Since I have been spending so much time on my bike lately I suppose it's just statistics catching up with me, but I have to tell you (for the sake of unbiased journalism) that I had 2 back to back bad encounters on my bike in the last week. I usually like to focus on the positive experiences that I have on my bike, but I can't ignore what I dealt with earlier this week.
Saturday night: I had planned on having a few folks over to go for a little neighborhood cruise followed by a few barley pops in the garage. So, after work Copper, Vince, and I were pedaling towards my place to meet up with the rest of the crew when we noticed a white car flip a U and start speeding our direction at about 35th and Woolworth heading west. At this point of the road it's a divided boulevard with a rather large grassy median in the middle of the street. We were definitely aware of the car from the squealing of the tires and even more aware of it after a bottle was thrown from the passenger side directly at us. Luckily it whizzed just past my head, landed in the grass, and didn't hit anyone on its way. At this point the car peeled out, probably going about 40 miles an hour, and neglected to heed the warning of a speed bump coming up. Vince and I rejoiced at the sound of their car launching into the air and then crashing loudly on the other side of the bump. Small victory. Unfortunately, they didn't think that this was quite enough harassment for 2 unassuming cyclists just trying to make it home. The crazy part is that I was pulling Copper behind me. When it's dark you really can't tell if it's a kid or a dog or what in the trailer and the fact that these crazed moronic drivers where intentionally causing stress to our party was unbelievable. Anyway, they flipped around again and sped towards us for the second time. At this point my heart was racing and it had gone from "weird, these stupid kids are bored" to "holy shit, they're after us again and they're getting out of control." Vince suggested (wisely) that we make a quick turn down a side street and pull into a driveway. We made that quick move and Vince then jumped off of his bike and reached for his cell phone. At this point, the sickening sound of car tires squealing once again alarmed us as the two teenage boys made the same turn that we just had but this time just stared at us (shaking) in the driveway as they sped past.
Yuck. That was probably one of the worst experiences in traffic I've ever had. The remainder of our ride home was less than pleasant: constantly checking over our shoulder for a white sedan full of punk kids on a mission to hurt someone. Luckily, we made it home safely and were just pretty shook up from the ordeal.
Then, on Monday night (the next time I rode) as I headed down Leavenworth towards Greenstreet for our Monday Night Shop Ride, I had another disturbing incident. I was headed eastbound on Leavenworth at about 25th St., right after I had crossed the interstate, and was in the far right lane (and the right 1/3 of that lane in fact) cruising down the hill at a pretty decent clip like I do on a daily basis. There was no other traffic on the 3 lane one way street so I figured I was safe, considering I was riding predictably and out of the way of any potential traffic. At that point, basically out of no where, I was aware of a vehicle quickly approaching and before I could even look, a giant brown F 250 was right on my tail honking and screaming at me. It was close enough that I could feel the heat of the vehicle, probably at most 6 inches from my left shoulder. Shocking, and particularly upsetting considering I was tentative about riding in the first place based on my Saturday run-in.