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My bicycle routine maintenance staff (Daisy aged 1) has finished with a spot of tyre-pumping on my Roberts and is just checking she has picked up the correct oil (Finish Line Cross Country Wet Lubricant) before tackling the chain.

 

I know the Nihola Gay trike contraption was built for the streets of Copenhagen but Molly and I decided it was time to take it off-road. Here we've just survived plummeting into the depths of a local ford (highly recommended!)

 

As we forged onward into the deep dark woods things became muddier and messier amidst much merriment of frenetic wheel-spinning.

 

Following on from my last post (Nihola Gaying Day and Night) I’ve had another incident on the road. All last autumn term on the Nihola Gay trike school run we’ve been overtaken at approximately 8.30a.m. with much impatience and haste on a quiet country lane by a woman in a big blue Toyota Landcruiser 4×4 packed with at least four of her children who she’s driving at speed to school – not the local village primary school where Molly goes – she’s heading for a bigger school some way away. I’ve cycled along this lane near where I live all my life and I’ve never known such awful driving on this road. We hear her coming up behind us like a bat out of hell. The road is a narrow one and although I’m happy to pull over to let vehicles pass in field-gate entrances etc, Mrs Toyota Landcrusier won’t wait a second to let me pedal fast into a convenient passing spot. Instead she pushes alongside trying to force me off the road (into deep muddy potholes, muddy verges and sharp hawthorn hedge-cuttings) while she crashes through the potholes on her side sending sheets of spray and mud over us. And all this with my one-year-old Daisy in the front and yellow-coated Molly on the rear.      

I put up with this all through September, October and November, but the end of my tether came one morning in December when she overtook me fast and impatiently and incredibly dangerously on a blind double bend. She’s tried overtaking me on this corner before but I’ve always managed to push her back or signal to her to wait until she can see round the bend, but this time she just charged ahead like a stampeding buffalo. Had she met any oncoming vehicle she would have had a serious head-on smash and I suspect we would have come off worse. As Mrs Toyota Landcruiser accelerated off at a ridiculous speed leaving us Nihola Gay lot in a cloud of  fumes I said, ‘Right Molls – tomorrow morning I’m going to stop her and talk to her and if she doesn’t stop then we’ll report her!’      

Molly was in full agreement with this decisive plan of action. So the following morning as we were pedalling merrily to school I heard Mrs Toyota Landcruiser tearing down the road behind us. Luckily I was on a long straight part of the road so I had time to pull over. ‘Stay there Molly!’ I said as I jumped off the saddle and walked down the road towards the hurtling four-by. Mrs Landcrusier stopped (I was ready to leap onto the verge if she didn’t). I was wearing my Urbanglow high-visibility police-like top (which comes complete with a handyD-clip – useful for handcuff attachment!) so I felt quite PC Plod-like as I tapped on her window. Her reticent finger hit the button and down came the window.     

‘Good morning!’ I said keeping a polite tone to proceedings. ‘I’ve just come to say please can you drive a lot slower when you pass us and please don’t overtake us on blind bends like yesterday morning.’     

‘Oh God!’ she said, ‘We’re always late for school!’     

”Well get up earlier then!’ I felt like saying.   

Instead I said, ‘I know, I can tell from your driving. Every morning we dread you coming up behind us like a runaway tank. Slowing down only takes a few seconds and isn’t going to make any difference to you being late for school, but will make a big difference for us.  I’ve got a one-year-old and a five-year-old on my bike and we’re not surrounded by airbags or two-tons of metal as protection. If you had met someone driving as fast as you on that bend yesterday morning you could have dead children on your hands!’     

The woman said nothing else the whole time, just looked a bit sheepish. Even when I asked her whether she would overtake me as fast and as close if I was riding a horse, she said said nothing. During my whole spiel none of the children in the car looked up from their iPhones, iPads or iPods which I found rather amazing. If my mum was driving me to school and was brought up short by a police-topped cyclist on a four-wheeled bike-trike contraption I would find it very exciting and most amusing. But for these gadget-glued children it was as if I didn’t exist.   

Anyway, by this stage my small rear-pedalling assistant was calling out Mrs Toyota Landcruiser’s licence plate number – always useful to keep up a sleeve. ‘Thanks Molls’, I called back. ‘I’ve got that!’   

I thanked Mrs Landcrusier. She was now dismissed and allowed to proceed. So she drove off, all children glued to their screens.   

It is now January and this week Molly has started back at school after the Christmas hoilidays. Mrs Landcruiser has passed us – slowly, cautiously and a little worriedly. We triking bikers all wave merrily but we have yet to have our cheery waves reciprocated. Mrs Landcrusier still revs off away from us at high speed with a definite edge of annoyance, but at least she slows as she approaches and passes us. So far so good. And we haven’t had to get the professional Plods involved.   

* * *  

Thank you to all those who wrote comments on my Nihola Gaying Day and Night post. All very interesting and some, like Heather’s comment, terrible to hear (an Australian truck driver swerved to miss two dogs that ran out in front of him and killed two tandem riders).  

The Stewart family mention videos cameras to film evidence of dangerous driving.  I’ve contemplated getting one of these to mount on my helmet or handlebars (means I could put footage of ‘Idiot of the Week!’ on my website). But one of the things I love about cycling is its simplicity – you just get on a bike and go. Having a camera and trying to remember to turn on buttons just complicates things. So no moving cameras. Not yet anyway.