February 23, 2009

I encountered this (sadly non-mythical) beast for the first time in ages the other day. I was returning triumphant with the paper, sailing down a nice long straightish hill, when I noticed a small truck in one of the tracks meeting the road. I started to slow down, thinking the driver would pull out in front of me but he didn’t move, and I assumed he had stopped there for lunch and resumed pedalling. Slow cycling’s all very well, but sometimes you like to have a bit of momentum to get you up the next hill. So when he did pull out, just as I reached the track, I was going considerably faster than him and had to jam on the brakes to avoid ending up as part of his load. Clearly my bicycle-generated magical cloak of invisibility is still going strong, despite being practically the only moving thing for miles around.

It was all the more annoying because the other two drivers I encountered had treated me with almost exaggerated courtesy, hanging behind my shoulder until the road widened, and then passing me slowly and steadily, leaving me as much room as they could without scraping their wing mirrors off on the opposite dyke. I’ve realised now where this behaviour comes from: this is the correct way to pass someone who is riding a horse, a far more common sight around here than a cyclist.

Maybe that’s what we’ve been doing wrong all these years: if all cyclists stood six feet high at the shoulder, weighed 500kg, wore iron shoes and could kick out your windscreen when startled, we’d all get treated with the a bit more respect…

*Sorry Mate I Didn’t See You