After week riding in Florida, dodging seasoned citizens (successfully) last night I returned to ride the streetz of Grand Rapids, on a Road Bike, for practically the first time this season.
This is always a "magical" moment for me because while I have rolled the streez on 'cross bikes and mountain bikes during the winter, nothing quite gets me into the flow of traffic like riding my road machine. It is also "magical" in the fact that it allows me, switching from a 'cross or mountain bike to the skinny tire road racer, to feel the pleasure of lightweight speed. It also allows to me experience to the difference between riding in another location, other than Grand Rapids for a change.
It's Florida, she's had her left turn signal on for two days, and she's plowing straight into your bike lane!
Sure we all make jokes about Florida drivers, and sometimes its no joke. But the few brushes with death I experienced there (very few) were just the usual: young females texting, guys in trucks that can't wait to go somewhere, and just the strange driver that seemed to be out of touch with the art of driving.
I found a video that seem to match up with what I experienced with this type of out of touch "bad" driver, not only in Florida, but just last night on my way into East Grand Rapids.
This Grandma means business. Could it be that her pet King Charles (dog) was killed by the carbon fiber wheels of a Floridian Tri-Dork who couldn't be bothered to get out of the aerobars and hit the brakes for the poor little thing?
On the way back to Michigan I passed another "Grandma" driver who looked familiar, and strangely enough had Michigan plates on her car.
East Grand Rapids here I come! Is that a key, an Ipod, or texting device in her hand. She looks good - until she gets behind the wheel where you can't see her short skirt.
So while we also make fun of bad Grandma and Granpa driving in Florida, and stereotypical bad drivers, it's not until I get back on to my hometown Steetz that I notice that driving takes a turn from merely "accidently" to just plain mean and "homicidal."
That bump? don't worry kids, it was just some Asshole on bicycle. Sorry did I say Asshole? Shame on me.
Sure, Soccer Moms may have the hands that rocks the cradle, but they also have their hands on the wheels of monster sized SUV's. These drivers are on a mission, and the mission may be to kill you if you don't get the fuck out of their way.
Yes, he's more important than you. And his vehicle is bigger than yours. Well, you don't have a vehicle, actually.
But Soccer Mom's aren't the only one that are deadly out there. Men are just as bad, or worse. The most terrifying moment of the evening was when a black SUV, driven by a man headed into East GR, purposefully pulled up along side of me an then drove me into the curb.
He looked kinda of like this ...
He knows how to kill and he will if given the right road conditions.
One of the top ranked dangerous drivers, which I haven't experienced yet, but I sure I will later this week, is the typical Michigan driver that for some strange reason has a real hate-on for cyclists.
Are they accidental tourists? I think not, they hate you and they are going to run you down. Yessiree, this is what I call PURE MICHIGAN!
Another disturbing element in riding in GR are these giant mobile things that seem intent on crushing anything on two wheel into something that resembles a flattened pop can. I think you know what I'm talking about. They look something like this ...
So my conclusion on riding in this city: GR drivers are a malicious lot and they don't like cyclists on their streets. Every time I hear that bullshit that this is one of the most "Bike Friendly Cities" in the known universe, or whatever, smoke comes out of my Surly ears. Sure we have a lot of people that love to bike here, but the driving public isn't on board yet.
I mean come on, you think that people that drive like this are going to care about you on a bike?
No, your other left Grandma ...
That all said, anybody riding tonight? If it's raining, I may skip it. Post up if you'd like to do some dirt or trails.