We were still digesting the unprovoked verbal assault from the woman, when the guy paused before getting into the passenger seat. He wanted to explain her outburst and let us know he was on-board with the message, albeit from twenty feet away with a car between us. He told us "We just don't like bikes". And with that they backed out the parking spot and went on with whatever miserable agenda they had planned for a beautiful, sunny Saturday.
TJ and I had just rolled up to Roberts in Woodside to meet Willy Nevin. Willy appeared almost immediately and as we said our hellos at the curb a large black SUV motioned that they wanted to pull up where we were standing. I acknowledged the driver and we lifted our bikes off the road and wheeled them along the sidewalk to the back parking lot. I got a thank-you smile and wave from that driver.
We'd no sooner stopped our bikes near the water fountain, when a 30ish couple who'd been shopping in Roberts appeared behind Willy and TJ. The woman didn't like that Willy and TJ were partially on the empty sidewalk, though they walked right by with a small bag of groceries each. That's when she launched into her tirade. "You're on the sidewalk, you shouldn't be there, what if an old woman wants to get by, or someone in a wheelchair. This is a fire route"
In response I offered "well when an old woman appears we'll certainly give her a hand, have a great day." Not quite the razor sharp response the situation called for, but then if you're not doing stand up, hecklers aren't a daily hazard. And then the guy delivered the punchline "We just don't like bikes"
We didn't let it bother us, we spent a minute more considering our options before setting off to climb Old La Honda and descend 84. After the ride we revisited the subject, trying to figure out what cycling atrocity had scarred the two of them so badly that they needed to go on the offensive with three complete strangers at 9:30 am on a Saturday. I'm just glad we ran into them in the parking lot and not out on the road. That kind of hostility so close to the surface is where road rage lives.