Thursday, September 6, 2007

Moby Dick - The Deadly SUV

It's 6 AM. You are riding to work. The birds are singing. Sun is out. Light traffic thickening up...then you see this.
We've all been on a ride and then out of no where...WOOOSH! A vehicle buzzes your "six, nine and twelve" before you can say, "What the...?" No sound before the last moment. The heart rate on your RS 400 jumps from 75% to 85% without any traceable increase in power on your CS 600. In my 'hood' it is usually a middle aged woman in a luxury automobile or over sized SUV. I've been run off the road several times (none so far this year) by mainly middle aged gals road raging on a lone cyclist (me) on an empty road. From a sociological and "age-wave" perspective I think this comes from unfulfilled dreams in the baby boom generation who had considerably more than their parents. Why else would someone in a Mercedes or Lexus SUV bother to slow down to 20 mph to buzz one cyclist? I don't think I'll ever understand that. Those are their issues, not mine.

Moby Dick is a giant, white, Lexus SUV - you know the one. It comes with a airline ladder to get into the driver's seat. It is driven by a middle aged woman (best guess is between 40 and 60- it is the 'north shore' after all - plastic surgeons are on speed dial in this part of Chicago). The north shore is all about status and who knows whom. Drop my home into the north shore and it is a $2M home easy. Where we are? Far from $2M. (reader's note: in Cardiff, California my house goes for about $6M without the land around it) Well, here in Chicagoland...I was told I live in the "land beyond O'Hare". As in...you don't matter. Every line west is a further notch down in a north shore "cake eater's" opinion. On Lake Michigan - excellent. West of Sheridan Road? You're "new money". West of 43? Only if you drive a Ferrari will be lower ourselves to talk to you. West of 294? You are blue collar in their opinion.

Moby Dick and it's driver will pop out at the most inopportune time for you on the bike. Light turns green and you miss clipping in? BAM! She is there honking her horn at you. Turning onto an empty street? NOPE! Out of no where here she comes ripping around a corner, wheels squealing like a scared pig, 65 mph on a residential side street (as speed limits don't apply to her) probably late for an urgent manicure appointment. Honking at a stoplight? She is far too important to wait. How dare you!

Watch out for Moby Dick when you ride on the north shore. Moby is just poised to chew up and spit out unsuspecting cyclists and the driver might not even notice unless she fumbles her mobile phone or drops her coffee. Luckily, the mountain bike can go a lot of places Moby can't without doing damage to the paint job.

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