Friday, 12 November 2010

Cycling tip du jour, Friday. How to calm down after a near miss or angry incident

They should be our friends! Source
Motorcycle News
I needn't dwell on the details, but I had a terrifying moment yesterday - a little bit of politeness on my part - allowing a fellow cyclist to go ahead of me - with me slowing right down - nearly saw me mown down by a motorbike rider who'd shot off from nearby lights at full throttle. Of course he swore at me because as far as he was concerned I was a xxxxing idiot in his way and hadn't got out of the road.

OK, we can talk about blame and whether I shouldn't have done the polite thing, whether the design of the road is right, whether motorbikes should take more care etc etc. But the issue for me is - how can I prevent something like that eating away at me, and stop me simmering with resentment....? How should you calm down after an incident like that?

A few responses from friends on Twitter certainly helped:

muppixdotnet @karmacycle learn to ride a motorcycle yourself, then surround yourself by typical cyclists. Guarantee you'll learn a lot.

lardychap @thefixedfactor @karmacycle zen. Works for me. That and the knowledge that being angry doesn't bother the other person at all. Fixed helps

moriati23 @karmacycle Several days of bitter resentment and fantasising about 'Great Escape' style motorcycle + wire revenge is the only way to go.

thefixedfactor @karmacycle Zen. There are a million near misses in London every day. There are two million angry people. You don't have to be one of them.

sussexlad @karmacycle ah, motorcyclists. always surprising how they are not our side isn't it?
It's so darn difficult to stop yourself getting angry, but I think the Zen answer - or, as I've recently put it - calm-a-cycle - is the only way to go. Somehow, to remember that you are not alone, that it does not help to get angry, that there is nothing you can usefully do, all helps. In a slightly defeatist way.
I've also wondered, on a more constructive note, if us cyclists should in some clever way join forces with motorbike folks - online of course - and share a few experiences and thoughts (in a nice way) so we get a better understanding of needs/priorities/fears.
Does anyone know if a such a forum/place exists? Would us cyclists be welcome on a motorbike board?
Anyway, I'm feeling much more zen-like this morning after a nice ride in today - so have a good weekend all, and remember - calm-a-cycle


John the Monkey said...

After my first proper road rage incident (bloke got out of the car, squared up to me), Mrs Monkey said something that's always stuck with me.

she pointed out that while I was fuming & running the incident over and over in my head, the other party wouldn't have given it a thought past the end of the road.

KarmaCycle said...

wow - that was a quick response, John, thanks! Yes - my better half said something similar and brushed it off with "he's an idiot" - that helped quite a bit, and it would be nice to retain that attitude in the heat of the moment!

Jonno said...

Imagine the aggressor is describing himself - "xxxxing idiot".

Also think before hurling expletives yourself. (see above)

Anonymous said...

I get really bothered about these near misses. I often find myself raging and offering violence and know I shouldn't especially as I'm now too old to carry it through successfully!
Where do you find this zen and does it really work for angry Anglo Saxon mixes?

Defensive Cycling said...

Whenever you set off on your bike pretend you're a second world war bomber pilot on a mission. When you pull on your cycling gear imagine it's flying gear. Take every incident you encounter on your cycling journey as just flak meant to knock you off course. When you arrive at your destination congratulate yourself on a safe journey. Dismiss all the incidents you encountered as just natural flak that goes with the mission. Sit down and smoke a pipe. Job done old chap.

billy said...

Thank you Defensive Cycling -I'll give that a try. Only two near misses in 25 miles today :0)

I'll have to change the pipe to a latte; I gave up smoking when Denis Healey was chancellor.

KarmaCycle said...

There's some pretty neat comments coming through, thanks everyone. Jonno - you're bang on. So tempting to spit and yell, yet so useless.

Billy - yup, it can gnaw away at you. Perhaps the latte will help. Perhaps actually wearing a flak jacket and goggles might do the trick, make you feel a bit more protected!

And Defensive Cycling - welcome to the blog and thanks for the great comment and image. I'm a teeny bit troubled about where kindness and chivalry etc come into things - but I guess even the aces of the skies showed a bit of chivalry and would always go the rescue of a fellow pilot in trouble. I'll hang on to that thought!