Picture 2

Owings Mills to Hampden

I commute in part because I, like most of you, enjoy the “little adventures” that go along with it.  Yesterday had a couple of nutty back to back incidents I thought I’d share.

Not more than a mile from my work in Owings Mills there is a new bridge being built. The deck is finished, but the paving, lighting and other little details are not. It is a bonus for me because I can ride it without the normal auto annoyances. Often I see skateboarders there. Yesterday there was a little boy (maybe 8 years old) and his mom. He had a helmet on and a bike nearby. As I neared them and announced “good evening”, the little boy looked at me and said, “We know you”. It startled me and I stopped. I looked at the mom and she smiled. I looked back at her son, careful to keep my helmet light out of his eyes, but with all three of my rear blinkies flashing like a police cruiser. “How do you know me?”, I asked him. “We live up there”, he said, pointing to the nearby townhouses. “We see your lights and your bicycle every night. It’s great.”  My heart went soft.

His mom said, “Now, you’ve got some competition.” I smiled. “I like that!”, I said. “More bikes, more bikes.”  “Yeah” the little boy shouted.  I wished them my best and rode off, filled with appreciation.

Twenty minutes later I’m fast cruising down a long flat stretch of Winands rd near McDonough. A car from a side street to my right is waiting to pull out. I notice the driver, high school age and his buddies. They wait for me to pass, but as roll past they give me a blast from their horn. Hmm…  annoying, but harmless. I wait at the red light ahead figuring they’re somewhere behind me in line. Light changes and I shoot through the intersection. Several cars pass then I can tell there’s one hanging back, matching my speed and slightly behind me. It’s obviously them. They nudge forward to about a 10 o’clock position on my left no more than 10ft. away. I glance over and the kid in the passenger seat is staring me down making a sinister laugh. His arm comes up and whoosh- a big gulp cup comes at my head. I managed to duck the cup and to stay upright. Luckily. They gun the engine and are gone.

A piece of me thought about a chase (they got slowed down by another car up ahead), but I decided to let it be. It took a few miles, but by the time I got into Hampden I was all better. Hell, I might’ve done something like that when I was their age. Plus I think I was partially inoculated from the attack by my nice encounter with the boy on the bridge. I know one thing for sure: I’ll be thinking about that young boy, possibly watching my flashing lights go by, from a nearby window for many commutes to come.

Ride on.           -Bob