Have you ever ridden Old Highway 50 between Winter Garden and Clermont? It’s a road that Jeff Kunerth once described as “depressing”, but I didn’t think it was when I rode it every day.
My alternative was New Highway 50, which was three lanes up the hills, two lanes at the top of the hills and two lanes in the valleys. Head on collisions with sand trucks were quite common, the speed limit was 70 and the lanes were 11 feet wide (which was considered quite wide at the time). Now THAT was depressing.
So I rode Old 50. Two lanes. The speed limit there was 65 for cars and 60 for trucks before Jimmy Carter dropped it to 55. Old 50 wasn’t so depressing at the time since it used to have orange groves for scenery and very little traffic. I used to ride on the edge and wave cars by “C’mon by, plenty of room” my wave said.
There were a few drivers though that used to hang back and wait. They waited until they could see what was coming the other way. Then they would swing way out to pass me and only swing back after they were well past, rather than zip past me with about a foot to spare like most of the other drivers.
The drivers that hung back really got on my nerves. I don’t like being followed. “What is wrong with those drivers”, I wondered? “Why don’t they just pass me close like everyone else does?”
I asked one of them that very question. She said she didn’t feel right passing me so close. She thought that three feet was about the right amount of room to pass me, so she just waited until she was sure there wasn’t anyone coming and she used about half of the other lane.
That was too strange. I really didn’t understand. Why wait, when she could pass me and be done with it? After all, it was my obligation not to delay her, wasn’t it? That’s what people kept telling me. “Stay to the side. Don’t get in the way.”
Still, she was adamant. She said she was afraid that she might hurt me if she got too close and she was willing to wait a half a minute or so to make sure she wouldn’t hit any one head on, too. So she just hung back and followed me until it was clear.
Huh. Takes all kinds, I thought.