I feel like it's been far too long since I just had a flat out bitch session, and boy do I ever have some bitching for you today. Today was the Philadelphia International Championship cycling race, and while I usually despise events that close major thoroughfares on principle alone, I actually had a good time at this one. The event turned Manayunk (Philadelphia's weak sauce answer to San Francisco) into one big party. Ms. Grump-to-be and I got together with a couple of friends and just wandered through the crowds, watching the cyclists speed by every hour or so and entertaining ourselves with food and drunk-watching in the interim. Everyone was having a good time including, to my surprise, me. But at any large event there's always at least one turd in the punch bowl.
Today's floater took the form of anyone on a bicycle who was not actually in the race. Anyone who knows me already knows that I hate pretty much all amateur cyclists. I've never seen a group of more self-important people in my entire life. They usually travel in packs of half a dozen, kind of like the Hell's Angel's if you took the motors off their bikes and the testicles off their bodies. And apparently none of them have heard the term "single-file" because they never travel in anything less than 3-4 people abreast. Even their outfits scream of pretentiousness. They're all decked out in skin-tight outfits that display the name of companies that I seriously doubt would sponsor a 47-year-old assistant manager of the regional Kinko's office. I guess they just want everyone to know how serious they take their riding of a fucking bicycle.
So, of course, while a group of professional, hard-working athletes tested their mettle on the steep hills of suburban Philadelphia, their fucktard amateur counterparts were cruising around getting in everyone's way. It seems like I couldn't walk more than a hundred yards without having to hear "ON YOUR LEFT!" As if I give a flying fuck that you're on my left. I'm on the sidewalk, so you really shouldn't be anywhere near me. Hence the word "walk" in the title of my location. It's really getting to the point where I need to use every ounce of my energy to avoid a Pavlovian response of shooting my fist out whenever I hear that phrase. And, to be honest, if it were just me they were pulling this crap on, I realize it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But today I actually saw some asshole pull right out into the course and get in the way of one of the goddamn racers. And there was a cop right there! Where is this excessive force when you really need it?
Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks that amateur cyclists should stay the hell off the roads during this event, as the friends we were hanging out with mentioned that there were a lot less bikes on the road today because the people running the event required any cyclists who wanted to bike on the course had to pay a fee. That makes me happy. I hope it was really expensive. Honestly, in what activity other than cycling do you have the general public trying to emulate the professionals right there where the professionals are trying to work. I can't go to Lincoln Financial Field and start playing a pick up football game alongside the Eagles, can I?
Now, to anyone who would tell me that getting angry at having to deal with bicyclists during a race meant specifically for bicyclists is pretty stupid, I say, well.....eat me. I think I've made it pretty clear that bicyclists in general aren't my real problem. My real problem is anyone who thinks they own whatever surface they're traveling on just because they're on a set of wheels. Fortunately, I do have a way of coping with the idea that these pricks will always be inserting themselves into my attempt to enjoy myself in the city. All I have to do is think that somewhere in the world, at this very moment, this could very well be happening.