Tuesday, March 10, 2009

spring is near, the birds are already flying

from my various intertubes sources, this early-season account of improving relations between motorists and bicyclists comes from the manhattan, kansas area. i've edited out the email info, but here's what i know:
3.10.09, 1043 am: This is from two of my riding buddies in Manhattan, KS., Kyle Arnold and Dr. Charlie Gillum. This incident happened about 1 mile east of Wabaunsee where both the Jag E-Type and Healey had undergone engine work. Kick-boxer Charlie is also the source of many entertaining e-mails. --scott
3.10.09, 634 am: Kyle is actually being generous to this guy. We all noted after the incident; it WAS NOT a no passing zone, as he was yelling. He had a long straight away and nar –a-car-in-sight. And he knew that. His intentions were to screw with us. All the time Kyle was very calmly (smiling) waving him around…he just kept leaning on the horn and cussing us. We were all over hugging the ditch. He could have gone by easily at any time.
When he sped up and swerved right in front of Kyle and slammed breaks on, there was no way anyone could have avoided the crash. He was obviously intending to hurt Kyle.
When the big dumb ox jumped out of the car letting us know he intended to kick our ass, we were all suppose to take one look at him and then cower down and apologize for being on his road in the first place. Once he realized we were more than happy to oblige his request for fist-ta-cuffs, he quickly showed his true colors….yellow. Grizzly cowered back into the car and drove off.
And if you guys took the time to read..”bikers fashion weekly” you would have noted that my mismatched, miss colored, missed style bike gloves went perfectly with my taped up tri-bars and taped up shoes. It is not easy for one to stay on the fashion edge…but, I try. --Charlie

3.09.09, 602 pm: Most of you missed out on the now famous "Saturday Breakfast Ride" to Wamego so here is the recap story chronicling the kind of epic excitement we experience on such rides. I hope that as the weather continues to improve this spring, we will see many of you out enjoying this beautiful ride.
Saturday 3/7/2009
It was a balmy 63 degrees when we departed the mall parking lot near Whiskey Creek around 7:34 am. It was just Charlie, Trey, David and myself this week and we were slightly worried about the chance for rain. We established a fast pace, especially for such an early season ride. We each took long pulls keeping the tempo high through Zeandale and on into Wabaunsee County. We were making good time; our fear of rain had diminished. We made the gentle left and right turns and approached the cemetery just a mile or so before Hwy 99. (For those of you that remember: this is the exact area where I lost major amounts of skin last year when I collided into Larry at 30+mph.) I was in the front, pulling us up the gradual hill toward the cemetery. Charlie had said pull to the top of the hill and then he would take over. There was a head and cross wind and it had gotten colder, so I was out in the middle of our lane making sure the riders behind me were not being guttered.
I then heard the call "car back!".
As usual, I moved over and we went to pure single file. I looked up the road, all clear, and then motioned to the driver that it was safe to pass. After a short while I looked back again and the white truck was still behind us, so I motioned again. The white truck started to pass but then pulled up beside us and the window came down. I got ready....... The driver from the truck yelled: "It's a fucking no passing zone......a fucking no passing zone....." I said calmly, "I'm just letting you know it's safe to pass us, you don't have to pass" All the while thinking, gosh it was one thing passing in a no passing zone, but pulling up beside us to yell is a bit more unsafe....
For those of you that don't know me, know that I've been biking seriously for many years now. I seen a lot, been buzzed many times and have probably had the F word yelled my way 20+ times while on my bike. I've also hit birds while biking and had the other bird flown toward me many times more. So this was absolutely nothing new.... I've learned and still believe that the best thing we (bikers) can do is just waive back at these asses as if they are our best friends. So this is the approach I take.
Now back to the story....I was already a bit tired from pulling hard up the hill, so what happened next is a bit blurry.... The truck accelerated very quickly and I figured that was the end of it. Then the truck swerved hard in front of us and his break lights came on. I remember seeing the break lights and thinking, this guy is just being a jerk and is tapping the breaks to freak us out. All of a sudden I realized he was actually breaking HARD and stopping right in front of us. I yelled to the guys behind and laid on my breaks as hard as possible, yet at that moment I knew I was going down and was likely going to be hitting this truck. I locked up my rear break, leaned and fishtailed my back end around before smacking into the truck. I flipped and rolled into the ditch yet again!!!! Yet unlike last time, I was mostly unharmed.
The next thing I remember is this large 6'5 300++ pound 55 year old Grizzly Adams dude jumping out of his white truck yelling "I'm going to kick some ass!!!" He was spouting off something about bikers should not be on his road blah blah blah... And then there was 5'10 160 pound (race weight) spandex clad Charlie Gillium flipping his biking shoes off, yelling back: "Bring it on!!!! We'll see who's ass gets kicked!!!!!!" (Charlie was a competitive kick boxer in his earlier years!) I'm now totally beyond shock, and in disbelief!!!
Grizzly has a lady friend in his truck so I try to talk to her, hoping she may be rational and understanding. I say, you know we can't just stop that fast. I just ran into the back of your truck and my bike is messed up and it may cost money to repair. She spouts back: "We've had problems with you bikers before!!!"
I decide this is hopeless, I yell to David and Trey to get the license plate and I pull out the phone and dial 911. Charlie is waiting for Mr. Grizzly to make the first move. I get the 911 dispatch lady on the phone and start explaining about the road rage and my messed up bike. I remember yelling the tag number and telling the dispatch lady to send help.
The next thing I know Grizzly dude and the white truck are speeding away!!!
I guess Charlie with fists in the air and the two different biking gloves (one long fingered, one short) scared him off!!! Yeah Charlie!!!! (side note: I am 100% certain Charlie really would have kicked his ass had it gone that far!!)
So I have to get to work now, but I'm still talking to the police and am expecting a call tomorrow. My rear Power Tap wheel is messed up, and I'm sure Mr. Grizzly is not going to enjoy those higher insurance premiums after buying me a new wheel and having a road rage report on his record! I'm thankful that no one use injured and still in shock from the ordeal!
More to follow. Stay safe out there! --Kyle
gee, if only they had a 5 foot safety bubble in kansas!! --me


gpickle said...

Ya know Kim, when I stopped by earlier I did not bother to read this post because I think that photo is best left wherever it came from. It is scary, really scary, and serves no purpose other than to be sad.

Upon my return to your noble blog, however, I skipped the photo and went straight to the narrative and it took me back to a night in mid winter of the mid nineties, you and I riding our road bikes down Polk Blvd and being passed by a Blazer driven by a Chicago Blackhawks jersey wearing type. He passed us on the snowy shoulder before returning to the snowy lane and locking up his brakes and sliding snowily sideways to a snowy stop, I locked up my brakes and slid into the back/side of his snowy truck.

Remember this?

Upon picking myself up, and mighty pissed off I were, I witnessed said hockey fan - now out of his truck and advancing - yell at you that he was going to kick your ass. You calmly dismounted your bike and said in plain English to the barbarian motorist, "Kick it!"

He froze, mumbled, postured, etc and then got back in his truck and drove off while we heckled him.

Think that guy might have moved to Kansas?

And I still think you should find a new photo for this post.

the mostly reverend said...

i'm laughing about that forgotten incident--near the high school, as i recall.
it DID shut him up, didn't it?
but i don't know that kansas has any hockey teams.

i'll have my research assistant look for a new foto.

the mostly reverend said...

i think the replacement photo will be more to your liking, gpickle.