Sunday, August 03, 2014

The view from my GoPro

Honking makes you feel big
London, ON
June 2014
This week's Thematic takes a closer look at the technology that we use to go online and share our respective views of the world (head here for more.) The shot above was made possible by two pieces of technology critical to my online-ness: My beloved pink Specialized StumpJumper Comp bike, whose left bar end is creeping into the shot on the left, and the GoPro camera bolted to the handlebars that captured the moment the Dodge Caliber you see here as the driver honked at me for kicks.

It's a rite of passage for moronic drivers in this town to scare the living crap out of cyclists with their horns for no other reason than to tick them off. I've been beeped at and sworn at, I've had passengers lean out the window to smack me as they pass, and I was even assaulted by a motorist with compensation issues (see here for part 1, here for part 2, here for the newspaper column I wrote, and here for the postscript.) It's the urban equivalent of cow tipping, and when the first doofus of the season came out to play, I realized the GoPro is an even more incredible device than its inventors ever imagined.

That's because it records everything. And it lets me grab stills from the sequence to further identify the guilty. And cover my behind if I'm ever hit along the way (it's happened, and as Russian drivers have already discovered, a camera is the ultimate legal weapon for any driver, two wheels or four.) The camera also lets me draw some fun conclusions about the kind of sad folks who spend their time road raging complete strangers as they speed their not-quite-fully-assembled cars to the nearby Walmart.

Exhibit A: The red Dodge Caliber SXT in the photo above. While the vehicle was mercifully pulled from the market after the 2012 model year, this particular example is either a 2007 or 2008 by virtue of its black door handles and the fact that the "Caliber" name is on the left-hand side of the tailgate (it was moved to the right in 2009.)

Its license plate, BTWN 741, tells a story, as well. Here in Ontario, as in other provinces and states, license plates are distributed more or less sequentially. Plates beginning with BTXX indicate the vehicle was purchased between approximately January and April of this year. Combine the model year and the purchase date and you have someone who bought a 6-year-old used Dodge within the last few months.

So I'm guessing when he - definitely a he - decided to buzz me despite the fact that I was minding my own business quite lawfully by the side of the road, he was possibly ticked off that he was driving a Dodge Caliber, which was little more than a loose assembly of parts when it was new, and is likely even less enjoyable to own and drive now.

Enjoy your time at the Walmart, Caliber Man.