On Your Left: The Passholes

You just know this guy’s a Passhole.

Though I tend to leave most of the cultural posts on our blog to our beloved contributor Jr. Worthy, every now and again I get so inspired, so ignited, so revved up about something that I find there is no other outlet than to write about it on Bums Logic. Whether or not my reader(s) even care about what I am posting (that is a whole other post in and of itself) is pretty much irrelevant. My motivation is simply to get my thoughts out to the world and in doing so, hopefully entertain you in some fashion; and if I am lucky, perhaps inform you.

Today I am here to inform you about a group of people I like to refer to as The Passholes. Well, “what does this term mean, Jaded?” you might ask?

I enjoy biking. I enjoy biking enough and find it such a positive in my life that I use my bike to commute to work on most days. I have been doing this in the Washington, DC area for over a dozen years now. I like to think I know the area pretty well and am a pretty able-bodied, seasoned rider myself. I know the “rules” of the roads and trails (which the DC area has some of the best in the country), though like most riders, I don’t always obey all of them. To me, a stop sign when no cars are present is not a stop sign but a mere reminder to look both ways before you cross the intersection. I sliver around cars sitting at traffic lights like water through a curly straw and though they might not always see me, I assure my survival by using my amazing powers of observation to avoid their suddenly open door. That, and using the side mirrors on the car to study the driver always helps. I ride way too fast–probably scaring quite a few motorists with my appearance our of nowhere–and I like to think that in general the roads belong to us and pedestrians, not the motorists. I don’t even need to go into the obvious benefits of riding vs. driving. But you know what? I will: It’s healthier, it’s cheaper, it’s better for the environment, and let’s face it, with traffic around here, it’s much better on your constitution (and probably a quicker commute).

Which brings me to The Passholes. I ride on the trails, I ride in the streets, but I NEVER ride on the sidewalks. The Passholes will. When coming up on a slower rider, or walker, or jogger, or family of three with a baby carriage the size of a small SUV, I always yell “on your left” from about 10 feet back. A fair warning. The Passholes do not. I will judge how fast to ride based on the flow of traffic on the trail. Saturday afternoon? 85 degrees out? Riding in Rock Creek Park? Yes, there will be tons of people out and about. So I won’t ride in full on Lance mode on this day. But The Passholes will. I will ride in my Van’s sneakers, white tee and shorts. The Passholes like to show you how they can spend $200 on padded bike shorts, $300 on a way-too-tight Tour de France wannabe shirt, and a $4500 mid-life crisis bike. Do you now know what a Passhole is?

The thing is (not to get too deep here but…) at some point in your biking life you are bound to be The Passhole at least once. It’s just a matter of time, like getting a speeding ticket or puking from too much Jameson on a Tuesday night. For me this happened the other day on my ride home from work. Cruising along at a brisk pace (based on there being no one else on the trail), I came upon a section where a street and sidewalk intersected with the trail. A blind spot, overgrown trees, a pizza delivery car, a small sidewalk, and another rider later, and I am head on with another biker. We smash into each other and go flying into the road. It was a massive collision because I was coming downhill and had no time to hit my brakes before I realized it was going to happen. Lucky for the other rider and me we both walked away with only some minor scratches and bruises and a no fault attitude on either side. But deep down I had that feeling. The utterly unique feeling of knowing something within yourself that others might not.

On this day, I was The Passhole.

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