Friday, April 03, 2009

Off Yer bike, My Dear!

Whilst rambling around my depressed town early this morning on my poor excuse for a mountain bike, a surprising thing occurred...

Now, bearing in mind I usually ride without a helmet and on the pavement for a perfectly good reason and this is due to the immense traffic we have thundering passed each day including trucks and various larger than life vehicles. However, there on the other hand a labyrinth of alleyways, paths for bikes and other weird and wonderful cycle lines particularly built for bike, making my town a reasonably nice place to come and ride one's push bike. Apart from these leafy paths, there are also a number of subways which take the rider in to a safer way to beat the angry traffic, but it here I must stop...

These subways are meant, built quite wide enough, for those on foot and on two wheels. As there is ample room for one to pass the other, there is much smiling and mounting of "morning" as one passes. Yet these wonderful excuses for a bike ride rather than to jump in the motor also hide darker tales. Like many subways, or at least anywhere where the daylight can't reach, one always finds the lower side of life. If one is to get mugged for instance, it is more than likely to happen in a dull lit subway rather than standing in the busy entrance of Debenhams...

Am I right or am I right?

Okay, so this morning I was accosted. For a start by someone who was literally old enough to be my father if he has taken his time finding a wife, shall we say. Good heavens! I am almost 40 and I do believe I was told off for being on my bike by, again I shall say it, literally an old man!

For a brief moment there I was quite complimented for it has been many decades since I was told off and particularly a stranger and for that second I was transported back to a time of odd socks, snotty noses and smiles. Of grubby knees, friends and a life full of quiet bliss, farmyard smells and peace amongst a community. Yet this second was, as I say, brief. Suddenly I was thrown back into the evils of 2009 and the real world - a far distant place from my quaint and perfect childhood, and back to a point in my life where I was obviously disobeying the rules as an adult - shame on me!

Yet having said all of that and the mere fact this old man is now not sitting in front of my now allowing me to have my say as a citizen and a member of the public who must argue their point, there was one very good reason why I decided not to dismount in the subway at the point of being ticked off and the reason is this - I felt, or at least, I feel in the world right now that there is probably more chance of a lone female like me being mugged or worse in a subway than actually my knocking a pedestrian to the ground whilst I cycle through.

Now, I should have said that at the time - my reason sounding perfect as I tap away at the keyboard in the safety of my own house and away from that cruel subway, but I didn't why? One word - Hoodie.

Yes, you knew that the word would rear it's ugly head somewhere in the proceedings, and there it is. There was a young man, whose face I could not see due to the hood walking in front of me, a little way in front to be honest, but still enough for me to be concerned by his presence, so I really should have said to my ticker off-er, "look, you see that hoodie in front walking through the subway, what if he has a knife and I have silently, like a jolly good abider of the Highway Code, dismounted my trusty steed? What do I do then if he suddenly takes an interest in my rucksack? I can't mount my getaway cycle that fast, he would have me to the ground in time and where would I be then? No! I must make a stand! I WILL cycle through this dark subway, because we live in a world where we are NOT safe!"

That would have sounded good don't you think, but I didn't say a word, I just smiled and continued to half cycle through the dim, yet as soon as I got close behind the hoodie, I over took him and pedalled like mad, and why? Because we can't trust anyone. So what's the conclusion behind this tale? Wouldn't it be nice if we still lived in a world and I say 'still' because it was once there and really did exist, where I should have said to the old man, "Yes sir," and dismounted my bike without another word.

How the world has changed, so instead I cursed the old man under my breath and carried on riding my bike, because I his generation would say "it is better to be safe than sorry" the only difference is now today, is that we say it with a totally different meaning....

Easter 2009.

No comments: