10th Mar 2015
June 5, 2014—This past weekend, I rode Kandango. In its second year, Kandango brings cyclists to central Kansas and the hills surrounding the Smoky River. Last year, unfortunately, a rider, Gail Kline, was killed by a motorist. This year, the ride started with a ride of silence in her memory and passed a simple bike shrine adorned with local sunflowers. The ride was chronicled by the Salina News.
The first day covered 82 miles, most with slight traffic. A number of grain trucks passed without incident. Toward the end of the ride, however, I buzzed by a motorcycle, got the blaring-horn-treatment as a Lexus sped by, and received assorted looks of disgust by other motorists. At no time, did I break any driving law. I was legally to the right in my lane, not running stop signs, and not impeding the slight traffic. I was not disrupting rush hour. No one was delayed in taking crops to market. The weather was gorgeous and the road wide and clear. (I admit I did give a middle-finger wind gauge salute to Mr. Lexus.)
You rarely ever get to talk with those motorists, and I was hoping he would turn around. I wanted to know what motivated his fit of road rage.
Was it the spandex? Was it perceived socioeconomic differences? Was it urban versus country? Was it simply to get the bicycle off the road? I will never know.
Most kids in this country start off with a bike. They go from training wheels to the freedom of flight. That feeling has never left me, five decades alter. How does a kid go from joy to hate? Is it because a few cyclists run lights? Is it elitism? Is it envy of physical fitness? Or is it just plain meanness? I think we need to know if we want to safely coexist.
What do you think?