So as I was cruising along on today’s ride I carried on getting annoyed by dog walkers, Strava users and finally car drivers, although now I think about it I more pity the driver I met today than feel any genuine hatred.
Dog walkers today were not annoying me for the reasons I have stated before but for something entirely new that caught my eye. As I looked at the trees as I was riding past, every second one was festooned with dog poo bags. Even more unbelievably it turns out this is actually a thing.
Where did people first start thinking that taking a highly biodegradable item and placing it in a highly un-biodegradable item was a great idea? “I’ll just pick up this part of a sound eco-system and put it in a container safe from the eco-system”. Who are these people and how do I make sure I never have to talk to them, I do not think my fragile grasp on reality could cope with that conversation.
Do people have Facebook chats about what trees deserve the festooning? Is there an Instagram hashtag I can follow? Is it an old folk tradition, now instead of bells, we use black or green poly bags? Why have I not been aware of this travesty before? Humanity I despair.
After I got over my mental anguish of the poo bags, I started to think about Strava segments.
Now I know what your thinking, your thinking I was wondering if I could get a KOM on Strava. Well sadly, I mostly use Strava as a way to attract people to my blog, it does not work if you are looking for blogging tips, and not to gain KOMs, this is because I know I will never gain one so why would I kill myself trying to get one?
Now to kill is a nice segue way into my point. People create segments in really stupid places.
The blue line above, as you may see was part of a family cycle I was on, is part of the NCR 75 cycle route, this part is a shared access path. It is a narrow path, with a rail and the Clyde at one side and small walls along the other, there are bridges that access the path and old boot mooring pillars dotted along the path. The path is also in a state of slight disrepair and has some nice slick old tram tracks in the surface. It is always busy.
Riding along here slowly feels dangerous at the best of times, trying to ride along here to get a Strava KOM must rank with being suicidal or my other guess is that people create these segments so they can get a KOM. They would never get a KOM where the fast boys will ride fast, so they, therefore, need to create one where nobody in their right mind would challenge them.
Now I have no problem with the wannabe racers going out and killing themselves but on a path like this, they are endangering other people. How can cyclists hope to get more respect on the road, when the first thing we do when on a shared access path is to turn into a mini- Lance Armstrong? We complain about close passes from cars but we are quite willing to do this to people on foot. People will not forget those lycra louts.
I was thinking about this on the canal path as I had one of those guys steam up the opposite direction, in a section that was nicely full of people walking. Try and turn these people’s opinions of cyclists around now. It also brought back my irrational fear of being knocked into the canal, so imagine how the children out with their parents felt.
Now we can look at car drivers.
Today I had the de rigueur close passes but then I encountered something different. Something that could have become a dangerous situation but instead left me wondering again about people’s sanity.
So as the weather was a bit overcast I had lights on, mainly because if you run me over I want to make sure I was doing as much as possible to make sure I did not get run over. My front was on a low flashing mode, just enough to make sure you noticed me.
As I was riding up the A872, not the quietest road in the world, a car coming down the other way started to flash his lights in a way I took to mimic my light as some form of a joke. Rather than rising up to the bait, I carried on pedaling.
The guy then must have turned his car around on a road that was pretty busy. He then caught up with me again. Driving level with me he popped down his passenger’s window to berate me for having a light that flashes. I nicely pointed out that his current life endangerment of multiple road users would not be looked on fondly by the police and he called me a wanker and drove off.
Now I suppose I could have got angry or scared by being chased down by a motorist, both I feel would have been viable emotions to feel. Instead, I felt more pity towards him than anything else. What is going on with this man’s life that he felt this was something he had to do? He did not like the fact my light was flashing, fine by his mimicry he made his point but also backed mine up that at least he saw me. He could the have just carried on and called me names, without any further recourse.
Instead, he chose to chase me down, in a manner that could have got him in a lot of trouble, and try and berate me on the road. Now if he felt my flashing light was a danger, I can understand that but he was now risking causing me to crash and cars on the other side of the road to swerve, this kinda killed any point he may have had. I am also not a huge fan of having my lights on flashing but I have had enough experience of using them flashing or on steady and find that flashing seems to work in a much more favorable towards my life preservation.
Humanity I worry about you. Still, my ride was fun and as I posted on Instagram, I have decided to create a new hashtag, the joys of first world existence.
My new hashtag is #SSGR. This is for going on a single speed gravel ride, I am fed up with #SSCX getting all the credit so it is time for something new, designed for people who like bikes with taller head tubes. Do not join the small head tube hashtag club and do it properly with #SSGR.