Thursday, March 08, 2007

Mixed blessings

Sydney Body Art Ride has posted a really nice blog about the difference experience of life that comes froms driving cars and from cycling in the city. These the words and image resonate with my week on the bike. On Sunday, especially, I had one of those amazing days on the bike. I’d left home at 6am to ride the Royal National Park loop with DHBC. I then meet up with my friend Pete and we rode down to Wollongong. During the day we caught up with several friends, went to the beach, visited my Gran and were showered with hospitality by all we meet. I just managed to get home before 10pm, only two minutes before the massive electrical storm broke. Yesterday, however, was not one of those perfect days. I left Uni at 4 pm to avoid the storm and as I passed down Wellbank Street in North Straithfield, I was blasted by a motorist honking his horn. I had taken the lane and was turning right within another 50m. I had indicated my intention to turn but the thought of waiting another 10 seconds was too much for this hot-head. He blasted his horn again and again and called me a fuckwit. Of course if I were turning a semi-trailer around the same corner, there is no doubt that this idot would wait patiently for several minutes, but idea of the cyclist asserting their right to the road was out of his comprehension. Thankfully, these things only happen every so often and a cool head can overcome the sense of moral outrage and indignation that stirs at such times. This was only the second time such an event had happened this year. Oddly, the previous event was also around the same time and place. I have come to call it the ‘ute hour’ and I even joked about it with my workmate as I left the office yesterday. It encompasses the lull before the storm of peek hour traffic. At this time, thousands of aggressive rat-running motorists hoon across Sydney’s backstreets trying to outrun the impending doom of total congestion. It’s not the best time to be on the road. Later at Lyons Road West, I signalled to turn right and was thankfully let into the lane just before I turned at roundabout onto Harris Rd. The driver acknowledged my presence, I acknowledged his with a nod and I felt much better in the knowledge that only some of Sydney's motorists are complete psychopaths.

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