Friday, 24 July 2009

Haagen Dazs and traffic

Went for my normal evening cycle - nothing serious, normally just a 5 mile jolly. It was different this time, because I was under strict instructions to stop off at a Co-op supermarket in search of some Haagen Dazs Pralines and Cream ice cream. (If you've never tried it you're missing out! SERIOUSLY good ice cream!)

Anyway, the local Co-op is out of that particular flavour, so I amended my route to include the Co-op on Mutley Plain.

Now for the uninformed, the Co-op group of businesses pride themselves on being eco-friendly, pro-sustainability and above all else, ethical. Of course cycling is - as we all know - an excellent form of sustainable transport. It is because of this that I thought my local Co-op actually encourages me to bring my bike into the store, and leave it by the shopping trolleys, as there are no cycle parking facilities.

Mutley Plain can be an interesting place at night, with all the drunks milling between the umpteen pubs on it. In the middle of all this is the Co-op, with NO cycle parking provision and not even a lamp post right outside to lock my bike against.
Needless to say I simply walked into the store with my bike, as I've done before in this same store.

Except this time I was stopped by a huge gut in a security uniform, grunting "Get that thing outta here!" at me. We exchanged some niceties, at which point the duty manager arrives. The security guard by this stage had changed his story to include that most hallowed of phrases in the UK: Health & Safety!

This country's been so brainwashed by the Health & Safety nutters that all semblances of official common sense evaporated long ago. As a result, the duty manager audibly sucked in her breath at the mere mention of (drum roll here) Health & Safety!
Immediately she supported the security guard with the enormous gut, which is to be expected, for not supporting him would have meant doing the opposite of what was being said by a person in uniform about Health & Safety!

I quite obviously didn't buy anything from there, but did track down the required ice cream in a different shop. After storing it in my oversized bum bag that is near-permanently affixed to my handle bars, I set off towards home, up Greenbank rd.

Just over the brow of the hill, there were two (teenage?) girls. I thought that their parents did something right as the clearly went through the "stop, look, listen" manoeuvre that is supposed to help you cross the road safely. However, I changed my mind after they 1) made eye contact with me before 2) stepping out immediately in front of me! Some rapid braking and swerving meant that only just managed to miss them. Idiots!

Coming down Tothill Ave, the lights at Beaumont rd are red to me. Just as I start filtering on the left of the few cars, using the short painted cycle lane leading to the advanced stop area, some numpty in a BMW pulls left, completely blocking the cycling path. Bear in mind that there was no reason for him to move and prior to moving his car was stationery in a queue, so obviously he didn't want me to pass him. A quick hop onto and back off the sidewalk did the trick, and I ended up right in front of him.

I don't normally claim the lane fully, and when I do I try my level best to not hold traffic up. However, in this case I claimed the lane fully and was in less of a hurry to get going. And yes, I was probably being childish, but so what? It was the end of a ride that turned out not very pleasant at all!

Ever had one of those?