I’d kind of dared to dream that I might not have to write another Banterlude since our move to the Dumfriesshire countryside.
For context, ‘Banterlude’ is the lighthearted name I give to those I’m-pretending-not-to-be-angry-but-really-I’m-furious near-injurious encounters with other road users which, unfortunately, seem to be a fact of life when you choose to ride a bicycle. I thought I’d left them behind me when we left Glasgow but a recent run-in with a driver in a tiny hamlet not far from our house, reassured me that bigoted road users will spread themselves around…
Me and the hubs, approaching the village on a single track road. Car comes up behind us. Not that it matters, but we were definitely cycling single file, and well tucked into the side of the road, trying to give the car plenty of space to pass. Spatially-challenged driver overtakes us, barely clearing our drop handlebars (they’re the even narrower ones) while a young child in the back seat waves their hand out of the window, so close they could almost dip into my back pocket and pinch my flapjack.
(I’m not blaming the child you understand, just illustrating a point. Plus it was a really delicious flapjack ,so I wouldn’t have blamed them).
We cycle on a few hundred metres and see the car parking up outside a house, so I decide I need to say something to the muscle-bound hound that gets out of the driver’s seat. (My poor hubs, living in constant fear that my big mouth will get him a battering).
Me: Excuse me mate, but you need to give cyclists much more room than that as you’re overtaking.
Spatially-challenged muscle-bound hound: Fuck off. You need to get out of the middle of the road.
Me: You know we were nowhere near the middle of the road mate.
SCMBH potty mouth: Yes you were. Anyway, when I was out for a run the other day a car gave me much less room than I gave you, so what are you complaining about?
Me: That’s not my fault that driver didn’t give you any room, is it?
SCMBHPM: Well if you weren’t riding two abreast and had given me some room then I wouldn’t have had to drive so close, would I?
Me: We were single file and right in the side of the road , and you know it.
SCMBHPM: Fuck you, you fucking bitch.
Hubs: The law is, you have to give a metre and a half when you’re overtaking a cyclist.
SCMBHPM woman-hater: I don’t give a fuck about the law!
Me: Do you want to watch your language in front of your kids? [who had just got out of the car and were both about 7 years old].
SCMBHPMWH: Don’t you tell me how to fucking talk in front of my kids.
Me [a low blow, I know, and I’m sorry-not-sorry]: Well, kids, just so you know, that’s not how you drive properly.
SCMBHPMWH’s little girl: Ignore him, he’s just being grumpy. [Yesss! I’ve won! Sorry, it was never really about winning, was it. Still feels good though…]
We start to cycle off, with SCMBH shouting, “yeah, that’s it, you cycle off, fucking bitch!!” while his female adult passenger remains in the car, looking incredibly embarrassed and the lady neighbour across the road, who was pruning her hedges, getting an earful of all this too…
Saturday, 18 April 2020