I should have known it was going to be one of those rides.
Just three blocks from home, I come up to a 4-way stop, then went through the intersection the same time as a car going the opposite way. Only problem was, a car on the cross street began his left turn as soon as the other car passed, while I was still in the intersection — attempting to occupy the same space I was already in.
But I bit my tongue. Hard.
I mean, not one word or gesture. It wasn’t that I had suddenly become a pacifist. I just didn’t want to ruin this beautiful day. Not even when he pulled to the curb a couple blocks later, almost dooring me as he got out of his car.
Then just a few blocks after that, at another 4-way stop, some idiot on the cross street came to a full stop — in the middle of the intersection. Which meant he was blocking the path of every other person on the road, including me. Then he just sat there waiting to see if anyone else was going to go first.
Message received. Just one of those days.
So about a half-dozen minor incidents later, I found myself riding down San Vicente in Brentwood, when I noticed a large BMW preparing to enter the street from the parking lot at Soup Plantation.
Only problem is, there was a large truck parked next to the exit, completely blocking his view of the street. So he had no way of knowing if there was a bike, car, bus or the entire USC Marching Band bearing down on him.
The way this ride had already gone, I assumed the worst, and grabbed my brakes while swinging out wide into the lane. And sure enough, just as I rounded the corner of the truck, he gunned his engine to pull out, then jammed on the brakes when he saw me.
But when he saw I was slowing down, this gold-plated, double-dipped Richard-head gunned it again, clearly thinking he could lurch out in front me — except by then, I was already in front of his car. So he jammed on the brake again, as I rolled by with my hands out to the side in the universal “What the fuck?” gesture.
Once I was past, he gunned it again, then pulled up beside me with his window down, yelling something unintelligible. But it was pretty damn clear it wasn’t an apology. So that caveman portion of my brain kicked, punching out the standard fight or flight response.
And I sure as hell wasn’t going to run away.
So the chase was on.
I kicked it up a couple gears, assumed my best sprint position and picked up the cadence. And much to my surprise, I found I was actually gaining on him.
In fact, I was just about to catch up to him, prepared to give him one of the few pieces of my mind that I have left, when a Porsche pulled out from the curb directly ahead of me without looking.
So I swung hard to the left. And next thing I knew, I was racing down the left lane at about 30 mph, next to the driver’s door of a 911 — the operator of which was preoccupied with talking to his lovely passenger, and had no idea that I was there, since he hadn’t once looked in my direction.
Now, any sane person would have realized the complete idiocy of that situation, grabbed hard on the brakes, and let the Porsche go by.
But that would have meant that the esteemed Mr. Head would get away.
So I kicked it up to my smallest gear and cut in front of the Porsche. And causing the driver to jam on his brakes, with an expression that clearly said “What the holy f…!!!!”
And yes, I confess that there was a small part of my otherwise engaged brain that registered his expression, and truly enjoyed it.
But Mr. Head comma Dick was getting away, so I continued to hammer down the street. And I was only about 20 feet behind him when he pulled a U-turn and raced off in the other direction. Leaving me in the position of chasing him down once again, or getting on with my life.
I chose the latter.
I’d like to say the remainder of my ride was uneventful. Really, I would.
But I would be lying.
Maybe I’ll share it with you another time. Or maybe I’ll just pour a few fingers of good Irish Whiskey and try to forget the whole thing.
One last thing, though. All that adrenalin must have done some good.
Because I finished my usual 2-1/2 hour ride in just a hair under 2:10.
Evidently, I wasn’t the only one who had a challenging ride lately. Will documents the Anatomy of an Inattentive Driver, while Gary discusses a recent hit and run that put a Santa Monica cyclist in critical condition. My friend, the proprietor of the Altadena Blog, uncovers a slightly nauseating video of a fat tire ride down Echo Mountain. L.A.C.B.C announces Car-Free Friday; celebrate it by riding with City Council President Eric Garcetti. And Stephen Box marks the second anniversary of storming the L.A. Bicycle Advisory Committee’s figurative Bastille with an open letter to the new head of the Bikeways Engineering Group.