It doesn’t happen very often, but every once in a while someone will try to persuade me that they know more about bicycling than I do (and maybe they do) by claiming to ride 20,000 miles per year. The number — 20,000 — is remarkably consistent among these various interlocutors. Not sure what that’s all about
Anyway, when someone says this I just want to laugh.
Someone said it to me about an hour ago at the intersection of Pickwick and Cherry, but I didn’t laugh. This guy was out of his SUV and threatening me.
What’s funny in hindsight is that he was wearing his roadie costume. Yep. A sport cyclist. He passes me easily on a residential street (25 mph), stops at the stop sign, and then starts yelling at me from his SUV window about how I shouldn’t ride “in the middle of the road.”
Now “middle of the road” is a relative term, apparently, because I was commanding the right side of it. Pickwick is a very wide residential street. I did not hold him up even for a second.
I popped off a quick comment about the street belonging to me, too. And that’s when he got out of the SUV in his roadie costume and tells me about his annual mileage.
The thing is: 20,000 miles is no experience at all if you’re doing the wrong things.
He proceeded to match every stereotype of the gutter-bunny windbag, i.e. how unsafe I’m being, and I’m giving bicyclists a bad name. Mind you, we’re stopped at an intersection and he’s out of his SUV. Apparently, impeding traffic is OK as long as you’re schooling someone belligerently.
I drive my bicycle all around Springfield largely conflict free. But every now and then…