Okay, not so much of an ‘ode’ but rather a mini rant. Basically, on the way to work this morning, passing a line of static cars I suddenly got a blast of horn from a car about ten-deep from the junction. Stopping to look round, there was the aforementioned old-bag in a green Nissan, throwing out all sorts of hand gestures and shouting her head off at me.
Being a decent(ish) sort of chap, if I ever get grief from a car I’ve overtaken or likewise, I generally try to either apologise or see what the problem is. We’re trying to educate car drivers over here in the (hopefully not) vain attempt that one day they’ll be as gracious to bikers as they are on the continent. Honestly, it’s bliss, car after car moving aside for you and not a single grumble, if you haven’t experienced this for yourself, it’s amazing to behold. Make sure you ride abroad next summer – where you won’t feel like a bleeding bandit!
However, Grandma Bag was going tonto that I’d gone passed her, even though she wasn’t going anywhere anyway! It was raining and I was clearly wasting my time whilst getting wetter and wetter. So giving a last apology she was clearly not even going to hear, rode off to work in a more pensive mood.
I had thought things were getting better over here, not by much, but still better. On motorways in jams, drivers do tend to pull to the side these days – all good and thank you. But this year I’ve already had two occasions where drivers have pulled across at the last second, trying to either block my way so I can’t get past, or to knock me off which is the usual result when you have a row with two-tons of metal with a pleb at the wheel.
And suddenly more and more are getting upset when you go past them. Just last week on the same road to Bath, this time going home, I overtook an Audi that was travelling just below the speed limit. Once past I built up a good hundred yards or so, and then settled to the limit. Out of nowhere, this car then blasted past me, crossing double-white lines into oncoming traffic, whilst flashing his lights and stamping on his horn. Interest piqued, when the inevitable happened and he got stuck in traffic I pulled alongside and bade him roll his window down.
The language he used towards me wouldn’t be out of place in a Tarantino movie, basically boiling down to the fact I had no right to overtake him and should stay in my place in the traffic, that I was a menace and was bringing down society, uncouth and a whole load of other twaddle I quickly got bored of. This from the guy who’d overtaken on double whites, into oncoming traffic just because he felt he’d been done an injustice because a bike overtook him. So I left him stuck in traffic and went on my merry way. Loser.
And this is the thing I’ve noticed: I can be as reasonable as possible, even apologise on occasion but when most car drivers have the rage they just do not want to know. You are the enemy and that’s that. Well, screw ’em is my new philosophy on the whole thing. In the everyday traffic nightmare that is the UK, what else do we have? Okay, car folk may be stuck in one place in their tin boxes, but they have radio, the option to drink, eat and smoke, or talk to friends or family in person or by phone – they even have TVs in lots of cars these days! What do we have?
All we have is the option to go past stationary traffic and make our journey that little less unpleasant – that’s it. When it comes to traffic that’s all a motorcycle can offer, so you’ll excuse us, Grandma Bag and cock in the Audi, if we continue to go past you while you’re going nowhere, because we will. If you don’t like it, go learn how to ride a motorcycle or join an anger-management course, before your unjustified rage really does cause somebody harm. We doubt it’s restricted just to us.