I got back on the bike for the first time in a few weeks to head into the city tonight. Having FINALLY received my Eneloops, I decided to try riding with a light for a change. With an old, stretched-out hair band, I laced up a single from my Stanley Tripod. I decided against putting on my "alert" orange NYC Marathon jacket since it got a mite nasty at the race last week and makes me look more destitute than usual.
Broken Rule#1: DO NOT RIDE AT NIGHT WITHOUT A HIGHLY VISIBLE TOP LAYER.
I consider strapping a light to the handlebars, but, since I travel with traffic, decide that the one facing the rear is really the one that matters (in other words, I got lazy)
So, happy that I've apparently missed the rain for the day, I head out and down Victory Blvd. A car comes up behind me and stays comfortably far behind, even though I try to give it room to pass. Hey, maybe it's cuzza the light! I breeze some light and get away from the traffic behind me.
When I get to Van Duzer & Victory, the light is green so I chug on through, except that there's a Jeep that seems intent on turning left and it is doing so despite my forward progress through the intersection. The driver at the last moment realizes that there is a solid object (me) between the Jeep and the intended direction as I brake hard (instead of swerving away like probably should have), thus I survive. I get out an indignant "@$$hole" before it starts to settle in that, while the driver was not quite properly allowing for deficiency of vehicle headlights, my dark blue pull-over was not-so helpful itself.
Bike Riding Realization of the Day: IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE LIGHT, PUT IT ON THE FRONT.
So, still feeling a bit indignant but mostly heartened by the rollicking and aptly executed track on the Le Da Soul - 20 Years of De La Soul Mixtape, I turn onto Water St. from the ferry. Heading north, a Highlander cab performs a U-turn right in front of me. Now, I've realized that I'm not as visible as I could be, but the illegal moves cabs pull really, REALLY bug me. And this time you even cut me off to do it? I go to his window and get his attention, asking if he knows that he cut me off when he performed said illegal U-turn.
His reply: so what does that mean?
My reply: It means pay more attention to someone who doesn't have the protection of a vehicle, but as much right to the street. It means value my life more than a tip.
His reaction (to whatever it was I said): Laughter, dismissive swear, drives away.
This causes yours truly to sprint to cab at next light and have his first full-fledged, non-over-the-shoulder expletive filled freak/curse out explosion including informing the passenger that he should not tip this driver and, if he does, he's rewarding problematic behavior and is just as bad. Not done, your humble blogger then follows, hooting and hollering proclamations of the cab driver's fear of him all the way onto the West Side Highway which, at this point, the vigilant bicycle rider is not even sure he's allowed to be on.
Broken rule #2 - DO NOT RECIPROCATE FOOLISHNESS WITH THE FOOLISH. ASIDE FROM TAINTING YOUR AURA BLOCKING THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRULY ENCOURAGE CONSIDERATION AND UNDERSTANDING, IT PREVENTS ONE FROM COMING UP WITH FAR MORE DELIGHTFUL, DEVIOUS WAYS TO INFORM FOOLS OF THEIR FOOLISH STATE
So, I continue on, fairly well pissed and thinking about what I has shoulda had done and what I had shoulda had said and how I could have gotten him the ticket he deserved had a police officer been around. I get to my destination and hear a rather nicely written piece of theater/self-discovery. I see someone come in with a wet umbrella.
Finally making it outside, I see that my bicycle is rather moist, as is the ground and the atmosphere.
Broken rule #3 - DON'T RIDE WHEN IT IS OR HAS BEEN RAINING ON GIVEN DAY.
My belief that I'd missed the precipitation dashed, I suit up and mount my thoroughly damp saddle to ride from West 21st back down to the ferry. It's wet. Still drizzling. It's night.
But, you know what?
I had a lil' talk with Jesus.
And, because of that rain, I rode more focused than I had all night before. I made it to the ferry, then made up the streets the hills didn't seem so hard and I walked the bike up to the front of the building just as the last track of the mix tape finished.
And it was scary and glorious and invigorating in that way that living life is.
And it didn't kill me.
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