I am Cyclist Hear me Roar

September 20, 2013

You can sometimes feel quite small and vulnerable on a bike – like yesterday when a large silver pickup decided to whizz past me just as a large white van was nosing out of the junction I was cycling past. Threading between two big hunks of metal with (apparently) idiots at the wheel you are more frightened than frightening, to be honest.

So it was a nice contrast today as I cycled down to the shop for the paper. Not only was there a heartening absence of idiot-piloted close-passing hunks of metal, there was a huge stubble field full of geese* – back for the winter from somewhere less balmy – and not somewhere with a lot of cyclists. At the sight of me on my bike, puny as I am, the whole flock took off as one and filled the sky with the most incredible racket, unable to settle while the dreadful velocipede was loose amongst them. I have to admit, it made me grin. I may not make much of an impression on White Van Man, but I am at least absolutely terrifying to geese.

* I should probably know which ones but they were on the pink-foot / greylag continuum. Greyfoots? Pinklags?


Freed

March 26, 2013

I really wasn’t expecting much of my ride to the papershop this morning. To be honest, I was only going out to see whether the snow had been flattened down enough that I could pick my way through the worst bits and I was fully expecting to have to turn round long before I’d got anywhere near Papershop village but look!

wall of snow

It was very odd to be cycling between walls of snow, head high in places, especially with the hillsides mostly green and free of the stuff. It seems all the roads around have been ploughed, even the ford road (scraping off several years’ accumulation of mud and vegetation in the process). It’s narrow though – exactly a vehicle’s width in most places. A couple of times I had to tuck myself into a niche in the snow to let an oncoming vehicle through – and had a nice chat with the white van man who stopped to wind down his window to say thank you. For once round here the bike really was the quicker option, once you factor in reversing half a mile to find a space where two cars can pass…

I’m not the only one who prefers to make direct contact with the ground, picking her way very carefully through the deeper bits of snow …

cat and snow

Although I noticed that when she thought there was a mouse to hunt, she forgot all about it

cat footprints

In other news, it’s been trying to snow all day, but I’m ignoring it.


White Van Manners

September 22, 2009

I was passed by a white van on my bike today.

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What?

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You lot still here?

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Oh … you’re waiting for the rest. The rant. The diatribe against white van man and his ilk and the way they go bombing down quiet country lanes, buzzing cyclists while laughing with glee, sending women, children, dogs, chickens (they’re very free range in these parts), stray cattle and pheasants flying into the nearest ditch.

It’s not like that round here. It really isn’t. In fact, when I got home, I found the same white van parked outside the house, it having been driven there by our cheery tv-aerial repairman who was busy ensuring that our next door neighbour could receive her fix of Strictly Come Dancing.

‘Oh, was that you I passed?’ he asked

‘It was, why, were you muttering to yourself about bloody cyclists?’

‘No, it was just that I was driving behind another car and when it passed, I hung back a bit to make sure that you’d heard there was another vehicle behind before I passed you. Otherwise, I wasn’t sure you’d know I was there.’

Now that’s advanced level driving politeness, that is. Especially as he didn’t know he was about to park in my drive at the time – although, given he seems to be about the only tv-aerial repairman in the district, the chances of my being a customer were fairly good.

I got passed by a different white van yesterday. According to the sign on the back, it belonged to a company calling itself the ‘White Van Gentlemen’. It didn’t do too badly either, but they’re going to have to try a bit harder if they want to stand out for their courtesy here.

(I still think bike lanes are a good idea though. Although maybe not here…)