I wondered if I imagined the increase in aggressive driving every September, but a professional delivery driver confirmed it.
"You think it's the tourists that make it bad, but these are just the regular people," he said. "I think they're just used to fighting it all summer, so they're still fighting."
I have my own theory that the end of summer, the beginning of school and work schedules, shortening days and the urgency of early preparations for the season of cold and dark make people jumpy. Whatever the reason, I get a much more resentful vibe off of drivers for much of September.
If I can keep up the commute into fall, I become a roadside (or lane-covering) attraction. "Geez, look at that guy still riding." In fact, many people, even ones I don't really know, will ask me, "did you bike today?" when they see me in a store or at events and activities around the local area. I can only hope these aren't the same people trying to brush me back with the broad hood of the F-150 or GMC Yukon. Hard to say, really. People can innocently act out amazing double standards.
For now I have to be prepared for people expressing themselves with two tons of metal, slicing unnecessarily close and fast to let me know that, in their opinion, bike season is over. They still respond to herding. I just can't be lax about it.
Foliage tour buses can be the worst. The economy seems to have diminished their numbers, so there's a plus side to the rocky financial climate. I still keep an ear out for the distinctive smooth diesel of a box car full of gawkers.