Tim and I hit the road for a routine ride this morning and, right away, it deteriorated into one of those rides.
- 3 flats (on 1 bike!)
- chased by 6 dogs
- pounding rain
- angery motorists and a call to the cops
- Dead cellphone battery.
We planned to leave around 7:00 AM from Tim’s house for an easy roll through Johnson county. I woke up at 5:00, went through the routine get-ready process, and was out the door on time.
“Wait!” The last time I rode, I had two flats on the back tire. “Better change the tire.” I ripped the old tire from the rim, threw on a brand new Vittoria Open Corsa CX and pumped up the tube. I only lost 10 minutes. “I can make that up, no problem.”
I set the tire in the car, belted in and took off for the 25-minute drive . Road construction! Fortunately, since it was just before 7:00 on Saturday, the back up wasn’t too bad. I pulled into Tim’s driveway about 5 minutes late. We suited up and hit the road by 7:15.
Rain drops started to hit the ground about 10 minutes later. Fortunately, it was only a passing shower. We made our way from College, down the big hill on Renner and on to Midland Drive. As we crossed Shawnee Mission Parkway, the all-to-familiar sound of air leaking from a tire spit from my back wheel, Pft Pft Pft, with each revolution of the wheel. I pulled over to make a quick change only to realize that I had a ‘Cross tube in the seat bag. Tim loaned me a tube to save me from having to tuck the 700×28 into my 23 tire.
As soon as we pushed off, the sky opened up. “Go or no go?” After a quick conversation, we decided the rain felt great after a long summer and decided to forge forward. We turned east on to Holiday Drive, with no particular destination in mind, and soon road past the turn for Quivera–so much for riding in Johnson County…Wyandotte County here we come. Note to self: no riding in Wyandotte County…at least without a ride plan because the roads wind around and end abruptly. This proved to be dangerous when we found ourselves on a dead-end road and with 6 different dogs chasing.
After wondering around the hills of WyCo, we finally (yes, we were a little lost) found familiar roads. We turned onto Quivera and Tim commented, “What’s next?” Literally as the words still hung in the air, a very pleasant man driving a much-too-large Ford truck buzzed by, missing Tim’s shoulder by inches. Seeing the stop sign ahead, Tim sprinted off to confront him. Bad, bad, bad idea. Tim asked the guy why he didn’t move over and got a lashing of curse words and profanity. I sat back where I could keep an eye on the driver. And, sure enough, the driver shouted out a threat, “I’ll f*ng kill you” as he shifted into Park. As soon as the back-up lights flashed, I pulled out my phone and dialed 9-1-1. I rolled up to the passenger’s window and notified the driver that I was calling the cops. “Good. I want to talk to them, too.” I motioned for Tim to move out of the way and tried to talk down the jumper. He wasn’t hearing a word I said.
“How much taxes do you pay on that bike?”
“All you bicyclers are the same; you hate cars and just want to slow us down!”
“No, I don’t have to share the road; you share the road and get the f out of my way.”
This guy clearly read the book on how to hate a cyclist. My favorite, without question, though, was his rebuttal to “you could kill someone,” using the Gaunt accident and recent acquittal of the driver as support. He asked me, “can you read this shirt” as he pounded his chest. “Harley Davidson.” Yeah, I figured he probably had a Harley. And a Nascar sticker. And a bass boat, too. That lead to a rather sad story (truly) about the many friends and relatives he’s lost in accidents. I thought I could use that tie to help him understand why it’s important to share the road. Nope!
“Motorcycles don’t swerve in front of cars to slow them down. You cyclist deserve to get hit with the way you act.”
I mentioned that he might want to move his truck out of traffic while we wait for the cops and rolled over to talk with Tim. This guy clearly hated cyclists and no amount of discussion or reasoning was changing that attitude.
Two Merriam police soon arrived and heard both versions of the story. Tim was asked if he wanted to press charges, which the answer was no. I apologize for calling them out and mentioned that verbal threats were made and I was concerned that it would soon escalate beyond the typical shouting match. One of the cops, cool as Luke, shot back, “Hey, we didn’t know the Hell’s Angles were in town. If you will, please stop harassing the grandmas!” I about fell down laughing.
We took off on our way home only to hear that dreadful pft pft pft sound again just a few miles up the road. I pulled over and found glass sticking out of the back tire–did I mention this was a new CX?. I pulled the tire, stuffed in the giant 28mm tube, and pumped it up. When I pulled off the pump, the valve came with it, releasing all the air at once. OUCH! I walked to the Lake Quivera entrance to call a ride.
First call…no answer. Second call…no answer. Third call…Answer. Trav to the rescue. Only, he didn’t know how to find us and the cell phone battery died before I finished explai… “Now what?” We waited. Fortunately, he soon came rolling round the corner. We loaded up the bikes and headed for home.
All in, we managed to ink out 28 rain-soaked miles. And, despite wanting a flat (no pun intended), easy ride, we spent most of the miles going up or down. This is definitely one for the books…or at least the blog. Oh, and hopefully Tim learned not to confront motorists. Nothing good will ever come of taking on a person that just buzzed a cyclist because they really don’t care!