Today I was out for a ride and it happened again. A couple of very privileged-looking guys in a vintage top-down Fiat Spider buzzed a little too close and yelled something as they passed. It's another sign of driver arrogance and ignorance that so many of them have no apparent idea that anything they shout from their moving car becomes garbled, unintelligible nonsense to their intended cyclist or pedestrian target. Thank you, doppler effect. Regardless, people shouting from cars are rarely just trying to be friendly, and getting buzzed like that got my blood pumping.
|A frame of reference.|
"What did you shout at me back there?" I asked.
They grinned sort of sheepishly, like a couple of idiots who didn't expect to get caught doing something stupid. I pulled out my water bottle to take a drink.
"What did you shout at me back there?" I asked again.
The one in the passenger seat, closer to me, finally answered, "Go Lance."
I aimed the water bottle and squirted the guy in the face.
"My name's not Lance," I said, then rode away, leaving them very surprised and speechless.
Bike Snob wrote about the "Lance" slur in his first book. Here's a quote:
"We cyclists are often subject to ignorance. And when it comes to cyclist slurs, there's one that towers above all others. It's the L word . . . Lance Armstrong."
"Everybody knows who Lance Armstrong is. He's easily the most famous cyclist in the world. But what most people don't know is that we cyclists consider Lance Armstrong a slur. Firstly, most non-cyclists use it as a pejorative, as in, 'Hey Lance, get on the sidewalk!' or, 'I hate these bike riders in their neon spandex. They all think they're Lance Armstrong!' Secondly, even when non cyclists aren't trying to be insulting, it's still incredibly annoying to be compared to Lance Armstrong -- even if he's your favorite cyclist of all time."
I think that sums it up fairly well. But really, for me, it's not even so much the name, but what it represents about driver and non-cyclist ignorance more than anything else.
Anyhow -- did I over-react to the fools in the Fiat? Meh -- it was just a bit of water. The real Lance probably would have spit on them.