Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Games during the bike commute

Dorky Doug commutes to work on mountain bike sensibly equipped with fenders (clip-on, alas), lights, and street slicks. He wears a helmet, high vis yellow jacket and reflective pant straps.

At one particular intersection, there are often three or four cyclists stopping at the red light. I queue up behind whoever stops ahead of me, and following cyclists queue up behind me. Except Dorky Doug -- he always zooms to the front of the line. He does this even though he knows I always pass him, and I have to wait for a break in the heavy traffic before I can pass him.

I'm not in a race and I'm not in a particular hurry, but even when I'm taking it easy I am a faster cyclist than Dorky Doug. When I pass Dorky Doug I'm pedaling what is to me a relaxed, even cadence. Dorky Doug, in the meantime, is red faced with effort, hunched over the handlebars, huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf and mashing his pedals like an angry Godzilla smashing his way through Tokyo.

I realized earlier this week that perhaps Dorky Doug is playing with me. So I decided to play with him. On Monday, he was fiddling with his clip on rear fender. I tapped his rear tire. Paceline riders are accustomed to this, but I don't think Dorky Doug ever felt that before. He pulled over into the gutter and said "Hello" as I passed. Or at least it sounded something like "Hello."

This morning I played with Dorky Doug some more. I started passing him at a wide spot in the bike lane, slowed down to his speed and merged over into Dorky Doug. Doug, unfortunately, had to stop before he hit the parked car in front of him.

I hope Dorky Doug passes me again tomorrow. His games are kind of fun.


  1. I know a "Dorky Doug," too. I don't know if his name's actually Doug, but... ;)

    Anyway, I most often encounter this guy at a red light, and here is where he gets irritating. He stops for a moment, but then just goes through the red light as if it doesn't apply to him.

    One day when he did this, I caught up to him (once the light turned green, of course ;)). I pointed out to him that he shouldn't run the red light. He responded that it was "none of [my] business." I promptly replied that, running a red light, he was creating a safety hazard on the road I was on; that makes it my business, and the business of anyone else sharing that road with him.

    The thing that bugs me about this guy is that, other than his disdain for traffic signals, he's a pretty good cyclist. He stays a little too far over in the lane maybe but otherwise rides well in traffic, and he's pretty fast, too. I could catch him, but not as easily as I have some other cyclists in the past.

    If I ever encounter him running the red when I'm not headed for work and I have my cell phone headset with me, maybe I'll call the police and follow him until they catch up with him; maybe he'll listen to them. ;)

  2. Quit talking about me, guys. I just wanna race! :(


  3. When Dorky gets his license back he will be back behind a wheel. So don't anger him too much! lol!

  4. is full of dorky dougs & a lotta them aren't on bikes which can be even more dangerous...

    ...i like your technique though, fritz, & sometimes these guys need a little mild reality check...

    ...i'd even suggest the really close, almost knuckle to knuckle 'peleton pass' if ol'doug is real it slowly so he gets to appreciate his own unnerving but just be best w/ drop bars for that intimate feel...

    ...jeez, fritz, you've made me realize what a nasty man my "bad" side is...

  5. funny post.

    I am guessing Doug is just a dork.

  6. You've just described nearly every "biker" I encounter on my commute through SF. Except for that part about "stopping at the red light", hah.

    pump into the front wheel!

  7. It's all fun and games, Wildman! No badness intended at all; honestly! :-) And perhaps some skill development also.

  8. ...i know you're cool, fritz, but sometimes dd's can get dangerous due to their lack of forethought or consideration...

    ...years ago, i was riding my mtb around one of the local lakes, on my way to an area where i could open it up a's a tight, twisty, almost flat dirt road, in an area which generally has lots of hikers & walkers (ie: couples w/ kids in strollers)...not a place to do anything on a bike but chill & show consideration...

    ...on a very sharp, blind corner i sensed more than heard, dorky doug's brother, dummy dave, so i pulled even further to the right...sure enough, five maybe six guys, all ride pumped are coming around the corner w/ everyone over on the proper side except for dd, who is in the middle of my lane, looking over his shoulder, talking away to his friends (i think i mentioned this was a tight, blind corner, right)...

    ...we clipped bar ends hard cuz he was moving fast...i just put my foot down cuz i was riding slow & for some reason, anticipating something stupid but ol' dummy dave lost control, went over the embankment, over the bars & landed flat on his back about ten feet down the hill...

    ...his friends pulled up, several ran down to where he was just laying there seriously gasping for breath...i walked over, looked down, said "y'all right" to which he kinda croaked back "uh"...i just shook my head, got on my bike & rode away...

    ...there was no need for the obvious "wtf were you thinking" & several of his friend gave me that sheepish "sorry about our dumb friend" look...

    ...anyway, honestly true story & a place to share it...i'm not about enjoying the pain & suffering of others but i hope ol' dummy dave learned something from our little encounter...

  9. Dorky Doug isn't playin' with you, he's playin' with himself. I'm still thinking about about running him off the road as a logical consequence...