Louisville Magazine

OCT 2018

Louisville Magazine is Louisville's city magazine, covering Louisville people, lifestyles, politics, sports, restaurants, entertainment and homes. Includes a monthly calendar of events.

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34 LOUISVILLE MAGAZINE 10.18 THE BIT A BIT DEEPER It started at least 10 years ago. In Cherokee Park I'd be breezing along on my bike, minding the rules, minding my own beeswax in the recreation lane, when — whoosh! An army of nylon-clad dudes would whiz past. Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh! In unison, they'd bellow, "ON YOUR LEFT," as if I hadn't heard them from a quarter of a mile off. What a pack of alarmists, I thought, after recovering from my initial state of unholy dread. e thing was, this stampede could not have been anywhere but on my left, given that on my right would have placed them squarely in the muddy waters of Beargrass Creek. e other thing was (and is), a pack of men should never yell at a lone woman. Or even at a group of women. In fact, there should be no yelling on bicycles. It's plain and simply the wrong vehicle for the voice. Still, the next time it happened, I hollered from the A&P simply to avoid this old guy's help. en she'd make my brother and me carry the groceries back to the car. "Exercise!" she'd insist. Which is maybe why, decades later, I can't stop riding my bike. Anyway, the new bike geezer (more energetic than his forefathers), while op- erating as a loner, has nonetheless picked up a few tricks from his younger brethren, the pack cyclists. He just wants to dole out the tips more painstakingly. Instead of shouting as he's blasting by, he'll actually stop his bike at the next bend in the creek and wait. "If you put her into a lower gear, you can pedal faster." Her. Without stopping myself, I attempt a friendly wave, calling back, "I love trac- tion!" Two days later, this same guy shouts, "You'll get better traction in a higher gear!" Within a week, various other lone retir- ees share helpful hints: "Tires are lookin' low on tread!" "Don't turn around now! You're almost to the top!" "Get down over the handlebars — more aerodynamic!" "Hey, better be careful riding alone!" "Lady, you should wear bright colors — almost didn't see you!" Resting Bitch Face was invented for times like these. Remember when guys in pickup trucks were the woman cyclist's worst enemy? Men in trucks tend to yell the same sorts of remarks that construction workers yell from rooftops — i.e., the same sorts of things that drunks at Derby yell in the infield. Both the anonymity and the mob mentality facilitate the crassness. Yet hard as it may be to swallow, there's actually something more insidious about the lone mansplainer on two wheels. e truckload of catcalling dudes is gone in a flash, and they were never really trying to engage with you in the first place, only enacting a bit of misogyny inside the confines of the cab. A buckaroo in a truck mainly wants to impress the other buckaroos. e guy after them, "Cut that out! You're gonna cause a WRECK!" After a long season of such nonsense, I changed my time of day for biking. Instead of early evening (prime time for exercisers of every ilk to vent their puny sorrows), I switched my ride time to coincide with the end of morning rush hour. At first I found great relief in this: no more swooping armies; no more lycra-clad buttocks leaving me in their man dust; no more alarmist shouting. No more panic. But soon a new species emerged: the lone retiree on two wheels. is guy is no pack animal. He's more like a cousin of that geezer common to town squares the world over — the one who sits on the bench in front of the courthouse, watching women parallel park, so that he can offer assis- tance, employing a host of hand gestures to accompany his, "Cut her now. Now!" In my own Hoosier hometown, my mother used to park the family car a block away One With Nature? Sometimes solitude's not easy to come by.

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