Sport > The Road to Recovery

The Road to Recovery

By GREG MAFFETT
Published: July 10, 2010

The road to recovery is paved, not with good intentions, but with good old American macadam. But part of this American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding was used for a road widening project. Turns out it was only road widening for drivers of over-sized pick up trucks. It is a road narrowing project for bicyclists. Part of this ARRA funding removed one of my old bike lanes in the Bay Area, as I found out on my recent vacation up there. I was now sharing a lane with motorists. One such motorist greeted me with a cheery honk as his jumbo tonka toy of a truck passed within inches of my left hip. I smiled broadly and, using a time tested hand signal, indicated that this driver was number 1 in my book. He seemed to appreciate the compliment and stopped immediately in front of me. Now back in the old days when I had the bike lane, I could have passed on the right of this good citizen who was stimulating the economy in his 15 MPG truck. But alas, I had to jam hard on my brakes. So hard I went over the handlebars and slid into the bed of his truck. I’m not one to get concerned about much of anything at this point in life. But I really didn’t want to drive home with this guy and, now that I had a closer look, his quite charming spouse. They looked like fine citizens. So I tapped gently on the glass at the back of the passenger compartment. They didn’t seem to hear me, so I took off my bike shoe, the one on my right foot. This has about a 4 ounce brass cleat on it. I thought that might help get their attention. With just the slightest tapping, this shattered the rear window. I now had their attention and the rather portly gent behind the wheel began to process of exiting the vehicle. In his obvious excitement to see me, I could tell he had lost some situational awareness. There were other tonka toy trucks whizzing by at 40-50 mph. It occurred to me that he would likely meet his maker if he were to get out of the car, so as soon as the door opened and his head started to exit the cab, I gently tapped him on his head. I should have known better. This is World Cup season and everyone is a flopper. Boom, down he goes like a Brazilian who just had a low speed collision with a butterfly. He’s starting to fall out of the truck and I see this could be trouble, so I jump from the bed to lend a hand before this gets worse. I’m helpful like that. I may have landed with my left left cleat on his neck, but I quickly removed that foot and grabbed the gent by his lapels and start to right him when I notice his little woman reaching into the glove compartment and pulling out what I’m sure is a Hollywood prop. It looks like a .45, but really, this is California. No one carries a real gun. I now realize I’m on a movie set, reality TV is everywhere these days. I pull the guy in front of me and mamma starts unloading the prop gun. The squibs are going off on this guy's chest and I have to say this is some high quality special effects as the guy is really slamming into me as each round goes off. We are at very close range and it occurs to me that I could get hurt even by blanks at this range. I toss my right shoe at the gun and miss. It hits the missus in her right hooter and makes a very unnatural sound. I remove the other shoe and toss that, this time knocking the prop out of her hand. This seemed like a good time to retrieve my bike, but now I see there is another truck pulled over behind us. I heard of these truck gangs, much like the Hell’s Angels of old. A slight misunderstanding here could cause trouble. I want none of that. So approach the guy “Did you see what just happened?” ask I. He seemed to think he did, so I gently placed my hand on his shoulder and sure enough, he was a soccer fan also and he dropped to the ground. Sheesh. Well, by now mama has retrieved her prop gun and is outside the truck firing more blanks in my direction. I realize I can’t bike very well without my shoes, so I decides to borrow this other gents truck. I pass by on the passenger side of the original truck via the sidewalk and then slam it in reverse as I get back on the road to address the lady on the drivers side. I back up to get close and here I have to admit I never realized just how long the back of a truck is. I may have tapped the lady with the tail end of the truck. I felt a thunk here. I hopped out to get my shoes back and here I see the prop guys have been hard at work. There is a mannequin who looks just like the lady with her head jammed into the wheel well of the truck I borrowed. I still can’t find the camera, but I play along. I gather my shoes, toss my bike in the back of this truck and, just for the sake of the show, I spin out causing the mannequin head to detach from the mannequin and really take flight. I don’t watch TV, but I can just tell this will be a great episode. As I’m speeding off I see about a dozen cop cars screaming towards me on the other side of the median. Must be a real problem somewhere behind me I’m thinking, but I don’t have time to check that out as I’m behind schedule. I take this truck to the good old Sacramento River. As I’m pulling my bike out of the back, darned if I don’t forget to set the brake and this truck rolls down into the drink. Lucky for me, I still have my bike and my shoes and I can finish my ride and get on with my own personal recovery from this workout.

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