Keep calm and carry on?


It’s difficult not to get angry when someone drives their car into the side of you as they unexpectedly enter your lane without checking their mirrors, or indicating.

It’s difficult not to lose control when someone absent-mindedly steps out into your path, barely missing you, and then has the audacity to tell you to ‘fuck off’ when you ask them to look where they’re going.

It’s difficult not to become exasperated when a teenager who is cycling while on his phone, suddenly pulls out of a side road at high speed without even glancing right, and then shoots you a look that could kill when you advise him to be more careful in future.

Why does it have to be so hard all the time? Why does it have to feel like I’m entering a war zone every time I get out on two wheels? Why does every commute home have to feel like a never-ending struggle, trying to reason with motorists, pedestrians and even other cyclists, who couldn’t care less if you end up in a crumpled heap on the ground, because of their thoughtless actions? Why does it have to feel like everyone is out to get me, all the damn time?

I love riding my bike, but for all the frustration, the fear, the anger and the tears, it leaves me wondering if it’s really worth the mental hardship. It’s hard enough to cope in a world where politics are sending public services down the drain, the media are scaremongering and people become more hostile towards each other every day.

Sometimes I want to ride my bike to escape from it all, but then I find myself wishing I’d not bothered, and that is the most upsetting thing of all.


6 Replies to “Keep calm and carry on?”

  1. I’m just mid way through the book bike nation. And when you look at all the positives cycling will have on your mind and body, and cheap and quick mode of transport. Surely there’s no other way! I guess ultimately better infrastructure is the way forward. Don’t get too sucked into the politics , keep doing what you love and makes you happy. There not all out to get you !

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The “war zone” atmosphere thins the further away I am from city and suburb. At least it does where I live.

    I do my share of spitting bile at thoughtless / unobservant drivers and pedestrians whenever I am riding in a city. My mood lightens considerably when I am riding in the countryside.

    Do more of those Independence Rides you wrote about. You’ll be reminded of why you love to ride your bike.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve read what I wrote about this sort of thing. It’s not about you, it’s about whatever else is going on in their lives to cause them to not pay attention to what’s going on around them and/or be angry all the time. You’re just momentarily intersecting with them. They’ll have forgotten about it 30 seconds later because they’ll have done it to someone else.

    Ride assertively, but not aggressively; ride defensively, but not timidly. And yes it is worth it so no quitting!

    Liked by 1 person

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