This Is Why I Hate Cyclists (Next In An Occasional Series)

No photos or videos to illustrate this morning’s tardish behavior, sorry. Just words, and I’ll try to keep those to a minimum, too (yeah, that’ll be the day).

So I’m biking in to work today as I’ve now done every consecutive workday since March 10 and 17 out of 19 total workdays this wonderful month of March because I’m a dyed-in-the-Lycra biking monster mofo (except without the Lycra) who’d be batting .1000 if it hadn’t been for bouts with the flu and a lost crown that turned into not one but two root canals. But let’s whoa about my woes and focus people, dammit!

Anyway, I’m on 4th Street at Wilton Place waiting at the interminable light there long enough for my fingernails to noticeably grow and to be joined by two fellow cyclists (which , coincidentally, at a total of three represents 74% of the cyclists on the streets in L.A. at any given moment, according to the MTA, the LADOT, and the OMF&G). A guy rolls to the crosswalk next to me on my left and another to my right hangs back around my five o’clock at the curb.

The guy to my left I’ve seen before — last week I think — and when I passed him then further along through Hancock Park I gave him a “good morning!” and he didn’t so much as give me a grunt in return. So from the “blow me off once because you’re a dick, shame on you” school I didn’t bother trying to be cordial twice — which was a good thing because before I would have had time to say anything for him to ignore he bolted on the red across the intersection, leaving me and the other fellow looking either law-abiding or chicken or both.

That’s happened before. The most recent was a couple weeks earlier at the much busier intersection of Venice and Hauser where a be-spandexed road geek ahead of me had pulled to a stop long enough for me to come to a stop near him. No sooner had I arrived when he charged ahead through the cross traffic against the red, I’m guessing because he was mortified that the standstill would drop his average pedal cadence below 90. Egad!

Certainly I can’t force my ethics on other riders, but that doesn’t mean I have to accept it when my personal commandment is if there’s any number of cyclists accumulated at any given red light — obey it. Together we stop, divided we suck.

But never mind what I abhor, the twist is that Lefty t’weren’t no speedster and by the time the light turned green he wasn’t more than a block and a half away from me, which means without much effort my law-abiding ass was passing him on the western side of Norton, three blocks hence where his slow-going self stayed in my rear view mirror the rest of our time together.

The other rider, heavier laden with an unnecessary winter-weight jacket and riding something of an off-the-rack-at-Target clunker was a bit of a surprise in that he was the stronger of the two. He wasn’t so much drafting as he was pacing me, staying a few bike lengths back and showing every sign of keeping up — not that I was particularly blazing at anything more then 15 mph — but it was enough to put Lefty far enough to the rear as we traveled a few blocks further west, which is where this second cyclist’s moment in the suck comes in.

Well amidst the manses and estates of Hancock Park I approached Windsor Avenue, and from the north a large pick-up truck pulled to the stop sign. In deference to his being the first to arrive at that intersection way ahead of me I came to a halt at the four-way stop so that he could proceed, where I remained clipped in to my pedals and balanced, figuring the rider shadowing me would either do the same or coast and at least slow, let the truck pass and we could both get a move on.

What an idiot I was to ASSume such a thing. The truck begins to go just as Clunker pulls abreast of me to my left and with no intention of obeying the posted stop sign or slowing down he just keeps on going even though the truck has begun entering the intersection and, needless to say, has the right of way. In response to Clunker’s epic failure to yield, I have to unclip and put a foot down as the truck hitches to a stop and then Clunker half-hitches like he’s going to stop and so the truck starts to go again but then Clunker cranks it across the intersection while the swarthy driver of the truck has to hit the brakes again and glares after him with fire in his eyes before turning that fire back to me and all I can offer is a motion for him to continue and a shrug which translated to “That guy’s an idiot but if you wait another 15 seconds you’ll meet another one, too!” He shrugged back which I read to mean “Fucking cyclists! Another time, maybe,” and moved across 4th to points south.

I caught up with Clunker at the next block and on approach I mulled over a variety of verbal options, among them being:

  • “Wow, that bonehead maneuver certainly made things easier for everyone, didn’t it huh?”
  • “Just to be clear I’m not your personal intersection blocker, but you are a dipshit!”
  • You rode the little bus in elementary school, didn’t you?”
  • “WTFOMG! Tard much!?”
  • “What you did back there is why cyclists will always and forever suck. Thanks for perpetuating!”

But instead I just pulled beside him and opted out of speaking to instead opportunistically hawk up a loogy that I fired across his bow. Then I said “Pace this motherfucker” and gunned it, putting him far enough behind me to enjoy the rest of 4th Street to myself idiot- and incident-free all the way to La Brea.