Monday, October 14, 2013

BIKE RIDE OF THE CENTURY

I've been putting this post off for a while because, honestly, this experience may have scarred me a little bit.  But it's there, on my list of posts, and I must obey my list of posts.  So, here goes:

It all started on the 205 the other day when I was on my way home from work.  I was looking forward to a nice, calm evening ride on the 205, such as I have become accustomed to over the past two years of occasionally using the 205 to get home from work.  I didn't get it.

At about 16th South, a man wanted to get on the bus with his bike.  The two racks in front of the bus (it wasn't a '13) were already full, so the bus driver told him he had to wait for the next one.

(As far as I understand, this is UTA policy--I once had a bus driver describe to me that if it's the last bus of the night, the driver is supposed to let you bring your bike on the bus; otherwise, it's up to the driver.  This wasn't the last bus of the night.  There was another one coming in 15 minutes.)

For whatever reason or due to whatever lingering childhood issues this man had I do not know, he decided that this was a mortal offense and that the bus driver should be punished, and punished severely.  He accomplished this by riding down the middle of the road right in front of the bus.

And more than that.  When we would come up to a stop with people at it, he would slow down or stop in the middle of the road so the bus couldn't pull into the stop.  A couple of times the bus stop in question was right after the intersection, and we sat with the back of the bus awkwardly hanging into the intersection until he finally moved, or the bus slithered around him into the stop anyway.

(Let me pause here to say that, not just in slithering around a man on a bike, but during the entire ordeal, the bus driver exercised more self-control than I could have.  She knew that if she so much as nudged his back tire, he would probably act like it was the apocalypse and try to sue UTA.  Try, because there were an awful lot of witnesses on that bus that would have prevented his case from getting much traction.)

After this happened about twice, she called the police.

The bus was able to pass him twice by going around him in the other lane.  Unfortunately, a bus that is picking up and dropping off people moves about as fast as a bike that is not picking up and dropping off people, and he managed to pass us again both times.  After the second time, he started weaving back and forth in the lane, and sometimes into the opposing lane of traffic, so that we couldn't pass him again.  It's not always easy to tell the emotion of a driver by the way a car is moving, but if the cars going the other way could have looked utterly nonplussed, they would have.

And so it went.  Surely the bus behind us would catch up to us.  Surely something would change.  This guy wasn't going to go all the way to the end of the line, was he?  Or was he?

People got on and off the bus, as people will.  Those of us who had been on the bus for a while inevitably had to answer the questions of the bewildered newcomers: "How long has been doing that?"  "Since WHEN?"

At 39th, a woman got off the bus and got her bike off the rack.  We all watched with glee as she berated the man who had been giving us so much trouble.  She read him the riot act.  He kept gesturing back at the bus driver, as though such a course of action could convince anyone that it wasn't his fault he had been holding up a bus for the last half-hour.  He's just lucky she didn't jump him.  Or that all of us didn't get out and jump him all at once.

FINALLY

at about 41st South, he slowed down almost to the point of not being able to keep his bike upright, dawdled into a left turn into an apartment complex, and raised his favorite finger at the bus driver as a final demonstration that he was in charge of the situation; that he had showed her who was boss; and that she would never, ever again be so nervy as to deny him and his sacred bike access to her conveyance.  That's right; this went on for twenty-five city blocks.

When I take the 205 home from work, I take it almost all the way.  It is indeed unfortunate that the police were not able to witness this charade firsthand, but by the time the bus got to 45th South, the driver was on the phone with them.  Because of this, she missed my stop.  I didn't have the heart to tell her so after all that had happened on this trip, so I sat on the bus all the way to Murray North.  And I stayed on the bus the whole time we waited there, which wasn't long, since we were by this point so behind that the bus behind us should have been waiting there instead of us.

I got off on State Street, even though it was a longer walk from there, because I really kind of needed to be off that bus.

There are many things I could say to summarize this experience, but I will limit myself to the sincere wish that the police did find him and shut him up in a tiny room in a faraway place so that his injured ego never delays me from seeing my wife and child again.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. Interesting story. That bike rider must have been an angry person. Good for the driver for dealing with it so well. Wow.

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