So I was back on the bike finally today and had a chance to try out my new air horn in the field. Oh with what excitement I set off this morning, just itching for someone – or something – to get in my way. Pedestrians, pigeons, other cyclists, motorists – I wasn’t fussy. I had an extra helping of grouchiness due to my still-sore ribs and was in no mood to give any quarter.
And so, of course, everyone miraculously dissolved from my path before they could get in air-horn range. It was like some sort of a dream: no cars cut me up, not even once, there was not a feather of a pigeon to be seen (in retrospect this may have been because it was dark both ways), pedestrians scurried for the pavement and the cluster of people hanging out outside the night club in the morning couldn’t get out of the way fast enough. Even the woman who started to cross the road just as I was turning into it – and who actually had right of way – saw me, stopped, apologised, and leapt back onto to the pavement*. Where were the unwary pedestrians crossing the road with their backs to the direction of traffic, the joggers using the bike lanes as their own personal track? There wasn’t even anyone on roller skates.
It’s as though – such is the awesome power of the air horn – that simply owning it is enough. The sight of it mounted on my handlebars sends out such a signal of fear that it clears my path wherever I go. I am the ninja cyclist, hear me roar. Or hoot, anyway
*Just to be clear, I wouldn’t have honked at her anyway. Although I might have been sorely tempted