A clam on my windshield, and I don’t mean from Umberto’s


I was waiting for a car to pull out of a parking space on 5th Avenue in front of the offices of Guitar Aficionado in Chelsea when a huge dollop of spit splashed across most of my windshield.

Apparently, the pinched-looking yuppie bicyclist going by with his matching tights, $5,000,000 helmet and spaceman sunglasses didn’t like that I was in the designated bike lane, however briefly, and chose to punish me with the worst thing he could think of to do.

I forgot about my parking space, threw my car into drive,  floored the accelerator and hit him from behind at 50 MPH. He flew 100 feet in the air, transformed into a hundred daffodil petals, and wafted back to earth.

Ok, ok. No, I didn’t.

I actually wasn’t too ticked off.  More shocked at his boldness.  Where I come from, if you touch a man’s new ride, it is like kicking his dog—you are asking for a major confrontation which may include tire irons.  But since it wasn’t my car and I am a peaceful vegan minister (and a grownup who doesn’t  need to react to non-life-threatening confrontations without thinking ), I chilled and realized his spit was more about him than me, and that he was probably punishing me for all the motorists who aim for bikers or force them off the road or simply do as they please even though the two-wheelers always have the right of way.

One time, a crappy van nearly ran me off the road on my bike on Allen street and as the driver went by me, I kicked the side panel as hard as I could.  I’ve been there, my biker friends.

I also watched this guy run the red light at the next intersection.

And what lesson do we learn from this?

A smack on the nose or a clam of spit on your windshield sure gets your attention.

It was not my first run-in with a biker intoxicated by his own adrenaline and self-righteousness and insistence that others play by the rules (don’t block the bike lane) while ignoring similar rules (red light means stop, even for bikers.)

Anyone take a walk through Central Park on a weekend? The bikers treat the red lights like pretty tomatoes, if they notice them at all.  Chinese food delivery men?  Please.  The sidewalk is their Poconos Raceway.


I slow for bicylists, I give ’em the thumbs-up here and there, never gun my engine at ’em, and even rode a 20-miler myself for MS two years ago.  Once upon a time in a life long ago, I was even profiled in a magazine called Transportation Alternatives, waxing about the NYC biker’s life I led at the time.

Despite my attitude of let’s-all-get-along, I find NYC bikers can be some of the most vile, obnoxious, self-righteous bunch of bananas you’ll ever have the displeasure of almost being pancaked by.


To take the train from my apartment to Chelsea would take me an hour or more.

To drive takes 20 minutes.

The day my windshield was spit on, there was a stack of magazines at the office to pick up and a series of errands to accomplish afterwards.

Finally, driving in New York City is currently legal and I have a right to drive and pay for parking if I wish to. I know I don’t have the right to block the bike lane. But if I see a car pulling out of a space, I am not going to wait for it in the middle of the street—I am going to pull as far to the left or right as I can so traffic can go around  me, temporarily, even if it means blocking the bike lane for 30 seconds.  Hear that?  GO AROUND ME.   No need to foul my whip, dip!

As Vito Corleone said to Micheal in “The Godfather,”  (the book, not the movie) “There are men in the world who go about demanding to be killed. You must have noticed them. They quarrel in gambling games, they jump out of their automobiles in a rage if someone so much as scratches their fender, they humiliate and bully people whose capabilities they do not know…and there is always somebody ready to oblige them.”

Someday that biker will spit on the wrong windshield, and the guy behind the wheel won’t be no cupcake, like AutoGigolo was that fine spring day.  – Josh Max, AutoGigolo.com