Friday, June 12, 2009

Why do drivers honk at cyclists?

It's been a little while since I've written. I've been spending time on facebook. I like it. It's quick. I can post several times a day. And since I'm not a talented blogger like some of the people I follow, I don't really have to have a lot to say when I post.

So.....what's new in my life? I've decided that the half iron race on 6/20 in WI is not happening. Just don't have the money. As a told someone the other day when asked about my racing plans for the year--I'm broke and burned out. Well, not really burned out, but it's a good excuse. I'm still holding out hope for about 3-4 races. I'll let you know when I know if they will happen or not.

I realized yesterday that last year I spent over $1,000 on entry fees alone for the four races I did. When you factor in all the other expenses, I just can't justify that right now. I really have to think about my family (i.e., kids) first when it comes to finances. When they were younger, it was easier. Now, bigger kids equal bigger expenses. Melissa will probably need braces, and I have no idea how that will happen. We may have to chose between gymnastics and braces. I hope that doesn't have to happen.

This was a crazy week of training. Peanut started her summer schedule at the gym. Since she is now a level 7, she practices Monday-Friday, 4 hours each day. I don't like to drive home and back again, so I get some good workouts in, between LTF in Burr Ridge, riding on the hilly streets, and running at Waterfall Glenn. The weather was pretty yukky, so I only rode outside once (Tuesday p.m.), and ran on the treadmill 3 times--too much for my body. I was able to swim and bike outside today--it was a gorgeous day. Not sure what I'll do tomorrow--rain is in the forecast for the morning and early p.m. Sunday looks like a better day for another ride.

So to get back to the title of my post--I was riding this afternoon on a frontage road along I-55. It's a narrow part of the road, and the street is really bad--tons of potholes, etc. I was riding up the little hill, a car was coming toward me in the opposite direction. As it passed, there was a car behind me--she laid on her horn, and really scared the heck out of me. I DON'T KNOW WHY SHE HONKED OR WHAT SHE EXPECTED ME TO DO! There was nowhere for me to go. I was riding as far to the right as possible. There was no shoulder. WHAT THE .........?

I actually do know why people honk. They are upset because they have to slow down for 5-10 seconds to let the other car coming toward them pass, before they are able to pass me. But please, really, what can honking your horn do, beside scare the heck out of the cyclist and maybe cause them (me) to swerve into traffic and for sure get hit? I just don't get it. I absolutely go crazy when a huge truck passes me, with plenty of room on either side of the truck, and insists on laying on the horn right as they pass me. Are they just ticked off because I'm on the road? Am I not entitled to be on the road?

Listen, I'm really a good rider. I pay attention to the lights and stop signs. I try to stay out of the way of cars. If a car wants to turn on red and I'm in the way, I move so they are able to turn. I ride the way I would want to see a cyclist ride when I'm driving. I signal when I'm planning to turn. I ALWAYS let the cars/trucks have the right of way--they are much bigger than I am and they will always win the fight anyway.

Anyway, I finally get that out of my head. I'm riding a six mile loop that is about 5.5 miles from my house. I like it because there are hardly any lights or stop signs, and usually the traffic is minimal. Today there was a little more than normal because I rode later--2:00 until almost 4:00. I knew I was taking a chance, but it really wasn't so bad.

There is a fire station on this loop. When I was on my third loop, I passed the fire station and a fire truck pulled up next to me. Right when it was along side me, they TURNED ON THE SIREN! OMG, it scared the heck out of me! I almost jumped right out of my saddle. Couldn't they have waited 10 more yards before turning on the siren, or did they do it on purpose to see me jump? If so, that really was not nice!

Now I'm heading home, passing a bunch of warehouses. It's really windy, and I'm riding into the wind. I hear a funny noise, like the noise you hear when a firecracker is set and before it explodes. A second later, I hear what sounds like a sonic boom! I'm not kidding, it was the loudest firecracker I've ever heard. I thought someone dropped a bomb, I kid you not. I turned and looked back and saw lots of smoke in one of the parking lots. REAL NICE, PEOPLE! It's not even the 15th of June, and you're messing with firecrackers already? YUK, I really hate firecrackers and the 4th of July.

Well, I got nothing else. Sunday is the Suburu Women's Triathlon in Naperville. Good luck to all the first timers, old timers, elite and pros. It should be a nice day, and I hope everyone has fun and a good time.

Good luck to everyone who is racing this weekend. I'll be praying for good weather and great times!

Until next time--God bless!

P.S. A friend of mind just started a blog. Check him out at


IronSnoopy said...

I'm in the same boat with you on races: slightly burnt out and we can't justify spending all the money, especially since neither of us is in any shape to race. We're both fearful for our jobs. :(

I hate mean drivers. I could go on and on, but you pretty much said it all -- god forbid they have to slow down for a few seconds!

Yay you for the 4-hour stretches to work out, though. That's awesome! And yay M for Level 7. :)

Michael said...

The horn honking really gets under my skin too. Sometimes I actually think they are doing to be helpful, almost like saying "on your left". But most times it is get off my road. I had an experience Saturday where I was in the right tire track of the road (where I always ride) and there was a bike lane (Hudson, OH) but it was sporadic and filled with gravel and other objects. A car came from behind me as I saw him in my mirror and gave a honk. I actually moved further left so that the only way around me was to pass as I hate the old squeeze play. When he got by me, he gestured with cigarette in hand towards the bike lane. I gave a big friendly wave and he jammed on his brakes like he did not like that and was coming to tell me about it. I was hopeing he would stop. He kept going and I just let the adreneline seep back into my system.

YungFalbz said...

I just wrote about this on my blog and thought I'd see what other riders thought...and found your post.

Love the blog!

Anonymous said...

I'm in Honolulu and I use my bicycle for commuting so I'm not racing down the road but I follow the rules of the road and have lights all over my bike at night. People honk at me and I just give them the finger or slow down because I have no other choice. I'm too poor to drive a car, the bicycle paths have huge potholes, the bus lanes are very hazardous and the few bike lanes have storm grates, trash cans and loose gravel in the way. Also the sidewalks have pedestrians...In Waikiki it is actually illegal to ride on the sidewalk.
If I go slow and stay in the middle of the lane they start to get the picture that they should probably go around, because I'm not going anywhere.


Anonymous said...

It's simple. We honk because you're in the way.

We also honk because you insist on taking up the entire lane despite completely disregarding all traffic signals, posted STOP signs and then you dart out in front of crowded intersections with total lack of accountablity under the banner of "clean air."