Ever since I started my daily commute on the back of a bicycle my colleagues have been hugely supportive. I walk in the door red-faced and sweaty and immediately they want to know how my journey was. When I leave in the evening they wish me luck and tell me to take care.
“I bet the white vans are hell,” said one of my colleagues a week or so ago.
I shook my head. “Not had any run-ins with them yet, it’s the black cabs and the red buses I’m more worried about,” I replied.
“Aah, well, wait until White Van Man tries to run you off the road, then you’ll have something to worry about.”
These words resonated in my head when, last Friday night, I had my first run-in with a White Van Man.
I was on the home stretch, my favourite bit of the return journey, because it’s downhill and on a dedicated cycle lane. I was just approaching a set of green traffic lights when a van on my right decided to turn left without warning, cutting across my route, leaving me no room to manoeuvre.
Fortunately, he was going fairly slowly and I had enough time to slam on my brakes, but it did mean I had to make the same turn as him to avoid slamming into the side of the van. As I made the turn I ran out of road space and had to bump my way onto the footpath, avoiding light poles, rubbish bins and god knows how many other bits of street furniture that were cluttering up the intersection.
I was so furious that I’d been placed in such danger that I confess I got a tad angry. The stream of expletives emitted from my mouth don’t bear repeating here, although if memory serves me correctly it was something along the lines of ‘You f**ker!’ at quite loud volume. This was accompanied by the sound of my right fist hammering on the side of
the van over and over, leaving a few dents in an already very dented van.
At this point the driver stopped long enough to turn his head and look in my direction. He was probably wondering what all the commotion was about. By this stage I had righted myself and was ready to pedal off, but when I eyeballed him through the rear window I noticed that he seemed a little shell shocked. But not half as shocked as I was when only moments earlier I’d found myself running out of road space …