Only in Britain can we have such a change in the weather. Yesterday was horrific, no sleet but constant rain and a very cold wind from the East (Russia). In all that terrible weather we had two women’s rides – one on the road and one off road. So all you tough guys out there make sure that no one sees you whimping out because of a little rain.
I contacted a bunch of mates for today’s ride as it was going to be dry and cold. Not everyone could make it but there were seven of us: a nice sized group. This was our first ride together this year and was just going to be a steady cruise; later on they may well get tougher. The route was researched by one of our group and was perfect. If you start and finish in Washington the 45 miles is on quiet (some very, very quiet) roads until the exit onto the A283 from Storrington to Washington. Riding in the warm sunshine you would have thought that life was perfect. However, as we joined the aforementioned road a car passed me deliberately close, there were no cars coming the other way, and the driver (who was a masturbator) raised his hand to single just what he is and does whilst driving. There is always one.
We might be a nation of cycle racing nuts (just look at the crowds at the TdF, Olympics and TdB) but we are also a nation that expresses its civil rights by its use of the car. We all criticise, even laugh at, the Americans with the N.R.A. putting forward the notion that it is a necessary and fundamental part of their civil rights to bear arms but aren’t we hypocrites. We all think that using a gun or a knife in the UK should mean a custodial sentence and yet it is rare for a driver to go to prison for killing someone in a road accident. There are no R.T.A.s according the police. Apparently they have dropped the “Accident” and now call it a “Road Traffic Collision”. In their view there are very few accidents. There is usually a reason: too much speed, poor tyres, using a phone etc. So there is a reason for the incident. It is not an accident. If you think about it, many of these incidents are far less accident and more deliberate when you consider the drivers action. Back to the USA. They may kill a lot of people with their firearms but, in general, they obey the speed limit and the rules of the road. The Americans aren’t all bad! I’m not suggesting that we should all drive slower and own a 45 but we do need to think about the our driving culture.
We have the safest roads in Europe if you are in the front seats of a car but the second most dangerous in Europe if you are any other road user. Worthing will get 20sPlenty fairly soon. How crazy is that? We actually have to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds that could go to far better causes as it is impossible to get British drivers to drive with care and respect for other users. How often do you stop to let pedestrians cross when driving in Worthing? I would rather see the money go to other causes and the drivers controlled as they are in the Netherlands. There the driver is assumed guilty whenever they hit a cyclist or pedestrian whatever the cause of the accident, sorry “collision”. That would shake up things in Britain but it’ll never happen. For the Brits any restriction or control of the use of their cars would be like taking rifles away from a Texans.
I hope that I am not killed before I see the (inevitable) change in this country. In the meantime the more of you who ride the closer we will get the critical mass that will bring about the change of attitude to road use. I have just renewed my membership to British Cycling and upgraded to Gold so if anything happens they’ll look after me.
Here is the ride on Strava it is definitely worth down loading and riding.