Saturday, January 26, 2008

Props from Motorists

I was stopped at a light on yesterday's commute home, taking the lane to keep cars from sneaking around me and turning across my path, when the car behind me skulked up on my right to make a right turn. The driver stopped and rolled down his window.

Maybe I'm paranoid, but my first thought was, "Hoo boy, here we go." When it's this cold and miserable out, I just assume that anyone who breaks the seal on his (and it's always "his") climate-controlled coffin is a) plenty mad about something, and b) committed enough to that anger to freeze just so he can launch it at me.

Then, I saw his roof rack. Now, a pricy bike-schlepper doesn't always mean a "get out of hostility free" card. I've been cut off by more than my share of unfortunate bikes that just happen to have a giant, gas-guzzling parasite stuck under their tires. But in this case, I was in fact dealing with a friendly fellow bike-person.

"Is that a singlespeed?"

"Yup." As much as I love semantics, it was too damn cold to launch into the explanation that it's actually a fixed-gear. After all, it does have just one speed, unless you count walking.

"Wow!" And off he went.

Maybe it's lame to take your warm fuzzies from random strangers, but that little "wow" made me feel like the World's Biggest Bad-arse for the rest of the night. It almost makes up for the half hour I just spent on the gerbil-wheel in the basement.


scott clark said...

I had a similar experience a while back--a guy rolled down his window, and I thought "uh-oh." But he smiled and said something like "you're making better time through traffic than I am--I think I'll try riding to work!" :-)

Brian T said...

great story! I know exactly what you mean, though... on all points.

It still amazes me that so many cyclists are flabbergasted about people riding fixed gears... where have they been hiding the past several years in the fixed gear resurgence?!?

Jason Nunemaker: said...

In my case, they've been hiding in Iowa. From what I see in my day-to-day riding, the "fixed gear resurgence" is a pretty small blip on your average Iowa cyclist's radar screen.

(Now I'm reaching for the asbestos suit, as all the Iowa fixie riders reach for their flamethrowers...)