Sunday, June 5, 2011

Pot. Meet Kettle.

I was on Charleston heading towards San Antonio and a green light and I was having a fantastic time considering I was on my way to work.

This is a busy intersection and there is no bicycle lane but when I hit it right (and I was hitting it right) I am right in there with the far right lane of cars and we are all charging forward to that green light but because there are a lot of cars the rate of acceleration is slow enough, and the top speed is reasonable enough, that a mediocre but eager bicyclist like myself can totally pace the metal behemoths through an intersection.  I had moved smoothly from 0mph at the previous red light to just about touching 20mph and I couldn't do better because there was a car immediately in front of me and one behind.

It's a bit exhilarating.

Then in the manner of a bicyclist who should be aware of her surroundings I took notice of something to my right where there was a strip of trees and then sidewalk.  It was another bicyclist riding up the sidewalk.  

I didn't need to check to see what is ahead.  I know this dangerous intersection like I know my shifters meaning, I don't have to think about it.  Ahead the sidewalk will end and a bicyclist charging up the sidewalk is going to need to take a hard left into traffic.  Traffic that is composed of a large number of accelerating automobiles.  

I look to see if sidewalk bicyclist is very very young.  He is not.

I check to see if sidewalk bicyclist is very very old and perhaps confused as to where normal adult bicyclists ride.  He looks to be thirty-something. 

The predictable happens.  He gets to the end of the sidewalk and without signalling careens into the road and in with the cars who break like nervous sheep and then force their way around him.  I pass him.  The old me might have said "Sidewalk, really?" but the new me keeps her mouth shut.  

He catches me at the next red light but doesn't shoal me.  Two points to Mr. Sidewalk.  

Together we cross the 101 on Rengstorff and head downhill.  I look forward and consider the road.  On my right is the right turn lane, this is what I want.  It has cars exiting the 101 who want to go right and other cars who are going to need to get over to the left so they can go straight or get over to the far left so they can go left.  The bike lane is for those going straight.  My goal will be to merge with the cars in the right hand turn lane.  

I see that this morning there is congestion, probably the traffic light is red and the cars are backed up.  The bike lane is blocked by a car waiting for a spot in the right hand turn lane.  The right hand turn lane is somewhat backed up.  I am signalling and heading downhill and when I see a good opening I fall into place and come to a stop, waiting with the cars for the light ahead to turn green.

Mr. Sidewalk passes me on my left.  I figure he is going straight.  He goes around the car that had crossed the bike lane and continues up the bike lane.  The traffic light turns green.  The cars in my lane twitch and start forward and then halt.  Up ahead I see that Mr. Sidewalk has gone straight as far as the intersection and then has cut in front of the cars and turned right after all.  

"Wow."  I think.  "What an asshole."

Since the best revenge is living well I turn it up once I have the chance and pass him (I think for the third time in one morning) and come to a stop at yet another red light (such is life.)  Mr. Sidewalk pulls up beside me.  

"That car blocking the bike lane.  It makes me so mad!"

I give Mr. Sidewalk a look that clearly telegraphs "The only language I speak is Basque."  It doesn't work.

"People who do that should get ticketed."

What I thought "People who bicycle like you should get busted back to training wheels."

What I said "Un-hunh."  

Then the light turned green and I put my annoyance into sprinting away at high beautiful speed.

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