MyNews24 is a user-generated section of The stories here come from users.

Comments: 9
Article views: 540
Latest Badges:

View all H2O's badges.

Sorry pedestrians, I’m going off-road.

20 February 2013, 10:00

My last close-enough-to-be called-near-death cycling experience wasn’t because of a taxi or someone driving while talking on his/her cell phone. No, this time I nearly got knocked off my mountain bike by a vehicle, driven like mad by a mother, who in turn was driven mad by her child or children.  I could see her face clearly, looking over her shoulder, talking agitatedly to someone hiding on the backseat, as she whooshed past me with only centimeters to spare. The force of the draft, created by the speed, first sucked me towards the car, and a split second later, blew me off the road. There and then I decided I’m not going on a road again, ever, when I feel like going for a leisurely mountain bike ride.

This created a bit of a problem though. There are some superb mountain bike trails close to where I live, which start only a short ride away… by road. A friend of mine suggested doing as he does: load the bike on/in the car, drive to the starting point, do your thing, load bike again and drive home. So far I do this only if the place where I want to go for a ride is more than 20 kilometers or one serious mountain pass away from my home, but for a ride literally around the corner? That’s a bit silly.

To get to my beloved mountain bike trails, I’ve started using other routes, without having to ride on the road. First I ventured into no-mans land, the thin strip of dirt where neither cars nor pedestrians go, just off the shoulder. On my very first ride since my vow of no-riding-on-the-road-ever, I found quickly found out why it’s no-mans land. I quite liked the bumps and slope of it, but not the debris. All kinds of debris is lying around, deposited by people, drivers and pedestrians alike, who don’t seem to understand the purpose of a bin. On this very first ride I got stranded halfway between my home and the trails, with a slashed, shredded tire. I’d failed to spot the broken beer bottles.

This leaves two other options; the sidewalk and the unofficial footpaths. I like to avoid sidewalks, simply because it’s illegal to ride there, but if my only choice is between the road and the sidewalk, the sidewalk it will be! When I take this illegal route, I cruise at a safe, slow pace; I save the daredevil stuff for the designated trails. Sometimes I come across unaware pedestrians and I try to let my presence be known, long before I’m close enough to scare the living daylights out of them. In absence of a kiddies bicycle bell, I tend to apply my brakes hard, causing a satisfactory loud noise of grinding and squealing tires. This tends to get the desired attention. Some confusion usually follows, but so far the pedestrians and I have never collided. Rolling past, I always offer a courtesy “Sorry”.

When no sidewalk is available I use the unofficial footpaths, the shortcut paths, created by many human feet, going to and from wherever they have to go. These paths are great for riding, because they’re always clear of debris and take the shortest route between houses, roads and other types of town planning. The only ‘problem’ here is that because these paths are narrow, someone has to get off the path to let another pass. Being a hiker myself, I know how irritating can be is to have to give way to a mountain biker, who thinks he/she has the right of way, just because of their mode of transport. So I’ll happily duck into the bush to give way to the pedestrian. To be honest, they created the path in the first place… Plus it gives me a chance to practice my ‘standing stationary on a bike, without falling over’ trick.

Ever since I have been doing this, I’ve had no close-enough-to-be called-near-death experiences anymore, involving vehicles. Slippery rocks, dust-bowls and trees that jump in front of your bike, are a different story, for another time.

Lastly, if I could take my hands off my handle-bars, I would take my helmet off to you, brave road-cyclists, because that is what you are. Especially to those who ride two or three abreast on the road; you have to be either very, very brave or completely nuts to do such a thing.

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
No.You're a handbag
Not All Muslims Are Terrorists

In the wake of several attacks around the world claimed by ISIS, Boko Haram and a variety of Al Qaeda affiliates, there's been a backlash against Muslims, and it's not fair.  Read more...

0 comments 718 views
Submitted by
Bobby Shabangu
The Plight of Poverty in Zimbabwe

I'm looking at this photo that's trending on social media, of two Zimbabwean women who work at a butchery, and have been caught with stolen meat hidden on their bodies... Read more...

0 comments 276 views
Submitted by
Trudy Mhluli
Forgetting your roots Commissione...

Members of the Department of Correctional Services have for years been burdened with the fact that it’s National Commissioner that was serving the department lacked experienced and understanding of the circumstances under which its members are supposed to be performing at optimum levels with loyalty and dedication being appointed from outside of its own ranks. Read more...

0 comments 62 views
Submitted by
David Hill608
Terrorism is a consequence of the...

Terrorism is a consequence of the different types of environments that people are born into in the main and not until the root causes of terrorism are addressed in practical terms, the growth in terrorism will continue. Read more...

0 comments 33 views
State and institutions of higher ...

The debate around institutional autonomy and academic freedom is not new in the circles of students’ movement, university managers such as Vice – Chancellors and by the government through the Ministry of Higher Education.  Read more...

0 comments 38 views
Submitted by
Owen Simons
Kicking dust in the face of the P...

I would like to think of myself as a reasonable, and reasoned person.That is when my basic sense of what is right or wrong is not offended. Read more...

0 comments 745 views


E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on Android Get the latest from News24 on your Android device.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

TV Get us in your home, on your television.

Interactive Advertising Bureau
© 2015 All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.