It’s hard not to be a smug cyclist when you can ride up ice.
Take tonight, for instance. There I was, minding my own business, churning up the hill from my house to my daughter’s dance studio. I had flashing LEDs all over me and my Xtracycle. I also pack a secret weapon. Lots of them, in fact.
I ride with studded tyres.
The motorist in the Toyota Land Cruiser didn’t feel as though he would like to wait behind me as I churned up the hill. I was a slow, plodding cyclist (bright and visible, but still too slow and plodding for his tastes). I could tell from his revs and his inching up to my back wheel that he was itching to get past.
Benton Bank is steep. Like many British minor roads at the moment it’s packed with ice and there are just two channels to drive or ride along.
I was in one of them and I can’t easily get out, or I risk falling.
Does Mr 4WD sit back and wait for me to complete the climb? Of course not. He revs, drives half way into the hard-pack ice and slush on his right-hand side, and gets up beside me, wheel-spinning like crazy. Naturally, and rather wonderfully, that was the end of his hill climb.
He could wheel-spin and wheel-spin but the numptie was going nowhere. I sailed on, my spiked tyres biting into the ice. I got to the top of the hill and turned around: the driver had managed to extricate himself from his self-made icy quagmire but he was pointing downhill, defeated.
Normally, aggressive drivers get away with their stupid overtaking of cyclists. Not tonight. I would have loved to have seen the guy’s expression as he got stuck, and I carried on pedalling. Studded tyres are expensive but, believe me, they’re worth every penny.
The pic above shows the hill in question but not the actual incident described above. That took place in the pitch black. The traffic shown in the pic is half of the vehicles which got stuck on the hill when I pedalled to school at 3.20pm (I took the pic after I’d got the kids home: half of the vehicles were still stuck). A skip truck got stuck and then a car and then a van and then more cars. I cycled slowly past them. Did I mention I use studded tyres?