Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Road Rage Commute

A  funny thing happened yesterday morning as I rode home from work. It's been a process of getting around in between rain storms if I'm lucky and yesterday morning was lovely, unlike the night before. My ride to work was a nightmare of incredibly heavy rain that penetrated the collar of my waterproofs, reduced visibility to fifty yards and reminded me why not all Florida weather is considered mild. This was pre-hurricane rain and wind storm material.
Anyway there I was enjoying the ride home just as light was breaking through the clouds to the east, my Burgman 200 was  rolling along silently at around  55-60 mph  and all was well with the world. Until I came across a bunch of four vehicles crawling along painfully at 45 mph stuck behind someone either distracted or unwilling to drive the speed limit so I set myselkf up and as soon as we hit a set of dotted yellow lines I zipped by.
I passed another outlier also driving well below the limit and then I sat back ready to enjoy my speed limit plus five ride home. In Florida police can't write a ticket for speeding if you are within five miles and hour of the limit. Of course if they really want to they can get you for something else,  say "too fast for conditions" or "reckless" but in the grand scheme of things riding at the limit plus five gives you leeway to enjoy a  clear conscience and make reasonable progress.
I was feeling daring at that hour and in the 45 mph where there were no homes or cross streets I stepped up to 55 mph  - speed limit plus ten -  which could get me a ticket but I pay close attention to the road ahead and my speed just in case of lurking guardians of the peace. 
My relaxed ride was suddenly enveloped in a burst of air and noise as a big gold pick up truck rent the air as the headlights I had seen barreling down on me never slowed and pushed past on a double yellow line, certainly a reckless ticket if spotted. AS  the truck pulled ahead the driver waved at me through the window. 
I ride my own ride and I have found much to my pleasure that my Suzuki Burgman scooter even though only 200ccs looks much more imposing than my moped-like Vespa 150 which I loved. The Vespa did not look to the average poorly trained car driver like it should be able to go 65mph but the Burgman not only goes 80 mph but looks like it will. Why the truck driver was angry at being passed I couldn't  say. I imagine he felt stupid for not showing his own imitative and passing the dawdling car when he had a chance instead of being shown how it's done by a hairy old Hobbit on a moped...
He didn't get far ahead, they rarely do the angry ones as they run out of steam and initiative when they've made their point and find themselves unsure what to do next. I watched him turn off on a little dead end road, Pirates Cove where fishermen store and prepare crab pots. 
Last night on my way in to work a late shift I found myself stuck in a line of cars going ten under the limit. Not one of them passed the weaving car at the front of the line and I had to work my way up past them all to take a shot at getting past the evidently drunk driver in the small dark SUV. At least none of the cars in that initiative-free line took umbrage at my efforts to get to work on time.I wish there were a driving course like the advanced motorcycle riding class I took in England decades ago which taught me how to pass safely and effectively and "make progress" as the British motorcycle police call it. This is the best description I've found of that riding style by an American living in Wales: Making Progress by Chris Cope