Dorky Doug commutes to work on mountain bike sensibly equipped with fenders (clip-on, alas), lights, and street slicks. He wears a helmet, high vis yellow jacket and reflective pant straps.
At one particular intersection, there are often three or four cyclists stopping at the red light. I queue up behind whoever stops ahead of me, and following cyclists queue up behind me. Except Dorky Doug — he always zooms to the front of the line. He does this even though he knows I always pass him, and I have to wait for a break in the heavy traffic before I can pass him.
I’m not in a race and I’m not in a particular hurry, but even when I’m taking it easy I am a faster cyclist than Dorky Doug. When I pass Dorky Doug I’m pedaling what is to me a relaxed, even cadence. Dorky Doug, in the meantime, is red faced with effort, hunched over the handlebars, huffing and puffing like the big bad wolf and mashing his pedals like an angry Godzilla smashing his way through Tokyo.
I realized earlier this week that perhaps Dorky Doug is playing with me. So I decided to play with him. On Monday, he was fiddling with his clip on rear fender. I tapped his rear tire. Paceline riders are accustomed to this, but I don’t think Dorky Doug ever felt that before. He pulled over into the gutter and said “Hello” as I passed. Or at least it sounded something like “Hello.”
This morning I played with Dorky Doug some more. I started passing him at a wide spot in the bike lane, slowed down to his speed and merged over into Dorky Doug. Doug, unfortunately, had to stop before he hit the parked car in front of him.
I hope Dorky Doug passes me again tomorrow. His games are kind of fun.