06 March 2007

Life and Death

Put simply, my mind was elsewhere.

My mind was hurtling down a powdery-snowy, yet smoothly pisted Tulipe (rouge) in the no-longer-slushy french Alps, at 50mph, ski tips glinting in the bright sunlight, Mont Blanc shimmering in the distance, my mind was busy executing point-perfect parallel turns

Meanwhile, my body was travelling at 5mph, perched my shiny new racing bike somewhere in grim, gun-ridden South London, half way home.

It was dark, it was raining hard - no, it was harder than that - and I was sneaking into the conveniently large space that had opened up between the curb on my left hand side and, on my right, a large HGV that was omigod- it- was- actually- turning- left.

The RoSPA is an worthy organisation isn't it? In its useful leaflet on HGVs and Cyclists entitled 'Avoiding Sudden Death' it opines, hepfully:
In a collision between a lorry and a cyclist, it is invariably the cyclist who will be injured
You're probably thinking "Well, at least that's cleared that one up, then". I'm thinking: "A curse be on the RoSPA". Because I calculate I've wasted a good three-quarters of an hour of my life since I read that trying to imagine a scenario where a collision results otherwise.

Mind you, though that is 45 minutes I'll never get back, it didn't seem anywhere near as long as the 2.5 seconds I spent on Friday night contemplating my certain death and at the very least - I reckoned - a buckled wheel and misaligned front deraileur, and I bet they'd charge me £60, minimum, at the bike shop to fix that, if I wasn't dead that was, and can you get a bike resprayed if it's scratched? If it is brand new I mean, and wouldn't it be funny if Reynolds was the one that scraped me off the pavement and he got to blog about it before I did?

I braked hard. I lived. I discovered that in a collision between a cyclist and a pedestrian-safety barrier, it's the cyclist who invariably ends up with the sore elbow and wounded pride.

When I got going again, I could see up ahead a old man ahead plugging away on a Brompton, - a perfect opportunity to establish a more elevated place in the pecking-order of the road, and I cheered up, and hared off after him.

Next week, I'm going to swim to work.

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