As evening falls….

A quick dash out on the bike, to catch the last few hours of rare sunshine this afternoon, had me stumbling into this sign along a Bedfordshire country lane:

image

The emphatic underlining certainly makes a point, but what of the import of the message? To my knowledge, the only litter to allegedly cause brain damage are the contents of fluorescent tubes and cat litter (in babies  especially). Now let’s not be alarmist…… neither of these unlikely dangers are going to feature in the depths farming country. But what other explanation……? Someone just practising his/her sign writing? Feel free to comment.

Though we are not the south west, and still less the Somerset Levels, we can still put on an impressive display of flooded roads

image

Upper Dean, Bedfordshire

…I traversed at least half a dozen, unsure of what unexpected danger might lurk in the depths. But it was a risk worth taking…………so long as you don’t meet an oncoming vehicle. If you do, and they don’t slow down……..who is going to have very wet legs (at the very least) when you emerge at the far end? But there is a secret for avoiding this…..cycle down the middle of the road through the flooded area, and guess what? The oncoming traffic will either stop and let you through or, at least, slow down to a crawl.

Use the same trick on a narrow single track road. Oncoming vehicles sometimes expect to maintain their speed as they approach you and brush by you, sometimes squeezing you off the road through intimidation. If you can hold your nerve and cycle down the middle of the road towards the oncoming vehicle, you will force them to slow down, and then the two of you can negotiate a passing point at a gentle pace. Accidents can be averted by the cyclist if he emphatically occupies his space on the road, and visually communicates (sometimes by positioning, sometimes by eye contact) with other road users.

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on February 7, 2014, in Aspects of Britain and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. You can’t always bet on oncoming traffic giving way to cyclists on a narrow road, as shown last Thursday. Although the leading rider was able to squeeze past an inconsiderate tractor driver, the chaos in the bunch behind descending at speed down the steep hill from Stoke Dry to Eye Brook Reservoir resulted in one rider flying over the handlebars and an ambulance being called. Luckily neither rider Carol nor her bike suffered any breakage and she got a lift home after treatment. The tractor driver then realised that his arrogant behaviour had narrowly avoided more serious consequences.

  2. The advantage of “taking the lane” is that drivers are more likely to see you! Alas, some drivers need more than a little educating about bicycles.
    So pleased Carol was not seriously hurt, and hope she’ll be brave enough to ride again soon. A tricky hill, that one at the best of times.

  3. I meant to post about the litter notice – one of the best I’ve see was along the lines of “You don’t have to be Messi to hit the bin! “

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