I have city streets into the heart of a medium-sized city. It's downhill in, and uphill home. Traffic is not too bad.
I'm a newspaper reporter who started riding years ago for a story, and got hooked. I keep meticulous track of my commuting miles and held a small celebration the first time I reached the circumference of the earth at the equator. I have proselytized relentlessly, and in 23 years commuting have manager to persuade 2 others to do the same.
Once morning I was riding to work and a guy in a Saab behind me laid on the horn quite a bit, so I waved him around with a well-known street gesture. He pulled along side and suggested I pull over. So I did, and when he got out of the car I jumped into his face. He punched me in the mouth. I told him that amounted to assault and battery, and that I intended to see him jailed. It happened to be right in front of a plant where workers were on strike, and I am a labor reporter, so I knew the pickets. They agreed to be my witnesses. The driver jumped in his car and drove off, but not before I got his license number. I called the police and they got his name for me. He turned out to be a lawyer. I swore out a warrant charging him with assault, but the authorities referred the case for mediation -- to be worked out some way short of court. Ultimately, a judge ordered him to ride to work with me one morning along the same route where he had harrassed me. He tried to borrow a bicycle from a man I knew, but I was able to block that. He had to buy one. He showed up and we rode, and a woman in a Cadillac got behind him and laid on her horn and roared her engine menacingly. Her almost fell off his bike. When we arrive at his place of work, he apologized to me and said he thought he had learned from the experience, and thanked me. And he produced a pair of bright yellow mittens. "Since you brought me some safety equipment," he said, "I brought you these. I suggest you wear them when you ride, and then if you give anybody the finger, they'll just think you're waving." I rode on laughing.