Yesterday was a day of both cycling highs and lows. It all started innocent enough when I met up with my buddy Gus, AKA “El Taco Ardiente” at the Sweetbay Market. Our route was to take us down Tree Line Boulevard to Miromar Lakes to meet up with some members of the Sanata clan, and then casually ride down to our usual mid point hang out, Panera Bread at Coconut Point for some java and lively sports conversations.
Gus and I headed out down Tree Line without urgency as we had plenty of time to kill before meeting up with his friends. Traffic was light on the wide boulevard, so we rode side by side, deep in conversation. As we approached the main entrance to the Colonial Country Club neighborhood, a white, late model BMW (license tag number 753 TSJ) came storming out of the gates with no clear intent of stopping. We made ourselves as conspicuous as possible waving and yelling at the driver, but he kept heading right for us. He was looking directly at us, yet he stayed on the gas until the tiny rusted cogs he has for braincells grudgingly decided that he should hit the brakes before hitting us, which thankfully he did.
We rode past him giving him a very well deserved dirty look which was returned in kind with a look of utter hatred on his part…the angry eyes and bulging neck veins gave it away. As soon as we passed him, he accelerated hard onto the boulevard and buzzed us at a high rate of speed. His aggressive move towards us brought him within just a few inches of me and carried him completely into the bike line in front of us. Needless to say that elicited a couple of yells and a pair one finger salutes from both of us.
His premeditated assault (this is not an extreme term as a 2 ton car purposely buzzing you at a high rate of speed is a direct threat on your life) was carefully orchestrated on his part as he watched us intently in his rearview mirror and saw our simultaneous salutes. This irked him even more as he stopped in the middle of the road and waited for us to reach him. I rode up and decided to have a word with this jackass…by the way did I mention that he lives in Colonial Country Club and drives a white late model BMW with Florida tag number 753 TSJ.
The first words out of my mouth were to remind him that there is a 3 foot rule in Florida, but before I could get another word out, the guy started screaming at me and attempted to reach over and grab me. He even attempted to take a swing at me! Missing his swing, he then just stomped on the gas and sped off.
WTF dude. I’m sorry if two cyclists caused a 5 second delay in your busy schedule. Apparently your time is far more precious than anyones life, or perhaps you have an extremely competitive nature and saw our approach as a race which you were hell bent to win, at all costs. Well here is some news for you Fuck-tart, a pair of cyclists would not stand a chance against your two tons of high powered BMW, obviously a compensation for some other mental or physical shortcoming you have. Threatening cyclist is not a sport. You broke the law and put us in harms way all to stroke your challenged epeen, and for what…5 frickin’ seconds? You wasted far more time buzzing and threatening us! The roads are inherently dangerous enough for cyclists and pedestrians here in Florida. Idiots like this guy make it all the more dangerous.
Kindness and courtesy…something this douche bag has no understanding of, go a long way. Not only on the road, but in life in general. Can’t we all get along? Share the road folks, it belongs to us all.
So, enough ranting, back to the the good part of the ride…
We met up with Franklin and Sunico out in Miromar Lakes. Neither is an avid cyclist so our ride with them would just be a short distance. Once they were ready, we headed back out to Tree Line and our planned stop at Panera Bread. The pace now was extremely relaxed with Gus and Sunico taking the lead, while I hanged back with a struggling Franklin. After crossing the I-75 overpass, Franklin was absolutely spent. Obviously, he is not used to the bike, but his distress was far beyond that. As it turns out, his rear break cable had deteriorated to the point that his brakes were applied as he rode. No wonder the guy was beat!
We stopped at a convenience store to give him a rest and fiddle with the bike. We managed to open the breaks up enough to make the bike rideable, and convinced him to finish up the couple of miles we had left to reach our destination, after all, coffee and delectable treats awaited, as well as a pit stop at the Trek store to get the bike repaired.
A friendly honk greeted us as we as we turned into Coconut Point. It was Karen from the Trek store. I informed her of the bike issue and she not only was nice enough to take the bike in before working hours, but also lent Franklin a pair of her own flip flops to use while we waited at Panera. That my friends is the intangible value of a great local bike store. Kudos to Karen and all the gang at Trek of Estero!
Lively sports conversations ensued while at Panera, small wonder as Franklin is the brother of the NY Mets two-time Cy Young Award winning pitcher, Johan Santana. Even his depth of knowledge in cycling was impressive as he’s a close friend of José Rujano, a stage winner in the 2011 Giro d’Italia! Unfortunately a pressing engagement cut our break short. Luckily the gang at Trek were able to repair his bike in time for him to be picked up and driven back home.
Gus, Sunico and myself saddled back up and tacked on a few additional miles before heading back to Miromar Lakes and eventually back to our starting point. So after a crappy, threat filled start, the day turned out pretty well.
Oh and by the way, if you ever see a an extremely short tempered “gentleman” driving a white late model BMW with Florida tag number 753 TSJ, send him my regards….but be sure to keep a safe distance!
Ride Time: 2:51:11
Stopped Time: 2:05:55
Distance: 42.29 miles
Average: 14.82 mph
Fastest Speed: 22.69 mph
Ascent: 681 feet
Descent: 702 feet