Claire T in London writes (I love that; makes me feel like a Radio Two Disc Jockey) with a link to Zoe Williams’s rules of the road. This superb guide to life as a lady bike commuter includes fishnets, sopping bras, the pros and cons of running the lights, and social commentary.
When I was younger, a neighbour of my mum’s with colourful views gave me a lift to school. On the way, we passed a flame-headed lady cyclist who nearly went into us, and he said, “This is why women kill themselves on bikes – because they’re always looking in the shops.” This is very sexist, but it is true that she was looking at a shop.
You need to be honest with yourself about what will make you neck-crane something that isn’t the road. Don’t pretend it’s a lovely arse if actually it’s a window of cakes*. For myself, the only two occasions I’ve nearly crashed with no outside agency of poor driving, it was because I saw a puppy.
* If your head is turned by arses and patisseries, maybe you should take public transport.
My own trigger is shiny surfaces, especially reflective shop windows. I’m always curious about what I look like on a bike, for no good reason. I’ve worked out a Shakespearean theory that we each die of our most pronounced flaw. In my case, low-grade narcissism will put me under the wheels of a bus eventually.