White Van Man

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 …

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11 thoughts on “White Van Man

  1. You are one brave lady! White Van Man is enough of a menace when you’re driving, let alone riding a bike.
    May the Cyclist’s Angel sit safely on your shoulder at all times 😉

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  2. Good luck with the traffic, Kim. I think WVM’s at his most macho when he’s got his mates sitting up front with him, and they’re on their way to a job, drinking coffee and smoking, and laughing at the people they nearly hit. Glad you managed to catch one alone, so he could think about his actions – even if it would be for all of ten seconds!
    Love the WMV game, by the way. I’ve reached level 2 so far, and I’m having to stop myself from trying to get to level 3.

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  3. Ooof, be careful!
    WVM – Have you read The Collector by John Fowles? I can’t remember if the van was white in the book but it’s one of my all-time favorite books. Could NOT put it down.

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  4. Sophie, I’m a tough cookie, but I think the White Van Man may have been a little worse for wear – I wonder how many dents I actually left? 😉
    OsloFoodie, thanks! I bet you have lots of lovely dedicated cycle lanes in Norway – wish that was the case here, although it seems to have improved a lot over recent years.
    PatryFrancis, my fitness has improved a LOT and I’ve discovered muscles I didn’t even know I had!
    Fi, I love the idea of a cyclist’s angel sitting on my shoulder, but I really hope it doesn’t weigh too much, I already struggle carting in all my work stuff on the back of the bike 🙂
    David, trust you to play that game! I gave it one quick whirl and thought the language was hilarious. W**ker! C***!
    Alda, LOL!
    Mme. P, I read The Collector many, many years ago, but can barely recall the story other than it was quite creepy…

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  5. We have similar problems in the sunny South. I was approaching a left handed tee junction on the red surfaced cycle lane when a people carrier turned in and ran over me. It is now one week ago and my pains have almost subsided but the bike has a broken front rim and bent forks. A policeman in attendance did not tell the driver he was in the wrong.

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