Beers and Bikes

As I cycled home toward the certain disapprobation of my wife I reflected on how wonderful it is to be drunk and cycling. Or how wonderful it would be if such things were legal and I was in fact riding home late at night after five hours in the pub.

Let’s assume for just one minute that I was riding home half-cut. Would this be a crime in the order of drink driving? Would it be as dangerous as texting while driving? Could it be as heinous as putting “My Family” stickers on your car? Could I possibly weave out of control and crash into a crowd of people, giving someone a nasty bruise and possibly sustaining a grazed knee myself? Possibly.

(In case you get thirsty on the way home.)

I of course wasn’t riding home and hadn’t been drinking because such things are illegal and I won’t condone them. I won’t consider the pleasures of riding home at 1am, rolling along the bike path in the quiet of night, watching the furtive night birds and the moon reflecting off the water. My only worry being how much trouble I’ll be in when I got home, “I’ll just drop in and say hello,” ringing in my ears, “I won’t stay long,” and other such excuses for popping out for an hour or five. I would never engage in such simple pleasures because they’re outrageous and stupid and possibly even dangerous.

Well, not actually dangerous. My ride from Surfers Paradise to Labrador follows bike paths the entire way. And, if I had drunk a little more than I should then I certainly wasn’t weaving drunk. If I had drunk at all. It’s hard to imagine how I would have come a cropper, except perhaps taken out by a drunk driver while crossing a road.

What makes drinking and riding dangerous is the cars. (Well okay, drink enough and getting into bed becomes dangerous. I’m talking about having a few extra drinks not floating your brain in alcohol.) Take away the cars  and most things are no longer dangerous. Ever seen a fun run or marathon? Thousands of people running on the road and no-one dead or injured. Try that in peak hour traffic.

(Yep, too drunk.)

I rescued a drunkard from the road the other day. He was the drunk to that level where even walking had become dangerous. In his case sleeping had become dangerous, stretched out on the road as he was. It was only 3:30 in the afternoon and I was riding back from a visit to a client. I found the guy laid out in the road, mostly in the parking lane, but hardly safe. When I helped him back to safety he insisted his main problem was that he was slightly built and hadn’t eaten. He had money he told me. Enough for a hamburger, if I would just go and buy it for him. I was late for a phone hook-up so sadly couldn’t go burger shopping for drunkards. I reckoned the alcohol would wear off, hamburger or not, and lying in the afternoon sun on the grass was a perfect way to recover.

I wouldn’t advise this guy to ride home.

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