An Open Letter to the Passenger in the Green SUV Who Screamed as He Went By Yesterday

07.27.2005 | 2:35 pm

Dear Passenger in the Green SUV,

Yesterday, as I was riding my bike home from work your SUV pulled alongside me, at which point you — the passenger — screamed at the top of your lungs, startling me and making me swerve and nearly hit a guardrail.

I’d like to take this moment to congratulate you on a couple of things:

  1. The quality of your sense of humor. Everyone knows that startling someone who is two feet away from heavy rush hour traffic without any protection whatsoever is simply brilliant. I only wish that you had videotaped it to show to your friends — I must have looked so stupid! And the thing is, this joke’s got legs. I can imagine how you might get a similar effect by suddenly screaming at people as you walk by them in hallways, or perhaps at the dinner table. How about in business meetings — or, in your case, during your lunch break while you sit with the others in your work-release program?
  2. The originality of your sense of humor. I haven’t conducted a survey or anything, but I’m pretty sure you are the absolute first person to ever scream at a cyclist from a moving car. And I’m sure other cyclists will verify that they, like I, have never:
    • Had a car swerve at them as a joke
    • Had a car honk at them as a joke
    • Had someone throw a beer bottle at/in front of them as a joke.

As a fellow humorist — though of course my sense of humor doesn’t compare with yours; I just write jokes and “amusing” anecdotes — I would again like to thank you for taking the time to share your unique and stylish brand of comedy with me.

Finally, I would like to share with you that since you weren’t going that much faster than I was, I had plenty of time to memorize your license plate. We were both going in the same direction on E. Lake Sammamish Parkway, so our destinations can’t have been too different. I’d say it’s almost inevitable that I will find your green SUV parked and alone someday. At which point, I look forward to continuing our tradition of sharing practical jokes with one another.

Kind Regards,

The Fat Cyclist


  1. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » Both Sides of the Windshield | 02.9.2008 | 7:43 am

    [...] An Open Letter to the Guy Who Screamed at Me from His Car [...]

  2. Comment by Martin | 02.14.2008 | 4:23 am

    Like it!
    My commute’s alongside a fast road going out of Bristol (England) so no chance returning the favour. Also means they’re generally not that close to startle me – craziest bit though is that I can never make out what they are shouting. I’ve tried catching up with them to give them another chance to communicate with me, but they’re generally doing about 50mph so not managed it yet – there are some traffic lights further on, so one day ….?

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  4. Comment by Si | 03.11.2008 | 2:33 am

    Good post. I’m lucky in never having had anyone swerve at me or throw anything at me whilst I’m riding but I can see how drivers may become excited at the novelty of seeing someone riding a bike in this day and age.

    I have had the odd kid shout “nice bike”, “Do you a swap?”, I even had a sweet little old lady shout something at me one day…I didn’t hear what she said though and as I don’t live in the greatest area I didn’t stop in case she tried some kind of roundhouse handbag manouvre.

    The fact that I’ve not had any real encounters on the roads, I’m probably due one and also having just bought a car after using public transport for ten years means I’m more than happy to go back to sticking to the trails as much as possible and leaving the car driving psycho’s to their boring asphalt nirvana.

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  6. Comment by plebbles | 04.11.2008 | 2:10 am

    Cycle in Bulgaria! In 2 years, all I’ve had is old men clapping and shouting ‘Bravo!’

  7. Comment by Fer | 05.3.2008 | 6:32 pm

    I have to highlight these older posts to read them as the text is black on a black background. Just thought you should know…

  8. Comment by Fer | 05.3.2008 | 6:34 pm

    oh weird… they only have a black background if you go look at them from the archive button. Once I pressed the comments link they have a white background.

  9. Comment by Darren | 05.26.2008 | 5:51 pm

    Riding across a bridge with my toddler son in the back child seat on my bike last summer. Laughing car of young adults sprays me the the face with a squirtgun (didn’t know what hit me at first). Didn’t get the plate. Infuriating….I mean not just to make me crash, but they had to see the childseat from behind.

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  11. Comment by Ms. Cornelius | 07.17.2008 | 1:04 pm

    Well, at least he didn’t throw a Big Gulp at you– I’ve had that one THREE times. Probably the same dumb dillweed and his inbred cousins….

  12. Comment by Yvette | 10.11.2008 | 7:40 am

    thankfully so far I have only had jerks telling me to GET ON the sidewalk! Ha!

  13. Comment by otbroe | 11.26.2008 | 11:35 pm

    I bicycle commute every day rain or shine. And I have yet to understand the “funny” part of shouting at someone on a bike. It happens about once a month and it is never people who are angry at me for riding a bike. It is ALWAYS people trying to startle me, and comes across as a truly random act of violence/aggression. I have trouble understanding what the ideal outcome is of this behavior.

    Incidentally, I have had people throw things at me twice (1 small piece of metal, and 1 apple)- but both times were less than a week after the highly publicized critical mass demonstrations that ended with snotty cyclist on motorist aggression… I can’t help wondering what the critical mass folks ideal outcome is also. They’re certainly not making the road safer for me.

  14. Comment by Keith | 12.14.2008 | 3:39 pm

    I got a shout in the ear once and told this story to my morbidly obese older sister and she thought it was the funniest thing she heard (or, at least, got a hearty laugh out of it) This has happened at least another time.

    I had an empty beer can thrown at me, and caught the car full of drop-out kids. My hyped state almost got my ass kicked(Hint: don’t try to have a fist-fight in SPD cleats- I think I’ll do better with my speedplays) Recently had a bottle thrown at our group ride at 7am and it exploded under the bike in front of me and rained glass back at me-didn’t catch the plate- too long a straight-away.

  15. Comment by Steve Olson | 01.28.2009 | 12:21 pm

    I haven’t been shouted at lately, but last October after I finished riding around the Frank trail (Orem, Utah) I was coming down 2000 N. and a red car with 4 teenagers came along side of me and shot me with a bb gun.
    Man that hurt.
    It drew blood from my forearm. Unfortunately I was unable to get a plate because they turned left onto a street while I was trying to avoid a wipeout. I did recover enough to turn back and try to catch them at a stoplight, but again I failed to get a plate.
    I did report it to the police just for fun. So there would at least be a statistic. You know, in case the bb bandits develop a pattern.

  16. Comment by Steve Olson | 01.28.2009 | 12:33 pm

    I just remembered another drive-by that got me.
    When I was in High School, I commuted to my dishwasher job at the Tampico mexican restaurant (Murray, Utah) on my trusty Azuki 10 speed. Each night while riding home at about 11:30PM a car would pull up and spray me with a fire extinguisher full of water. Some times it would knock me over or at least cause me to wreck in some fashion. Cold spray of a gallon of water can really make you lose balance.
    These guys were pretty consistent and I got sprayed when I least expected it. I changed my route a few times and somehow they found me.
    I became a paranoid rider. Always expecting the next car to “get me”.
    Well I never found them…
    Until 30 years later when I was having lunch with an old friend from High School. Yes it was him and some friends. He was telling me how they would spray some kid almost every Friday and he described it in such detail that I knew it was him. It was my sophmore year, I hadn’t met him until my Junior year.
    I haven’t exacted my revenge yet. I guess I should have dumped my coke in his lap. Oh well. Just let it go? Ok.

  17. Comment by ksteinhoff | 07.29.2009 | 8:06 am

    I once had a passenger in a pickup truck holler, “Get off the road!”

    I was ticked off until I saw two mud-splattered mountain bikes in the back of the truck.

  18. Comment by Nubo | 10.21.2009 | 11:27 am

    Gee, I thought I was the only one! Well, no. I’ve been getting these for 40 years now. Though in a more articulate age they used to contain words. These days the practitioners have dropped a bit lower and all you get is a non-verbal “RAAAAAGGGGGHHHH!”

    Though by now it’s become a reflex; I respond with my “RAAAAAGGGHHHH!” almost before they’re done with theirs. Short of writing an “Open Letter”, it’s my one dim hope that my quick comeback roar will impress upon them that their antics are not original. But I do love your closing line.

    “I look forward to continuing our tradition of sharing practical jokes with one another.”

    Oh, yes. Keep the fun alive! Especially since valve core removers are so doggone cheap, and lightweight too!! :D

  19. Comment by Andy R | 12.29.2009 | 7:51 pm

    We bike in northern Louisiana, in the general area where I was born and raised. Believe me when I say that cyclists are not very common around here. Most people show courtesy and move over a little, but there are a few who don’t or won’t. One guy thought it to be helpful to me if he slowed down beside me and punched the accelerator on his Dodge diesel pick up. I guess he thought the smoke and extra loud exaust noise would help me. I couldn’t help myself in letting him know he was numero uno.

  20. Comment by Jackie | 01.9.2010 | 11:12 am

    I love, love, LOVE your site. You’re so funny. I heard about you on The Story and have been reading your old posts – this one caught my eye because last spring I had two teenage boys scream at me on my Pee Wee Herman bike and nearly kill me (a $250 comfort bike I got at Dick’s Sporting Goods). I just started riding last year because I wanted to lose weight. I’m very wobbly, my bike is very girly and I was 50 pounds heavier last spring, so I figured I was a prime target for teenage contempt. Now I see I’m not alone.

  21. Comment by D | 03.1.2010 | 5:05 pm

    When I was a teeni bopper my friends and I were on the way to school and one of my buddies yelled out at a cyclist!! (Not knowing we were about to hit a red light) Next thing we know my buddy gets ripped out of the car thrown on the ground and a water bottle shoved in his mouth. It was the funniest thing I have ever seen. To this day he still tell everybody not to F**k with cyclist.

  22. Comment by TimB | 04.28.2010 | 10:49 pm

    so…did you ever find the green SUV?

  23. Comment by Cycling Jersey | 07.27.2010 | 6:13 am

    what a chump guys like that make me sick :-(

  24. Comment by dr. jnyblaze phd | 07.21.2011 | 10:47 am

    my informal survey of vehicles involved in these types of incidents of riding too closely to the cyclist shows a high incidence of ford or dodge diesel pickup trucks piloted by overweight males compensating the lack of something near and dear to all males. for some inexplicable reason chevy pickup drivers appear to be more secure in their masculinity. as for the people who yell at us cyclists on the road, i’ve found it’s almost always the morbidly oese among us who couldn’t in the least conceive of actually getting out and doing something outside that involves sweat and effort. coming up next-minivan drivers and texting.

  25. Pingback by Fat Cyclist » Blog Archive » The Best of the “Open Letters To…” | 12.8.2011 | 11:16 am

    [...] An Open Letter to the Passenger in the Green SUV Who Screamed as He Went By Yesterday: Hey, you know what’s funny? Trying to startle a cyclist into the guardrail. Hilarious! I vent a little with this open letter. [...]


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