Today I tried out a variation of Bike Roulette – the game where you set off on a ride until you meet another cyclist, at which point you turn round and go home. My new version changed the rule to: When you meet another cyclist, you have to take the next left turn.
It soon became apparent that there was room for manouevre and some strategy involved. Riding out of Alsager on the road to Crewe, I knew that a left turn would take out towards Barthomley, a bit further than I really wanted to go. So when I saw two bikes approaching I had to make a quick decision. A break in the traffic allowed a quick U-turn just before our paths crossed, (Point A on the map) so they overtook me, which meant I had to go left.
The two then stopped and I passed them, and had to decide on the rules. Did this mean I had to make two left turns? Or did it cancel out the previous turn? I decided that once a turn was pending, I was immune from further forced turns, to stop instructions from stacking up like a slow computer trying to do what you clicked on five minutes ago.
Riding along Hassall Road I had another scare, (at B) because a forced left turn here would have meant a long ride just to get to the next turn. I could see that the U-turn was going to be a vital strategy, together with the go slow to let him pass me, to force a left turn that I wanted to take anyway. Easy!
A child at C helpfully sent me in the direction of home, and a pavement cyclist at D required only a small diversion. I arrived home, chaos having been conquered. But have I weighted the dice too heavily against the forces of randomness? Exactly how much personal freedom should we claim in the face of the universe and the Higgs Boson?
Still, today’s game produced a rather nice map-picture of a fat person reclining and reading a book, which I will take as a good omen for the forthcoming summer holidays.