On the blog we often discuss the issues cyclists have with motorists. Over the last week the discussions have gotten even more frequent as we mulled over articles in the Economist and the Courant, and watched the lovely video of a rabid pregnant woman in New Haven. As we all know confrontations between persons on bikes and people in cars can be confrontational, emotional, and at times dangerous. This fact sits in the back of my mind every time I ride my bike, whether it is the daily commute to work, the library, the grocery store, or a long scenic tour of the Connecticut hills, and as it was when I left work yesterday. However, yesterday was a little different in that I was taking home the recyclables for which our plaza lacks appropriate disposal methods. So there I was with a bag three feet in diameter full of bottles and cans strapped onto the rack of my bike riding through West Hartford, a scene that reliably adds to the number of strange looks, horn honkings, and clever comments from teenagers such as "nice bike" or "get a car" that I get along my ride.
So needless to say I expected much of the same as I rode down Ridgewood Rd, cars zipping by me annoyed that they had to slow down to pass someone obviously so destitute that they not only cannot afford a sensible mode of transport but they have stooped to collecting bottles and cans. Coming up to a red light I zipped past most of the cars that had just passed me and rolled towards the intersection when one of the car windows rolled open and a guy of peak rude commenting age starts to stick his head out the window. I think to myself, "here it comes, lets see what this guys got." To my surprise he looks at me, pumps his fist in support, and says entirely sincerely, "right on man." Completely shocked and speechless all I could muster was a "heyyoooo" in response and I flew past as the light concurrently turned green. After settling back into the saddle I thought about what had just happened. I had expected the impending confrontation to leave me angry and frustrated but rather it had been quite the opposite. I sat up tall with a big smile on my face and road along proud to be on my bike carting a large bag of refuse.
The moral is, while the majority of our confrontations with motorist may be negative we need to take the time to appreciate those fleeting moments when bikes and cars do get along. So to the guy heading North on Ridgewood Road at 5.30 yesterday afternoon in (what I think was) a light blue Passat, kudos to you! Borat gives you two very big thumbs up! Very Nice!