This morning, Pete and I went out for a bike ride up and down hills, through a park, across a campus, over a bridge, back through a park. We probably rode about 11 miles, stopping twice for water. Generally, half an hour of exercise buys me two hours of minimal hip pain, so I felt pretty good when we got into the car to trace the path of our hometown food bank’s fundraising bike ride. The ride has 60 mile, 40 mile, 25 mile and smaller segments; we’ve been thinking about riding a 10 mile segment, which we understand is part of the 25 mile segment and we had a map. We drove around on the 25 mile route and at about the halfway point, I knew my hip would not handle that distance well. Pete had his doubts as well. By the time we reached the finish line, I was glum and Pete was overly optimistic. We stopped at the bicycle store on the corner for a rear view mirror for my bike. It was a mistake.
The store itself is the size of my kitchen and every centimeter is covered with bike gear. For some reason I have not been able to put my finger on, this is Dude World. Seven customers are in the store, three of whom are women – and yet, you can almost smell the testosterone. No one says anything to me. No one says anything to Pete either until he gets face to face with the guy in charge and asks about mirrors. The other guy, who is shouting to someone else about how he didn’t get his ride in this morning because he came here to build bikes, points to a crowded corner and waves dismissively. Pete waded in, picked out a mirror and the shouting guy explained to Pete how to install it on a bike. I was already steaming when Pete went around the counter and asked the owner about the race.
Dude: They get a few guys who hammer the 60 mile. For the guy who wins, it’s a race, but from second place on, it’s a ride. They’ve got a 40 mile and a 25 mile part.
Tata: There’s a 10 mile part, too.
Dude: Yeah, they have a few kiddie races. You’re thinking about riding that one?
Tata: I’m rehabbing a hip injury and that’s not too ambitious.
He didn’t apologize. He meant that slight. I brushed him off and we left, but my hip ached. Back at home, I limped to the couch and stayed there for a while. I drank a glass of wine and lay down for an uncomfortable nap; when I got up, I still didn’t have much to say.
This douchebaggery is nothing new and certainly not unique to me. We all encounter people who size us up and declare us wanting. Usually, all I have to hear is Pfft! You? and I’m off to the races, but this guy got a piece of me because I was already doubtful. Last night, I declared I’d never set foot in that shop again, and I never will. This morning, I got up and got back on the bicycle with my rear view mirror properly installed. We are going to do that 10 mile bike ride.
My friends, the bitch is back.