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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Bicycle Diary

posted by on August 12 at 14:46 PM

The other day on the Burke-Gilman trail near Sandpoint, some jackass almost killed a man. The trail was scattered with people in the prime of their lives—giggling college students, joggers, etc. The lake, when you could see it, shimmered between houses. Several guys and a girl on bikes were whizzing down the flat trail, not holding their handlebars, arms raised parallel to the ground, shouting “Zombie on a bicycle!” whenever they passed someone. The jackass in front started it and his friends behind him got to catch the expressions on the passeds-by. (New word!) The first passeds-by looked perplexed—the delivery was too goofy. Then he tried roaring “ZOMBIE ON A BICYCLE!!!” loud enough to make a person jump, and people jumped back, terrified, but they didn’t laugh. On the fifth try, he nailed the delivery—a sly smile, an early roar so it could be appreciated, a big gale of laughter from the passeds-by.

That’s where the antics should have stopped. But when the ride got a little boring, and a tantalizing elderly couple materialized on the path, the jackass couldn’t help himself—he would pass them from behind, and as he entered their peripheral vision, his hands thrust forward, he would shout “Zombie on a bicycle!” The jackass readied his hands. He got closer. He hadn’t noticed that at this point in the trail, the asphalt path was rippled, veined with tree roots. He didn’t notice this until too late—suddenly, his front wheel, redirected by one of said bumps in the asphalt, veered cataclysmically toward the elderly man’s backside. The bike was traveling at such a speed, and carrying a rider of such a weight, that the man would surely be knocked forward on impact and likely shatter and/or die.

Then something happened—or descended, rather, some kind of divine forcefield. Although there was no physical reason the bike and the elderly man’s backside should not collide, the bike and the elderly man’s backside did not collide. The jackass didn’t utter “Zombie on a bicycle!” as he passed, and he did not hit the man, and minutes later, riding in a stunned silence, the jackass and his friends were still remarking on it. “I can’t believe you didn’t hit him,” one of the friends kept saying, as University Village came into view. “I can’t believe you didn’t hit him.”

RSS icon Comments


I hope you learned your lesson about being a douchebag to the elderly.

Posted by Emily | August 12, 2008 2:50 PM

I don't really get this story. Seems pretty pointless to pretend that - ZOMBIE ON A COMMENTS BOARD!

LOL - you should see your face, dude!

Posted by Ziggity | August 12, 2008 2:55 PM

Zombies shouldn't ride bicycles. FULL STOP.

Posted by Fnarf Prime | August 12, 2008 2:57 PM

God Christopher you really are a prick!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | August 12, 2008 2:57 PM

Serves you fucking right, prick.

Posted by Greg | August 12, 2008 2:57 PM

I can't believe someone hasn't punched that jackass in the nose. Hard.

Posted by The Artist Formerly Known As Sigourney Beaver | August 12, 2008 2:59 PM

Somebody should have shoved a branch through his front wheel spokes.

Posted by pragmatic | August 12, 2008 3:03 PM

Disappointing ending.

I was anticipating the unexpected metal pole / vehicle barrier jumping into the middle of the path, taking out the zombie in a cloud of decaying flesh and rust, and saving the day for the good citizens of Seattle.

Posted by jebus h. xst | August 12, 2008 3:03 PM

I'm sorry that the denouement didn't involve the broken end of a frame tube jamming into the cyclist's windpipe, killing him instantly.

Posted by Fnarf | August 12, 2008 3:11 PM

I used to do Zombie Bicycle on my Huffy 3-speed in my LA Rams jersey while drinking an RC Cola with Pop Rocks.

Posted by DOUG. | August 12, 2008 3:11 PM

Shouldn't he have been shouting "asshole on a bicycle" instead?

Posted by Sad Comment | August 12, 2008 3:11 PM

there should have 'critical walks' were we walk in the bike lanes and basically get in the way of bikers.

Posted by Jiberish | August 12, 2008 3:13 PM

A friend of mine broke her collarbone thanks to tree roots on the Burke Gilman. Anyone who bikes that trail without all due caution is an ass.

Posted by keshmeshi | August 12, 2008 3:13 PM

I don't understand why you were yelling "ZOMBIE ON A BICYCLE" in the first place. Was it supposed to be funny? If so, how? Is it from a movie or something?

Posted by David | August 12, 2008 3:19 PM

What are you worried about? According to this:

the worst you could have done is "annoy" him.

Posted by Aaron Huffman | August 12, 2008 3:25 PM

Zombies never announce their presence by yelling "Zombie on a _____!" or anything else for that matter; they just make that horrible moaning sound.

If you can't do it right, you shouldn't be doing it at all...

Posted by COMTE | August 12, 2008 3:27 PM

@12! @12! I've said this numerous times. :D

I've been pushed, yelled at, ran into and ran over by bikes. I've also had to run to save my ass numerous times. Not to say all bikers are jerks, but some are.

Posted by Nay | August 12, 2008 3:27 PM

It's settled, then. Bicyclists are fucktards.

I mean, we've had as many or more fucktard bicyclist stories recently as we have had violent baby-chewing pit bull stories.

So, then, irrefutable proof that both bicyclists and pit bulls should be put down.

Posted by K | August 12, 2008 3:34 PM

+1 to Critical Walk! Please!

Posted by Ben | August 12, 2008 3:35 PM

if indeed you are the protagonist of this tale, you not only have an enormous whozeewhatsit, you ARE an enormous whozeewhatsit. unless, of course, you made it all up. sometimes mendacity runs rampant at the stranger.

Posted by scary tyler moore | August 12, 2008 3:38 PM

Another vote for Critical Walk, yes!

And I'm with Fnarf: this story should have ended with "Entitled Shithead On The Ground, Bleeding".

Posted by Chris B | August 12, 2008 3:39 PM

#14 - Agreed. Totally un-zombie like behavior.

If you want to play "Zombie on a Bicycle", you'd be hunched over the handlebars, arms at your side, groaning and shuffling your feet for speed. Try that down Denny sometime.

I think what you were actually playing is "Blue Angels".

Posted by Dougsf | August 12, 2008 3:42 PM

...lols at 22's obvious bait, but it's still funny...

Posted by Nay | August 12, 2008 3:46 PM

When you said "arms raised parallel to the ground", I pictured them perpendicular to your direction of travel, pretending you were an airplane.

Needless to say, I was confused by the zombie thing.

Posted by w7ngman | August 12, 2008 3:57 PM

I don't get it. A little help...?

Posted by elenchos | August 12, 2008 4:13 PM

Add another to the critical walk 'bike trail corking' project. Is it possible that we can let casual cyclists through though? I just want to cork the spandexers and the 'hip fad cyclists.'

Posted by WillBilly | August 12, 2008 4:13 PM

puh-leeze, that shit happens all the time.

I've started keeping track of the number of times a week I'm nearly ran over by a dumbshit on a bike.

(Oh, and to be fair, I also keep track of the number of motorists who've almost killed me, as well.)

Posted by michael strangeways-pedestrian | August 12, 2008 4:17 PM

I don't get it either, elenchos, something out of the 90's I guess?
Grew up in the desert, not a lot of fast bicycling happens on the dirt hills covered with Cholla's! What's a cholla?

Posted by Cattymaran | August 12, 2008 4:49 PM

Quite frankly, pedestrians don't belong on these bike trails any more than a bike belongs on I-5.

As far as the "Zombie" idiot, it would have been better if there were no walkers there, and the streets took their revenge on he and his cohorts alone...

Posted by John Bailo | August 12, 2008 5:29 PM

Tell me next time you go riding and want to be a fuckface, I'll make sure I have my hunting knife with me and I'll knife you right in the face.

Posted by hey edgy fuckface | August 12, 2008 5:32 PM

@29: Seriously? Pedestrians don't belong on Burke-Gilman? So you silly Tour de France wannabes dressed in your ridiculous outfits can whiz along screaming "On your left!!!"?

Posted by rjh | August 12, 2008 5:35 PM

@29: Know what belongs on the Burke-Gilman?

PASSENGER RAIL. It's a darned shame that former right-of-way will never be used for mass transit again.

Posted by opticsdoug | August 12, 2008 5:54 PM

#29: Sure, I'll be heading down to the Century Building on 500 Gowe Street near Kent City Hall, just around the corner from the Kent know, those guys who gunned down a drug dealer in a white Chevy Blazer on Friday mid-afternoon on Canyon Drive. Please, be there early...

Posted by John Bailo | August 12, 2008 5:56 PM

@29: somebody (an arrogant prick) was amusing himself and his arrogant prick bike-riding friends, when a possibly hospital-visit-inducing accident involving an arrogant prick and an old man was averted by the grace of god. Had the accident not been averted and said arrogant prick or his bike had collided with the elderly, and probably fragile man, it sure as fuck wouldn't have been reported on Slog because it might give dudes on bikes a bad name.

Posted by Jessica | August 12, 2008 6:03 PM


We remove comments that are off topic, threatening, or commercial in nature, and we do not allow sock-puppetry (impersonating someone else)—or any kind of puppetry, for that matter. We never censor comments based on ideology.

Posted by Self-Hating Hipster | August 12, 2008 6:13 PM

"Quite frankly, pedestrians don't belong on these bike trails any more than a bike belongs on I-5."

Are you serious or are you just trying to be an asswipe? If the former, that's the single-most illustrative post on biker solipsism on Slog to date.

Posted by levide | August 12, 2008 6:53 PM

To all:

I am being serious. This comes from my experiences on Burke Gillman, the Interurban and on the Soos Creek Trail.

Let me describe my style: I'm old, 47. I ride a "hybrid" bike, narrow tired mountain bike style. I can go fast, but often don't just to exercise and enjoy the ride.

What I find on these trails are people walking willy nilly, sometimes with kids walking daisy chained.

What scares me are the spandex clad Speed Racers going 20 or 30 miles per hour. It's ok to be on a bike because they will recognize (but not slow down) to pass.

However, I dread the day, when some group of toddlers walking in the left hand side of the road gets mashed by these wheeling hornets.

That is why I say make it bike only -- or make it real clear what the rules for bikes and peds are...

Posted by John Bailo | August 12, 2008 7:13 PM

Alls I have to say is that I ride my bike quite a bit, walk/ride the bus quite a bit, drive sometimes, and would observe that

1. some cyclists are idiots

( 2. most pedestrians are blameless )

3. some drivers are idiots

The difference, I suppose, being the consequences of the idiocy. The implication, I suppose, is that one's means of transportation may not be a useful taxonomy.

Posted by Andrew | August 12, 2008 7:22 PM

@29, *ahem*

The Burke-Gilman Trail is a popular recreational trail for walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters and commuters. The trail is jointly maintained by Seattle Department of Transportation and Seattle Parks and Recreation.

Posted by rb | August 12, 2008 8:26 PM

Yes, they belong de jure.

But I argue they don't belong de facto.

Posted by John Bailo | August 12, 2008 9:19 PM

#38. I disagree with #2.

I find area pedestrians...well, kind of dense. There are many that just sort of waddle along in the middle of the sidewalk or path, even if it's really wide, just kind of center themselves and enter a kind of walking daydream state (hey, maybe that zombie guy was on to something).

I have tried numerous alerting devices. Bells don't work at all except for young children. I think adult ears lose their high frequency capability especially early on and from behind. "On your left" makes a lot of people jump or else go into a calculation mode (let's see, he's behind me, and so my left is and sometimes they get it wrong and jump in front of the bike. I now user a Zounds air horn with a compressed air bottle I can refill with my tire pump. It's exceedingly loud and definitely clears the runways. It also stops motorists dead in their tracks. I recommend one to any and all.

Posted by John Bailo | August 12, 2008 9:23 PM

Burke-Gillman, Interurban and Iron Horse should all be returned to their original purpose: Rail transportation for good and commodities, ran by private railroads.

The walkers can use the city sidewalks, where available, and the cyclists can go to hell.

Posted by Holland Collingsworth III | August 12, 2008 9:45 PM

This evening on The Stranger's Slog board, some asshole read a whole long-winded post, and in the end didn't really know why he had bothered.

Seriously, though, you were being a huge fucking douchebag. Shouting at random strangers out peacefully, contemplatively enjoying their walks so you can draw attention to yourself like a total whore is just asshattery.

And the whole "Zombie on a bicycle" thing is just retarded to boot.

Posted by Hoyt Clagwell | August 12, 2008 9:46 PM

@41: Stop biking on the sidewalks, you fucker. That's what the streets are for. Or so your fellow cyclists claim.

Posted by TheMisanthrope | August 12, 2008 10:31 PM

so... what is the point of this story? to just stir the bicycle-hate pot some more? good jorb!

Posted by chizzle | August 13, 2008 10:43 AM

Reading half of these comments, I am confused. Did I miss the part where Frizzelle cops to being either the zombie or one of his "friends?" It's a strange assumption y'all have made.

Bailo, I think if anything, bikes are the single vehicle that doesn't belong on a multi-use path. Maybe that's because I ride to get places (as that's what biking should be for, transportation, not 'recreation' along a route that doesn't go anywhere you need to be.) I find them no more safe or convenient for biking than roadways, and I tire of avoiding drunks, rollerbladers, and leashed puppies.

Posted by celeriac | August 13, 2008 1:04 PM

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