Monday, August 4, 2008

The wonderful world of cycling

"Get the fuck out of the road, assholes!" That is the world of cycling I road into Saturday morning.

It was terrifying.

Jon and I were making our way into Philadelphia; it was about half way through our 38 mile ride. We've been riding on a paved trail that head into the city, but the last two or three miles heading into the city is loose gravel, dirt and, of all things, a boardwalk. Instead of taking the trail for those last several miles, we decided to take the road this time since it's a smoother surface to ride.

Peddling up and up and up a huge hill, we were rewarded at the top with a pretty steep decent. I get a little nervous going down hill because I feel out of control, so cautiously I continued down. The open road turns into cramped city streets pretty quickly. We got through several stop signs then came to our first traffic light.

Jon is ahead of me. Behind me is another cyclist. It's a woman, something I'm finding pretty rare along the road, but I'm thankful for this woman. She is way more comfortable on her bike than I am, but she's patient with me as I slowly make my way through the first traffic light. At the second traffic light, I watch Jon almost get hit by a car that's making the same left-hand turn he is. Suddenly, Jon starts shouting. "Whoa! Watch it, asshole. You almost hit me!"

"I was slowing down," the driver of the car yells.

"Jackass," Jon yells and speeds through the light.

The patient woman behind me gets past me and I stop at the light. I'm not in the left-turn lane, where I'm supposed to be. I'm standing on the corner, trying to catch my breath and calm my shaking hands. Oh my God, I think, how am I going to get through this light? It's red, so I have a minute to think. Looking back and forth, there are no cars coming the other direction, so I clip back in my peddles and go through the red light and some how, by the grace of God himself, meet up with Jon and the patient woman at the next light.

While waiting for the light to change, the three of us talk about the incident that just occurred. She laughs and says, "Yeah, this guy threatened to back up over me a few miles back."

That's it, I'm sure I'm going to die before we reach our halfway destination. I'm certain today will be the day I die.

Riding up Main Street, the road narrows. Cars are parked on both sides of this two way street. The speed limit is 25 mph, we're going about 17. The cars behind us are following us as we make our way through the city and up another slight hill. The car behind us is a white convertible with a young guy driving.

"Get the fuck out for the road, you assholes," he screams at us, probably 10 times. Each time he gets louder and more obnoxious.

OHMYFREAKINGGOD, I'm dead, for sure. There is no place for us to go, our only option is just to keep peddling and ignore the guy screaming and honking his horn at us. Cars are parked bumper to bumper along the street and from the looks of things, the sidewalk is just as dangerous as the road. Somehow we make it to the water ice stand that is our halfway mark. I don't know how it happened, but we got there. My hands were shaking and my knees were weak. All I wanted to do was sit and try and pull myself back together.

"Sorry Jon, I'm not going back that way. We're going to have to take the trail back."

"Come on. Think about that huge hill we'll get to go down," he says.

"Nope. Sorry. You can go, I'll meet you. There is no way I'm going through that again. I am just not comfortable enough for that. Look at my hands. They are still shaking. "

He didn't leave me. He took the trail back with me and endured the gravel and cobble stone (which I dutifully fell on and bruised my wrist, hand and hip. Go ahead, you can laugh. I would laugh at me). Of course, riding through all that (and my fall) slowed our overall time, but I'm alive to tell this story. As far as I'm concerned, it was a good ride.


Autumn's Mom said...

ok, that's scary! What a great husband, to go back with you. Sigh. Cyclists always make me nervous. But I try not to call them names Hahaha Be careful out there!

Chelle said...

Ahhh!! I would have freaked out...too scary! I am glad you were okay!

Jenny said...

yikes..i am terrified just thinking about the journey you had to take! glad you did not have to go through that mess on the way back though.

McMommy said...

You are totally justified in your feelings!!

My husband friend just broke his collarbone after falling off his bike.