BY KAITLIN MAYHEW
I am one of those crazy bike people. You know, the one that whizzes by brushing the hairs on your arm and the side of your backpack, causing a mini panic attack and adrenaline rush.
Walkers hate bike people. I can tell by the daggers their looks send in my direction as I squeeze by, and also because I frequently hear comments affirming my suspicions.
I was once a polite biker. However, it is virtually impossible to be a polite biker on campus walk, or on the sidewalk beside campus. Saying “excuse me,” or creeping awkwardly behind people who like to weave infuriatingly from one side of the sidewalk to the other and back again does nothing to quell people’s resentment.
Perhaps it is well founded for people to be angry as they almost get mowed down by advancing cyclists. But in our defense, walkers rarely try to stay out of the way.
The “headphones people” walk, sometimes quite animatedly, in the perfect center of the path so there is no chance of getting around on either side. Due to the volume stuffed in their ears, they don’t hear the violent back-pedaling and high-pitched grinding I am doing to get their attention. As a result, I must roll awkwardly, listening with fury to the muted sounds of their cranked up Ipods. My feet practically drag on the ground to keep my balance until the grace of God, or more likely the beat of the music, causes them to veer slightly to one side.
The “glued friends” absolutely must walk at each other’s side because obviously if someone was even a bit behind the others that would mean they have no friends and are walking alone. They refuse to break rank to let the innocent biker through, and if they are forced to by pure social courtesy they always give dirty glares and form back up afterwards.
The “smell the roses” people are not on their way to class or any other time related engagement. This is apparent at their slow ambling gate, giving them ample time to notice every aspect of the scenery. These are the people aforementioned, who tend to weave back and forth to different parts of a pathway, making it utterly impossible to anticipate their direction. Then comes the unhappy possibility of either accidentally colliding with them or once again tottering at a pace intolerable for a bike. Finally, a leaf or something shiny catches their attention enough to either stop or make their destination inevitable.
Bike horns are not an option either, for me at least. That is just patronizing to honk at someone when you want them to move and I refuse to resort to that. Now I do realize that my frustrations are a bit unconventional and unfounded. I know that people have the right to walk around campus at any speed or in any direction they so choose, even with headphones on. But in my biking rage I will continue to hope that people just walk straight and to the sides of the path, without their Ipods and at a normal pace.