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When I first started running I had no idea how annoying some NYC cyclists are. To me they were just those people in skin tight clothing who talked extremely loud, the mouth-breathers in the coffee line. They were and still are the hunched figures who ignore traffic lights, but have a conniption if anyone else does and have a nasty eye condition that doesn’t allow them to see human beings crossing the street right in front of them. We used to laugh at them and try not to judge as a few friends were bike messengers for a while. Messengers work hard and tend to have amusingly abrasive, big personalities when they’re off the clock so we forgive their smugness.

But, man, some of the snooty cyclists in Prospect Park need to have their whistles taken away. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if the Prospect Park staff actually cleared the running lane on the loop, but they don’t. Our lane is consistently snowy, icy, slick with not a pinch of salt. It runs alongside the perfectly cleared bike lane and the even more perfectly cleared car lane, both salted.

My sister was surprised the paths in our park get cleared at all as her local park in PA stays snowy all season. For some reason Prospect Park has a lot of year-round employees. In winter, once the cars and bike lanes are taken car of, they’ll cruise around, driving beside the snowy running lane with the plow up.

Since we’re doing more mileage this winter, we sometimes circle the loop 3-4 times and note the same drivers driving around with the plow up or full salt trucks not salting. WHY??????????????? I run with a fist but inside I’m picking up those plow trucks and tossing them in the dumpster.

The solution is to run in the bike lane. About 90% of the runners do it on slushy, icy days. I’m not going to fall because the 3 cyclists out want the entire cleared 8 footish-wide lane to themselves. The few cyclists who are out usually just ride around us, but then there are the cyclebots. These guys ride with whistles and start blowing from a mile away if anyone is in their path. They have yet to be programmed for steering around human beings.

I ignore the whistle always. And then the cyclists ride by unnecessarily close with some choice words and I give them the thumbs up. This happened this morning as it has happened a dozen times already this winter. It has to be the thumbs up because they’re dummies and giving the thumbs up makes me feel happy while engaging nasty people brings out mean Hailey. Those poor fools do not want to meet mean Hailey. Nobody does. The last time mean Hailey really came out was when an unstable construction guy stuck a plank of wood in our 2nd floor window. Asking him to remove it escalated into shouting. Gentle MoonPie wound up calling 9-1-1 before gigantic construction guy climbed through the window for a rumble with me. Police were completely unhelpful and that plank of wood is still there. It’s the first thing I see in the morning. Instead of letting it drive me nuts, okay I’m a little nuts over it, I try to see it as Brooklyn’s way of inspiring me every day to move out of the city already.

So tempted as I am to run with my arms spread out every time I hear that whistle, I’m sticking with the thumbs up instead. It’s better for me and I can tell it confuses them to the point of nearly colliding with each other today.

Most cyclists are normal, fine, awesome people like most people in general. I don’t know where this tension between runners and cyclebots comes from. Is it just a city thing? What is the origin and how can we help cyclebots go away be less annoying?

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