What a gorgeous day! It was so cool to see so many folks out cycling today. I do not recall seeing as many as 40 riders south of town in just a few short hours. Everyone was on road bikes - a few solos and mostly groups of 4 or 5.
The common denominator was that everyone I saw seemed to be in a state of absolute bliss - even while suffering up the Valley Chapel grade. I was fortunate enough to get out for a solo ride out to a few miles south of Fairfield and back all before noon. Coming back on Valley Chapel, I saw a couple of riders side by side at at a leisurely pace so I kept the spin going to try and catch them. There really is no shoulder on VC so the side by side riding was pretty appropriate.
I finally came within about 20 yards behind them and noticed that they were heading up a grade oblivious to both me and the car approaching us from behind. The car was occupied by a mom with a car seat in the back and passed me quite easily to close on the pair ahead. She started to pull around them and then hit the brakes as another cyclist was coming down the grade about 75 yards ahead.
To my absolute disbelief, she then continued the pass into the lane of the oncoming cyclist and abruptly cut back over to the right. I saw the oncoming cyclist hit the brakes and expected to see the 1 finger salute - but to his credit he kept it holstered.
I can't be sure of timing, but expect that the mom would have waited no more than 20 seconds if she were to safely pass after the oncoming cyclist went by her. Nor can I conjure a scenario where a reasonable person would think that this was okay given the circumstances. She appeared genuinely annoyed that we were on her road. Maybe she was having a bad day - who knows?
I passed the pair of riders and they were still chatting as if nothing had happened.
I am glad that was the ugliest thing I witnessed on the ride and hope that drivers will again become accustomed to us on the road and give a wide berth when safe to pass. I need to note that I was passed a minute later by a senior driving and old Ford Galaxy with a straw cowboy hat who waited until I waved him around. He passed safely in the left lane and even gave me a little wave- he must of noticed my fetching Two Wheel Transit jersey. Today that was more the rule than the exception from most drivers.
Regardless, always expect the unexpected and ride defensively.
See you on the road.