Fast forward about an hour. I’d fought the headwind the entire way out there–dizzy in the drops at a howling 15 miles per hour. After 10 miles, I noticed the sun was slowly disappearing on the horizon, so I turned around to catch the tailwind. My speed picked up to 20-22 mph as I trucked along the side of the road. There was a lot more traffic out than I expected.
A red truck to my right was turning left on to the road I was on. I couldn’t see the driver’s face, so I waited to see if he’d be waiting for me to go by. He seemed to see me, I thought, as his wheels hesitated at the stop sign for an extra moment. Then, as I neared his front bumper, I saw his wheels jerk forward …
Of course I did what anyone would do at that moment of facing mortality, I let out a nerve-wrenching scream, "HEY!" The truck driver heard me and stopped, and immediately rolled down his window. I didn’t hear what he’d said, but I stopped across the intersection and waited for more.
"You need to buy a light!" he yelled.
"Did you even look for me?" I yelled back.
"I stopped didn’t I?"
"After I yelled at you."
"There’s no bike lane on this road. You shouldn’t even be riding on it. Especially not without a light."
At about this moment in the conversation, I realized that he was just startled and having a bit of a realization himself, so instead of slamming him with another accusational piece of sarcasm, I responded, "Thanks for your concern for my health."
"Stop telling me how to drive!" What the heck?
"I’m not telling you how to drive! Did you hear what I said?! I said, ‘Thanks for your concern.’"
I think he softened up and responded something like, "Okay, fine," and we parted ways. I couldn’t help but think, as I was riding home in the dark, that I’d become one of those Cannondale-riding jerks Tayfur was talking about, or worse, one of those lowlife politicians Al Maviva’s always talking about. Yikes.
Upon reflection, the guy did have a point. I needed to take greater responsibility for my own safety. After all, my in-laws did give me a reflective vest for Christmas. Why not use it for night rides, eh? Or at least bring it along. He wasn’t too disrespectful in his comments. Actually, he was pretty pleasant compared to some of the other encounters I’ve had with drivers. Maybe there’s hope for the motorists of this world yet.