I’m riding my bicycle to music class on Tuesday morning, late November, cold and sunny. I hear a big big grumbly rumble behind me, and tense up. The driver is kind: I hear him gearing down. He is treating me like vehicular traffic! I smile, and as the road continues in its narrowness, I see a paved area and pull off to let him pass. Holy crap! He’s carrying a load of lobster traps that takes up nearly the whole of the road on his side of the centre line! I pray silently: “thank you!” and wave to the driver. Just at that moment, my son waves and beeps as well, coming in the other direction on his way to work at Freewheeling Adventures. He always tells me how proud he is to see me – his momma – brightening up the road in my fluorescent green vest and cheery smile.
I’m riding my bike to music class on Tuesday morning, cold and sunny, one week later. I hear a big big grumbly rumble behind me, and tense up. There is no gearing down. Instead, the engine revs. I scan the road ahead: there is oncoming traffic, and no shoulder except a steep gravel drop off. For some unknown reason, I have chosen to ride my sturdier hybrid bicycle this morning rather than my faster road bike, even though there is no ice or snow. So grateful for my stronger wheels, I brace and pop off the road, just in time to feel the wind of the truck’s load millimetres from my left elbow. I scream at the top of my lungs as I put my foot down and watch the lobster man barrel past me with his wide load. Had I not pulled over, I would have been creamed, smeared, broken into small bits. I pray silently: “thank you” and wave to the sky.
This is dedicated to Ellen Watters, who was not so lucky on her bike ride a few weeks ago and was killed. Drivers: please be kind! Catherine Guest, December, 2016.