The weather this evening in Taunton has been fairly abominable. To be sure, nothing like facing a hurricane – far more mundane. A very heavy rain with a biting wind. Typically I forgot to pack my raincoat in my bag today, so I knew the bicycle ride home was going to be very wet.
Cycling is a fairly new mode of transportation to me. I learned to ride many years ago as a child, but as a way of getting to and fro work it was never something I considered until my wife moved over here. As a visit to Copenhagen will quickly demonstrate that the Danes are convinced cyclists. Indeed, the bicycles can be more dangerous than the cars! So with my wife’s encouragement I have for most of the last year or so been cycling to work.
Tonight, for the first time, a car decided to interrupt my journey home.
It was a black evening, especially with the rain. The road – a back-road – was nevertheless fairly well lit. A friend was cycling beside me, when a car pulled out into the road without looking from a side-road. It was fortunate they were going very slowly, as they had not bothered looking to see the way was clear, with the result they bumped into me.
This is not quite as dramatic as it sounds – my friend (cycling on my outside) was perhaps half a length ahead of me and they had finally saw him and started to break. I tried to get out of the way too, but ultimately unsuccessfully. If one is to be hit by a car, this is how to be hit by a car – with the car now moving slow enough that one does not even get properly knocked off one’s bike. After a few minutes to collect myself (the car driver did stop and ask if I was alright) I continued on my way, and arrived home without further incident.
There was a time when this would mean I would cease cycling for a considerable length of time. I felt the urge just to tie up my bike somewhere and leave it as I stood on the pavement afterwards, my legs feeling like they were made of water. However, since my illness – especially in the last few years – I have become determined not to let my anxieties rule me as once they did. So it was I felt a rising desire not to be put off – it was enough to get me on my bicycle and get me home to my wife and daughter. I trust it will be strong enough to get me onto my bike tomorrow morning.
Just one of the many things that have changed – for the better – the last few years.