07 June, 2011

Don't mess with me today, it's Tetchy Tuesday!

Be warned, this is likely going to get a bit ranty.

I cycle to work everyday.  It’s about a 15km round trip and it can be quite enjoyable.  It will also most likely be the straw that breaks the camel’s back that is my sanity and causes me to flee the country.

I’m a good cyclist.  I obey the rules.  I’m responsible. I don’t cycle through red lights.  I stick to the right side of the path.  I signal when I’m turning.  I’ve also become very proficient at yelling “KLOOTZAK!” of “IDIOOT!” and I give the finger like never before.  I’d also like to be able to carry a piece of poly pipe that I could hit stupid people with, but that might be pushing the limits a bit. As my friend Sanne has just reminded me, we even have special paths for cyclists in the Netherlands to "make traffic easier and safe."  Great idea.  Some of the time.  And don't get me started on the scooter and moped riders.  I'll be here all night!

You see, cycling to work each day is something of a trial.  I have to contend with cars overtaking me on blind corners, cyclists and drivers who have the strangely Dutch ailment that I like to refer to as Zoolander Syndrome - the inability to look left (I know, it’s actually turn right, but you get the picture), people riding four abreast taking up the entire path and endless people texting or updating their facebook weaving all over the road.  I could make an endless list of things that shit me on the way to work, but I’m supposed to be writing a post about my recent trip to France, not carrying on about idiots on the road.

I once managed to write off someone else’s bike when she cycled into me head on because she wasn’t looking where she was going.  Did I mention she was dinkying her friend and then had the audacity to give me the “Tja.  Sorry hoor,” which really means Screw You?  I screamed at her and rode off shaking with rage.

Another day a young guy walked straight out in front of me and I had no where to go except over the handle bars, smashing my face on the curb.  This was two weeks before my wedding and I was terrified that I had a broken cheek bone and black eye, but I’m obviously made of tougher stuff and only came away with a badly bruised hip.  No apology then either.

So today I liberated myself.  I broke the rules and gave a bunch of people a taste of their own medicine.  Cycling home from work this evening I was behind a family of about 8 people who were completely oblivious that they were cycling in a busy city and were all over the place.  They wouldn’t move over when I rang my bell (which is nearly worn out from over use!) and then coming down off a bridge on a corner I decided to give it to them. There was an old lady coming towards us on her scootmobile and I was too close to wandering group to be able to slow down and let her pass and as they were ignoring my bell I cut them all off.  Made the old lady hit her brakes and pushed the wandering fools off the road.  When they started yelling at me, I put my inburgering skills into practice and gave them fish face, completely ignoring them and just kept on cycling.  By the time I made it home I was grinning from ear to ear.

Now, I know that I was in the wrong, but I get smashed into, cut off and have brushes with death almost every day on the bike (I wish I was exaggerating) and it felt great to return the favour.  You know how your mum always says “Treat people how you would expect to be treated?” well today I treated a bunch of people how I AM treated.

What happens to you on the bike?  What really annoys you when you’re out and about?

Tell me about your own war stories.  I want to compare tales and see if we can outdo each other.

PS. Thanks to @Moshers_Moll for "Tetchy Tuesday." Summed up my day perfectly!

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