Away With The Birds!

Away With The Birds!

A couple of weeks ago I had to do an overnight stay in Worcestershire, but had to get up early to be on duty at 7am.

That meant up at 4 and out the door by the latest 5, so quick shower, mandatory caffeine, breakfast nibbles etc.

I stepped outside and it was one of those perfectly clear warm mornings! Birds were chirping, sun had just risen above the horizon and all-around was quiet and peaceful…until of course I started the engine and created a disturbance…but then again I wasn’t being disturbed so I didn’t mind at all! 

As I set off, I took great delight in being the only vehicle on the quiet country roads, until I got to the main A road, but surprisingly that was quiet too, for the next 10 miles I saw only a single car. My whole journey, which took just over an 1hr 10mins, would normally have taken nearly 1:45 but could easily be over 2 hrs depending on traffic, was possibly the best ‘green run’ I’d ever had.

My speed was generally at the appropriate limits and because I wasn’t delayed at any stage, my progress was relatively rapid. The road conditions were dry, and the temperature was warming but still a bit cool. The sun was rising but was not so bright that impacted on vision at any stage!

It was so quiet at one stage, I had to do a  double take of my watch to make sure it was 5:30 a.m., because although it was early, this road would normally be busier. I suppose I just lucked out, and although it was quite eerie, it was the most peaceful and almost spiritual ride I’d had in many a year…Yes, I know…a bit soft, but in truth that is exactly what it was like!

After I got to base, I remarked at what a great ride it had been and it was said that it was probably the kind of journey that would make you want to get up early as often as you could, just to experience that kind of ride.

In truth, I always thought that the early morning was the best part of the day, but it usually came a distant second to sleeping, but my mind could be easily changed on that one!

On the way I came across one of those signs that are put up with the best intentions, I’m sure, but I was wondering how much notice people ever take of them and was it really applicable to my ride.

Ride Safely!, Ride Slowly!, Be careful! etc.

They all seem to have the same sentiment and I always feel; well it’s nice to be reminded but honestly! 

Do riders really need to be told & would they listen? Would this just reinforce a driver’s preconceptions of what riders might be like?

The problem with any kind of static sign, and certainly one that is left in one place for too long is that it loses its impact and its message…if ever there was one…is lost!

As I rode on, I smirked as the road was wide, clear, dry and traffic free and wondered what am I supposed to be unsafe about, what does the sign mean by safe!

As there was nothing immanently hazardous in my path, I surmised that the only ‘safe’ thing I could do was ride at a ‘slow’ speed! Is that what they meant? But what was ‘Slow’ at this time of day with no other traffic…was it below the limit, was it at the limit or would safe even be above the limit?

Who or what determines what safe is. because it changes throughout the day, with different traffic & road conditions and also it depends on the experience and skill of the individual.

And that is the essence of riding up to a set limit, it is there to enable ‘safe’ travel for all and for all conditions and for any time. Hence why riding at or below the limit on quiet, wide & dry roads would be deemed incredibly safe, and riding at the limit at other times would not be as safe! But what is safe? Confused? Well so was I…in truth I wasn’t concerned about safety…I was just enjoying the ride for what it was!

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