Happy Mothers Day to all moms today — on two wheels and none.
I had the typical perfect moment on my bike downtown last week speeding along on the black loop frame with my youngest in the child seat. I pulled off of the pedestrian choked Riverwalk onto Wacker a block before my turn onto the Dearborn lane. I'd ridden/walked a good part of the sidewalk west but took the short block in the street knowing that even walking my bike in the cramped lunch crowd was stressing both me and plenty of the other pedestrians around me.
Taking my turn north onto the thankfully somewhat protected and now incredibly wonderfully plated Dearborn bridge I spied a favorite veteran bike advocate rolling along south right next to me. He gave me a cheerful smile and little wave.
In the minute after he passed me, a woman driving a huge SUV hurriedly pulled as close to me as possible and rolled down her window to shout angrily down to me that I belonged on the sidewalk with that child. She then hit the gas and aggressively accelerated away. Just so I'd get the message. Mom to Mom possibly.
This combination of affirmation and slap in the face is not usually so well timed. Curiously most of the moms I know experience a variation on this theme in and out of their days on a bike with children (though of course these things can happen sometimes not on a bike at all). The experience of getting yelled at on your bike with your kids can be especially painful, funny, or both depending.
Trading stories when other riding parents find each other at the park, as happened this week, takes the sting out of the bike shouting. The SUV lady was a whole lot less scary on the other side of the admittedly tiny flimsy plastic bollard that separated us. She might have been far more terrifying on Wacker if she had been able to catch me sooner in the traffic. She was definitely much funnier described in retrospect in the sunny park with friends days later.
If you happen to meet my SUV lady this week in some form riding or just struggling in the grocery store know that if I can't meet you in the park to laugh it off I definitely wish I could. Yay for moms --rolling and not!