As a little blonde on my bike I don’t normally cause too much ruckus in DC. I don’t whip between cars to show off my biking prowess, and I try to follow basic traffic laws. There is no “Live Strong” band on my arm, and I would rather juggle piranhas than subject my body to a sporty spandex onesie (you’re welcome, public). I am the type of cyclist that bikes for convenience, not because of some boring sense of duty to Mother Earth.
I should also probably mention that my bike could moonlight as a five-year old’s dream. My bike is a bright, baby blue with a matching basket, and a hot pink bell that proudly proclaims “I ♥ my bike”. I can only hope to someday save up enough allowance to buy the matching streamers for my handlebars.
As any regular cyclist in D.C. can proudly say, I have had some near-death experiences. Typically, after the peril passes, I peddle away mentally planning the perfect music play-list for the candlelight vigil that would have been. Today however, something was different.
Maybe today I felt extra pressure to advocate for bicyclers’ interests since I had just recently convinced Natalie to get a bike. Or maybe I was just cranky due to the heat causing my bike’s seat to become a dangerous game of slip-n-slide. Whatever the reason, today when a man in a black SUV almost hit me twice because he was texting and swerving into the bike lane—I’d had it.
The driver in question, after nearly causing a permanent imprint of my face on 18th St., began to park in front of a bar. It was only noon. Sidenote: while I myself am a fan of day drinking, I will choose to hypocritically point this out as further evidence of his douche-baggery. Seeing him parking with his windows rolled down, I thought, “This is my moment. It’s go time.”
As I sped by him at my typical .00001 mph, I boldly yelled, “Share the road dude!” and smugly peddled my fastest away.
Although my words weren’t exactly harsh, a sense of satisfaction came over me at that moment. I had finally stood up for the little man, for all the plebeians over Washington D.C. sweating their ass on their bikes, literally, in attempt to save money.
I should have realized in my moment of self-congratulation that all was not well. After all, it’s always quietest in the eye of the storm. See, I’m originally from the South, so I really should have known better.
Back home after a major tornado hits, the evening news always features a shaky home video, which inevitably goes something like this:
Redneck: “Daaamn, that twister sure is big.”
Redneck’s Friend: “Zoom in! Look’s like the barn’s goin’ up!”
Redneck: “Yah, I’m a gettin’ it! Oh man, I think it’s turnin’ this way!”
…. And at that point the home video always goes dead. Always. And everyone watching the news thinks how stupid the people in the video were to have not taken cover. Personally, I think it’s that damn movie’s fault. I wonder if Helen Hunt has any idea how many rednecks she has inadvertently killed over the last decade. Well anyways, I digress.
So there I was peddling away happily on my bike when I see it: the black SUV pulling up next to me. The irate driver is swerving into my lane and honking. With sudden horror I realize he has forfeited both an awesome parking spot and some possible afternoon boozing to chase after me. A girl on a bike.
I looked over and locked eyes with the crazed-man. His face was contorted in anger. While still honking he yelled out to me, “You better learn to watch your mouth, okay? Or else!”
I can’t make this shit up.
So there we were. Me, 25 years-old on a Pretty Pretty Princess bike and him, roughly 40, chasing down said princess bike to scream vague mafia threats at its owner.
I would like to say I yelled some snappy retort at him. Or perhaps even some brief words of insight from the Dali Lama for him to mull over later.
But hey, this is D.C. after all; I simply shouted, “okay” and made a sharp right turn into an alley to try to elude him. The Batmobile couldn’t have turned faster than I did at that moment in time. It was an uphill ride for two unnecessary blocks, but safely away I rode. My only wish was for handlebar streamers blowing in the wind behind me.