scribblanity
July 7th, 2024

blast from the past

I was just doing some old file moving and tidying this morning and found this item that I posted on a blog many years ago now. My memory for events pre-stroke is extremely patchy, and it is very hard to get anything to stick in my memory at all now, but this one, about four years post-stroke, is burned in.

I expect most cyclists would have similar experiences to recount. I have more now myself, even having moved and doing all my cycling on quieter roads more rurally. Extremely time-pressured grocery and parcel delivery vans are the main culprits out here.

Note, I am very much not 47 as in the post any more, but that was very nearly the age that I finished living at.


To the Quarry lorry driver.


I am a Dad to two children.
I am a husband.
I am the survivor of a stroke, battling back to fitness over the last four years.
I am diagnosed with Relapsing Remitting MS, trying to keep it at bay. 
I am 47 years old.
I like to read, write and photograph.
I love to be in and watch nature.
I love my kids and my wife.
I have never been arrested.
I drive.
I have lived through life events that would make a good drama series or two.
But I like to cycle.
And for that you nearly killed me today.


For some reason you decided that I was annoying you. You, in your god knows how many tons of truck and quarried stone load on a wide and otherwise clear road, and me, eighty five kilos of man on a bike.

Was it because I was cycling on the road?

Was it because I wasn't using the adjacent wide and new shared use cycle and walking pathway there?

Was that the reason you sounded your nice loud airhorn about ten seconds before you got to me and continued for five more after you had passed?

Did I deserve to die because I wasn't using the cycle path?

Is that the reason that you then passed me at less than three quarters of a metre even though you were in the nearside lane of a dualled carriageway with nobody passing you, ahead of you, or behind you?

Were you thinking "I'll punish this cyclist for not using this expensive path provided for them, the slow bastards shouldn't be on the road if there's a path", even though the road was empty?

Did you smile to yourself as your cab went past me, thumb still pressing on the airhorn button?

Were you still smiling as the sucking effect of the air of your cab wheels passing me so close was dragging me towards the unguarded gap between your front and rear wheels, and was trying to let your rear wheels finish me off as I desperately steered my bike against the pull to counter that sudden strong dragging air?

Did you see? Did you see the bit where the mudflap over your rear wheel clipped my right hand on the handlebars because even as I tried to steer away, in just that fraction of a second that felt like it might be my last all of a sudden, I was still being dragged closer?

Did you look in your near side wing mirror and laugh when I fell onto the path as the rear wheel passed and the sucking air flow suddenly stopped, then briefly tugged at me again and then finally blew me over and I sprawled onto the path as I hit the 20cm high kerb

Was I now 'taught a lesson'?

What, you didn't think that you were trying to actually kill me?

Have you not been passed by a twenty ton lorry at a distance of three quarters of a metre doing 70 kmh and felt what it's like for yourself?

Bet your employer trained you about how to be careful about what might lurk in your 'blind spots', where you might not be able to see, even with all those big mirrors.

But I also bet they didn't stand you at the side of a road and then had someone drive a large twelve ton truck loaded with another twelve tons of stone past you at 0.75cm and 70kmh so you can actually feel what it's like.

What? That wouldn't be safe?
No. It's not.

By the way, I do normally cycle on that shared use path, but on that day there were roadworks barriers up preventing me from getting back onto it again after I crossed the junction where I came from - where I was using the shared use path on that road. So I had to ride up the road a bit to get back onto it, after the barriers ended and where there was a dropped kerb about 250 metres up.

But you wouldn't know that. Or, you didn't see all the barriers cutting off sections of path as you drove past them, think, or work it out.
No.
You just saw a cyclist on the road ahead.

I am a Dad to two children.
I am a husband.
I am the survivor of a stroke, battling back to fitness over the last four years.
I am diagnosed as suffering from Relapsing Remitting MS, trying to keep it at bay.
I am 47 years old.
I like to read, write and photograph.
I love to be in, and watch, nature.
I love my kids and my wife.
I have never been arrested.
I drive.
I have lived through life events that would make a good drama series or two.
But I like to cycle.
And for that you nearly killed me today.


Link to fediverse post here