Spring riding

Spring is arguably the best time of the year to be riding, not least because of the many, and often new, bikes to be seen on the roads. The best one I have seen this Spring is this one:

It is the best because not only is it a bright, Springy colour, but it is a very stylish cargo bike, the type of which is not to be seen around these parts very often. Even the pedals are orange, and the wooden box is just too gorgeous with its retro styling. It gives me hope that Newcastle will soon become a true biking city.

Of course, I actually prefer old bikes, but the sight of brand spanking new bikes fills my heart with hope that there will be more riders on the streets this year, and there have been riders on every sort of new bike, from cruisers and loopframes to road bikes to hybrids.

I believed I had missed out on the best of Spring riding this year, until the sight of riders with the funny ziptie antennae reminded me that I had also missed out on magpie season. Many riders put these on their helmets in the belief that they will protect them from attacking magpies. I do not believe this is the case, as, the last time I was attacked, two years ago, the magpie struck behind my ear, just below my helmet, and drew blood, so I do not bother with magpie diverting devices anymore.

Spring also brings out the worst in some drivers, and can be what Dottie from LGRAB calls “Jerk Season“. I have found that since riding again after a recent poor health hiatus, I have encountered more than my fair share of them. Today on Beaumont Street, I was passed far too closely by a white van, plastered in company logos. As I approached the rail gates a few metres on, I passed him again as the gates were of course closed. Soon after, he passed me and called out words to the effect of “You should move over so I can pass you more easily”, though I did not catch all of what he said. I replied that he should not pass me so closely. I guess he felt he had run out of rational argument as his next comment was “Old cow!”

Now this section of Beaumont Street has very slow traffic due to the many lights and pedestrians and the rail gates, I had only held him up for a few metres and he passed me much more closely than he need have, he had plenty of space to pass. I now wish I had had the conversation with him at the window of his van so I could have pointed all this out, rather than a shouted altercation across the street. I also wish I had taken down the name of the business he worked for and complained to them, as this person did.

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9 Responses to Spring riding

  1. anniebikes says:

    Better to be called “old cow” than “jerk driver!” It’s not worth reasoning with someone like that. Best to swallow your anger and just get on with riding. Happy Spring.

    I didn’t know about those nasty magpies. Egads!

    • Vicki says:

      Annie, at the time I thought the same way, but on reflection, I thought that if I had talked to him in a reasonable way about the realities of riding and driving along this stretch of road, where no one can expect to travel at a fast pace and where the choice for riders is to ride in the door zone or take the lane, I should have pointed this out to him so that next time he will realise that his actions in trying to intimidate a rider are dangerous and totally unreasonable. Or he could choose to take the back streets, they are not as congested with traffic.

  2. Wayne Martin says:

    Hi Vicki, good to hear you are up and about and starting back with the articles.

  3. BB says:

    Glad you’re back on the bike in time for Spring 🙂 I would not have minded the “cow” so much, as I am quite silly about the cuteness of all things bovine, however, I would have been pretty narked about the “old”. I actually don’t think it’s possible to have a rational and adult exchange of information with someone who is obviously feeling cranky and hostile. My feelings tend to be thankful that I am not the wife said “jerk” will be going home to and that my day is obviously going a little better than theirs. Although, I have to say I have encountered very few rude, ignorant motorists, most are very well mannered and considerate.

    • Vicki says:

      BB I am very glad to be out riding again, that is for sure. Though I have noticed that a lot of motorists are rude to me lately when I have been out riding and this was the third or fourth one so decided to write about it this time. I find that on the few occasions I have had a rational conversation with these people that they are surprised that I have a point of view and that I can even talk so will attempt to do it more in future and hope the response is positive!

  4. AdamM says:

    Hi Vicki,

    I see you’ve spotted my (few months old now) new bakfiets while I was in the shop buying a sandwich. It’s a heavy beast but rather fun to ride, especially with my son up front which was the whole point of buying it.

    Glad to hear your health is improving


    • Vicki says:

      Ahh, I didn’t know it was yours Adam. What a great way to transport your son, a bakfiets would work for a lot longer than a bike seat. My daughter is getting one too for her two sons. My health is improving but it is a very slow process.

      • Jess says:

        So excited !!! It shld arrive just in time for Christmas. We decided to go for a trike in the end, I test rode a bakfiets at bike fest with my 2 year old in it and with him
        Squirming I found it difficult to handle at low speed. I can only imagine how squirmy 2 boys will be!! The trike will offer the stability that I will need…. Can’t wait! Never mind the angry drivers, they get even more angry at other car drivers… It’s just a hostile environment and Beaumont st seems to aggravate them with all the slow stop-starts.

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