OK, this may be inflammatory, overly stereotypical and unfair, but I don’t care.
This is antecdotal, and this is the Pit so I get to vent.
I was on the Transportation Alternatives New York Century Bike Ride today. 100 miles through 4 of the 5 Boroughs. For the most part, everyone that we encountered in traffic was respectful except for a little too much horn blowing (nothing major).
In Queens a group of us (mostly white) were crossing an intersection and some fat, white, redneck in an over sized Dodge SUV yells out of his window, “Stupid fuckers, you should stay home.” We weren’t even in his way or impeding his progress.
Later on we were in the Bronx. A very old, stocky, black woman dressed in her Sunday best white dress and hat (looked like she was from central casting) was walking with a cane. She was waving at us and shouting at the top of her lungs, “You guys are great! Go for it! I wish I could do it.”
I wish I knew who both people are and would like to know if and when they die. If it’s the black woman I would attend her funeral. I am sure it would be a spirited, raucous affair where everyone would grab at the chance to tell the world what a wonderful, spirited woman she was.
The idiot in the SUV. I’m sure his funeral will be a drunken, disgusting event. I wouldn’t attend but I would want to know where his grave is so I could take a massive dump on it.
The fat redneck probably saw you as another goddamned bike activist group just like the last one that made him late for his kid’s Little League game, and shouted intemperately. Sometimes people get upset at one instance of bad behavior and go condemning a whole group. Surely you know someone like that.
Also, it warms my heart to know there are fat rednecks tooling around New York City in SUVs. Did he have a gun rack? The last time I was there it was all skinny metrosexuals in Town Cars.
I need to clear up a misclassification here. It probably wasn’t a redneck you saw. They don’t drive SUVs. They drive Pickups, usually Ford or Chevy. What you probably saw was a Bergan County LL. Bean suburbanite.
It’s an easy mistake to make, but they’re very different species.
This reminded me of something that happened recently in my city.
A group of bicyclists were demonstrating their “right” to travel on city streets. They went about doing this by traveling two abreast down a heavily traveled thoroughfare. They were subsequently stopped by the police and ticked for obstructing traffic. They were very indignant.
While it is true that bicycles have the same right to most roads as any other motorist this is a wrongheaded way of going about the issue. If anything it will cause the city to pass ordinances prohibiting cyclists from certain city streets.
I’m a fairly avid cyclist and do my best to obey traffic laws and respect other motorists. I find that it is actually easier to make a left turn at a light if you are actually in the left-turn lane rather than to attempt to dart across the pedestrian crossing. I have to grit my teeth whenever I see bicyclists acting as pedestrians. I see that sort of behavior far more often than not. The police here rarely enforce traffic laws in regards to cyclists, and I think it would be a good thing if they did.
This redneck guy was likely out of line, but if more cyclists actually followed the rules of the road, perhaps he would not have such a rabid attitude towards them.
I’m not saying that anything like this was going on during your ride and I’m sure his insults were unwarranted.
I know the difference. While the guy may not think he is the soul brother of a redneck, they share the same mentality. That’s why I used the characterization.
As for Bergen County LL Bean suburbanite, no definitely not that. I know those types too. The guy I mention, if I have to stereotype him, was a total asshole who never aspired to anything other that getting drunk with his buddies and never getting out of Queens. He had the accent. Also, his wife and kids hate him but, what the hey, he hates them and everyone else, too, because he is a lifetime loser.
I understand that sometimes bicyclists are their own worst enemies by not following traffic laws, this was not the case. This was some angry idiot that probably has erectile dysfunction. Therefore, I Pit him.
Thinking back on it, if I had it to over again, instead of just giving the old woman in the Bronx a big wave of the hand, I should have stopped and given her a big hug.