How would you like

… a ‘bent eye view?

The thought crossed my mind the other day, when out along the lanes and up and down the hills, that I really should make a film of this.

It’s not because there would be any entertainment value, rather to record what goes on.  I know many cyclists now have a helmet camera fitted, recording the ride.  One of the prime reasons is to give unquestionable proof in case of mishap.  Others film their trip for the buzz, to share.

Believe me there would be no buzz whatsoever, at Grasshopper pace.  We might take our eye off the road, glimpse a pair of bullfinches flitting about the hawthorn hedge; or gaze upwards as a squealing buzzard circles above a stand of old pines, rising on the thermals, perhaps pestered by crows.

There would be no soundtrack, for an old man wheezing and puffing on the slightest gradient, fumbling for gears, or braking, fearful, as the bend approaches at the foot of the hill, would not be fun; not fun at all.

I’ve had some fine runs lately, for the weather has been kind.  Sun cream has been needed; layers have been few; shorts have been short.

But there has been a recurring theme out on the lanes rather than the few occasions where I need to joust with the traffic on the main roads.  Verges.  Grasses and seed-heads. Nettles, just waiting to brush a passing hand.  Thorns too.

When you are cycling on a road that is wide enough for one car only the last thing you need is a narrowing of vision, an inability to see.  Even where you know the route intimately, know precisely the spot you can glimpse through the bend, cover the brow, bottom out in the dip; even then the last thing needed is for the road to narrow by a couple of feet on each side.

But that’s precisely what happens when the council don’t cut the verges.  And when your head happens to be at recumbent height the vision at the same level may be nothing other than a vista of seed heads, where once the road on the approach to the bend was clear.  So helmet cam, what do you think?

I’d send the footage to the council.  Here we are, mid July.  The farmers have cut the silage, grass grown to the max, growing again yet.  And the verges on the road haven’t been touched.  Wild, overgrown, dangerous.

Not so long ago we could rely on the flail being taken to the verges regularly through the summer months.  Then it became twice a year.  So far this year the tractor has yet to trouble the passing traffic.  It might be great for the birds and the wee beasts.  It’s bad enough behind the wheel of the car, especially if you’re of the type that may have difficulty seeing over the dash – it was good to bump into the Queen of Hearts the other day – but if you’re on a bike, of any sort, or laid back on a recumbent in particular, there are some real heart-in-the-mouth moments out on those roads.

And remember, as far as austerity goes, we haven’t seen the half of it yet.  How’s your council coping?  Horror movie anyone?

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