I turned 35 yesterday. Last night at dinner my mother-in-law jokingly asked if I felt any different. Of course I didn’t then, but as of this morning I’m starting to wonder if something happened overnight. By the end of my ride into work today I definitely felt like a cranky old bike commuter man- and this time no cars were directly involved.
The first half of my ride didn’t get off to a great start as my rear wheel was feeling really soft. I decided to pull over and pump it up once I got onto Perry. Actually getting onto Perry turned into an unheard of couple minute exercise in patience thanks to the steady stream of road construction diverted traffic. After an eternity followed by an embarrassing episode with my currently sub-optimal pedals I finally got across and managed to get the rear tire pumped up without further difficulty.
The ride down the hill was actually pretty good from Perry all the way to Sherman. Then an oblivious middle schooler, with headphones on and gaze fixed firmly on the southbound car to his right, stepped out into the bike lane directly in my path. I was going 30 km/h at the time so a collision would not have been pretty for either one of us. I swerved around him and yelled, “Watch where you’re going kid!” back over my shoulder. Then I realized with annoyance that he had head phones on and he probably hadn’t even heard me.
I continued on my way until I reached the short stretch of Sprague that I ride on before looping down to Erie. In the distance my eyes registered a guy on a skateboard approaching. He started on the sidewalk, but for whatever reason he decided to skate west against the flow of traffic on Sprague a block or so before I passed him. We were never in danger of colliding and to his credit he stayed pretty close to the sidewalk as I approached, but it definitely added to my building morning irritation.
The last straw of the ride came as I turned off Trent to head up to the Centennial Trail. A fellow bike commuter with goggle like glasses crossed over to my side of the street and approached me head on with kind of a goofy grin. I said something to the effect of “How about you stay on your side of the street?” as we passed each other, but he didn’t answer. I’m pretty sure he switched sides like that so he could head east across the Trent street bridge via the sidewalk (and against the flow of traffic) and that only added to my irritation.
Thankfully I still had enough of my ride left that I was able to let most of my irritation subside before I got into work. By the time I rolled my bike into my office I was actually in a pretty good mood again as I had a good laugh at myself. Letting a few minor annoyances turn me into cranky old commuter man was pretty ridiculous all things considered. I guess that’s one nice thing about riding a bike vs. driving a car- it’s hard to stay irritated when there’s no metal box to trap all the angst.