‘When you first move here, you’d never believe that you would complain about the traffic here,’ someone told me soon after we’d just moved up. ‘And then, within a year, you’ll find yourself complaining about it.’
Well, she was off by more than a decade, but with the arrival of the Pepperpots, and needing to be going around the town centre by car much more than I’ve been used to, I might just have reached that point. As a cyclist, I’ve had plenty of occasion to complain about individual drivers, but traffic is not something that particularly affects me (and nor does finding somewhere to park). But in the last few weeks I’ve suddenly found out what everyone else has been moaning about as we’ve crawled along routes I could cycle in a flash, and even on one occasion found ourselves unable to find a parking space in a town where you can basically park wherever the hell you like. My bike may not be quicker than a car at getting me the 8 miles into town (which is inconvenient when your parents’ dining room door suddenly jams itself shut with your mother’s laptop on the wrong side of it), but once in Bigtown it feels like an actual jetpack in comparison. It’s just a shame I can’t use it for transporting a couple of octogenarians.
Still, it’s been a month since my parents moved here, and the various services they need are gradually starting to fall into place. Even better, they’ve now worked out a route that enables them to walk the mile or so into town from their house which may not be quicker at their pace than driving it (although it’s a close run thing when the traffic is properly bad) but is a heck of a lot less frustating. So hopefully I will soon be able to spend less time grinding my teeth in traffic and go back to smugly whizzing past it. It will certainly be a relief. Cycling might mean headwinds, flies in your teeth and the occasional homicidal driver, but these all pale in comparison to the horrors of being stuck in traffic. Drivers, how do you manage? Is this why you’re all so cross?
Seeing the Glasgow rush (sic) hour traffic I think of all the husbands / wives / children / dogs /cats / hamsters that wouldn’t get shouted at / kicked / worse if only people would cycle instead. It’s a mystery how they stand it, EVERY DAY. I do try and think of their blood pressure as I yell at the cars whizzing through red lights when I’m trying to cross.
Rush hour traffic is even worse