Cycling has been in the headlines again this week with safety at domestic level events being scrutinised after some bad accidents.
You can have the best race organisers in the world briefing the riders, have the course well marshalled and put up brilliant signage. However, if you don’t have the buy-in from other road users then you are done for.
I used to ride some events in the lanes south of Peterborough. They were roads that I trained on week after week without any other traffic. On race day there was always horses on the course and there was always some words and drama.
I asked someone I met who rode both horse and bike and they confirmed my fear that the riders came out when they saw the “Cycle Race in Progress” signs as an attempt to make a big deal and get cycling cancelled.
During lockdown one of the pubs on our local course killed off their car park to have more outdoor seating (as you could meet outdoors socially). It has proved so popular that they haven’t changed it back meaning time trialists having to hurtle towards the busiest t-junction on the course passing parked cars.
It has made the course a lot more tricky as a result.
The amount of traffic seems to be increasing again and again and I look back on my time riding dual carriage way Saturday afternoon time trials as an age that will never be back.
I wouldn’t even think about riding dual carriage way nowadays.
I think and plan any riding on A roads and only use them when absolutely necessary.
But… is my cycling relationship more negative as a result?
I am going to venture no.
This lunchtime I clipped in and after 4 minutes through the centre of town was out on the country lanes with a smile on my face… despite a howling cross wind.
On the single track I had to stop for a dog on a long lead and a walker who didn’t hear me coming but it didn’t bother me. I was out in the fresh air enjoying spring time and some miles.
Maybe its the evolution of my cycling career that makes me feel like a good ride doesn’t have to be arguing with traffic or belting down roads that probably are a bit too busy for me to cut loose.
But I feel a better rider and human as a result.
(Waits for tomorrow when I end up arguing with a driver now)