One of the oddest experiences that I seem to continually have on my bike in the winter is people yelling at me out of their cars. Now any of you who spend a lot of time on the road and in traffic know that people yelling at you out of their cars isn’t really that odd of an experience at all. “Out of the way,” “Get off the road,” “Ride on the Sidewalk”, “Bikes suck,” and so on. None of that is too out of the ordinary. That’s really too bad, but that’s not what I’m talking about. When it’s cold here and I’m on my commute, or on the way home from a bar or a bridge that I’ve been drinking under I sometimes experience what I call the winterphobic yellers.
These folks, suffering from winterphobia, find it so insane that you would be outside on your bike when it’s cold, that they lean out of their windows and shout things like, “Freak!” or “Get inside!” or “You’re crazy!” My personal favorite is the third. The, “Your crazy!” comment. That’s the comment I got yesterday on my commute, “you’re crazy.” It’s so weird.
This is a person for whom being outside on a bike in the snow and cold is so strange, is so upsetting that they think you (or really I in this case) are literally insane, and to boot they are so traumatized by it, that they have to lean out of their window and yell as loud as they can that you are crazy.
Is it just me, or is that kind of crazy?
How could I have possibly instilled that kind of reaction in a person? I understand thinking that someone is crazy, but what I don’t understand is the extreme response. How did my winter riding threaten that idiot’s worldview so much that he felt the need to attack? I mean, isn’t that what an attack is? Isn’t it a response to something? They say the best defense is a good offense. What could I have possibly done to make that dude feel defensive?
And what other winter activities make him feel the same way? Does he frequent the slopes to yell at skiers and snowboarders? Does he hide in the backwoods to verbally assault snowshoers or hunters? Does he find the tallest hill and get snarky with the ten year olds sledding with their grandparents?
Perhaps he does. Perhaps his winterphobia runs so deeply inside him that he can’t help himself. The winter activities of others so threaten is way of life that he has to overcome his fear and go out and fight it. Like a superhero or something (it really is the same kind of crazy)
In my mind he eventually spends so much time outside in the cold calling other people who spend time out in the cold crazy, that he eventually enjoys spending time in the cold himself. His winterphobia goes away, and he begins to long for the peaceful seclusion that outdoor winter shenanigans can offer. His chosen winter activity: Yelling.
I’m going to add that to my personal list of favorite outdoor winter activities. So now it goes like this:
Riding my bike
Drinking beer under bridges
Standing by bonfires
It’s sweet to have a new passion, perhaps next year I’ll see that guy at the hill near my house and we can bond over a good session of screaming at children who are having fun.
In the meantime, I’ll just ride.
Now you ride too.