Cyclist-on-Cyclist Crime & Carnage!

OK, we’re finally into the bike-riding portion of this blog … and I’m going to start with an anti-cyclist rant…

I’ve been riding the Olentangy multi-use path a lot lately, and have noticed that way too many of my fellow cyclists do a lot of rude, dumb and downright dangerous things out there. You know: All the things we hate and fear from the drivers or cars and trucks when we ride on the road.

Here are some of the dangerous/dumb things I see bikers doing, and how I respond…

Too fast:At about 5:30 p.m., the path starts to get busy and crowded as people get home from work, and lots of hammerheads try to get in a long workout in a short amount of time. To do so, they ride fast, really fast, 20 miles per hour. Sometimes faster when they have a tailwind.

This is too fast. And too dangerous. Slow down. The path is a multi-use path, not a bike path and there are walkers, joggers, rollerbladers, parents pushing strollers. If you want to go fast, really fast, go fast on the road where the speed limit is 25 mph or more. The speed limit on the path is 15. OK, I admit it: I sometimes go a little faster. It’s hard not to. But only when there’s nobody around me. And then I slow down when I pass people.

Response:I’ve started holding up my hand and saying “slow down” when people fly by me in the other direction. Especially when I know there are a bunch of people around the bend. I don’t like being a traffic cop when I’m out on a ride, but perhaps cyclists should educate and police one another. But in a polite way. If not us, then whom?

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Too close:Don’t you hate it when you’re out on the road and the car behind you squeezes through a too-narrow, fear-inducing space between you and the car coming in the other direction? Of course you do. That’s why there’s now a 3-foot passing law in Ohio. So, why do you do it on your bike? On the path?

I’ve seen this happen way too often: I’m riding down the path, and a walker/jogger or two are coming in the other direction, and someone on a bike tries to squeeze between them and me as he passes them. I’ve even seen, on more than one occasion, a cyclist do this and squeeze past someone pushing a baby stroller. Are you kidding me?

Response:I politely, but firmly, say: “Don’t do that.” And try not to startle the innocent walkers.

Can’t see … don’t pass:I’ve even seen some cyclists do the above (Too close) around a blind corner. Not only have I seen it, I’ve almost been hit by them. Are you stupid? Actually, your actions have already established the fact that you’re stupid. The only question is: How stupid are you?

Response:The same as Too close, but even firmer.

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On Your Left:I’m shocked by how many cyclists don’t say “on your left” or ring a bell when they pass someone. That’s just rude. And startling to the people they pass. Try this some day: Walk down the path for a mile or two and notice how many cyclists say “on your left” as they pass. It’s maybe 50 percent. And notice how intimidating it can be when one of them – or a group of them – flies by you unannounced.

Response:When someone on a bike passes me and fails to say “on your left,” I say it to them: “On your left.” Maybe it will subconsciously sink in and they’ll start saying it. Or maybe not.

One more thing:No matter how right you are, and how wrong and dangerous the other person/cyclist is: People don’t like being told what to do. It’s just the way it is in our modern society. So, never yell or scream at people. No matter how much adrenaline the near-crash experience just created in your body. Be polite. And don’t get in an argument. I learned a long time ago as a newspaper reporter: You can’t argue with an idiot. Just say what you’re gonna say, say it politely, and keep riding.

Anything else? Fill us in on the other annoying and dangerous things cyclists do out there on the paths.

 Also, you may want to read my previous post about how regular cycling is like the Fountain of Youth. Click here…

 

It Was 20 Years Ago Today: The Seinfeld Chronicles

Where were you on May 14, 1998, the day the final episode of Seinfeld aired? I was in New York, hanging out with Al Yaganeh and several hundred other Seinfeld fanatics. Here’s my column that ran a few days later…

IMG_7653Before I tell you all about the Soup Nazi and my crab bisque and chicken chili, I have an important message for anyone contemplating a bus trip from Doylestown to Manhattan: There’s no bathroom in the 8:45 a.m. TransBridge bus.

And the ride takes 2 hours and 35 minutes!

I felt like Jerry and George in the parking garage episode. Uromysitisis!

We finally arrived at the Port Authority, where there’s a bathroom. Then it was a short walk over to Al Yagenah’s Soup Kitchen International on 55thand Eighth, where I took my place in the long – and getting longer – line that would eventually stretch all the way around the block.

It was the day the final episode of Seinfeld was set to run and all of New York was in a Jerry, George, Kramer, Elaine and Soup Nazi frenzy. “He’s real, he’s really real,” shouted an annoying guy ahead of me in line. I felt like Jerry in any of the episodes with Bania.

The annoying guy was right.

The Soup Nazi and his soup are real, and he was inside his little shop preparing crab bisque, chicken chili, lentil, mulligatawny, veal goulash, chicken broccoli, gazpacho and borscht. I felt like Jerry and George in the Soup Nazi episode, which, BTW, was where most of us learned what an armoire is. Right?pexels-photo-209540.jpeg

Melissa and Anne, two New Yorkers and regulars here at the famous soup shop, were in front of me in line … and gave me a quick education.

“I’m worried,” Melissa said of all the media types, which included scores of reporters (including me) and a crew from the Home Shopping Network. “He could get mad at everything and not even open. He’s done that before.”

“He has to open,” I said confidently. “He’s selling his canned soup on the Home Shopping Network tonight and isn’t about to toss aside thousands of dollars.”

“He’s totally sold out,” Anne said.

“That’s OK, as long as the soup is still good,” Melissa said.

A second later, a guy in an old Volvo stalled right in front of us. As he tried again and again to start his car, Melissa, Anne and I laughed and made fun of him. I felt like Jerry, George, Kramer and Elaine in the final episode (after I watched it later that day). We did not get arrested.

After waiting for more than an hour, I was finally at the front of the line.

I was nervous, afraid to offend the infamous Soup Nazi and have him shout “No soup for you” at me. And so, in a firm voice that belied my nervousness, I said, “small crab bisque, small chicken chili, p-p-please,” handed the Soup Nazi a $20 and got back $5 (that’s right, $15 for two small soups) and quickly moved all the way over to the left and waited for my soup.

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He never even looked at me. But he gave me bread. And fruit. Sorry George.

Clutching my bounty, I headed to nearby Central Park, where I found a seat on a bench and opened my crab bisque. Holy crap, Jerry was right. This stuff really does make your knees go weak. It was chock full of succulent crab meat and the broth was seasoned to perfection.

The chicken chili was equally magnificent.

The people in the park stared as I kept mumbling, over and over, “Oh my God, this soup is so good.”

Next stop was the Museum of Television & Radio, which was continuously showing the pilot episode all day. And, as all you Seinfeldexperts know, back then it was called The Seinfeld Chronicles.

It cost $6 to get into the museum, which meant I paid $6 to watch a Seinfeldrerun. Oh well. As I walked into the theater, to watch the pilot, a guy in a postal uniform walked out. I swear, this is true.

“Newman!” I shouted.

It wasn’t.

I hadn’t seen the pilot in years, and it was quite interesting. George had a lot more hair, Kramer had a lot less hair, and he had a dog. Jerry was pretty much the same. Elaine wasn’t in it.

Then it was time for the long bus ride home.

And, guess what?

Yep, no bathroom. And I was full of soup.