It’s that time of year when even the most disinclined cyclist is tempted to dust the cobwebs off the saddle and take to the roads.
Cycling gives us a great opportunity to see the beauty right in front of us. On a quiet country road, especially at this time of year, we pick up smells and sounds we might otherwise miss.
The bicycle too is a great place for thinking and formulating our thoughts. Albert Einstein admitted that he had some important thoughts on his Theory of Relativity while cycling.
While our roads are not up-to-speed in favour of two-wheelers, there were never so many bicycle lanes in the country.
However poor the bicycle infrastructure is in Ireland may I make an appeal to all road users, please go out of your way to be extra careful these days when out and about on our roads. I’m calling on all road users, cyclists, scooterists, motor-bikers, car, truck and bus drivers, pedestrians too.
I have had three near misses on my bicycle this month.
I was cycling down a road with a slight gradient, maybe travelling at 20 km/h when a van passed, driving so close to me that I could actually feel it. I caught up with the van at the next traffic lights. In the gentlest of words I pointed out to the driver how close he came to me. He immediately got into a rage, ‘effed and blinded me out of it’ and screamed that I should have been cycling on the cycle path. There was none.
Some days later a medium size van came far too close to me for comfort. I think I was on his blind spot and he simply did not see me. And that can easily happen.
The Road Safety Authority recommends drivers give a space of one metre in speed zones of 50 km/h and 1.5 metres in speed zones of over 50 km/h when overtaking cyclists.
My other near mishap was with my fold-up bicycle. The bolt or pin that holds the locking device together dislodged while I was cycling. By a freak and an extraordinary moment of great good fortune the bicycle managed to stay together. It was only when I stopped did I notice that the bolt was missing.
It’s always important to check your bicycle before heading out but with a fold-up it is even more important, making sure the mechanism that clasps the bicycle together is in proper working order.
Never cycle without a properly fastened helmet and a hi-vis jacket. And never dare cycle a bicycle without properly working brakes. I can never understand why lights are not built in to bicycles when they are being manufactured.
A bicycle is the perfect mode of transport to make the best of warm days and nights under our intermittent cloudless skies. If you are hesitant to take to the roads on a two wheeler why not get yourself a three wheeler. I’ve spotted a number of tricycles out and about on our roads. They are a great idea for those who might not feel safe or confident on a bicycle.
A bicycle or a tricycle can be a great metaphor to tell us all to slow down, tóg go bog é.