With age comes wisdom…or does it?

Posted: June 20, 2011 in 2011, General

When I was out for my Sunday morning ride yesterday, I happened across the start/finish of the local road club 25 mile TT. As a second claim member and as I know most of the guys anyway, it would be rude not to stop by and say hello. So, I rolled up and dropped in to a conversation between Nev, an ‘old timer’ and another guy who meets my criterion as a ‘very old timer’.

Before getting to the meat of the post, a bit of background. In the past this club, along with most other road clubs in the country, used to put on time trails on A roads and other large trunk roads. The premise being that they would be flat, well maintained and fast. Passing traffic would give you a drafting effect and you could pick up valuable seconds leading to numerous personal bests. I used to  love this sort of riding, you could ride in the smooth sections, worn down by countless lorries, benefit from huge amounts of suction as they passed and simply fly around the course. A proliferation of accidents and deaths meant that the club in question decided, on the grounds of sanity and safety, to no longer use this sort of course. On the whole it was well accepted and died in the wool testers were told that if they wanted to ride this sort of drag strip they could, but only opens and events put on by other clubs. Instead of the A14 then, the club 25 is held on Sunday mornings around undulating country lanes.

Fast forward to yesterday then, old timer, talking to Nev along the lines of ‘riding on country lanes is far more dangerous than riding on the A14, in the old days we used to ride on the blah, blah and the blah and no one was ever hurt, therefore we ought to be using the fast courses and the majority decision to avoid them as ruined time trilling for the club’. Nev’s well worn (and valid) argument was trotted out. The traffic count on the A14 is often in the 1,000’s of vehicles per minute, at least in the mid to high hundreds; this volume of traffic far exceeds those experienced in the 1960s and 70s,; speeds are far higher and the attitude to cyclists ins less indulgent than once it was. To which the reply was ‘bollocks’ – on the country lanes you have people coming out of their drives not expecting to see cyclists, there are holes in the road to say nothing of the significant danger posed to the racing cyclist of birds, rabbits and even mice running across the road.

I must confess that I laughed only to be frozen to the spot by a stare that would have done credit to the Gorgon. He was serious ffs, not malevolent or being a troll, the guy really thought he was right. If this is age induced wisdom, stop thge train, I’m getting off!

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Comments
  1. PeterH says:

    >> danger posed to the racing cyclist of birds, rabbits and even mice

    He doesn’t mention squirrels – I once ran over a squirrel. Or badgers. While I was in the US some of the popular highways had bike lanes and they seemed well used by racers, although I can’t remember how they dealt with junctions. You still see the odd cyclist on the A14 – it would scare the hell out of me.

  2. clemo says:

    My brother hit a pheasant with his recumbant. The combination of speed and head vs. chainring killed the bird instantly. After he got home he went back for it with suitably sized bag to carry it in. Hmmm pheasant stew.

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