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Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Riding with The Fear

What is The Fear?

Well, for me, The fear is that feeling if impending doom you get for no rational reason when you set out on a ride. I get episodes of The Fear on occasions and some of these occasions are as reliable as the seasons. They are this reliable because they coincide with the seasons, or at least the changing of the clocks.

Up to the day the clocks go back to signal the start of Winter, I am riding to work at dawn and home in daylight. The clocks going back an hour generally means that I am riding to work in daylight and home at dusk. It is the dusk bit that brings on The Fear. I might be riding in a hi vis jacket and lit up like a part of a Roy Nearey vision with that classic 70’s 5 note riff playing in the background on a Moog synthesiser but, I know from my driving experience that as the light starts to fail, it takes some time for the car lights to overcome the gloom enough for a driver to see clearly enough.

In addition to the gloom situation is the Weather. As autumn (fall to you left pondians) progresses, the conditions outside result in everything being coated in dew and moisture. This early season slick on the roads can be quite greasy meaning that negotiating routes where I was previously able to throw my bike through bends with abandon, I have to remember to ease off and take it slower else I hit a slick patch causing me to crash and burn. To add insult to injury, the moisture, mixes with the falling leaves which are then macerated by passing vehicles shod with Mr Dunlop or Mr Goodyear’s finest, resulting in a chutney that coats the road and forms a nice, slick carpet to catch two wheelers unaware.

There is also the onset of the early season frosts. This freezes the aforementioned moisture coating on the windscreens and other glass on the cars on the road. Responsible motorists clear this before they drive off to work or to take little Johnny or Jenny to school but, not all motorists are responsible. Sometimes they only have time to take out a credit card, clear a credit card sized slot in the frost before they drive off, barley able to see the end of their bonnet (hood) let alone see me in my Roy Nearey vision mode. This frost also has a habit of turning wet roads into ice rinks.

There are things you can do to combat The Fear though.

Know your routes. My regular route has a section of road, a little dip with a slight turn which has a distinct camber. The apex of this turn is at the bottom of the dip and is regularly wet with runoff from the garden adjacent. I know to be wary when approaching the wet patch.

The best thing you can do about The Fear though is to just ride. I have experienced episodes of The Fear for many a year. I ain’t dead yet!


  1. I think that we can all associate with the 'fear' at times....good post.