Monday, February 12, 2007

The long way round - is my number up?

Today is the first day since my pre-Christmas crash that I felt like riding the long way to work. I looked out of the window to see a bright blue swathe of sky (I had a lie in courtesy of last week's intensive bid). By the time I moved Green out of the bike-room, locked the door and walked outside, it was grey and rainy - everywhere. The waterproofs went on.

I saw Jeff riding the other way and called good morning to him. He was oddly bemused to see me going the wrong way to work but understood I am sure. At 62, Jeff is the fittest man in our department - self included.

The heavens gradually opened further as I approached and turned up Elendune Road where my longer ride got more enjoyable as the traffic died away. Still the rain sneaked through the slits in my helmet and I felt the gradual encroaching damp in my leggings from the odd drip off my coat and splash from my mudguard. A polo driver squeezed past at high speed, grinding away someone's carefully mowed grass verge with his nearside wheels. An Audi driver swung into the drive way to give me 4 ft to pass. Elendune Road is only car-wide. I stopped for the Milk tanker coming down the hill and he passed with a wave. On the hill climb a porsche cut it fine because he was too busy avoiding a fallen branch on his side. I managed to ignore him.

Back on the main road I descended to my village and had a moment when a driver decided to pull out in front of me as I descended on a wet road with wet brakes. He got some moderate abuse as I was genuinely scared and knew he'd seen me but chosen to ignore me. I know I shouldn't do abuse - not when I live so close to work but 30 seconds later a car door opened in my face and a spotty teenager emerged complete with skin head and baseball cap. I could see the spiny blonde bumfluff of skinhead under his grimy hat.

Un-remorseful, clueless ****. I wish I'd blown the bloody door off.

I got to the bottom of Brimble hill.

'Pooter was dead. Not just misbehaving - dead.

Fuck fuckity fuck fuck. All those extra miles (all six of them), all that extra abuse, all those extra dangers, all that extra rain. Worthless according to a little black block of plastic.

I got to work. Someone has discovered my secret closet of warmth to change in. Someone else's clothes were in my cubicle. Damn. I began to wonder if this is all worth it.

Then a friend came and talked bikes to me. He'd had two close calls this morning too. Was there something in the air? Were we all just that little bit tetchier because of the weather?

Only now, do I remember that as I got to the bottom of Ellendune hill, I passed a well dressed (green wellies and wax jacket well-dressed) lady walking her dogs the other way and at the exact moment we made eye contact and said good morning, the sun came out and blazoned us with daylight through the grey. Somebody turned the lights on and two complete strangers acknowledged each other verbally and that, amongst other things, is one of the treasures that makes my ride to work all the more worthwhile.

Off to fit a nu 'pooter.

Miles cycled in February: Approximately 85

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