Part of my travel arrangements now mean that I’m forced into a motor car for part of the day. A short hop to the M4 and then I wing my way by one of the country’s busiest conduits to our new site, nestling in the verdant* Gwent valleys. I looked at the alternatives – a 32 mile round trip cycle or combination of infrequent trains and bikes – but which ever way I cut it, I can’t arrive or leave at the times I need to due to childcare arrangements. So I’ve settled for the school run on the bike, then return to collect the car and duke it out with the other rapidly shifting blocks of metal.
Now that I’m in the same boat as it were, I’ve started to note some strange behaviour.
- I watched a line of cars chug at uber low speed** toward the M4 as I left it near Newport. The drivers in 5 consecutive cars were on the phone, one of whom was videoing the queue while steering with his elbows.
- The car that scythed across 3 lanes of the motorway to bag a spot on the slip road, at speed, whilst on the phone. Impressive stunt man stuff***.
- Two cars racing in and out of busy traffic, one of whom clearly had the hump. Both cars were large saloons driven by middle aged men.
- The young lad who blazed through Whitchurch village, doing over 50mph (minimum) in a 30mph zone and passing through a zebra crossing en-route.
- The truck that swung out in front of me to overtake a vehicle doing EXACTLY THE SAME SPEED and held it there benefiting absolutely no-one whatsover, despite narrowly sideswiping vehicles to get there.
- ….and on……and on…….
These observations are tip of the iceberg stuff. I could bore you with every mobile phone incident, every wild maneuver, every truck driver that is plainly distracted by something playing on a screen somewhere to the left of his cab****. But it would be pretty tiresome and eventually expose your shocking attention span as that fleeting desire to check out the latest celebrity gossip cruelly takes you away from these pages and onto twitter*****. But the thing that is as plain to me as the nose on my face – in my case a fairly substantial broken nose – is that for all its risks and dangers, the motor car makes people feel safe, sound and largely ignorant to the dangers of steering powerful pieces of machinery in the same direction as soft, squishy, vulnerable people (such as them).
<scratch head, gaze into middle distance, wonder about the cruel ironies of behaviour and life>
On the plus side, when I eventually step out of my vehicle, I do get to ride or cycle in the beautiful/verdant Sirhowy Country Park in my lunchtimes (picture above taken on my CX training ride). I’d just better remember my galoshes.
*’Verdant’ is a double edged sword. One of my friends once remarked that on circling to land in Jamaica, his heart sank at the sight of lush green forest because ‘lush green forest means sh*tloads of rain’.
**And I mean, ‘uber slow’. I chugged in the opposite direction at similarly slow speeds clocking 800m in 10 minutes. When I was running well, I used to sustain just over 5 minute miling for 3 bloody miles. I could have run the distance FOUR TIMES.
***Or stupidly dangerous. You be the judge.
****Convoy the Directors cut?
***** I know you don’t do that. Honest.