This is a story about an asshole cyclist.
If you read the retrograde morons in the comment section of any news story about cycling, you'd think all cyclists are assholes. This is not true; the vast majority of the people who zip along the Santa Ana River Trail on the weekends are polite, pleasant people. They're out for exercise, often with their kids, and they greet fellow riders with a nod, a "Good morning," or a polite "On your left."
Nevertheless, I met one of the small minority of jackass riders a week and a half ago; he's the kind of person who gives all cyclists a bad name and lends credence to the peanut gallery.
On Sunday morning, August 26, I was headed southbound south of Garden Grove Boulevard, near the wooden bridge crossing, on a rise near where the good residents of SanTana raise corn and calabacitas in their backyards.
A small peloton of Lycra-clad cyclists came northbound around a bend, taking up both lanes. Most moved over into the northbound lane; one just waved his hand at me to give way, which would have put me into a particularly ugly-looking patch of cactus. There was nowhere for me to go; we collided.
He got up first and started ranting and raving about how I'd ruined his $2,000 carbon fiber-and-unobtainium bicycle. His friends, visibly uncomfortable, suggested he just move on.
"You guys go ahead. I'm going to teach this motherfucking faggot a lesson," he said, and started to kick dirt and rocks onto me as they took off and I tried to get up. Then he kicked me in the shoulder where it had hit the ground.
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I'm not particularly nimble, but I'm not totally immobile either, and so I swept my leg, carried his skinny shaved legs out from under him, jumped on top of him, gave him a shiner to remember me by, and shoved his shoulder hard into the edge of the pavement. Then I threw his precious $2,000 penis extension into the nopales, just as the cops showed up.
The cops were very professional, listened to both sides (though we were cuffed momentarily while they sorted it out), and let us go in opposite directions after we both declined to press charges. I owe thanks to the Martinez family, who were cooking food in their yard and told the police what had happened.
Adrenaline still pumping, I biked to the beach, then sat and licked my wounds over a restorative bowl of kotteri ramen at Daikokuya in Costa Mesa. I had to wear a sling for a couple of days while the swelling in my shoulder went down but am otherwise unhurt; I'm hoping that weaselish little weekend warrior came up with a better story for his black eye than "I got beat up by a fat guy."