Of Thunks & Hookers

Weird day riding in today — and by riding I mean: Participating In An Ongoing Civic Study Of The City’s Capacity For Assholes. Not only did I have to deal with the bike’s drivetrain emitting phantom thunks whose source I couldn’t discern, but in addition I got right-hooked thrice by passing sedans. I haven’t been right hooked in ages, much less three times in what amounts to a 15 minute period.

Briefly by definition, a right hook is when the driver of a car on a cyclist’s left makes a sudden invasive movement abruptly and directly across the cyclist’s path in order to make a right turn either at an intersection or into a driveway. These can be aggressively intentional or lazily unintentional. In my case today the first and second were intentional, the third idiotically not.

Right hooks No. 1 and 2 happened within seconds of each other at Venice Boulevard a couple blocks west of Hauser and took me completely by surprise because I was riding in the bike lane somewhat pre-occupied with the second thunk that had issued  from my bike while I had been heading south on Redondo across Pico (the first thunk happened on 4th Street at Western). I stopped and checked everything out and all seemed in order, which was good. But that also made the jarring noise that much more a mystery that left me wondering what the hell was going wrong.

It was in the midst of that contemplation on Venice that a green SUV sped up and cut across in front of me — you know, because slowing down and dropping in behind me to make the turn safely is just not an option to most dickwads behind wheels. Still, I was in the midst of excusing the operator because she’d gotten ahead of me enough to make the gradual turn with a nice buffer of space between us, when the second hooker who was alongside me sped up and shot across my bow much closer, faster and at far tighter an obtuse angle, forcing me to hit the brakes.

And instead of excusing him, I sat up in the saddle and gave him my double double-barreled salute as he sped obliviously away down the side street that the meatbag could have just as easily acquired via a right turn at the end of the next block up ahead. But that would involve some patience and consideration so fuck that.

My third right hook of the morning happened southbound on Hughes in between Venice and Washington boulevards. I was cruising  maybe about 10-12 mph towards the red light at Washington while a couple feet out from the curb when alongside me pulled a silver Mercedes sedan (doesn’t it seem all Mercedes are silver nowadays?) going maybe a mile or two per hour faster than me. As he passed me I noticed the driver had the steering wheel in one hand and his iPhone in the other and was in the midst of looking at it instead of the road. Sure enough he yanked a right for the driveway apron to the parking garage, but in combination of me being on alert and going slow enough I was able to brake and roll up onto the sidewalk around the front of his car which jerked to a stop either when he saw me or when I loudly lauded him for so brilliantly paying more attention to his phone than the road.

The dickhead’s response to illegally operating a vehicle and then almost causing an accident was to flash a shit-eating smirk and flip me off from inside the obvious safety of his hermtically sealed luxury vehicle.

It’s actually quite surprising how quickly a Mercedes windshield cracks with just fists and a bike pump.


You’ll actually be proud of me how I ultimately decided to handle such an inane affront, but in the immediate moments of the minute that transpired as I watched him watch me nervously as he pulled into the garage, I actually laughed out loud as my mind raced through the possibilities of payback. The hilarity being that the idiot decided it wise to insult me and then as I stood there watching he voluntarily elected to trap himself and his thousandy-thousand dollar automobile in an enclosed area. This was better than shooting a fish in a barrel. This was shooting a fish that had just flippered you off — and then jumped into the barrel.

My mind raced at the possibilities:

1.  I could follow him into the parking garage to:

A. Show him why the far far more intelligent and less costly decision to make would’ve been to apologize for being totally in the wrong distracted irresponsible jerk rather than flip off some guy in a helmet who’s already had his fill of roadfucks this morning.

B. Get him to recognize that it’s much better to antagonize someone without then succeeding in being a total doof in cutting off any means of escape.

2. Or I could hang out and wait for him to park and come down and then:

A. Politely offer him the opportunity to flip me off again out from his empowering yet protective cocoon of sophisticated German engineering.

B. Ask him to be a good lad and tell me on what level he parked said cocoon to save me the waste of time involved in searching it out to flatten all of its tires.

C. Both A and B.

There was a third option of purposefully avoiding him and focusing all of my anger on his unattended vehicle, but while the first two choices are plain stupid, the last one’s stupid with a heaping side order of pure chickenshit.

At the end of that minute, though still seething I let wisdom and maturity be my guides — see I told you you’d be proud!

Instead of revenge I just got rolling along, consoled a bit by the knowledge that the bastard probably left the garage looking over his shoulder wondering from what corner I might pop out, and maybe prayed that his precious C300 would still be intact when he returned. It also helped that I endured no more mystery thunks from my bike the rest of the way in to work.