Loss of Mojo, Or Risk Appreciation?
Damn it was cold yesterday! The kind of cold where proper roughy-toughy Cyclists stuff a newspaper down the front of their jersey just to keep off the wind chill. Thank goodness for modern clothing materials, as I really don’t have the physique that would be made attractive by a reverse image transfer of the latest financial scandal headline.
Anyway, unlike the cold weather last week, there wasn’t any snow left on the ground to freeze, and no rain to freeze either. Sunday had been cool, windy and dry. So the weather last night hadn’t created any ice as such - except for the odd frozen puddle.
But the frost! It was like the frost you get in the Alps, quarter of an inch thick over everything. I mean everything - the grass, the beach, the footpaths. And the roads too; even the main roads had an 18″ strip at the edge that was still dusted white and glittering, and up the centre of each lane in the area between the cars’ wheels.
I managed to fall off my bike twice last week on the ice, an experience I was in no mood to repeat. To fall off once is unfortunate, twice smacks of carelessness, and any more marks you out as an utter Muppet. So I had to ride on the frost-free strip that was 2-4ft from the kerb. In itself this wasn’t such an issue, but I felt confined to that narrow strip of road - even if I wanted to, I couldn’t move aside to make more room for over-taking cars, but nor could I move out to prevent overtaking in places where it was unsafe to do so.
Examples of the latter would include where there’s a pedestrian refuge / traffic island. Technically there’s usually enough room for a bike and a car to be side-by-side in these areas. However, that requires the bike to be almost in the gutter, and for the car to be right up against the traffic island. What usually happens is no matter how close to the gutter you get, the car seems to come with you, making a bad situation worse. The way to get around this is to take the whole road - 50-100 yards before the pinch point, listen, look over your shoulder, signal if necessary, and move to the centre of the lane, thereby blocking it. Once past the pinch point, move back to the side of the road (50-100cm from the kerb).
But I couldn’t do that, because that would have meant riding on the glittery slippery stuff. And I found myself taking roundabouts like a novice - full of timidity and fear. Even pulling away from junctions was a nerve-jangling experience, as I had no intention of imitating MagnaTom’s high-jinks from last week:
Then the worst of it was that for some reason, every overtaking lorry seemed bigger, nearer, and faster than they usually are. In fact, by the time I got to my destination, I was decidedly freaked out by the whole experience.
So, am I losing my Mojo, growing up a little, or just starting to appreciate the risks more? Answers on a postcard to the usual address.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 12/15/2008
- Total Time: 1:25:00.00
- Calories: 886
- Distance: 19 miles
- Average Speed: 13.41 mph