Doug is an old drinking buddy of mine from way back in the day. We don’t have much in common, other than bikes and whiskey, but over the course of many rides we became pretty good friends. Douggie is a former Air Force pilot and although he isn’t a particularly big guy, he has quite a presence. He is fearless when flirting with women and he speaks with a slight Oklahoma drawl that only gets thicker the more he drinks. We used to ride and drink until after last call on a fairly regular basis and it was always a good time. That is, until we would leave the bar.
The first time we closed a bar together, we hopped on our bikes and swerved through the parking lot. All of the sudden Doug does a U-turn and rides over to some guy saying hello like he is an old friend. The guy was in fact a stranger but Doug starts up a conversation with him about his truck. A big monster truck of a rig and Doug is talking shop about everything from rims to after-market exhausts. I found this particularly odd since I knew he drove a little shitbox Honda hatchback. The conversation is carrying on for a bit until Doug just goes silent, an awkwardly long pause.
Doug takes a step closer looks the stranger straight in the eye and yells “NICE TRUCK! SORRY ABOUT YOUR DICK” and gives the guy a two handed shove to the chest. Predictably, a fight starts and I have to be the one to break it up. This happened quite a few times over the next couple of years, until Doug moved to Southern California. Where I’m sure it still happens to this day.
I was reminded of this story today when I read an article about “Rollin’ Coal”. This is a horrible trend I have noticed lately in rural parts of the southwest and it now seems to be creeping in to the cities. This is where people with big diesel trucks turn up their injectors, bolt on some giant exhaust pipes and proceed to fill everywhere they go with black diesel smoke. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against trucks. This isn’t some tired, self righteous anti-car/ride your bike rant. In fact, I find incredible amounts of joy in putting my truck into 5th gear while flying down a dirt road.
But here’s the thing. A lot of us live in big cities and big cities tend to have pretty bad air already. Go to Phoenix, Salt Lake, L.A., or Denver. Have you seen the air there? Exactly my point, you can see the air. Air is supposed to be invisible! Breathing is my favorite thing to do. Every day, over and over again, I never stop. It’s nothing short of awesome. Why would a person waste time, energy and money to make their vehicle less efficient and our air worse? It is like decaffeinated coffee or non-alcoholic beer, it makes no sense.
I have been hearing more and more about cyclists being harassed and smoked out by these obnoxious vehicles. Some are even getting the cops involved. In my opinion, this trend needs to stop now and I think I might need to harness my inner Doug.