Yesterday, I was riding on a small lane from Bolton Abbey to Burnsall. It’s a fairly idyllic location and, as it was a recovery ride, I was taking it fairly steady. At one point a car came towards me on this narrow stretch and didn’t slow down even a fraction.
On the positive side he didn’t knock me over into the ditch. But, it was passing at speed far too close for comfort or safety. At this point it is all a familiar tail of woe – something most cyclists can relate to. But, a minute later I saw another car in the distance. Firstly, you start to fear a repeat performance, but this car came to a stop. It was quite a generous wait – because I still had a considerable distance to where he was kindly waiting.
In a spirit of mutual good deeds. I got out of the saddle, rocked from side to side and pretended to sprint to where the car was waiting. I may have been pulling a few Tommy Voeckler style gurnings into the bargain. When I got to the car, the driver was literally rolling around with laughter. He was mimicking my shoulder rolling and giving me a big thumbs up. I wish I could have taken a picture of his face, I’ve never seen such a happy motorist. He really thought it was funny that this cyclist was sprinting along to speed up his wait. (I wasn’t going fast at all.)
It just struck me the different attitudes you can meet on the road. For the sake of 3 seconds, the first car refuses to slow down and just ploughs through as if I was an invisible cyclist. The second driver was happy to wait an extra 15 seconds for me to arrive. But, it was the second driver who got so much joy from the whole experience.
Alas I’m back in Oxfordshire. Just as Yorkshire / Calderdale was getting very interesting.
It seems there are no shortage of really hard climbs around West Yorkshire / Calderdale area. I wish I had stayed in Yorkshire for a few more days. Since posting about Trooper Lane – readers have advised of more tempting climbs and routes.
- The Buttress – One of the Calderdale 50
- The Hell of the Worth – 50 miles, 2,700m of climbing
3 thoughts on “The happy motorist”
It’s not even a matter of time saving. On roads like that the second driver will still have reached his destination at the same time as he would if he had not stopped for you. He would have made up the 15 seconds over the rest of the journey. The kind of behaviour demonstrated by the first driver is either deliberately intended to endanger or scare a cyclist, or the driver was not concentrating. Either way, something for us to worry about.
Similar experience the other day on a narrow, slippery, 10% lane in west Kent. Motorist, who happened to be a women in her 60’s, saw me from a distance away then I belatedly realised she was barely going to brake as I unclipped and came to an abrupt halt – she passed within a few inches of my leg and bike as I huddled against the hedgerow taking cover as best as I could in the limited window…
The problem is experiences like that can stick in the mind while on the same ride, if I think a little harder, and when I had a good view of the road ahead, I can remember waving through and thanking a few drivers who had waited patiently for a sensible place to overtake.
At least the odd crazy does remind me to be careful round any blind bend on descents – you never know if there will be someone overtaking a fellow cyclist (or some such) and hoping nothing will come round the corner at the wrong time…
I have been thinking a lot over the summer about creating a campaign to warn drivers about cyclists. Dunno how to promote it though. It is something vaguely along these lines…
Option 1: Wait 30 seconds behind the cyclist and miss the start of Coronation Street
Option 2: Hit the cyclist and get arrested. Spend 12 hours in a Police cell. Attend court 5 times over the next year – missing 5 days work/pay for another 35 hours of your time. Get sentenced to 5 years in prison for dangerous driving because you killed the cyclist. Get early release after serving half and spend the next 2.5 years attending probation once a week, for another 78 hours of your time. Grand total of:
Borrow 30 seconds and pay back nearly 2.6 million times in return… and lose your driving license as well. Think about it!