One of my harebrain goals this year is to go from a bicycle rider to a cyclist. Sounds odd, but it took me a while to kind of figure out the difference between the two. Now, what’s less extreme, but significantly more difficult is the difference between being a recreational cyclist and competitive cyclist, but I’ll leave that madness for another day. It’s through this transformation that I discovered that riding with a group is a very safe way to get back to your loved ones. It’s hard to find the right group, but when it comes to getting home in one piece, there’s safety in numbers.
This fact was hammered home this past weekend. I joined the fellas and headed out to ride 50 miles of hills last Saturday. The weather was great…the start time sucked, but the gentle breeze, clear skies, and quietness in the air was magical. Well, we started out and after cussing all the way up the first hill, we settled into a nice little pace. 2 of the guys I’d never ridden with before and wondered early on if they were from the egotistical cycling DNA or the righteous cool cycling DNA. You see, cyclists are a breed all to their own, there are the hipsters, the trendsetters, the classic rider, superficial, egotistical masher, and of course my bike cost more than yours group. Again, another topic that needs it’s own headline. I’m happy to report that they were very cool, easy to chat with, but also interested in riding hard.
So, we did the 1st half of the ride with no problem. Stopped at a gas station to refuel and then hit the road again. Less than 2 miles after the stop, 1 of the regular riders has a flat, which normally is not a big thing. But you’d rather have a front flat instead of rear and of course this was a rear tire. 6 grown men, a collection of at least $10,000.00 in bicycles and gear, and it takes 30 minutes to change the tire, somewhere, Hank Hill was laughing at us.
Now we are rolling coming back and we run into some local, locals on bikes…they were giving us the 1..2.. about ways to get back faster, which roads loop versus the ones that are a dead-end, etc, etc. Ok, this is the meat of the post so it’s time to pay attention. We stop at a T intersection…we have the stop sign and traffic flows free left to right. Our 6 riders, plus the 2 local, locals and we have a nice size group, a group that can easily be seen one would think.
Now picture this. A large blue monster truck at least 20 ft high, laying rubber down on the road. He’s making a right turn, exactly where we are stopped. I’m on the outside with one rider to my right, 2 riders behind me with everyone else ahead of me. The 2 local, locals see the monster truck is turning and they make a right hand turn waving good by; 1 of our guys then pedals to make a left turn assuming the MFMT will slow down….but NOOOOO! The idiot in the truck doesn’t and comes within inches of taking off my left leg. No, I’m not embellishing here. I literally had to lean 6″ to the right to get out of the way…I couldn’t move my bike because of the bikes next to me and ANY rational goat sniffer would recognize they needed to slow down. I’m not one to get startled or panic and the fellas gave me a little grief about my leaning right move, but they all recognized that the dear hunter failed to drive with caution. Me personally, I really think dude was trying to get as close to me as he could to send some dumb, stupid message that cyclist aren’t welcomed on the back roads of Maypearl Texas. I’m happy I was riding in a group, otherwise, there might’ve been a hit and run!