I suppose, thinking back, I should have been forewarned when I stepped out of the cafe this lunchtime and discovered that the banging tailwind I’d sailed into Bigtown on had dropped, meaning I wasn’t going to face a banging headwind for the return, uphill, leg. As I’ve said before, this pretty much never happens, so when it does, the wary cyclist should be keeping her eyes peeled for compensatory hazards such as broken glass, untethered dogs, runaway lorries or (checks notes) sticks.
Or, more specifically, innocent looking sticks that have an unobtrusive long thin whippy twig attached that is perfect for getting itself caught up in the wheel of said cyclist when she blithely bounces her front wheel over it while turning into the local park. Cue slow motion comedy fall, fortunately unwitnessed by anyone else. This is now the second time I’ve come off my bike in ridiculous fashion in less than a year, after an entire adulthood spent largely keeping the rubber side down. All I can say is, once more I was saved by my habit of riding slowly because I have sustained nothing but bruises and not even damaged my lovely new trousers. Oh, and the bike is fine, before you ask.
You might argue that campaigners for safer cycling should probably sort out their own safety before worrying about anyone else’s (or at least, be sure to avoid any lurking sticks). But I’d argue in reply that what cyclists need is the sort of conditions where they can make stupid mistakes like that, without ending up under a timber lorry. Falling over on a path in the park is embarassing. Falling over on a busy road is potentially fatal.
All of which is a very tenuous way of saying, if you are in Bigtown and you want the sort of conditions where you can make a complete tit of yourself in safety, you may want to come and make a complete tit (or indeed udder) of yourself in public – on Bigtown’s inaugural Mad Cow Ride*
Whether I’ll get our occasional neighbours to come and join us is another question.
* Originally ‘Critical Moo’ but that was a bit niche, apparently