Last week was a little cool (upper 20’s in the morning), but clear and calm. Apparently the holiday is over the PNW as this morning it was pouring rain with a 10 mph wind. This afternoon: raining with a 20 mph wind. The rest of this week: raining and windy. Should be like this through April!
The riding last week was good for the most part. My new/old inserts work great and the irritation in my knees has subsided. It was nice to see a few more people out commuting or casually riding and I even saw a team out running around. Traffic was weird though…
Over the course of a month, I might get a single “honker” (pretty much what is sounds like, these are often combined with the next group) and/or a “yeller” and/or a “crowder” (they get beside you and start trying to force you off the road). Generally it is on a day where there has been heavier traffic, normally towards the end of the week and end of the month. That generalization went out the window this week.
I think I picked up at least seven horns, (three from the same person, but that is a different story) about half of them were also yellers and I had a crowder as well. WOW! Apparently I wasn’t alone; a couple of the message boards I follow in this area saw an uptick in the number of people having issues with aggressive/loud drivers last week. I have no idea why. For the most part it didn’t make sense for the times that it happened; traffic was light and there wasn’t a need to even slow down to get around me.
One was kind of amusing. I’ve trained myself to smile and wave for every honk/yell/swerve. It’s not always easy, but I think that it takes away a lot of the reaction a motorist might be looking for and isn’t antagonizing, which considering I will be on the road consistently with the same people, leaves me safer. This gentleman followed along behind me for a couple of hundred yards (the other lane was devoid of traffic) before finally honking and pulling beside me at which point he rolled down his window and instructed me to get off the F-ing road on the sidewalk where I belong.
I didn’t discuss the finer points of what I was allowed to do or that even with people like him on the road I was safer there than on any sidewalk or the fact that there wasn’t a sidewalk available on this particular section of road; instead I smiled, waved, said thank you and held my line. He caught himself responding with “you’re welcome” before he caught himself, mumbled something and continued to pass me with great care.
While I don’t like the yellers, honkers or crowders; I don’t dislike them either. I know that they are paying attention to the road, at least in that moment and with the exception of crowders almost always give me lots of room. I would prefer that to the person who missed my bright flashing lights or any of the traffic signals or other cars for that matter, because they are too busy to put down their book/phone whatever and drive.The other thing of note last week is that I had a lot of vehicles in the opposite range of being very courteous, more so than normal. Maybe there is a balance there somewhere.