Tuesday, April 15, 2008

We Have Rules for a Reason, Damnit!

The novelty of owning bicycles is gone now, and we're getting more and more serious about riding. While we haven't gotten out tons yet, we find ourselves watching the clock and wanting to beat our previous times. There was a hill that we had to walk part of the way up our first outing, but now we own it. (By "Own It" I mean we pedal slowly huffing and puffing our way to the top cursing anything that moves. Fucking chipmunks.)

It's still really fun though. That part hasn't changed for us at all. It's great to be outside, riding through the trees. Sure, you have to make yourself ignore the highway hiss from time to time, but it's not like you're in the middle of nowhere. In fact, not being in the middle of nowhere has other issues that come with it too.

Our first couple of outings were when the weather hadn't really turned yet. We were out there with a handful of others who were sick of their couches and treadmills and were ready to get out and about. Now though, as the weather warms and the evenings are longer, the multi-purpose trails in the Metro Parks are getting a bit crowded. Not overly crowded yet, but you have to keep an eye out so you don't mow down a family of three when doing 20 mph down a hill.

The main trail that we go to has the left side dedicated to bike traffic, but people drift in and out of lanes taking up the entire paved surface. Normally soft spoken, Jen (who generally leads), had a hard time speaking up to let people know we were passing on the left.

"Ah hem. On the left." she'd stage whisper.

Now though, the bike trail is Jen's trail.

"Passing on the left!" she says loudly as she buzzzes the newlyweds.

"This is the bike lane, buddy." she declares to the Hispanic gentleman who was so confused by the site of two bikes barreling down on him that he froze in the middle of our lane, unable to move left or right.

We encouter the occasional jogger who refuses to give up the lane, even though they're jogging the wrong direction and on the wrong side. I pity these men and women who unwittingly open themselves to unrequested direction.

"Simple-minded motherfuckers, every one of them!" she says drinking from her bottle of water while I lift the bikes back onto the rack, still trying to catch my breath.

It's not that my wife is mean. Far from it. It isn't even that she likes to strike fear in the hearts of the unsuspecting as she passes them so fast and close they can smell a trace of the perfume she wore to work that day. My wife simply believes rules were meant to be followed because they are there to protect us all. She believes this so deeply, she is willing to share her beliefs with anyone who may even look suspect of riding clockwise on the counter clockwise path.

I laugh at her on the way home, picking at her for the improptu "education" she was dumping on park-goers. She remains steadfast in the idea that the next time those people go to the trail, they'll keep in mind what she said and will stay on the walking path. Over a period of months, traffic will flow evenly and smoothly and we will all commune with the outdoors together in harmony.

It's this distance between reality and her ideas that makes Jen fun. She lives in that gap, hoping to bring everyone over to her side. Not just at the trail, but in most things. Recognizing the parallax, but choosing to ignore it, she treads on with her perspective of how it should be and just hopes that enough people will come around to see it her way.

I hope everyone on that trail knows how hard she's working to keep them all safe. She's exhausted.


Thomas Kingsley Troupe said...

Hilarious. I never knew this about Jen, but when I think about it...I've only met her, like once. Right?

Man, why does it seem like I even KNOW you people?

whoisfelix said...

See, I told you that the speed part of it becomes addictive. I find myself trying to raise my average speed all the time. It isn't even a concious thing anymore. Bike Gang!

Lionel Ritchie's Man Bag said...

TKT - It just seems like we go way back. Nothing wrong with that at all. Jen did make me promise to tell you (and everyone else) that I exaggerate and while yes, rules are important, I tend to embellish. She is right about that.

Felix - We were out again tonight and we have a new record. Hope I can talk her into tomorrow too...