It has been many moons since my last cycling confession. In that time I have always attempted to follow the examples that you all have set. Be nice to others when passing, encourage your fellow cyclist, enable others to join in my passion, spread the word of cycling to the world outside of France, let my legs do the talking and never suck wheel.
Today I had a moment of weakness and for that I seek forgiveness. I am not proud as I type these words in confession. Today I yelled at another cyclist.
The worst form of fighting to me is fighting within one's family. Today I did just that and I'm not proud.
As most sinners I will tell a tale that seems to justify my sin, but I'm here seeking forgiveness from the masters of cycling karma because I know that I have wronged your tradition.
My tale is of my bike ride to work. I'm on a trail used by cyclists and pedestrians and it flows past my office. As we approached the trail was busy. Walkers, cyclists and a dude taking pictures of himself and his bike. I slowed as I approached a rider that I needed to pass. Not wanting to pass until it was safe. When it was clear I said "on your...." and I was cut off by a rider behind me coming too fast saying "left". He passed me as I was passing the other cyclist and with a pedestrian approaching us on the other side. It was unsafe. And it freaking angered me like when Father Hinault was punched during a Tour stage. And like him, I'm sorry to say I attacked.
It was here that I had my moment of weakness. Perhaps it was because of how unsafe he was and I felt the role of teacher when I yelled "Dude! Unsafe. I was passing!" "You don't pass two riders at the same time from the back!" Perhaps I was responding to the fact that the jerk was riding a touring bike with clip on aero bars, a t-shirt and a backpack and trying to get in the drops on an urban trail when I said "way to be a safety advocate!" or maybe it was because he just blew us off as his heart race pegged trying to ride away from me as I continued to call him "jacka**!" in Spanish. Maybe it was the fact that I encounter fellow s0-be-called cyclists like him every time I ride. The ones that pass unsafely, that disregard road rules, that think just because they bought aero bars for their 26 pound bike that it makes them like Cancellara, or that watching the Tour means they have to ride like it. Perhaps I was remembering that when I shook my head, pulled off to work and called him one last name as he waved me off.
My adrenaline was surging for all the wrong reasons and I knew I was wrong. I was wrong to take the bait. I should have slowed and checked the guy we passed to make sure I had not wronged him, that the innocents (so called by me) were safe. I should have taken the high road.
I should have looked at my Livestrong band and thought What Would Lance Do. But had I done that I would have ridden him down, stared him in the face and then attacked to the point to make him cry over German strudel and beer. Probably no better than what I did already.
I am truly sorry for my behavior and I ask the cycling world all over to forgive. For penance I will faithfully watch the Tour de France, I will do hill repeats on my touring bike, speed work outs pulling Jack and I'll wear jeans once when I ride. I hope that my sin may be forgiven.
Your faithful cycling servant
and on your left,