Just look at that. Quiet. Empty. Butter wouldn’t melt in its Tarmac mouth. Yet last night this road – the main artery through the Cardiff suburb of Whitchurch village – was in stasis, both carriageways paused for eternity. The reason? The perfect storm; poor weather conditions, road traffic accidents, a deluge of Christmas shoppers and the visit of the Coca-cola festive vehicle.
That’s right. The Coca-cola truck. A multi national company’s Heavy Goods Vehicle distributing it’s corporate message as sugary sweet (and ultimately as bad for you) as the content of its cans. It certainly has an audience; it brought Cardiff to a halt. Returning from the M4 home, it took me nearly 20 minutes to negotiate the last mile. There were tales of 4 hour trips for short local journeys and cars abandoned in favour of the long walk home.
Still….the situation had its compensations and its juxtapositions. On return I collected my bike, span softly down the centre of the road effectively overtaking two lines of cars that were in effect now parked. The rain lashed, the wind blew, but I moved. The feeling was one of elation and freedom, rather than frustration and captivity.
There was also a real irony to the situation. The only people able to move last night were those on bikes and mine was carrying me to the Cardiff Cycle City annual social; a meeting of people committed to helping Cardiff move effectively. With all the pain, angst and carbon dioxide being emitted on nearby roads, who could possibly argue? Never was so apt a background provided to such an appropriate gathering.