Friday, May 12
Badge Of Honor
I was justly accused of being militant in nature by some nameless commenter objecting to my post last month in which I dared express incredulity at the perennial pedestri-tards and the casual disregard they exhibit by walking/jogging along the BIKES ONLY beach path.
The laid-back anonymite who is blessed with far more forgiveness than I urged me to just chill and scolded my aggravated attitude as having the potential "to do more harm than good."
Fair enough. But folks, I've rocked both sides of sanity's thin centerline. I've been a veritable Ghandi on two wheels nonviolently internalizing the frustrations of those who trespass and transgress against me, and I've been the raging roadie who's externalized my anger against the innumerable automotive asshats who've cut in front of me or honked at me or forced me off the road or otherwise almost killed me and then been unfortunate to get stuck at that red light up ahead where I catch up and confront them wielding a tire pump in one paw and swinging a cable lock in the other and suddenly it becomes "easy there, dude!" and "whoa there man!" and even occasionally "I'm sorry, please don't hurt me!"
Let me tell you, externalizing beats internalizing every time. If it doesn't get you killed in the short term, all that blown steam adds years to your life in the long run. But in this day and age I've mellowed substantially. Not just because I'm getting older (which I am), but wiser, too. Nowadays I strive hard to keep in mind that everyone has the potential to exit their driver's side strapped and ready-aim-firing to finish what almost running me over didn't.
Ain't easy though. Yesterday I rode from Silver Lake to and through downtown to the convention center and then up across mid-Wilshire and north into Hollywood and I guess I missed the memo about it being Cream A Cyclist Day In L.A., because I had to work hard to avoid getting crunched on six occasions in the 90 minutes I was on the road — far above the norm for me. I had to work even harder to keep my emotions in check and I was mostly successful. Mostly. The worst I did was fly the bird at one turd. Oh yeah, and I did spit in the general direction of that Taurus with Pennsylvania plates.
What I've taken too long to communicate is that being badged as militant is a good thing to me. A necessary thing. I don't let such a stance ruin the fulfillment and satisfaction I get from riding, but I don't lay back and chill as its ruined by others either. Maybe it's hyperbolic but I consider every one of us who saddle up and crank it out there to be rebels with a cause. Warriors. Righteous even. It's a battle out there every day, and while I'm ever more careful to pick mine I refuse to accept a single incident where cyclists and their rights and privileges are marginalized or relegated or dismissed or demeaned.