Another Assassination Attempt
With the weather this week I’ve been a bit of a wuss. I admit it - I really don’t enjoy riding in torrential rain and a 30+ mph headwind. Maybe it’s a getting older kind of thing. Or maybe I’m just going soft. The trouble is that if I don’t ride I get irritable. Not that it’s an addiction. No siree - I could give this up any time I wanted to.
So. The weather forecast on Thursday night was looking good for Friday - a bit breezy, but bright and sunny at least. Fine winter weather for riding to work.
When the alarm went off at 06:30 though, I could hear the clatter of rain on our attic bedroom’s windows. Damn - it looked like being another driving day. But what I was hearing turned out to be the tail end of a pre-dawn squall, and by the time it was time to make my mind up the sky was blue.
Yes! I was going to get my fix!
The wind was still "interesting" though - blowing a steady 25mph or so across my path. The road between Whitley Bay and Blyth is totally exposed to this sort of wind, and I spent a happy few miles riding dead straight while leaning over like a tea clipper trying to set some sort of record.
Because of the wind, it was a pretty slow ride, with a fair degree of wobbling too. In fact, it was an interesting experience in feeling how drivers treat a novice cyclist - in general they gave me a WIDE berth! I was nearly at the office and thinking this through (in heavy traffic that doesn’t seem to be giving you enough room, should you adopt the primary position AND wobble for all you’re worth? Discuss.) when it happened.
A small roundabout in a residential area, close to a school. I was going uphill(ish) and battling with that damned wind, and there was a car approaching. I had right of way . . . and the sun behind me. The driver didn’t stop.
It was another one of those situations where everything drops to an unreal slow-motion, and you look across to see a rider you didn’t realise was next to you. He’s really thin, wearing non-aero cloak & cowl that’s as black as midnight, and carrying of all things, a scythe. He looks back with eyes that contain eternity and says with a voice like leaden coffin lids being slammed,
"HELLO KARL . . . OH BUGGER, IS THAT THE TIME ALREADY? SORRY - I HAVE TO BE ELSEWHERE…"
… and then the time of the world snaps back its grasp of reality. The car isn’t going as fast as I’d thought. If it hits it’ll only be a glancing blow to the back wheel. . . I’m past!
Stop the bike. Turn around and start shouting and giving chase,
"Come back! Come back here RIGHT NOW!"
The car stopped a hundred yards or so down the road, and as I drew level, the driver had opened her window and was gushing apologies. Which was all I wanted. I shook her hand for that, and asked her to be more careful. And then she said that it was the sun in her eyes and the world got a bit strange.
I remembered John The Monkey’s advice on this, and adopting an accent just perfect for a Spitfire pilot said, "Ah . . . as they say, Beware The Hun In The Sun!" as my parting shot.
Pumped up on adrenaline, the remainder of the ride to the office was somewhat quick, but without incident.
- Type: Cycle
- Date: 11/12/2010
- Total Time: 2:00:00.00
- Calories: 1461
- Distance: 29.5 miles
- Average Speed: 14.75 mph