Cycles of Life
Tuesday, 18th November 2003
Richard Bell's Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
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from a blackbird bathing at the corner of the pond
I don't see much wildlife today. Going to the post office on my
newly serviced bike I don't see as much as I would walking.
as this is the first time I've taken my bike out for a couple of
years and I feel uncomfortable: I'm very much on the lookout for
A friend told me she gave up using her bike altogether following
- she went over the handlebars
- she got caught between two buses
- a lorry shed part of its load over her
in the summer another friend called in the library to return some
books, leaving her bike by the door. A few minutes later when she
came back out her bike had gone.
'It's my fault,' she said, 'I should have locked it up.'
Even so, I wish we lived somewhere where, as a cyclist, I didn't
have to be constantly on the look-out for hazards and I didn't to
have to assume that wherever I leave my bike, for however short
a period, someone is going to try and make off with it.
Road to Ruin
brother-in-law came off his bike simply by hitting a rut as he headed
for the cycle track and injured his shoulder as he hit the ground.
Another friend was hit from behind by a car with similar results.
Cyclists invariably come off worst following a collision with a
car and there has recently been a fatality on a local road.
idea is to keep away from traffic as much as I can and explore the
Trans-Pennine Trail, a long distance cycle path
which we can connect with locally and head towards Southport on
the west coast or Hornsea on the east. There's also a north-south
spur from Leeds to Chesterfield which would be a good route for
me to explore to start with.
Let the Biker Beware
Just one last tale about cycling safety: someone was telling me
that at a bicycling event the leading cyclist was speeding down
a lonely mountain road. Suddenly ahead of him were too cars pulled
up alongside each other, completely blocking the road. The drivers
were friends and as they'd passed each other going in opposite directions
along on this quiet road, they'd pulled up for a chat.
With no room to stop the cyclist headed for the gorge at the side
of the road and landed in a bush. I'm glad to say he continued the
course mud-spattered but unhurt.
The woman explaining this was emphatic: 'Those too drivers shouldn't
have been there!'
Well, no they shouldn't, but supposing it had been a tree that
had suddenly fallen across the road: that shouldn't have been there
either. Or a hay cart that had overturned: that shouldn't have been
there. Or an overnight landslide.
My idea is that drivers should be far more aware of cyclists and
considerate of them but as cyclists we should take some responsibility
for our own safety.
O.K. I'm speaking as a cyclist who's only just got back on his
bike after 2 years off the road, but that's what I feel.
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