Cycling Through Perspective

Cycling Stories October 21, 2019


Cycling Through Perspective

“Get on the fucking sidewalk!” the person behind me yelled.

After stepping off my pedals and planting my feet firmly on the ground, I turned my head over my left shoulder. And although this was several years ago, I clearly remember being shocked at the sight of a kid no older than 18 or 19.

A baby.

Through the windshield, I saw his white-knuckled right hand pressed against the top of his steering wheel, straining to support the upper half of his body, which jutted out the driver’s side window. His left arm reached toward the crisp, blue Colorado sky; his hand flipped me the bird. “Do I look like a fucking pedestrian, you moron?!” I asked.

He answered with horn blasts and engine revs and steadily crept his blue Impreza WRX toward me. The car was now so close that I could feel its heat, and the vibrations generated by its engine as he rhythmically depressed and released the gas pedal.

The light turned green, and I decided it was my duty to teach this child a “lesson.” So, I took my sweet-ass time stepping on my pedals, sitting on my seat, gaining speed, and moving straight through the intersection.

Left with sufficient space, he peeled out behind me, passed within inches of my left arm, and sped away while spitting incoherently into the wind.

And like that, the moment was over.

Fast-forward to today: I visited this intersection after a several-month absence from Denver, which now boasts a freshly painted green-and-white bike lane.

And whaddya know? I was in the correct spot on the road the whole time. “No, I don’t belong on the sidewalk, asshole,” my ego wanted to gloat. It implored me to feel righteous and vindicated.

Instead, armed with several years of mindfulness and growth, I now recognize it as a wasted opportunity.

It was a beautiful moment for me to have exhibited compassion, and to have acted like a mature adult who was more than twice this stranger’s age.

A flash in time that I crumpled and discarded with my white-hot flash of anger.

Instead, I understand that I could have planted a seed of positivity in this kid’s brain. And who knows what that could have grown into today?

May we all be mindful of the seeds we sow. ?

Keep rolling: Video: Riding the Dakota Ridge Trail

Derek has more than two decades of experience as a cyclist, and is the founder of TreadBikely. He currently travels full-time with his family via RV, enjoying the country's best biking destinations. A secular Buddhist, Derek frequently explores the intersection of cycling, mindfulness, and compassion in his writing. #rolloutblissout
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