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Confessions of an (expletive deleted)
_"You have GOT to be the dumbest (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) on the planet. Stupid (expletive deleted)."_Those were the words that greeted me as I rode my bike home after work one late night (early morning, actually) this past winter.It was cold - in the teens, if I recall - with just enough wind to bring the chill down to the single digits. Bundled against the elements, I rode unmolested until a four-way stop sign about half-way home.Rarely do I encounter anyone on this particular lonely stretch at 1:30 in the morning, but on this particular night I did.I heard the sound of a power window going down and music spilling out and knew what was coming.The passenger in a shiny black SUV poked his head out the window, and the music died down just as he let loose his foul observation about my intellect. I can only guess he had a bit of a stomach bug, because his door was streaked with what I'm certain was vomit. He unleashed another torrent of expletive-leaden observations about my smarts, my looks, my heritage and maybe even my mother. I considered a rejoinder, but nothing good can come from escalating a scene like that in the wee hours on a deserted street corner, so I looked over, blinked, then rolled on toward home.A peel of laughter escaped as the SUV roared around the corner.Why revisit this now, months after the fact? Because that night, perhaps more than any other, encapsulates what it's like to use a bicycle as a primary means of year-round transportation.Though I drive in thunderstorms and on icy days, I ride in pretty much all other types of weather, day and night. By choice. It's good for me, my bank account and the environment.Most of the time, I ride without incident.And yet occasionally - at least a couple of times a week - something happens that reminds me I'm not out for an idyllic romp. Somebody cuts me off, turns in front of me, honks, throws something at me, flips me the bird : or unleashes a steady stream of invective for no apparent reason.This time, as I rode away, I couldn't help but think that, 15 minutes from my less-than-pleasant encounter, I'd be bundled up on the sofa. The feeling would come back to my fingers, the color back to my face, and the dumbest (expletive deleted) (expletive deleted) on the planet would be indistinguishable from the smartest.And, blankets or not, the back-seat passenger in a certain black SUV still would be the guy who had nothing better do to in the middle of the night than to accost a guy riding his bike home from work. And the next day he'd still have to clean his own puke off the side of his buddy's car.So welcome to Rolling Along, our new blog about commuting to work every day on your bike. If you are a bike commuter, or if you have questions that might make a good blog post, please use the link below to drop me a line.