There’s much to love about Autumn cycling in Australia. The heat and humidity of summer is beginning to ease and while the mornings are noticeably cooler, they’re still a far cry from the icy chill of mid-winter. Riding conditions are pretty much perfect, and when you throw in the feast of the (European) Spring Classics on TV to inspire us, well, it’s almost two-wheeled heaven.
But one thing that never ceases to amaze – or annoy – is the proliferation of the early morning ninjas in the current no-man’s land immediately preceding the end of daylight savings. I’ve written about it before and no doubt will do so again. Every morning it’s a pre-dawn obstacle course, first simply trying to see and then avoid walkers and joggers who clearly must think they glow in the dark. No lights. No hi-vis clothing. No brains.
Occasionally you pass one who does have a light and/or hi-vis top. I make a point of always thanking these people, for sadly their commonsense appears to be in short supply. Just another example of grown adults not taking responsibility for their own personal safety.
You can just imagine the firestorm of abuse if you hit one of these power-walking ninjas, leaving bodies and bikes flying in all directions. “Cyclists are supposed to give way to pedestrians you dickhead – you’ll be hearing from my lawyer!”
Personally, I’d be horrified if I ever did slam into a walker, causing injury to them or me. But even at low speeds, and even with a decent bike light, it can be hard to avoid something you can’t see until the very last moment around that next corner or bike path junction – especially when it’s typically wearing headphones and oblivious to anything happening around it and maybe even walking a dog via a metre-long bicycle snare.
Thankfully the early morning mercury will soon dip into single figures and the majority will stay tucked up under the doonas. Until then, stay safe out there people. You can’t see them. But the ninjas are everywhere. And they’re dangerous.
(Oh, and don’t get me started on garbos leaving wheelie bins in the middle of the road…)