I was riding home enjoying the wonderful spring weather with a lackadaisical rhythm to my pedal strokes. I had a cadence that flowed with everything, from my heartbeat to the rustling of trees to my unswerving breaths to the whistling of the wind around my ears. It was more like I was floating along, my unicycle and I moving together. I wasn’t steering it, and it wasn’t steering me. I kept lulling my head a little to the side so that I could see the clear blue sky as I drifted along. I became hypnotized by the tranquility of the moment, lost in utter bliss.
And then the mood was shattered and I was snatched back to reality by a noise foreign to anything in my reverie. I quickly identified it was a bicycle chain clicking as the rider coasted. I could tell from the reflection of the sound that he was coming up behind me on the street. I didn’t know why he sounded so close, but I reacted as I would for a motorist, and steered over as close to the parked cars along the side of the street as I dared. As I waited for him to pass I tried to reclaim my nirvana. There was a muffled squeal as the cyclist behind me squeezed his breaks.
I kept riding, a little perplexed as to why he would stay directly behind me for so long just to slow down now, but then again, people do weird things around unicyclists. I tried to slip back into my daze only to be disturbed, again, by the bicyclist. This time he was pedaling much faster and closing in on me rapidly, so I swerved back even closer to the parked cars and waved for him to just pass already, but instead my motion was greeted by the squeal of breaks.
By now my harmony ride was nothing more than a posthumous memory and befuddlement was quickly flooding my conscious mind. I turned back for the first time to see who was haunting my wake. It was a complete stranger so I turned back around hoping he’d leave.
He didn’t leave. He decided to take the irritation level up a notch by yelling out: “Someday you’ll get your ass jumped for riding that shit through here!”
I didn’t respond. I knew that I deserved to be left alone, I knew that this was my daily commute, I knew that the guy behind me was a jackass, but I also knew that anything I could have said right then would have either enraged him or confused him, and either way the results wouldn’t turn out well for me.
Apparently I was still wrong. By ignoring him I had somehow insulted him, so he proceeded to ride as fast he could in the quarter of a block’s distance separating us. I figured that no mature human would be brainless enough to do what it sounded like he was about to do. So I did nothing.
And that was another mistake. I was hit by 200lb of slow-witted, teenage biker with enough sense to test out a scratch-and-sniff at the bottom of Puget Sound. First I was hit by his shoulder/ handlebars (not quite sure which) in the saddle which started to throw me forward and to the right (based on the angle at which he hit me). And immediately after that, his right pedal thrust into the back of my left ankle pulling my foot off the pedal and throwing me completely off balance to go crashing into a parked car. My right elbow hit a door handle and a caught myself with the mirror. I stood up to see the kid riding off as fast as he could.
My unicycle is fine (it was the first thing I checked), and I’m alright except for a sore ankle and elbow. I still cannot picture any of his motives and certainly no justification for his actions.