When the father of the hero in “Blast from the Past” curses in front of his son, mother and dad tell son that papa was “speaking French.”
Why do some young people think it’s OK to speak French to bike rider? I was on a street in Hiawatha (Robins Road, I believe) heading to the Cedar Valley Bike Trail on Sunday. I am training to jog the Bix this year, and wanted to do a “short” run of 4 miles on the trail, and since the day was nice, I decided a 3-mile bike ride was the perfect warm up for a 4-mile jog. (Can’t call it a run. Anybody who saw me would not call it a run, either. But, hey, I’m still moving my body for 4 miles, so it’s OK).
Robins Road was fairly broad where I was riding—plenty of room for a pickup truck to pass a bicycle without having to adjust its trajectory much at all. A shoddy looking old Chevy pickup passed me with four young people—one woman and three 20-something (and not much of something, maybe even late teens) guys.
One of the guys yelled “Hey (all-purpose-noun-verb-adjective referring in Anglo-Saxon terms to sexual intercourse)er, use the sidewalk.”
I don’t know, I was just tired and not in the mood. I didn’t yell back, but I didn’t exactly brush it off, either. I had been tooling along, bent over, and when the young jerk let his digestive byproducts out of the wrong end of his intestinal tract, I sat up, as tall as I can. The truck went on for 2 more blocks and then stopped at the light at Center Point Road. So, I came abreast of it again. Sitting tall. Glaring at Mr. Potty Mouth. Daring him.
Yeah, it was dumb. I was a star of the debate team in high school, not the wresting squad. But, I was on a bicycle, for heavens sake. That means two key things:
1) Legally, I’m a vehicle. I am supposed to use the street and leave the sidewalk to pedestrians.
2) I’m not only a rather large guy (a shade over 6 feet, a tad near 250 pounds), I’m a big guy who rides a bike every day. Fat boys in pickup trucks should show some respect.
I know it’s a good thing Mr. Young Jerk didn’t take more offense, if anything ugly had happened it would not have gone well for a former high school debater. But something about the way I was sitting tall and staring back apparently made him think again. He and his companions kind of slunk down in the bed of the truck and stayed silent.
Honestly, I don’t think what I did was the best way to handle. But, also honestly, it did feel pretty darn good, in a primitive simian don’t F with the greyback kind of way.
Underneath it all, I guess sometimes we are apes. Apes with bikes. Apes who deserve some respect when they’re biking, too.