Panic!!!!! You're convinced someone is following you, intent on stealing your wallet, or worse, your new Oakley jawbones, custom-designed to match your best kit.
Your heart rate rises, your stomach knots and you start to speed up, upping the pace and accelerating away from danger. You look round, whoever it is, or whatever it is, it could be a ghost, or worse, Lance Armstrong, or even Jeremy Kyle with a DNA testing kit in his hand, following you.
At last you reach the end of the alley, and emerge into the street, flooded with neon light, while your blood is flooded with adrenaline, cortisol and other stress hormones. Following you, harmlessly, is a small child on a Halfords bike, or a black cat, or a black bag being blown by the wind. You realise there was no threat, chuckle to yourself about how stupid you were, and continue on your way.
Your limbic system has stored an image of harmful things in alleyways. And when sights, sounds, smells, nearly match that unconscious image, your brain switches on the fight/flight/freeze response, or race/sprint/crash to give it its cycling equivalent. Until your cortex, your thinking brain, gets new information AND you are clam enough to process it, you will remain in the grip of that panic.
Today I tested out a new gilet come bib, which I bought recently from here:
As you can see it is a particular type of hi-viz, although it is pretty tight and has pockets, so not your usual flappy bib that makes you look like a dork. It was recommended to me by a friend on Facebook, and is amazing! Normally I shy away from this type of stuff, but I thouight it would be good for commuting because it can get pretty hairy cycling in rush hour traffic and I had heard good reports about drivers giving cyclists more space.
|It says polite and there's nothing wrong with that!|
|Thank heavens my red top's not showing|
So I bought one and tested it for the first time today as Skip and I rolled over the levels to Glastonbury and back on a bitterly cold day. I had tried to warm up by doing a recce up and over Shipham Hill, and there were a few patches of ice on the descent, so we stuck to the flat today. The reaction from drivers is obviously a pattern match. We were given loads of space, no-one overtook us in dangerous places or tried to squeeze through under the brow of a hill, or before a bollard. We were thanked, waited for, all in all it made for such a pleasant ride, I can't wait to wear it with the matching helmet band on my run to work.
Just goes to show the impact on drivers of a good pattern match, doesn't it?
Skip should post a picture on her blog later:
The ride itself was nice and fast, we had to, we'd have been frozen in ice if we hadn't kept moving. We stopped for coffee in Heaphys in Glastonbury, which is under new management, and being refurbished. Including a hole in the door, ao we didn't even warm up there.
But it was a great ride, I did just short of 50 miles, and feel very virtuous that I washed the bike too. Perhaps I'll have to get a white bike with a chequerboard blue and silver pattern on the frame, or maybe even a blue helmet, just to match the bib of course.