Can You See Us Now?

‘My Dad says we’re safer in a big group like this because this way the drivers can see us’, remarked one of the younger participants on our latest family ride this afternoon. And it’s true that we should have been hard to overlook: seventeen of us, with ride leader and tail-end Charlie resplendent in hi vis, several little girls on equally bright and eye catching pink bikes, and everyone else possessing the normal human attribute of not being completely transparent – except, that is, when one dons, or rather mounts, the magic cloak of invisibility that is the humble bicycle.

For yes, bright and many and non-see-through as we were, we still had to perform a couple of emergency stops as first a van driver pulled out right in front of us without so much as turning his head, and then a woman started backing out of her drive, a manouevre that would have been safer had she not been completely hidden from us – as we were hidden from her – by a dense hedge.

Fortunately we were travelling at about eight miles an hour and my spidey senses are well honed and there was no real risk that I couldn’t stop my charges before anything happened except to my blood pressure (and, in fairness, to the drivers’ adrenaline levels once they looked round and finally noticed us). The ride we were doing today is a good one – it feels like a stretch for the families because we get out of the edge of town and into the countryside, and there’s a stone circle to explore when we get there.* On the whole the route is fine, as we stick to some (fairly rubbish) shared use pavements) for about 75% of the way and the rest of the roads are pretty quiet. But it only takes one or two dopey drivers to turn a pleasant, relaxing ride out into a heart-in-mouth moment. Next week, we’ll be back along the nice safe railway path for most of the ride, and I shall be the happier for it.

12 Apostles

If you look carefully, you will see a child on every stone. And you will have done better than some drivers…

*In classic Bigtownshire style (motto of the tourist board: Shh, nobody knows we’re here), this sits entirely unheralded in a field apart from one small fingerpost sign all but hidden by the overgrown hedge. It’s only the biggest stone circle in mainland Scotland, after all, nothing to make a huge fuss about.

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4 Responses to Can You See Us Now?

  1. Elizabeth Rich says:

    Courageous of you! Wonderful for the children. Enjoyed hearing about the latest ride.

  2. disgruntled says:

    I wish we didn’t have to be courageous! Although having responsibility for someone else’s children is always a bit nerve wracking

  3. Charles says:

    When I was a very small boy, on my first bike in fact, we lived on Salisbury plane and we used to run around Stone Henge in much the same way. Keep shtum because otherwise your stone circle will become a vital part of Scotland’s heritage which means that no one will be allowed near it and you will have to pay to pear through a chain link fence….Do you have Druids in Bigtown or is too cold and wet?

    When I drive in Botswana I have a near death experience about once a day. Usually it is because the locals seem not to be able to see something that has not happened before. So if I come round a corner or down the main road, unexpectedly in broad daylight, doing less than the speed limit, I risk death and destruction as people pull into the road and then stair at me, transfixed with horror and anger, as they suddenly see a car which they have never seen before. I suspect the same thing happens with bikes, you were not here yesterday, therefore I cannot see you.

    Have you thought of those very, very loud horns air horns that work off compressed gas? Probably illegal but that would give you street cred as well as allowing you to terrify local drivers. You would be quite safe as the driver would not be able to see the horn as he would not have seen it the day before, but he or she, would certainly hear it.

  4. disgruntled says:

    I had an air horn in London but I was too frightened to use it…

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