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20th October 2008.
I'm Not Paranoid
They really are out to get me

Not had a good commute this morning.

Yeah, itís raining, but I donít mind that at all, Iíd take a cycle in the rain over a drive in the rain any day of the week.

It all started about 1 mile in. IĎd hardly left the front door before bumping into a 3M[1] driver.

At a busy, 3 lane, set of lights (the Scott Arms in Great Barr) I turn right from Newton Road into The Walsall Road towards Birmingham. I was at the front of the lights and occupied the centre of the right turn filter lane[2]. Just before the lights changed, an Ambulance with sirens blaring and blue lights flashing approaches from our left, turning right across our path. The lights change and I, and the leading two vehicles on the lanes to my inside all stay put. The lights might give us priority but our collective conscience gives way to the ambulance.

If only the driver of the car behind me had a conscience. She drove up to my back wheel and started sounding her horn. Nice. I pointed to the ambulance, now directly in front of us only to receive a further blast from her horn. Hmmm, an obvious idiot.

So, the way becomes clear and off we go. Within 10 yards the road opens up, I move to the left heading for the cycle lane, she moves to the right. In other words, I didnít hold her up in the slightest. At least, not as much as the 2 miles of queues that are always in between Great Barr and Perry Barr every morning. Yes, large traffic queues, I hope she enjoyed them. Me? Nah, cycled past it up the cycle lane without being held up in the slightest. I waved as I passed Mrs 3 M Driver. I bet her blood boiled. And I bet sheís clueless as to what the hold up on her journey is. By the time she getís to work she will have convinced herself that there it wasn't the traffic, instead it was all the fault of the cyclist for the half hour delay to her journey. What a Muppet. Quite an impatient, potentially dangerous Muppet.

Now Iím cycling down the cycle/bus lane when I very nearly bump into another impatient Muppet. This one decides to pull into the bus/cycle lane. Nope, this antisocial git felt he was too important to wait with all the other drivers, the good ones. And obviously too good to check whether there was anything actually occupying the space they were driving into, otherwise they might have known I was there. Quick reactions from me saw me scoot past the front of their car rather than under it. GIT!

And finally, White Van Man. He was driving a red transit pick up, but his disguise wasnít fooling me. Iím now about half mile from work and passing a road to my left, one that Red Pickup Man obviously wants to turn down. Why he wanted to do it as I was passing the road, blocking itís entrance is beyond any reasoning to me. Nope, he didnít wait the second or so it would have took for me to pass, he overtook me on the junction forcing me to brake hard and turn with him to avoid becoming a Flat Gaz. Iím afraid this was my limit. His lethal driving forced a rather loud obscenity to pop out my head. I think the accusation of him being a habitual self abuser (but in a lot fewer words) was quite fair given the circumstance. What on earth was this Muppet thinking? Heíd have never have done that to a car, why do it to someone without the benefit of half a ton of protective metal around them?

Ah well. Weíre running out of oil and itíll become too expensive for most people long before that. We cyclists are the future. To borrow the maxim of the Edinburgh Cycle Co-op, the revolution will not be motorised.

Keep Pedaliní


[1] Three M Drivers
[2] The primary riding position. An assertive riding position used by cyclists at Junctions and road narrowingís to prevent cars from overtaking when dangerous to do so. Sadly, we canít rely on a minority of motorists not to put us in harms way to save a second or two on their entire journey time and so we use this riding position for around 5% of each journey, the other 95% of the time we are in the secondary riding position, about 50cm to 100cm from the kerb.

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