Alice Dryden (huskyteer) wrote,
Alice Dryden

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I wish I wasn't afraid of motorways.

Once I'm on them, it's great; surface in good repair, no twists and turns, no bloody roundabouts, and enough space for my dear fellow-motorists to overtake me properly rather than whizzing past two feet from my right ear. Turn-offs are clearly marked, so it's much harder to get lost than it is on an A road. I know that statistically I'm probably slightly less likely to die on a motorway than on other roads, and that if I do it'll probably be a fairly swift experience. There are also fewer squashed animals to distress me. So once on, I can sit quite happily in the left-hand lane doing something in the low 60s and singing to myself.

I don't like joining the motorway, I admit. I just can't work up enough speed on the slip road to insert myself seamlessly into the flow of traffic, and I find it hard to judge how much time and space I have to get myself in there, so I always end up running out of lane, slowing to a stop and having to wait for a really big gap. But that's not the problem.

No, it's the idea of motorways that scares me. For this I lay the blame firmly at the door of the Highway Code, which spends several pages telling you that you should check your tyre pressure and ensure you have enough fuel, oil and water before venturing onto one, as if you were about to set off across the Antarctic rather than something that's actually far less scary than certain sections of the A20 to Sidcup. I don't like the oft-repeated warning that you mustn't stop, because one of the great things about having a two-wheeler is that you can stop pretty much any time you wish to investigate imaginary funny noises, adjust your buttocks or wait for your heart rate to return to normal after some idiot cuts you up. Like being told not to think of an elephant, knowing I mustn't stop makes me think of a dozen reasons why I might really need to.

Thus, any motorway driving on my part is preceded by lots of anxious dithering and should-I-shouldn't-I as the signs count down to the point at which A and M diverge forever.

The point of this post is that driving to Brighton down the A23 on Saturday took three hours and was simply horrible, whereas coming back on the M23...took almost as long, but included a snack break and was generally less stress-inducing. The good thing about motorway-phobia is the sense of achievement when you safely leave the motorway, many miles closer to home than you would be if you had taken the wussy route.

Brighton was lovely and sunny, we visited the fantastic Shakeaway and I bought some vegetarian shoes, because, y'know, I can't stand those carnivorous shoes that run around biting people.

It's possibly a tad hypocritical to buy veggie shoes when I don't mind eating meat, but then I eat a lot of things I wouldn't be seen dead wearing. Pizza, for instance.

One more thing about motorways: you do get the occasional idiot beeping at you because they think you shouldn't be there. For the record, then, any bike with an engine bigger than 50cc is permitted on a motorway, as long as you've passed your test, so nyah.
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