But here’s the story: the communities are pretty accustomed to bicyclers, seeing how they have shared the road now for about 30 years. But ever so often you run across someone who thinks it’s ok to buzz you or drive within a foot or two to teach you a lesson.
On my first ride on the road for the year (I’ve stuck to riding trails at Greenbo), I drove to the parking lot and met a fellow named Ed who was going on the same route. About midway to Russell, along a straight stretch of road that is as wide as the interstate lanes, a white van drives so close to me that I could have adjusted his mirror. Ed says simply, “give a guy a break” through the open window. Those must have been fighting words as the van came to a sudden stop and a lot of shouting and arm waving ensued, with an invitation to fight beside the road.
Ironically, a policeman was parked not far away but had backed up to be hidden from speeding cars, so he was also hidden from this rapidly escalating argument.
Ed says he has the right to be on the road and the NRA-stickered van guy is shouting that we don’t and offers to settle it with a fight beside the road with Ed offering to take the guy back to the policeman to settle it, which he declined. Then Ed takes off in the middle of the road with van-guy following closely. I’m standing in disbelief, then try to catch up. Then BMW-guy pulls up in a convertible and asks if van-guy is giving us a hard time, then he speeds off in hot pursuit. At that point, rounding the curve, I can only report that the BMWseemed to be chasing van. I find Ed at the city park with a grin and says “You don’t have that much fun on the trails do you?”
Which is a valid point to ponder over.
For the rest of the ride, it was as if someone had called in reinforcements. Police everywhere: sitting, patrolling, , tailing us in an unmarked car. My take away lesson is that maybe I’m not so afraid of copperheads on the bike trails at Greenbo after all, they might be a bit more friendly that folks in vans.