While Alberto Contador was informing the world about his recent bout with food poisoning, I had my feelings hurt by a cyclist. You be the judge about which is worse.
I know it’s difficult to believe that a cyclist would hurt another person’s feelings, given that all cyclists are nice people who care about everyone and are all working together to make this world a better place, one commute at a time.
Sadly, my tale is true. On my pedestrian commute home from the office, I stopped on the right side of the sidewalk to snap a pedestrian panda shot of me wearing my new Octopus cycling cap.
This was not an extended photo shoot; rather, it was two photos taken by my handy dandy point-and-shoot camera.
I was abruptly jolted out of my pedestrian panda reverie by a “ding! DING!” Before I could move or react in any way, I heard the sound again, more insistent, piercing my ears like a dagger. “DING!!!! DING!!!!!”
I cowered at the far right edge of the sidewalk and watched the no-front-or-rear-lights-cycling-commuter-with-no-reflective-gear (Judgmental? Me? Lights? What?) make his way past me in the dark on the sidewalk.
As he passed by in the dark on the sidewalk he fired off his trusty bell another time to nonverbally announce his presence to another pedestrian commuter who also happened to be walking on the sidewalk.
Rattled, and emotionally wounded, I marched away. That guy ruined my pedestrian panda shot. He also dampened my disposition in the process, which needed no help given today’s inclement weather.
Cycling brother, why did you treat me so? Pedestrians may be at the bottom of the transportation food chain, but was the incessant bell ringing at me on the sidewalk really necessary? After all, it is a sidewalk. I stay out of the road, and I hope for a little leeway on the sidewalk.You hurt my feelings, Mr. Cyclist!
I know cyclists sometimes receive confusing messages, such as those from drivers who encourage us to “Get on the sidewalk!” as they roar by us. That said, if circumstances arise where we do find ourselves on the sidewalk, it’s helpful to recognize this as the domain of the pedestrian, not a velodrome. It’s a time to settle down, get zen, and keep a light hand on the bell. Consider putting a foot down, if the need arises. You’ll still make the podium of your daily commute.
So… how do you like my new cycling cap?