The swerve-brake

I’m fortunate enough to have a cyclable commute to work which is almost entirely along quiet country lanes. It’s good, but certainly not ‘luxurious’ which was implied by Ms BikeVCar this weekend when she stated “not all of us have the luxury of being able to cycle to work”. When I awoke this morning to the UK’s 100th consecutive day of summer rain I wasn’t feeling much excitement due to any upcoming luxury.

Anyway, the roads are pretty decent and I’ve learned the locations of the biggest potholes. Traffic lights and junctions are few and far between and the other road users are generally about as considerate as can be expected. I sometimes drive a car. I know what it’s like to be stuck behind a cyclist slowing you down. But I usually try to overtake at places where I’m unlikely to write-off my car or side-swipe the cyclist. A cyclist going fast seems slow to a car, and a cyclist going slow culturally demands that the driver revs the engine and shout expletives out of the window. It’s only fair.

However there’s one type of manoeuvre which seems to happen fairly regularly along my route to work. Most of the time the roads are wide enough for two cars to squeeze past (provided there isn’t a stupid cyclist acting like he owns the road) but quite often they reduce down to be just about wide enough for a car and something else like a flesh-and-bones human being, but definitely not two cars. It’s enough to make you want to swear at something. The end result is usually:

For clarity we drive on the left in this aggressive little country

If Car A arrives at the bottle-neck after Car B then Car A must wait. This is acceptable to everyone and Car A will sometimes receive a polite wave of the hand from Car B to thank him for waiting. Everybody wins.

Or do they? What if the irritating blue blob of a Cycle Person could have actually fitted past Car B and was planning to continue on his way without having to stop. That was until 2 seconds earlier when Car A had seen the blue blob and said to himself, “oh it’s a fu*king cyclist” and had zoomed past to avoid being unfairly held up by the damn cycle thing and then swerved in to the side of the road to fairly wait for Car B. Luckily Cycle Person is always ready for acts of stupidity and was immediately aware of the real and sudden danger of crashing into the back of Car A and managed to stop in time. He was also dexterous enough to avoid falling over.

What if the first few times this happened the Cycle Person pulled up alongside Car A and spoke to the driver. Turns out it would have been more productive to have discussed the situation with the hedgerow, as Car A’s aren’t driven by normal people, they are controlled by things full of rage and frustration. So Cycle Person doesn’t speak to them any more. He just writes a post about it and mutters to himself.

9 thoughts on “The swerve-brake

  1. bgddyjim says:

    I had that done to me by a f@cking school bus driver brother! I’ve had one car pull that stunt too… Dopes, all of them. Pat Verbeek was a hockey player for the Dallas Stars (and our Red Wings for a time) – they used to call him the little ball of hate. That about sums up those drivers. I feel your pain brother.

  2. Jason Sylvester says:

    Another situation similar to this is where the driver rushes past you as your approaching an intersection and then turns left right across your path forcing you to swerve or stop suddenly in order to avoid having your front tyre clipped by their rear tyre. It is certianly very peculiar this cyclist hatred culture. Cars are generally polite to courteous to other cars, pedestrians who get in each others way have a laugh about doing the side to side dance on the footpath. But a cyclist will cop abuse, even when the only thing they did ‘wrong’ was to chose pedals over petrol to get to around.

  3. hilarydavies says:

    “Not all of us have the luxury of being able to cycle to work” … did she really say that ??? … “He just writes a post about it and mutters to himself”. I agree … that’s all you can do. Well done. 2 years down, 58 to go.

    • bikevcar says:

      Yeah she said it … although she realised the ridiculousness of the comment straight away! It may also be true that the cyclist in the story above actually lost his temper and shouted at Car A. But none of us are perfect!

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