The way I have been conditioned I need constant approval for anything I do in my life.
It turns out that I have picked the wrong time to return to cycling.
There is so much hate between the various road users at the moment.
Allot of people will at this point apologize for the length of the dialog. I’m afraid I can not offer such an apology, it is as long as it is and that can’t be helped.
But I will apologize for the title. It is a question that will remained unanswered and I don’t want to mislead any readers.
Before I begin a bit of history.
During my early carrier spent a great deal of time on the road of Gosport and Portsmouth on a pushbike before I learnt to drive.
- Two car doorings
- Two turn left curb crunches
- One pull out at a roundabout while I was on it,
- One car crunching me into a curb because a bus was coming the other way and waiting behind me was simply not an option.
- One half lit cigarette thrown out of a window at me which I hope was not intentional, it got me in the eye and I don’t know how I was not burnt.
These are the only ones I remember. Smacking in to a lamppost, getting spat out in a tram track and riding into the harbor was completely my own doing.
So on becoming a car driver not only did I become more aware of how the road works but I became extremely circuitous towards cyclists. I guess I was the few newly passed that regarded their new license as a license to drive a road legal weapon.
I then pass my motorbike license which opened my eyes even more to the vulnerability’s suffered by anyone opting for two wheels on the road.
It was while riding a motorbike I learnt about the level of hate there was directed towards those on a motorbike. Of course I took this personally but regardless of riding within the law and “Like a girl” I was lumped in with in the same “Motorbikes are a menace” category.
And with a few ride outs with the wrong sort of people I soon saw why. There are riders out there just want to do a ton down the motorway. They boast about doing 170MPH on the M27. Go surfing on roundabouts to see if they can get their Knee down.
A past biker boyfriend and my self had a falling out over the fact that I did not go faster than the speed limit.
Needless to say he was not my boyfriend for much longer after this.
I even down graded my bike from a CBR600ST to a BMW800ST in the hope that it would remove a bit of the boy racer image and help with the hate.
How is this a down grade you ask? I went from a sports bike to the type of bike that is ridden by men who opt for sandals and socks.
I flaunted a statistic published at that which I like to think as positive discrimination.
“If A cyclist looks to be female a car is 70% more likely to give extra room due to any incompetence inherent to her gender”
So I road with my hair out despite it ending in a knotted wind burnt mess and with a Pink Florescent jacket with the name “Doris” printed on the back. That was the name of my bike
If it was going to give me 70% more chance of some curtsy I was bloody going to use it.
I also did a course with the IAM just to be sure I was doing everything I could do to keep me safe.
I’m pleased to report that the only incident that occurred on my motorbike was during a familiar commute to work.
It was wet
A272 just outside Petworth
I was doing 60
On a bend
A deer came out and started to do its panic back and forth “deer about to die” dance.
Breaking at that speed in the wet at that time I felt would be dangerous and I would go sliding off across the road and hit by the next oncoming car.
Best sequence of events I felt were off throttle straiten up then brake.
Between off throttle and straighten up was the impact.
And I’m sad to report that at that point my eyes were shut. Only for a second.
But I’m still moving still on the bike. So that’s good.
Straighten up slow down pull over just about get helmet half off before vomiting over my left leg.
Seeing that there is no dead deer in the road and no dead me I figured I caught its right hand side rear hoof, I check for any injured deer in the opposite verge but it must be mobile enough to get some distance between the itself and the scene of incident.
I spend a bit of time getting my self back together and trying to get the half digested Alpen out of my textile trousers I debate whether or not to go back and get the car but I continue, this time at 50 mph as apposed to 60 and suddenly the deer warning signs come extremely apparent like I had never seen them before.
It brought home that no how sensible I am no matter how much I ride within the Law nothing can prepare you for a deer jumping out at you.
I believe in the 10 years of riding my bike this was my only incident because I rode for everyone in my vicinity at the time. I rode on the assumption that anyone around me had not seen me, I also rode my bike like my car. If my car was not capable of overtaking that car in front in the time I had then my bike could not (even through it could) If I couldn’t do it in a car I wasn’t going to take advantage of the power of the bike for the sake of getting to work a few minutes earlier).
Whilst on the road, that’s how I was. I saved everything for the track as one should.
The bike had to go when I found that child No.2 was on the way while I miss it sourly It was a bit of a weight of my shoulders as I now no longer had to defend my self to other road users that I was not a menace to society. What with a sudden increase of sports bikes ridden by users with built in back bumps in their leathers and unnecessary revving it couldn’t come at a better time.
Now back on two wheels this time with only manual propulsion in the form of my withered thigh muscles the hate is there, but this time its more intensive.
I’m back to where I was defending my option to ride a motorcycle. But this time there’s a lot more things to prove and defend and a lot less protection both physical and from the Law and general driving awareness.
Instead of sharing the road its become them and us and this has to change.
And what with me sharing my bike with my son its very personal.
This will continue but for now that is all.
Thanks for taking the time to read.
For now lets just share the road.