Local cycling enthusiast Randall B. Pieder shocked family and friends at his surprise 30th birthday party when he reluctantly agreed to share the road with motor vehicles. As the party lapsed into the early morning hours and the cyclist received his 14th water bottle as a gift, it soon turned into a mass intervention, as Randall’s tearful wife, children, and non-biking friends pleaded with him to “respect the fact that he’s a solitary, wiry, skinny man who possibly shaves his legs, alone on a bicycle in a world of angry SUVs.”
Perhaps most relieved by Randall’s decision is his wife of five years, Elsa, who actually met her husband when he unexpectedly cut across two lanes of traffic and plowed into her Range Rover. “At first I was totally pissed,” Elsa reported. “What kind of person treats the roads like his own personal velodrome? And here this hump just totally splats into my car. But when I saw his Lance Armstrong biker outfit with his junk prominently on display, I was totally smitten.”
Despite Randall’s Lycra and spandex-accentuated physical endowments, his wife admits it wasn’t always a bike ride in the park for her. “Our first date was what he called an ‘easy peddle across West St. Louis county,’” she reminisced. “Before I could say ‘Cycling Rocked by More Allegations of Steroid Abuse,’ he had us both securely planted in the right lane of Manchester Road, traffic behind us brought to a crawl. We looked like the head of a massive funeral procession.”
Elsa also admits that drivers lost their patience after a while. “Most people swerved into the left lane with nothing more than an angry sneer or look of complete and utter confusion and befuddlement.” But when Randall spontaneously decided to bike in the left lane, prefaced only by a perfunctory hand signal, drivers soon became frustrated. “I’ll never find words to adequately describe all those bleating horns, fingers, and fists raised to the heavens we endured. And all the while Randall just kept peddling on, lost in some bizarre Greg Lemond-like trance.
“I’m just so relieved he’s agreed to again share the road.”
Less excited are Randall’s fellow cyclist friends, all of whom are clearly disappointed that he’s hanging up his endangering-himself-and-those-around-him shoes. “Some people view cyclists like us who use traffic lanes as mere suggestions as risks to traffic safety who lack even the smallest amount of common sense,” said Spencer Darlington.
“That’s pure nonsense. In all the years I’ve been cycling with him, I can count the number of near-scrapes and minor vehicular accidents he’s directly caused on my two hands, two feet, and your left hand, counting the thumb. Randall’s biking safety record speaks for itself, except for that one time he collided with the manure truck. No shit!”
Darlington also views his friend’s decision as a sign that things are no longer like the good old days of 2005, when he first met Randall. “He was part of that breed of cyclist who just knew that the roads were built specifically for bikers, not two-ton gas-fueled behemoths traveling at ungodly speeds.
“When I wanted to ignore a stop sign, Randall was there for me. When I wanted to use the chicken lane as my own personal raceway, Randall supported me. When I wanted to bike on the interstate instead of the national park one mile from my house, Randall encouraged me.
I won’t wildly approach a blind turn from the center lane with fearless abandon without thinking of him. It’s truly the end of an era.”