So I took everyone’s advice and rode with friends Sunday, rather than try for a high-mileage ride. It was a good choice, as always, because I rode in one of my favorite areas, with some of my favorite people. Debra, who organized the ride, was in fine form this day. She entertained us all with the story of how she ran over her carbon wheel with her SUV — and only wound up replacing a few spokes. Not a scratch on the wheel itself.
We rode near Dripping Springs, Texas, which I’ve written about before. Country roads in mostly good shape with little traffic, and enough hills to keep things interesting. Barbara, a former regular with our group, recently moved from Austin to San Antonio, and she made the trip up here to ride with us again. Since starting her new job, Barbara has ridden only a couple of times, so there was not going to be lots of speed or lots of distance as we helped her get back in the groove. Russ said he hasn’t ridden much, either. Only Jerry and his friend Nancy seemed to be up for a brisk ride. But Nancy was on a new bike — a nifty Jamis Xenith — that she hadn’t quite dialed in yet. She had some dropped chain problems and said her legs got sore when she tried to go fast. As it turned out, she kind of liked our lazy ride.
As we gathered for a brief rest to let everyone catch up, a pickup truck stopped at a stop sign just opposite us. The driver rolled down his window and called out to us. “Ya know, sometimes it’s hard to see very far ahead on these curvy roads,” he began. He had our full attention now. We didn’t know if he was going to cuss us out or what. But he went on in a casual manner. “And sometimes, the way bikers ride around here can cause problems.”
Okay, we see where this is going, I thought. But I was surprised again. “I was riding along here not too long ago,” he continued, “and I came around a curve and here’s a whole group of cyclists coming at me. They covered the whole road from side to side. I was going to plow right into them. So I hit my brakes just as I came to a cattle guard. The truck skidded sideways across the guard. I coulda taken out the whole group. I coulda killed somebody.” The incident clearly had had an effect on him. “I was lucky not to hit anyone,” he said. “But I wish you all would watch how you ride and keep to one side of the road.”
“Yeah, I know the kind of cyclists you’re talking about,” said Debra. “I hate those types.”
That prompted a double take from the pickup driver. He obviously lumped all cyclists together. We wished him well, and pushed off on the last leg of our ride. He waved and continued on his way.
Wouldn’t it be nice if all biker-motorist meetings were this civilized?