Yesterday I was overtaken by a bicyclist I see pretty regularly. We work for the same (large) company. I really think he rides like a total asshole. In the time I was behind him he ran stop signs, shoaled cars and bicycles alike, ran red lights, biked on the sidewalk, biked in cross-walks against the light and just generally behaved like a twat. Despite his performance and despite his being young(er) and male we still encountered each other, again and again, at the intersections like Oregon Expressway and Embarcadero where pretty much everyone has to wait for the light or be crushed like a fat June bug on the windshield of a fast-moving sports car.
I rode along thinking unhelpful thoughts like: you are such a dick. wow you are an asshole. I'm a bicyclist and I get to make remarks like this. You, the driver of the automobile, do not. I can call the guy with the wonky foot an asshole but you better give him plenty of room and smile nicely. How come? Because you, my non-friend, are in a car and you know nothing. People who drive cars and only cars love to tell people who ride bicycles that we're doing it wrong. The feel that just being on the same pavement with us has kindof made them experts in what we should be doing -- just more evidence that the majority of people driving are complete and total fucktards.
In summary: if you aren't on a bicycle, keep your mouth shut, give the bicyclist three feet minimum when you pass them and smile pleasantly. Can a person who solely drives a car ever make fun of a bicyclist? Mmmm.... probably not. It's not unlike white people using the N word. Can you say the N word if you are white? Mmmm.... probably not.
....so what happened to the asshole bicyclist? Something new, and I kindof enjoyed. He had plowed through the three stop signs of downtown Palo Alto without doing much more than checking his speed and he was coming up on the first red light of the Palo Alto trifecta. Another bicyclist, a girl bicyclist, was preparing to cross that intersection in the crosswalk against the light - two pet peeves of mine. Instead she saw the guy bicyclist and the two kindof muddled over to each other talking and smiling in that excited way people talk when they have a romantic connection. I pedaled by but when I looked into my rear view mirror a moment later they were slowly pedaling up the street together, side by side, holding hands.
It was pretty cute.
So, says the car, "Now those two bicyclists take up way too much room. That slows me down and makes me frustrated. And you already admitted the bicyclist rides like an asshole. Why can't I second your opinion?"
Me: Because you are in a car. You do nobody any good but yourself. You're just some dumb polluting slob. The closest you can get to being part of any meaningful solution to obesity, global warming, noise pollution, carbon monoxide poisoning, oil spills, any of that mess is to shut your pie hole and drive slowly and carefully. If you want to join in the conversation, you got to get out of your car first.