Cycling Europe Day 36: Mean Motorists

All it takes to ruin someone’s day is a few mean motorists, a ride longer than 100 km, and many very steep hills.

I’ve had an awful day.

It all started as I was navigating myself out of Ljubljana, Slovenia’s capital. An idiot motorist intentionally swerved into me to scare me. I knew what he was trying to do. He was trying to make a point. I shouldn’t be on the road. I should be on the sidewalk-bike-path.

I’ve been generally avoiding those paths in every country I’ve been in. They are always very poorly maintained: full of cracks and potholes. They also twist and turn and you have to cycle up and down curbs. If I were city cycling, going on a short errand with my bike, they would be acceptable. But when I’m on a road bike with 15kg of weight needing to get from one city to the next, they are useless.

So this idiot swerves into me. Nothing happens. I’m cycling slowly because I’m trying to figure out directions. He did not frighten me but I did get upset. He had to stop at the traffic light just ahead, so I maneuvered myself to the back of his car, knocked on the back window, and shook my finger at him (it gets worse..I’m so useless at spur of the moment anger). I then went to his window and told him, as he rolled down the window, “That’s not nice!”

He started to tell me I am supposed to be on the sidewalk. I told him, “I have a long road!” (that will tell him!). He gave me a long lecture about how I had a sidewalk to cycle on and that it would be bad for me if the police caught me. The guy spoke very fluent English. I started to say, “If I’m wrong….” when the light turned green. As he headed off I said, “You, you, you…” and managed to yell at the back of his car, “You shouldn’t try to kill people!”

That whole episode went very differently in my head shortly afterwards. (more…)