Cycling, Art and Life in the North East of England

Brave, Brave Road Cyclists

Cycling for Arts Sake
Cycling for Arts Sake

Recently we were travelling to visit Kilmarnock and whilst following the satnav we ended up going down a ‘B’ road that was, well, shockingly bad. Narrow single carriageway, loads of twists and turns through stunning but fairly lethal looking surroundings. It would have been all very picturesque if the road surface hadn’t been the worst I’d ever seen on a main road in Britain.

Now I know some of you will be thinking I’m exaggerating for a bit of effect on the blog, maybe I am, maybe I’m not, but I can tell you that I was genuinely terrified going down that road as a passenger in a car. The speed limit was 60 miles per hour, but I don’t believe it would be safe to drive at that speed even if the road surface was pristine and conditions perfect. Believe me, it wasn’t perfect conditions as we snaked through patches of fog that dramatically reduced visibility. Then there was the road surface, potholes inside potholes, crumbling tarmac, all dripping wet.

As we slowed even further, and I tried not to put my foot through the floor in a vain attempt to help with the braking from the passenger’s seat, we were overtaken on a blind bend by what I assume were a couple of locals. Then a few miles later another vehicle shot past us on a blind summit.

Now all of this was scary, but while driving them 10 miles or so we saw about a dozen road cyclists. Some were in small groups but quite a few were on their own.
This led to a bit of discussion in the car about the merits of riding along an obviously dangerous road. There were plenty of broken posts and bollards where vehicles had obviously gone headfirst into a ditch, field or worse down a big drop to bear witness to the dangers.

So what conclusions did we come to?

  • There is no way it could be comfortable to ride a bike for miles on a surface like that. These riders were either going to have very sore undercarriages or they must be some sort of cyborgs with reinforcements in those areas.
  • It was probably a toss-up between the road and the mad car drivers who posed the biggest threat to the safety of the cyclists.
  • Neither of us had any intention of riding a road like that if we had a choice and as such huge respect was due to the riders who were tackling it. They’re a lot braver on a bike than I am.

I’d love to say riding where I live is all nice smooth cycle paths where there are no hazards. ¬†Unfortunately it’s not, but I’m very very happy that I don’t have to ride that road.


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