. I read somewhere that sprinters and track racers are often people with anger management issues. Had such classes been offered back when I was racing, I probably would have been an anger management school drop out. It’s been a life-long struggle with my temper.

My foul-mouthed motorist was overtaking rapidly, but cars don’t have the lateral agility of cyclists. As she approached, I quickly swerved left-to-right, a mere flick of the handlebar. I probably didn’t move more than 3 feet but it was enough. She dodged to the left, all the way over to the double yellow line, and then flipped me off after she passed. Next, she ran the red light up ahead and passed a few cars on their right as the road narrowed from 4 lanes down to two.

That was the last I saw of her, a speeding car trying to bull through traffic. Well, that and the little chrome fish outline on her bumper.

7 Comments:

Blogger Paul Tay said...

I actually use this manuver when I see a goomba coming up too fast and too close up my six.

Here's how the scam works: When you see a goomba coming up your six too fast and too close in your rear view, dive bank your bike to the LEFT, toward the goomba. Scares the crap outta 'em so much that they give you lotsa space in the other lane.

3:59 AM  
Blogger George said...

I do the same thing.

I haven't been killed yet:-)

4:52 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

oh no...the Jesus fish strikes again! I don't think Jesus would claim her!

2:30 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Good move, but I would have gotten her license plate number and let the county sheriff take care of her later.

I've had Tulsa PD talk to one a**h*le who pulled up beside me while I was on the Third Street Bike Route and started cussing me and wanting to fight. I won't put up with that kind of behavior.

4:11 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

I find that I tend to get more passing space from motorists when I intentionally wiggle a bit in my line. I guess when I look like I'm tpisy and unpredictable they finally see a need to move over a bit. At the very least, they are probably paying attention to me instead of their cell phone or nothing at all.

9:13 PM  
Blogger Coelecanth said...

I have a friend who carries his keys on his left wrist. When he's in this situation he holds his keys out at door level.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Paul Tay said...

To Stephan: Tulsa cops are pretty much ineffective in disputes between bike and cars. They are already biased in favor of the motorists.

To Karl: You are referring to my Power Weave manuver. When you see a goomba too close and too fast, weave in your lane. Get their attention. They might be celling. They might be half-blind grannies. Weaving in your lane also plays into motorists' mindset that bicyclists must crazy and drunk. Why would sane people ride a bike in the middle of the lane, they think.

To Coelecanth: Can you say AMPUTEE? If you must retaliate, use a 1 meter lengh of a rebar, sharpened at one end, attached to your rear rack. But, I think retaliations will create more problems than it will solve.

9:39 AM  

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