When you come upon me on the road, you do not need to pull all the way over the yellow line completely into the other lane into on-coming traffic to avoid me. Not moving over at all is also not a good option. When I can almost feel your car door on my thigh (or your horse trailer as another example), this is unnerving. Moving over just a couple of feet is plenty of room. Giving me the finger, throwing something or yelling at me when I am as far over to the right as I can possibly be, is totally unproductive, upsetting and unsafe. I am not another cyclist you may have been aggravated by in the past for doing something they shouldn't have. And, if you have anger issues and/or an ego which leads you to believe I do not have a right to be on the road, that is not my problem. Find another way to release your anger (like exercise), and/or get over yourself. It's really scary to be out there sometimes amongst ornery drivers in very large vehicles.
I am not saying that every cyclist is on their best behavior out there. I know they're not. Many ride side by side on roads that are not wide enough or quiet enough to be doing so. Some ride over in the middle of the lane, for no apparent reason. Some may run a stop sign or a stop light into traffic causing cars to have to slow when they shouldn't need to. But, I do believe these are the exceptions. There are a lot of us out there who are just following the rules and being safe as we try to: stay fit; do something we are passionate about; train so we can compete; see the places we live out in the open instead of out a car window; be social and have fun. We are not trying to piss you off. Is it really that bad if you have to slow down a little bit? I urge all of you who have ever uttered an angry word or had a negative thought towards a cyclist to get out there on a bike. At the very least, you may put yourself in our shoes for a bit, and have some compassion. Or, you never know, you may actually like it, catch the fever, and become one of us.
In the couple of trips I have taken this summer, I have expected to encounter drivers who are more cyclist friendly. Not the case. In Vermont over Memorial Day weekend, I was appalled by drivers (and I definitely notice a theme of men in big pick-up trucks) yelling, giving the finger, and being generally obnoxious gunning their engines to get by us. On the Cape this past week people seemed obliging when it came to stopping for cyclists on the bike path, but didn't seem to know what to do when approaching us on the road. They were either veering way too far into the other lane or not giving us any room at all.
I'm not really sure what the underlying issue is, but I think it's many. Some people simply don't understand the rules of the road and don't know what to do when they happen upon a cyclist. Others are just generally aggressive drivers and think anything that slows them down is an abomination that should be dealt with through rage or whatever actions they see fit. And some people just have it out for cyclists. My own personal explanation is some of these folks just feel guilty because they know they should be out exercising, but aren't, so they subconsciously take it out on us. That may sound crazy, but these are the things that go through my head when I'm out on the bike for hours by myself, trying to contemplate the behaviors I witness.
Anyhow, enough ranting. We had a few decent rides down the Cape. One was a 40ish mile loop from the house in Chatham, that wasn't fairly flat and not very scenic. Another was a mellow 30 mile ride out to Nickerson Park by way of bike path, and my favorite: a mountain bike ride at the Trail of Tears in Barnstable. I can't wait to get back there again.
We followed up our rides by some great meals. Kathy and I had brought down the wares of our farm shares and we were able to toss the ingredients together to create tasty dishes. This one was my favorite.
Summer Squash Sautee over Pasta
8 oz fusilli pasta
1 tblsp olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 large or 2 smallish zucchini, sliced
1 small to medium summer squash
2-3 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped fine
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine (I have also used some dried parsley and more basil when I didn't have fresh parsley on hand)
some hot red pepper flakes,
6 0r 8 sundried tomato strips, chopped
1/8 cup or more goat cheese
salt to taste
2-3 tblsp toasted pine nuts (optional, but really add some great flavor)
1. Cook pasta. When done, toss with olive oil and a little sea salt.
2. Heat olive oil in large sautee pan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic and hot red pepper flakes (if using) for a few minutes. Add summer squash and zucchini. Cook 10-15 minutes, or until tender.
3. Add tomatoes, basil, parsley, salt and sundried tomato pesto (if using).
4. Turn off heat and sprinkle with goat cheese and pine nuts. Spoon onto bowl of pasta and serve.