Fickle Humans – Renew Some Faith in Mankind

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I know I should be writing about bike racing and specifically about Cyclocross Nationals, since I’m down in Austin for just that.  And the racing was great yesterday.  Peter Weber, Brandon Dwight, Paul Bonds, Mark Savery and many others had great races.  But, I want to write about a couple experiences I had the last couple days.

Two days ago, Bill and I were out riding west of Austin out by Bee Caves.  We were doing the loop out Southwest Parkway and then 620 over the dam and back to Austin.  We were on 71, nearly to the light at Bee Caves, riding on the shoulder, when a pickup, dually, comes by, swears over to the white line and guns his engine.  It was diesel and it scared the shit out of me.  \

So he then moves into the center lane and, many lucky or not, gets stopped at a light about 200 meters up.  I decide that I’m going to go and have a talk with him, so I ride up on the passenger side, between cars and go to the passenger side window.  I can see there is a whole family in the truck, like maybe 4 kids, a mom and then the guy driving.  I knock on the window, the guy looks over and I can see he goes off.  He pushes the electronic window button and then I hear the profanity.  He is crazed.  I don’t even get a chance to say a word before I see his front wheels turn to the right and he tries to creep forward to come towards me.

Luckily for me, he was boxed in front and rear, and on the side.  He was screaming shit, right over his family, and I yelled something back, I can’t even remember what.  The weird thing is that, even though the light was still red, a couple cars right behind me honked their horns, which I took as them honking at me, but I could be wrong about that, now that I think about it.

The light turned green and the guy really wanted to turn right to follow us, but was in the middle lane and had to go straight.  Bill kept looking back, thinking the guy was going to come up from behind.  He was sure the guy had a gun, which I don’t doubt.

Anyway, that was the end of it.  Not a good experience, but not my worse bike/automobile experience either.  I have noticed that lots of people, here in Austin, use their horns more than I like.  And most of those I’ve noticed are driving pickups or big SUV’s.

Then flash forward to yesterday.  I went over to the race early, before Vincent’s race at 2:30 and had a couple hours to go ride.  I did a lap with Vincent on the course, got my tires all clogged up with mud and then went  out on the road.

I started out of Zilker Park to the South and turned Southwest on Bee Caves again.  I got just a couple miles up Bee Caves, still in Austin, but between commercial areas, when I see this young black dog running around in the road.  Bee Caves is a really busy road with no shoulder.  The dog is obviously lost and not traffic savvy.  He is on the shoulder, the darts out into traffic and back.  I sprint up and jump off my bike and the dog comes to me.

He has a collar, but it is sort of loose and I’m a little worried he is going to squirm out of it.  So, I drop my bike and get the dog between my legs and kind of hold him there, trying to see if he has tags and a number.

I see he has a tag and a couple phone numbers, but my phone is in my jersey pocket and it is pretty hard keeping ahold of the dog and the cars are all going by at 50 still.  I’m trying to figure out how I am going to get the dog away from the road and back to where he belongs.

Just then a pickup truck pulls up, with his blinkers on stops next to me.  A guy and what seems like a grown son, get out of the truck and the man says he saw the dog running around and turned around to come get it.  He tells his son to put the dog in the back of the truck.  I asked him if he thought the dog would stay in the truck bed and he said that he had a tie down and I looked it and seems like that is how he took his dogs around, it was perfect.

The “kid” put the dog in the back of the truck,  and the man told me he’d make sure the dog got home.  I thanked him and he drove off.  I started riding  again and less than 100 meters later, there was a lady walking back against traffic coming right out me.  There wasn’t really a shoulder and the ditch was rock and steep.  I was thinking why would she be walking out on this road, it was so dangerous.

As I approached her, she waved and stopped me.  I moved off the road and she asked me where was the dog.  I told her that a man in a pickup stopped and took it.  She said she saw me on the side of the road, holding the dog and it looked like I needed help, so she pulled off in a commercial parking lot, maybe 500 meters up and road and was walking back to help me.

That was so nice.  She seems relieved that the dog was okay and I thanked her too for trying to help.

The rest of the ride, I thought about how nice it was that two separate people would stop and help in that situation.  I never expected it and it really helped out a ton.  I would have been in a bit of a bind trying to get that dog back home safely.  It worked out great.  I’m pretty sure that most other places I ride, no one would have stopped.

So, here were two opposite experiences, pretty much in the same city.  One very disappointing and one up lifting.  I guess it is just how people are.  We are fickle.  I’m wondering if the same guy yelling at me might have stopped and helped if I was standing on the side of the road holding a black lab?  You just never know.

The man helping me out.  Notice that the car beside him didn't even move over at all.  Weird that people can be so mean to other people and so nice sometimes too.

The man helping me out. Notice that the car beside him didn’t even move over at all. Weird that people can be so mean to other people and so nice sometimes too.

While I was out riding, Bromont was playing at the course with his new friend, Nehemiah, from Enid Oklahoman.

While I was out riding, Bromont was playing at the course with his new friend, Nehemiah, from Enid Oklahoma.



23 thoughts on “Fickle Humans – Renew Some Faith in Mankind

  1. Local Cager

    Yes, of course stray dogs are treated far better than cyclists are. I may stop and spend a half hour or more helping a stray dog, but I won’t lift my foot off the accelerator even for a quarter second for some spandex wearing biker. In fact, intimidating them with my diesel exhaust, horn blasts, flying past 6 inches off their handlebar, profanity laced tirades… whatever it takes to get them off my road.

    Drivers Everywhere

  2. Demo

    You’re in Texas – land of the Republican driving a pickup with a gun in it. Redneck Central. I’d be very careful about confronting someone.

  3. James

    You needed to turn on that “Lance” rage, you know, pull him out of the truck and beat him senseless until he whimpers and cries and begs to be let go. Don’t believe me, read Tyler’s book.

  4. riverdog

    Well at risk of pissing some folks off… ain’t just Texas…..dude it is AMERICA!! Don’t know how long y’all have been on this planet…but we are the Greatest Purveyors of violence on this planet!! At war almost constantly, our movies and TV thrive on it, our sports are pretty awesome in violence….MA fighting, Pro Football..NHL hockey….and most have the Hot Button pushed ready to go. When was the last time somebody said Peace or Happiness to you and meant it? 1970 most likely…in one week it is MLK day…did you know that to the day One Year after his Vietnam speech (which his friends/advisors begged him not to give) where he called out America on being the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet…he was shot dead!! One year to the day…coincidence…? I doubt it. Anyway that is another entirely different tangent to Steve’s incident with the Macho man. I have had more of those than I can count…probably because of my Marine Corps/Wild Cowboy bent inclinations…
    Don’t think things will change but only get worse…Guns, Power and Lust seem to sum it up over Peace, Love and Happiness…Ce La Vie

  5. channel_zero

    driving a pickup with a gun in it.

    Hey, NRA members, is this the point? People who don’t carry guns have to live in constant fear of being shot. Yeah, thanks for that.

    The answer is guns everywhere so we can all “stand our ground” and kill each other by the side of the road. That makes me feel safe and confident.

  6. euro

    What would you do DEMO, if in the same situation Steve was in? Just take the abuse and apologize to the truck driver for being in “his” way?? And by the way, I’d bet any amount that redneck driving the truck was an Obama voter, not a Republican. A true Republican would have waved and cheered Steve on.

  7. Chris G.

    Caution is warranted. I still have a rim with a bullet hole in it from such an encounter in Texas.

  8. James

    Easy there Demo, your displaying the same mentality as Steve experienced. Not all “Red Necks” carry guns and vote to the right, although I am a little bit of all 3, but I choose to be nice to all folks and try to treat everybody with respect and dignaty. It’s a decision if you want to be an asshole or be nice. All of us have the propensity to be jerks.

  9. Dave

    Texas is a BIG state. Not all of Texas is like this. I live in North Texas – west of Weatherford and I’m typically given the lane on 2 lane roads. I’ve never been hassled. My only complaint is chip-seal pavement.

  10. Clifford Allen

    People are a lot better in the city than on the outskirts of Austin, as far as cyclist-car encounters go. Not great, but better. Always hated riding on Bee Caves.

  11. Rod

    I carry a gun everywhere except when I’m on the bike.

    Need to figure out a clean aero way to mount it on the bike that keeps it out of the way but still easy to access for those redneck driver moments.

  12. MS

    It’s the big city. I grew up in one of those tiny ‘backwards’ towns. I remember stopping to help people change tires, pull or push their vehicles to safety etc. That was when I was young before I wised up. Now 30 years later living in the big city, I’ve been burned so many times I just plain don’t give a shit about anyone – until I’m back out in the small towns again. I know the people out there are generally nice people and that’s where I should be if I wasn’t a whore for my job.

  13. EuroSteve

    Austin used to be one of the best places to ride. That was 20 years ago. Now, it’s a nightmare. Bee Caves, 2222, cruising around town, up in Westlake–it was all great. Now, it’s so over-crowded it’s just dangerous everywhere you try to ride. You have to get out near Fredericksburg to get quiet, safe roads. On the plus side, Austin has a ton of bike lanes, but the downside is that it’s so congested that you have to stop for lights every quarter mile.

    It’s like that in many places, though. We have fewer and fewer safe, quiet places to ride. Sad.

  14. Damon

    Rod, Belly-band rotated behind the jersey pockets works well and remains very well concealed and sercure for road cycling. MTB wouldn’t probably be a good idea.

  15. russ

    When I was 13 I was riding on a rural road with two buddies. We had just finished swimming in our favorite creek and were riding back to town 6 miles as we had done dozens of times. We were riding three abreast – I know, shame on us. All of a sudden we heard an approaching car gunning it. A guy had come up behind us and thought he would scare us by driving by at 90 miles per hour as he passed us on this two lane cement road. He hit one of my friends directly in the middle of his car. I watched Mark fly a couple hundred feet through the air. The driver kept driving. A mile down the road the frame of his car stopped his wheels from rotating. He got out and pulled on the fender, but he was stuck. Meanwhile, we tried to help our friend who was clearly gone. Not the same body that had once hit two home runs off me in a little league game. This is not a pity story, but for years I have heard people disregard drivers’ aggressiveness toward cyclists, or dogs, or cats on their roads. The guy murdered my buddy. Tough to explain to his mom when we got home. Maybe we should have ridden single file. Maybe we should have had blinkers. Maybe we should have stayed home and played Nintendo. We just wanted to ride our bikes, swim and laugh about how lucky we were.

  16. mike crum

    wow!!! all your years of cycling and you pull up along side of a truck to confront him???? lucky you’re still alive..i know a few farmers that would have just mopped you up ,then taken your your photos, you are not the biggest meanest looking dude out there.. you better think next time before you do this you’re lucky…

  17. WTF

    Seriously?!?! Everybody knows all truck driving rednecks vote republican whether it benefits them or not. I guess I’m just not detecting your sarcasm.

  18. Rod

    Thanks Damon,

    I’ll give it a shot. So to speak.

    Just got a Walther PPS in 9mm which is only .9 inches thick, with a 6 rd mag it’s a small pkg and might be perfect with a belly band.

  19. Ken

    I was in Austin back in 95 or 96 for a while, and on a training ride around Lake Travis a freakazoid in a pickup truck guns by me at a crazy speed, clearly trying to get as close as possible, then turns around does it coming at me head on, and does it a third time on the way back. I figured he had a gun and would have shot at me had I done anything (he almost killed me NOT doing anything). Never had that happen anywhere else and I’ve ridden coast to coast. Never went back to Texas after that. Waiting for the whole place to burn in hell.


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