I ought to have had a brilliant bike ride today. OK, so the glorious spring sunshine we were enjoying yesterday had disappeared but we seemed to be the only corner of the country where it wasn’t raining, the flowers and trees and birds were all still madly doing their spring thing, and I’d just seen two ravens having some sort of an aerial mock battle up in the skies above me (you’ve got to love a bird that seems as happy flying upside down as right side up). I’d just stopped off at the village hall to vote (I love voting, doesn’t matter what the election is, it just makes me feel important) and was off to fetch the paper, with nothing too pressing to get done and all the time in the world to do it in. All of which doesn’t really count for much when you suddenly find yourself being passed so close by a vehicle towing a big trailer that you seriously fear for your balance, if not your life. Fortunately it was a stretch of road with no potholes and he (I’m assuming here, forgive me) was a good enough driver not to swing the trailer into me, while I am a good enough cyclist not to deviate from my line by the one inch of space he had allowed me, so nothing happened – well, nothing except the complete destruction of my good mood.
What’s really disappointing in all this, even more disappointing than the fact that it happened not 30 yards before a place where road widened and the driver could have passed me in perfect safety, was that I know that vehicle. I see it fairly frequently on my travels to and from the papershop, and the driver is almost certainly a local. I have no doubt he has noticed me enough to know me by sight, even if he doesn’t know me by name. So his impatience felt personal. I wasn’t some anonymous ‘bloody cyclist’ getting in his way, I was ‘the lady who goes everywhere by bike’* getting in his way – for 30 whole lousy seconds, mind you – and he still felt it was okay to endanger life and limb – MY life and limb, that is – to get past me.
Of course, I have no doubt that he had no idea how scary it was or how close he came to just brushing me off into the dyke, and that if he had done he would have been sorry. One of these days I might even encounter him when he’s not in his big tonne of metal and I’m not so cross as to be too incoherent to explain that to him, in which case I will undoubtedly be British about it and completely ignore the whole incident while burning inside with repressed fury. Meanwhile, I’ll be that little bit more wary when cycling around even on my beloved back roads, and not trust all the other drivers to pass me safely – which means I’ll have to cycle more assertively and end up holding people up more than I would normally do. Lose lose. Bah. Grr. Disappointing…
* as I am known in the area, apparently