Being Father's Day, I went to Colt State Park in Bristol, RI with my mom and dad to enjoy the day, and we decided to ride our bikes on the bike path that runs along the ocean. If you've ever rode this path on a weekend in the summer you know one thing: it's heavily trafficked. There's a lot of foot traffic as well as casual weekend cyclists who don't always follow the rules, go as fast as you want, or do what you expect. Yes it can be annoying and frustration (and something I can attest to first hand), however that's life and it's something you accept when you make the decision to ride on a heavily trafficked bike path.
While I was riding with my folks I had managed to get ahead of them on the main path. Now I'll admit that I made a mistake here: I should have pulled off the path and looked back, but instead I had turned my head left, and I inadvertently steered into the left lane (which was clear of oncoming traffic).
What I didn't know was that there was someone on a road bike coming up extremely fast, and without announcing that he was there, was trying to pass me. We didn't collide or anything like that, however I apologized profusely since even though it was unintentional I was in the wrong and I knew it.
Instead of accepting my apology and moving on, the individual becomes unhinged and starts YELLING AT ME, calling me obscenities and what-not, and barking orders at me. I apologized about five times more and then proceeded to give him a "yes sir" at his commands (I mean, what else could I say at that point?).
At that point the individual tries to escalate the situation to a physical one. He stops and proceeds to tell me that he's going to physically assault me and throw my bike into the woods (cursing at me the entire time mind you). Instead of letting the situation escalate any further I do my best to defuse it. In the end I managed to calm him down slightly; I apologized for a seventh time, proceeded to wish him a good day and wished him a good ride, and he carried on.
The moral of this story? Two wrongs definitely don't make a right. It can also be a very fine line between being right and being a jerk. When the individual is *TRYING* to be respectful and courteous to you and you threatening to physically assault them, depending on the individual it can backfire tragically . Thankfully these days I'm a lot more mellow and level headed than I used to be, and although I'm very capable of defending myself, I'd rather avoid a physical altercation if I can. It also would have been a really embarrassing situation for him since I could have easily subdued him and since I'm a Clyde I would have sat on him while I waited for the local police to arrest him for assault.
As luck would have it my parents pulled up behind me just as the individual left (of course they were questioning what just happened). All I have to say is thank God the situation happened between the individual and myself and not with my parents. Both my parents are senior citizens and my mom in particular has a bad habit of swinging into the left lane, and chances are I wouldn't have been as nice as I was if he threatened my parents.
Shame the guy was such an a-hole; he had a pretty sweet Mavic wheelset and his carbon bike was rather nice too....