I went out for a little ride late this evening to clear my head. Had a lot going on in my life this week and few minutes of fresh air would have been good for my constitution.
I made it only a short distance from my house before feeling threatened by a motorist. It's not that this is an unusual event. I can count on a harassing honk or an attempt to guess my sexual orientation (they always guess wrong, I am heterosexual) once or twice a week at the minimum. Tonight it felt different.
I was riding off to the side of one of the main roads in town when a car decided to get menacingly close to me. Rather than traveling in the usual lane of travel this old hooptie drifted over into the gravel on the edge of the roadway and then just after they passed my the gunned the accelerator and spun out a bit in the gravel. This is all fine and good if we both continued on our merry way, it is nothing I'm not used to and I would have been able to enjoy the rest of my late evening ride. Unfortunately they decided to hit the brakes and slow down, seemingly to wait for me. I stopped pedaling and kept an eye out for their next move. As soon as I came to a stop they did too in the middle of a main street, only about 2 blocks beyond me. I decided to play it safe, so I flipped a 180 and sprinted home before I had a chance to fully determine their intentions.
At least I know this guy has got my back.
Some times I feel so vulnerable riding my bike. A few years ago I was riding home late one night after work and I felt a vibe similar to the one I felt tonight. In that instance a Ford Festiva traveling the opposite direction turned around and began to follow me. It wasn't long before they were creeping up on my back wheel and eventually forcing me off the road into people's yards. A freaking Ford Festiva, I was the only thing out on the road that night smaller than that car, and as such they decided to harass me. That night a couple of quick dashes through a few yards and the failure to signal a few of my turns allowed me make it home without sustaining bodily harm.
I'm not sure what motivates drivers in these situations, and I fully understand that these people are the exception rather than the rule, but I have worked with enough crazy people in my life to know that things could go really bad for me in a hurry if I don't act in a defensive manner.
So tonight I quickly turned off my flashing, high visibility lights, took a quick, car free short cut and made it home with no further incident. I'm not happy about my ride being cut short, but I much prefer it to having anymore grief in my life. I just don't need that right now.