I knew this was trouble when I pedaled out of the Lock Haven Basin. A slow cyclist on the bike lane ahead of me and a train horning across the 17-92 crossing. Sure enough, we bunched up, the cyclist, me, and a bunch of impatient cars, waiting for the auto-rack string to clear.
As we rode to the next light at the mondo intersection at Orange, I studied this guy in front of me. Work boots. No helmet. No lights. Probably a DUI case, someone forced to use a bike. He wasn’t fast, not at all, but I didn’t want to zip around him. Thus I hung back until we reached the stop line. Again, the wait.
Somewhere behind me, David Banner was fuming, his Hulk-spawning blood beginning to boil. All these delays.
Normally I’ll hold back if someone signals a right. Of course the cycle in front of me dallied off the light. And of course the car next to me turned on its flasher (good way to save energy – don’t use your turn signals until you’ve actually braked for the turn). So I was stuck behind Keggy and the right turner was stuck beside me, and all the cars backed up again.
And David Banner’s swelling fingers began to bend his steering wheel. Another delay because of these… cyclists!
I stayed behind Keggy until he topped out at a wobbly ten mph. Glanced back, line of cars all doing about 20mph. Once a car passed, I slipped in behind him, just over the line, and put on a burst of speed.
I glanced back to see a green noodlebox hanging right off my back wheel, as if the driver was trying to snowplow me with his horn (and perhaps bumper). All this to gain back his rightful six feet before the car in front of him. So I took the lane, swearing out a bit more, holding my arm straight out, palm back, fingers splayed. Hold Off!
Once I got around Wobbles, I ducked back in. But the beast within was now released. Banner pulled up next to me, shaking his fists ragefully at me. “HOW DARE LITTLE BIKE MAN GET IN WAY OF GREEN HULK MACHINE!” I gave him my “WTF” gesture, the open shrug. And voom, off he went.
Until he hit the light at Fairbanks. Three cars back.
Okay, as much as I’d like to flip him off, spit a loogie on his window, or just shit on his hood, I remember the advice I’ve read in various bike blogs. Don’t antagonize the cars. Let it go. Don’t provoke. Okay. So I rode down his right side in my bike lane, well over, not looking at him, obvious to him. Pulled up to the stop line and waited for the green.
“HRAHHH! HRAHHH!” Hulk’s breath came hard as the beast grew all the madder. “HRAHHH!”
Light changed. Got clear of the intersection. One car passed, two, then the green. He slowed down, window down, and screamed “You Basssstard….!” which sounded kinda feminine with the Doppler as he sped off. So screw that Gandi deal. I cocked my finest bird, one of those elbow lock, between the eyes this-means-business ones, right through his back window, off his mirror and into his eyeballs.
And the thing about that finger, it served as a sight to lock on his license plate – E41-8WW. Got it. I have a pad but no pencil (I’ll correct that omission soon) but I came up with memory tricks to burn it into my brain.
When I got to work, I jotted down the number. Shower, breakfast, then a call to OPD to report the road rage incident.
I don’t think anything will come from it. Cops, especially Orlando cops, treat a 1500 lb vehicular attack as something less than an assault, more of a routine traffic discourse. Still, I’ll call the station again tomorrow and see if Cary St. Lawrence has found the raging beast yet. Don’t hold your breaths, blogfans.