Since I live out here in the middle of nowhere - or, to be fair, about 25 miles in any direction from almost everything - it isn't a surprise when I come across rural type things in the road. Goats, and cows are not all that unusual, horses are pretty common - and require great care in passing, as bicycles tend to spook them, giving their riders an unanticipated thrill, an occasional chicken, some guinea hens (my encounter with those is documented here ). Last summer I came across a trail of really nice looking tobacco leaves and contemplated picking them up, taking them home, and trying my hand at homemade cigars, but then I'd have to smoke them, and I don't want to go through that whole quitting thing again. Anyway, on my way home for lunch today I caught up to a farm tractor. This happens two or three times a year, and seems to present me with a dilemma. To pass or not to pass. Now, since I caught up to it, clearly I am going faster, but, at the same time, there is something to be said for just sitting in the draft and enjoying the tow. Tractors push a lot of air out of the way, plus, if the catching was done going up hill, I wonder if I'll really be able to pull out of the draft and into the opposing lane and make the pass safely. So far, as today, I go by. As nice as it is to sit in that still air, going fast is nicer.
The paradox though. I have watched people in cars follow a tractor for miles waiting for a safe place to pass, but on every single ride I go on several drivers will go by me in places where they cannot possibly see oncoming traffic. There are many who pass me, going into the other lane, even when they can see cars coming toward them, nearly causing head on collisions. Like I said - I see this on every ride. So, why will people follow a tractor without much in the way of complaint, but are bothered by a bicycle, especially when the bike is always going faster - usually ten to fifteen mph faster - than the tractor?