A Tack Attack

It is no secret that there are drivers who do not like cyclists using ‘their’ roads. Drivers offer one figured salutes, deliberately pass too close and too fast, yell “Get off the road!” or threaten to “Kick your a___”. Big duel wheeled pickup trucks will pass and the driver will deliberately hit the accelerator to leave a plume of black smoke for us to breath. I’ve even seen cars pass close and fast while leaning on their horn, then slam on their brakes in front of the rider trying to get him to crash. I’ve had soda cans thrown at me (missed, fortunately), and my friend Gary got hit in the face by a water bottle some years back.

In my experience this behavior is rare in rural San Joaquin County. But if you journey to the neighboring foothill counties of Calaveras and Amador with a bicycle be prepared to be harassed. Something like this happens at least once on nearly every ride.

The Calaveras anti-cycling forces took a new tack last Thursday. Literally.

I was climbing up the hill on South Comanche Parkway and I noticed some shiny objects on the ground. I thought they were pieces of glass. But when our Thursday riders regrouped at the ‘Y’ Gerry pointed out that he had a tack in his wheel. He also said that the shiny objects I noticed were tacks. We all checked our tires post haste, and Steve had also picked one up.

Cyclists Get the Point.

Some cyclists have put small video cameras on their bikes to document incidents like this. Gerry is ahead of most of us; he has cameras front and rear. He got a screenshot from his video of the tack attack.

I suppose there is a remote possibility that someone spilled a bunch of thumbtacks by accident. A clever defense lawyer would go on about ‘burden of proof’ and reasonable doubt. But is there really any reasonable doubt that someone deliberately threw a bunch of thumbtacks on the pavement on a stretch of road where cyclists often ride? With the intent to cause flat tires? When is the last time you met someone carrying thumbtacks openly in their car where they could fall out onto the road?

No, I am certain that this was sabotage intended to give cyclists flat tires. We were lucky that flat tires were the only consequence. If the tack had caused a blowout and a fall and perhaps a broken bone or worse, I wonder if the tack attacker would feel remorse?

I know some drivers dislike us and I can live with the one fingered salutes and derisive shouts. But the outright assaults have got me on edge and a little frightened every time I get on my bike from Ione or Wallace or Valley Springs.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Rules. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or fill out this form.
  • Categories

  • Archives