High On Bike

A Bellinghamster On Wheels


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Butt Boils, Smoke Monsters, and Standing My Ground

Pacific AvenueOne of the many things I love about being on my bike is the imaginative free-for-all that takes place in my brain. (Read my post about the Smoke Monster. See below.) But sometimes I have to give it a rest deal with a real threat. Instead of the Smoke Monster from “Lost” haunting me along the trails, it’s some dickweed with a long, stringy pony tail in an old, beat up, dark, mini-pick-up filled with what looks like the paraphernalia of a handy man. Evidently, he haunts Pacific Avenue because twice now this summer this jerk of all trades has for no apparent reason — other than he must really hate bicyclists — harassed me while I’ve been riding.

Pacific Avenue between Iowa and Alabama is a two-lane road that is wide enough to accommodate parked cars, cyclists, and moving cars. I ride far enough to the right to be as out of the way of motor traffic as I can but far enough away from the parked cars to avoid the risk of being “doored.” In other words, it’s right where a bike lane would be — if there were a bike lane. Visibility on this section of the street is excellent, allowing drivers to easily see a rider, particularly one wearing a bright orange vest. And they can safely pass without any trouble.

But this dumb ass in the pick-up, which by the way is probably worth less than my bike, apparently leads such a pathetic life that the sight of a cyclist on the same road fills him with a blinding rage. He sees no other way to assuDickweedage his anger than to follow behind a cyclist (me) honking his horn and then zooming past perilously close with his middle finger extended.

The Smoke Monster at least had an excuse to be crazy. Try being trapped on a weird-ass island for hundreds of years as its protector. You’re dead and all you want is to take over another body so you can just get off the friggin’ island. Anyway, I don’t know if dickweed expects me to ram myself into a parked car to get out of his way or if he thinks I’ll wither at his abuse and ride on the sidewalk. But my guess is that he’s just a bully and a miserable human being. Maybe some Fred ran off with his wife.

Dirty HarryI don’t take it personally. I’m sure he behaves as badly with other cyclists as he does with me. Although a part of me would like to whip out a .357 magnum and go all Dirty Harry on his ass, that’s just my imagination escaping its cage. Besides, I don’t think the Stand Your Ground rule would apply, shame though that is. Fortunately, he is an aberration in this town — a boil on the butt of a bike-friendly community where drivers who are considerate and accommodating outnumber guys like this by…a lot. So I just have to content myself with a little silent name-calling (I’m sure to respond verbally to him would just further aggravate his road rage) and continue to ride where I want.


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Chasing The Smoke Monster

Smoke MonsterOver the winter, I binge-watched “Lost” on Netflix. I didn’t watch it when the series came out because…well I’m not really sure but I thought it was more of a reality show like “Survivor,” which I’ve never seen and never will. I like my reality real and I like my TV to be not real. But I get the concept: People on an island who, through a series of designed challenges, have to outlast and outwit everyone else. So even though skeptical about “Lost,” I decided to put my “Survivor” snobbery aside and give it a chance. That and I had pretty much gone through just about everything on Netflix I was interested in. I have no idea what smoking crack is like but I’m pretty sure it’s like watching “Lost.” OMG! You just have to have more and you have to have it now.

To sum up the six seasons briefly, there’s a commercial plane crash, an uncharted, mysterious desert island, polar bears, a kid named Walt, a handsome but psychically tortured doctor, named Jack, a fat guy with a heart of gold, bad boy Sawyer who’s best line is “Son. Of. A. Bitch”, plucky Kate, John Locke, the professor and Mary Ann. Led by Jack, some of the survivors of the crash are trying to get off the island by various means, including a raft, submarine, and nuclear bomb. Some, like Locke, want to stay creating lots of dramatic tension. Then there are the local inhabitants of the island who are trying to thwart them at every turn when they’re not trying to kill them. Now we come to the smoke monster, a sort of guard dog of the island and if you haven’t seen the series (and haven’t guessed) is made of smoke when he’s not taking on the appearance of dead people. Speaking of dogs, there’s also a yellow lab who just sort of runs around, licking Jack’s face in key and poignant scenes. Anyway, the smoke monster makes this loud, eerie sort of bellow when he’s riled up causing everyone to run like hell and hide in some coconut trees lest they get caught and get bashed to death against a tree. It’s all very “Lord of the Flies” meets “Gilligan’s Island” by way of “Survivor” if “Survivor” weren’t a fake reality show and took place in Jurassic Park.

The cool thing about the smoke monster is that it sounds just like the trash trucks here in Bellingham. The cool thing about the trash trucks here in Bellingham is that the company is totally into bicycling, the owner, Paul Razore, being an avid cyclist himself. So on trash day when out riding my bike and I hear that familiar bellow I half expect to see the smoke monster roiling out of the woods and I’m totally transported to a distant island for a few, sweet moments. I know. My imagination runneth over. But that’s what’s so cool about riding, it clears my mind, frees up my imagination, and anything can happen.