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Published: February 11th 2010
It Flew Through The Air
Hurled by a passing driver, this bottle landed harmlessly some distance away. But it still gave me a fright. In the silence as the car departed, all I could hear was the sound of the bottle rolling down the camber of the road towards me. When I examined it, there was a small chip out of the neck.
What Does This Man Want?
For the second time within days a man was standing in my path - blocking me. I stared, willing him out of the way. Last time it had been someone I’d met a few days previously, and I‘d been delighted to stop and chat. But this time, I knew he was a complete stranger.
It was obvious he wasn‘t going to budge, so I broke my momentum and let the Beast Of Burden slow to a halt in front of him.
“You know you’re not on the road to Nelson, don’t you?” he inquired.
“I’m going to Molesworth,” I said.
“Oh, it’s just that this is such a wide road, and I’m certain some cyclists take it by mistake - thinking they are on the main road to Nelson.”
So that was it. He’d overtaken me, thought I was going the wrong way and pulled over to set me straight. Nice man. Except I knew where I was going. I thanked him for his trouble, and as I pedaled off I thought his actions had gone some to restoring my faith in motorists.
A Bad, Bad Day
Exclusive! The Beast Unmasked
Here It Is! The Picture the World has been Waiting For! Each day the Beast morphs into a fairly standard mountain bike. But as night falls, he turns back into his real, evil, ugly self. On this occasion, Feral Mike disturbed him early one morning - while he was still undergoing his transformation into a mountain bike, and hadn't applied his facial disguise. Any similarity to a mask from a $2 Shop is purely coincidental.
Two days before I’d had a terrible ride from Nelson to Blenheim. It was Waitangi Day, a public holiday, and every yobo and his mates seemed to be on the road.
The first incident happened on a long, steep hill. I was quietly minding my own business, when a car drew up alongside and arms emerged out of the windows. There was a cacophony as two or maybe three air horns were blasted simultaneously in my direction. I got a terrible fright, and almost rode into the ditch. The car vanished amidst laughter and jeers.
After I’d calmed down, I tried to think of the incident as a bit of youthful exuberance. But then half an hour later, it happened again. I had an inkling of trouble approaching this time. First came the sound of a thumping bass cranked up loud from a sound system. Then I sensed the car slowing. Then came the blast of noise again. As they roared off, I was tempted to send a rude gesture in their direction, but they might have seen and there were several of them. That could lead anywhere.
The Flying Beer Bottle
The Beast Seeks Utu
The Beast lives in a fantasy world, and now he's been unmasked he wants utu - revenge. He dreams that one day Feral Mike will ride him onto a cattle stop. When that happens, the Beast plans to twitch his front wheel violently so that it turns at right angles and drops down the cattle stop. Feral Mike - the Beast hopes - will be sent flying to a sticky end.
Next was the beer bottle. I was stopped on the side of the road, when the driver hurled it out his window, up and over. It was a poor attempt and landed some distance away. Astonishingly, it didn‘t break but in the silence that followed the car's disappearance, I could see and hear the bottle rolling slowly down the camber of the road towards me. It stopped almost at my feet.
Deliberate Or Not
And two drivers in quick succession seemed determined to run me over. One was in a blue Holden. He was third in a queue of four cars. The others all gave me a wide berth, but he cut in so close I couldn’t help but feel it was deliberate. The other incident was similar.
So was it deliberate? I’ll never know. Maybe they were simply distracted, changing a CD. Or maybe they were incompetent and couldn’t position their cars on the right part of the road.
And Then There Are The Truckies
Anyway, it was a bad day and now when people ask me what I think of kiwi drivers I hesitate. I tell them
If It's Not Bras, It's Footwear.
On a fence, approaching Blenheim.
that despite the reputation that truck drivers have, I think they do a pretty good job. Their vehicles are wide, our roads are narrow, and the truckies have a responsibility to avoid oncoming traffic as well as cyclists. But they could improve their public image by giving the occasional wave or even a nod of the head as they drive towards me. They do look oblivious to what’s going on around them.
The Jury’s Out
But as for private motorists? I’m not no sure any more. I have had just that one bad day - but the number of incidents in quick succession did begin to make me wonder. Maybe the trick is just to avoid riding on Waitangi Day. But thank goodness for people like the driver who stopped because he thought I was on the wrong road to Nelson. He certainly wins top marks for consideration.
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