I’ll Take My Chances With The Traffic, Thank You
I fell off again this morning - that’s TWICE this week. A bit of a bash on the shin, and the remains of my self-respect, dignity and pride in tatters. Here’s what happened . . .
It wasn’t too cold last night, but just as I was leaving home, the heavens opened for one of those short, sharp showers that weather forecasters like to talk about. It was a good wintery shower too - a mix of rain, sleet and hail all at the same time. But it stopped almost as soon as it started - certainly before I’d done more than a couple of miles.
As I got to the roundabout that’s the junction between Wagon Way (A193) and Hadrian Road (A187), I figured that I really couldn’t be bothered with the traffic lights at the road works. And seeing as it was sort of warm, I was sure that the cycle path would be ice free . . .
Geography & Climate 1.01: I live right next to the sea, so I experience a maritime micro-climate. As you go inland, the temperature-buffering effect of the sea decreases. So in summer, it’s noticeably warmer just a few miles inland, while in winter, it gets colder the further you get from the coast.
The path looked like it had just had some sleet fall on it, but I could tell something was wrong pretty soon after joining it. Within the first hundred yards, there are a couple of sweeping bends under the trees, and even taking it really easy, the back wheel tried to skip out. Then as I came onto the straight in the open, it did it again.
I tried to correct by steering into the skid. The front wheel gave a little slither, but the bike stayed upright. Then it happened again, and I wasn’t so lucky. The bike just slipped out from under me, bashing my right shin on the way past. I didn’t fall over . . . as I’d been prepared, and got both feet down as the bike got away from me.
Turns out that what I’d taken for a bit of a sleety surface on the path was actually black ice. The shower that’d fallen as I set off from home had passed this way, and being just that little bit further inland, the ground was cold enough to freeze it. There was no way I was going to ride on this surface, so I gingerly started pushing my bike along the path, heading for the next exit back to the road.
If you’ve seen “The Transporter 2″, you might think that the cleats on cycle shoes would afford some grip on this sort of surface. Don’t believe a word of it - they don’t. I eventually got back to the road by walking my bike along the grass at the edge of the path.
So from now on, I’m staying on the roads during winter. If the cycle paths aren’t gritted and salted, they’re just not worth the risk.
Which is a shame, ‘cos given the choice of a smooth, tree-lined, car-free route, or having to constantly use the “Don’t even think about it, buster” look on drivers, I know what I’d want to choose every time.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 12/11/2008
- Time: 14:12:50
- Total Time: 00:35:00.00
- Calories: 456
- Distance: 8.5 miles
- Average Speed: 14.57 mph