Canuck wrote: Euan wrote: victor wrote: Euan wrote:
On a more general note, I used to get very angry at such behavior but found that the only person I was hurting was myself. Worse than that by projecting that anger I felt I was just inflaming my personal situation in to a tribal 'us and them' mentality. I don't think that's at all helpful for myself or for other cyclists in general. For the last few years I've accepted there will always be malcontents and that if I let them bother me, that's a victory for them.
Cyclists in general don't seem to realize just how visible their emotions are. There's a world of difference between honking a horn from within a car to going red in the face, gesticulating wildly and screaming at the driver (I'm not saying that's what happened here, I'm making a point.) By the very fact that the most visible thing about a cyclist is the person on the bike, not the vehicle, it is much easier for others to discern our emotions. I used to flare up all the time and my anger was met with defensive anger pretty much every single time. Since I've stopped reacting so negatively and aggressively, two things have happened:
- I get hassled a heck of a lot less
- When I do get hassled, it's nothing more than a momentary irritation
Life's a lot better that way.
So how did you manage that, Euan? Did you find it difficult to make that change in yourself?
I frequently tell myself exactly what you wrote above, i.e. "don't let it bother you, and you'll immediately feel better", etc. But when a motorist has either by negligence or deliberately put me at risk, it's pretty difficult not to feel angry and upset. When someone shows intolerance and unfriendliness towards you simply because of your chosen mode of transport, it's hard (for me, at least) not to feel the unfairness of it.
To be honest, I dunno. An epiphany I guess. It seems the older I become the calmer I get.
Maybe a start is to see that 'fairness' and 'unfairness' have nothing to do with it.
Unless that was just an unfortunate choice of wording?
Personally, I subscribe to the dictum of Hanlon's razor: never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity. Look, chances are that an aggressive driver or a careless driver are out to get you shouldn't be all that high I would have thought. Most likely, they are just idiots.
From me anyway, these people are more likely to get raised eyebrows, a scratch of the chin, a scratch of the head or a shrug of the shoulders rather than a fist of fury. And trust me, there are some really really stupid people around.
The whole defensive riding thing fits in with that - analogous to the concept of defensive driving. Keeping an eye and ear out for people that look like they'll soon be doing silly things helps I find. On the bike, I find it far easier to tell what people are likely to do compared with when I'm in the car. It's a combination of things:
- You are able to better judge distances (no windscreen/bonnet)
- You have an unrestricted 360 degree field of view
- You can hear
- You can judge speeds really well (pedalling force/cadence)
A lot of unpredictable behaviour becomes pretty predictable. It can be subtle things, but funny lane position and weird changes in speed tend to get the spider senses tingling. Added to this, on a familiar route, you'll know which intersections and stretches of road people play silly buggers on, and can be just that bit more alert. Of course, there's only so much you can do, but the bit that you can't do anything is by definition outside your control anyway.
That said, sometimes, especially when I get near home, I crack the s**ts and decide to draft behind the cars for as long as I can. It's only along certain stretches of road, only on particular days, and all told, it's very probably a bad idea, but hey, I get the protection of a big car shaped shield in front of me; that can't be too bad, right?
The way I figure, if they're going to turn, at least they can't turn into me