Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I killed Lance Armstrong. Almost...

OK, just because I am blogging every day, don't be fooled. I am still leaning toward killing the blog. It's just that the freaks keep coming out. (This is taking on a Dread Pirate Roberts, "I will most likely kill you tomorrow" vibe, isn't it?)

While we are waiting for that day, please click on the ads, and check out my examiner commentary. Click as often as possible. It needs love.

I killed Lance Armstrong today. Well, I almost killed him. And it wasn't exactly Lance.

Memo to ride-a-bike-like-you-are-Lance guy: You are lucky to be alive today.

First, let me say I have nothing against cyclists. It's good exercise, it's a nice way to get outside... good for you.

But Lance Wanna Be (LWB), if you are going to be out racing with traffic at 5:15 in the morning, there are a few things you should know:

1) It is pitch black at 5:15 in Houston. There is no sunlight, and very little in the way of street lights. The moon will not protect you, genius. Especially when it is behind the clouds.

2) Lance doesn't race down South Braeswood when he trains. If he did, he would be smart enough to wear something reflective. Or he might use the perfectly nicely paved bike trail we have along the bayou.

3) This is Bray's Bayou, not the Champs Elysees.

4) Lance usually wears a bright yellow jersey. That might actually reflect a little on a dark, unlit road.

Yes, LWB, while you are going full tilt, fantasizing about leading the peloton, some of us are going to work. We're not awake. We are in a hurry. We aren't going to see you weaving through the cars.

This particular genius survived his first brush with death because the car in front of me slammed on its brakes at the last second. Our friend LWB was zipping along at a bustling 27 miles per hour in the left hand lane in front of someone in medical scrubs driving a Ford Ranger.

The driver saw our friend at the very last second. Had the Ranger been going any faster, LWB would be a News brief this morning.

Instead, he quickly dipped away from the Ranger into the right-hand lane, right in front of Uncle Freddy.

Keep in mind this is a very dark road. No lights. Nothing. And he is dressed in his tight little biker shorts, a skin tight Discovery Channel racing jersey...with no type of reflectors or anything. No lights. Nothing.

He did, however, have on an aerodynamic helmet. I assume he wore this so when I crashed into him and sent him flying, he would go an extra 20 feet or so before hitting the pavement.

He only lives today because I resisted the urge to do society a favor by not stopping. But I did not want a dead, 103-pound person with minus-15 percent body fat getting tied up under my wheels. It might take weeks to get him out of there.

So I slammed on the brakes. The car behind me had to do the same, almost hitting me and driving me into LWB anyway, making my moral dilemma moot. (The fact that I could even REACT at 5:15 in the morning is worthy of some sort of award).

After almost causing three cars to crash, LWB turned and -- I think -- shot us the finger. It was too dark to tell. He then raced off.

Well, I couldn't let this go.

As fast as he thought he was, the Accord caught up with him pretty quickly.

I pulled up alongside (I could still barely see him), rolled down my window, and offered a helpful, "Hey, you Lance-wanna-be-idiot f---er, wear something we can see."

He ignored me, furiously pedaling, chasing an invisible breakway in the Alps.

At sea level.

In a bad neighborhood.

At 5:15 in the morning.

He was completely focused on zipping through the ever-dangerous Fondren Southwest in his own private Tour de the 'hood.

I gave up, sped up, got past him and went about my way. (I noticed another car had to slam on the brakes behind us, too).

And I was left -- as always -- to reflect (oh, did I really type in that pun? ugh) on my freak experiences.

In retrospect, I think LWB is the smartest dumb person alive.

I mean, if you are going to ride a five-pound bike in traffic surrounded by cars made of metal stuff that will smash your tiny, bony body into all bran cereal, why not do it at 5:15 in the morning?

After all, people are unlikely to be on the cell phone at that time of morning -- like the woman who almost ran over me in the parking lot yesterday. (Although she was hot and she smiled at me afterward, so I forgave her).

They are unlikely to be texting while driving -- like the kid who was doing that in heavy traffic on the freeway and almost ran me off the road last week. (We were heading toward Galveston on Mardi Gras Saturday. There was more traffic than Talladega, all going 80 miles an hour. Kid is lucky he didn't start The Big One and bring out a caution).

I mean, who calls people at 5:15? Who texts at that time of morning?

So maybe LWB has it right. All he has to do is dodge a bunch of tired people who are going to ridiculous jobs that require you to be out and about at that time of morning.

Of course, this being me, I have to put odds on what happens to you, Mr. LWB:

Odds you are killed by a half-awake driver: Even

Odds you are killed by a gang-banger in Fondren Southwest who will sell your $1800 bike for $80 to buy drugs: 6-5.

Odds that you get blown to bits by a road-raged driver with a deer rifle: 7-5.

Odds that you win the Tour de the 'hood: 2-1.

Odds that you win the Tour de France: 5-1.

Odds that you are really Lance Armstrong: 100-1.

Odds that you think you are Lance Armstrong: Never mind. We know the answer to that one.

Good luck with your future, LWB. I'm betting it doesn't last long.

I'll look for you in News briefs.


The Soviet said...

i love that you yelled at him. seriously. i have nothing against cycling, per se, but my biggest beef is that so many of them seem to think they're immune to traffic laws.

and common sense.

Brandy Rose said...

A hot chick with a smile and thats all it takes?! Sucker! Lol.

andy said...

you really paint the picture. "I can't see you in the dark." That's frightening and getting your addrenaline ramped up like that due to a nitwit is maddening. And I say this as someone who rides a bike 6 days a week to and from work and for recreation. I do so with lights, reflective gear, and an astute sense of behaving in a visible, predictable manner. Most people I know who ride are scared to death of the texting and other distracting activities. Some nitwits are oblivious. I almost ran over one myself a couple months ago. pitch dark, no lights, black clothes. Foolish.

Sandy Wonnacott said...

So if a hot chick is out riding a bike at 5:15 am and she smiles at you for nearly crashing your car will you forgive her?

Fred said...

I guess the moral of the story is this: I have nothing against cyclists. If I didn't have to go to work through a war zone, I might ride one myself. But like Andy, I would be flashing like a Christmas tree so no one would kill me.
And yes, if you are hot and smile at me, you can pretty much get away with anything, including running me over in a car or causing me to crash.
That surprises any of you?

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