It's become my morning, pre-work, post-sunrise bike ride -- a 37-mile loop down the mainland side of the Intracoastal from Vero Beach to Fort Pierce, then a cross of the drawbridge to north Fort Pierce Beach and back to Vero on A1A.
It's a great ride, and one of the reasons it's an enjoyable trek is that most motorists are considerate and pass me with a safe berth.
We bicyclists are quick to yell when a motorist buzzes us. And we're familiar with the videos showing the outraged bicyclist pulling next to motorists and informing them that they came perilously close to hitting them. And sometimes verbal fireworks ensue.
But I have started to thank drivers of motorized vehicles when they slow down and do a great pass to go around me. I know -- they're supposed to drive that way. But a little positive reinforcement and friendly PR can go a long way.
Just last Thursday, a WastePro garbage truck driver patiently drove his vehicle behind me on a narrow lane on the Fort Pierce drawbridge before safely passing me with a nice pass of at least 10 feet once we got off the bridge and continued our way along A1A.
I saw that he had pulled over to collect garbage at the historic Little Jim bait shop, so I pulled over to personally thank him and make that one-on-one connection that gives us a smile and reinforces and spreads the friendly road behavior.
"Thank you man. I just wanted to thank you for being patient behind me on the bridge and doing a great pass to go around me," I told the driver.
He broke out with a big smile and said, "No problem!"
"Thanks man. A lot of drivers honk their horns and pass close but I really appreciated your driving," I added.
"No problem" was his reaction, again.
"See ya man -- have a great day." I finished.
And once again, those same two words: "No problem," capped with a broad smile.
It happened this morning.
A St. Lucie County public works truck pulling a trailer with a lawn mower passed me on northbound A1A in north Fort Pierce and he gave me a huge, wide pass, motoring along in the oncoming lane to pass me when there was not a car in sight in the opposite lane.
About a mile up the road, the county public works employee had pulled over and I thanked him,
"That was a beautiful pass, my man. Thank you for your safe driving around bicyclists. I really appreciate it," I told him.
A smile broke out across his face and he said, "You're welcome and you be safe out there."
I will with motorists like these two fellas.