I know what I’m getting into when I choose to take the Lake Front Path home: tourists, runners, other bike commuters, those four-person bike mobiles that should be banned from the path. With the weather is as nice as it’s been and the summer coming to an end, more fair-weather commuters are getting their last rides to work in. The path at 6 p.m. is the equivalent of rush hour traffic on Lake Shore Drive. You have to just accept it and enjoy the scenery.
Last night I took this route home. I’d had cyclocross practice in the morning, so I wasn’t on my normal commuter, a Linus 3-speed mixte. My cross bike is a lot faster.
When the path started to clear out north of Belmont, I kicked it into gear and started going faster—with caution of course. I only pass other cyclists when it’s clear for me to go around them without forcing oncoming cyclists over in their own lane. I could feel a dude drafting me, so when I would start to break, I’d let him know with hand signals. After doing this about four times, particularly at the intersections where car traffic crossed the path, he pulled around to my left saying, “You’re much more careful than I am,” and passed me.
He was wearing khaki cargo shorts and a pale yellow polo shirt, so I felt really mad.
Later, my husband pulled in front of a car to avoid a turning vehicle at an intersection and I yelled at him. “Don’t be a jerk! You just cut off that car!” I passed him and wouldn’t speak to him the last six blocks home. Later, when I called him out for the way he’d also been riding on the path, he said, “Maybe I take more risks than you, but I at least ride better than most everyone else out there.”
I admit, I don’t like taking risks, in life or on the bike, something that doesn’t serve me well at all in cyclocross. I’d like to be more comfortable with risk-taking, but I want to stay courteous, as well. That’s actually the retort I brewed up long after cargo shorts passed me. “It’s called courtesy.” Ooh. Burn.