Tuesday, February 27, 2007

two sets of rules for me please!

There's not much use having a bike if you don't ride it, so yesterday, after slathering myself in sunscreen (a rare occurrence - I hate the stuff), I pulled it out of the garage and set off for a friend's place twenty minutes away with a couple of good hills in between.

I'm no great bike rider - it's been a number of years since I've ridden any significant distance. Actually my last real foray into cycling was some time ago in Ireland when I set off on a full day affair around Dingle Peninsular in the rain. Despite the rain, the scenery was beautiful. Rolling hills of the greenest green imaginable dropping dramatically away into the sea, and stonewalled fields dotted around with sheep. Incredible.

Beautiful it may have been, but I still have flashbacks to the struggle to move forward in the wind as giant raindrops lashed my face. At one point there was a warm, welcoming pub where I dripped puddles of water all over the floor while sipping on Devonshire tea. When it was finally all over I had the joy of discovering I'd developed a pilonidal sinus.

My problem yesterday was not with wind, rain or pilonidal sinuses - it was the traffic.

I'm rather timid when it comes to cycling on the road with scant protection around my body while hulking metal frames whiz past me at speed. I'm also too embarrassed to ride on the footpath (besides it's illegal!) so I face something of a dilemma. Where can I ride?

My solution yesterday was to dismount, walk through an underpass and trudge along the road for a couple of hundred metres until I reached a place where I felt the road was safe enough! I then jumped on the bike and boldly set off proper.

This post is testament to the fact that I survived the ordeal without being knocked to the ground. Most cars politely cut a large track around me, leaving plenty of room to spare... except for two who sped past me in a narrow space where I had no where to go. Scared though I was, I kept my nerve and didn't wobble into their path at all!

I got to thinking about cycling and driving and realised I live by double standards. (In this and everything else!)

When I'm in the car, I slow down and allow cyclists plenty of space, but inside I get annoyed. "Hello??! I'm trying to get somewhere quickly here! Do you have to get in my way?" As soon as I can I swerve around them and speed down the road.

When I'm cycling, I ride along thinking, "I'm entitled to this road just as much as you are, so don't get shirty with me! Just slow down and you'll be able to get past me in a minute." As the cars swerve around me and speed down the road I hurrumph at their impatience.

I've noticed the same thing when I'm walking along a footpath. As a driver I grudgingly allow pedestrians right of way, muttering to myself about how I should have the priority here. When I'm the pedestrian I wait for the car to pass, thinking all the while of road rules that say pedestrians have right of way on footpaths. I can't win and neither can anyone else! There seem to be two sets of rules running tandem in my mind!

Ultimately I'm just plain selfish - I want my own way all the time. Driving or cycling, walking or driving - I'd like to go first thankyou.

So that'll be two sets of rules for me please! One to suit me in every set of circumstances thanks!

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At 11:46 am, February 27, 2007, Anonymous Sandy said...

So true, I live by double standards also. I love riding bikes though, I wish there were extra paths every where so I could save the gas money and get the excerise I need by riding my bike.

In many places here, since the railroad has fallen apart they are turning railroad paths into bike paths. Keeps us off the street and we can get to places easily. Not in my town though unfortunately. Places like Cape Cod have huge amounts of bike paths.

Good for you for making the trek.

At 4:09 pm, February 27, 2007, Blogger Robyn said...

Hahaha you and the rest of the world, at least you 'fess up to it!

At 6:28 pm, February 27, 2007, Blogger Lucidiocy said...


thanks for the laughs. I love riding my bike (I gave up rollerblades) but I am always walking it when I get nervous. Mostly I am just afraid of humiliating myself by trying to jump a curb or anything larger than a leaf and flying over the handlebars like I did last year.

Ride like the wind!



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