So, got myself all bundled up and embarked upon my first commute to the new place of business. Graveyard shift, less traffic, colder weather. I'm ready. The temp was 24 degrees, skies clear, no wind (except the wind I made, and no, not flatulence).
Seven o'clock at night seems like a decent time to be out, what with rush hour slowing to a trickle and street lights on. It is also the end of happy hour, so the idiots come out in record numbers. I'm not sure who's heard this, but Colorado Springs was recently labeled as the third drunkest city in the nation. I moonlight at a sports bar as cook, and know what happens at the witching hour of six or seven in the evening.
So I'm approaching a major intersection where the highway meets a main road (I'm on the main road). I'm especially wary - having negotiated this intersection hundreds of times in a car, I knew what to look for. As I look behind me, I see a minivan driven by a 21 year old who was either texting or playing with his wiener (interchangable behavior whilst operating a motor vehicle). He didn't see me until the very last minute, and didn't even make an effort to slow down. He just barrelled through the intersection and gave me the "What, me worry?" shrug. I felt I owed him the "Are You Blind" finger. After all, he earned it, and I was sufficiently pissed off to handle a gang of Hell's Angels.
Bicycling magazine's most recent issue contains an article about a fellow cyclist who was mowed down in Sonoma County, Calif. No drugs, no drinking, no cell phone, just a lady who was reaching back to grab something from a grocery bag. Chilling stuff.
Tonight's commute reminded me that no matter how good of a cyclist you are, and no matter how closely you follow the rules of the road, you can never account for the person behind the wheel of a large automobile.
Other than that, it felt good to breathe the air again