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The Chase #2

For some reason, I was up and dressed when the phone rang at 4AM on New Years Day, I think it was 1991/1992...

I should explain at this point that I wasn’t the greatest fan of going out and getting drunk at New Years, I should’ve been tucked up all nice and warm in bed but I couldn’t sleep so I’d got up and got dressed. I got the phone after 2 rings,

It was Bruce who was clearly pissed off that he hadn’t woken me or the rest of the family up,

“dunno, couldn’t sleep”,
“want to go cycling?”,
“I’ll see you in 10 minutes”.

I met Bruce when I started being a cycle courier in January 1991. At that time he had been in the control room figuring out which courier should do which jobs. Bruce was pretty good at it since he’d been a motorbike courier previously and could do pretty good tie-ins. However there would always be a controller who hadn’t been a courier who’d end up sending you 3 miles across the city to get a job when there was another courier right next to it. Bruce was built like the proverbial brick shithouse and was pretty fit to boot so we’d quite often go for longer distance cycle rides. I think when he saw how much fun I was having as a pushbike courier he decided he’d do it too.

There's only a month’s difference in age between us and we both had a healthy disrespect for authority or people in uniform who thought they had authority (even worse!!). So on occasion we’d go out for a late night cycle looking for a chase / some excitement / all of the above. This particular night it was pretty quiet (remember it’s New Years at 4AM), I was out on my racing bike and Bruce was on his mountain bike. We started off by going over the Kingston Bridge which is a massive car only motorway bridge that crosses the River Clyde. If the cops had seen us, we’d definitely have got some attention but it wasn’t to be. So we cycled back into the city and just messed about.

We were going the wrong way up one of the smaller one way streets, the entire city was devoid of life and cars, it seemed we were the only ones there, until a police car screeched round the corner behind us with disco lights ablaze and the siren going. We immediately swung into action, cycling up to Blythswood Square (the top of Glasgow City Centre – everywhere is downhill from there!!).

“GO RIGHT”, Bruce shouts going right, down another one way street (the wrong way), for some reason I went left, so of course the police followed me! I wound up cycling at full pelt down the middle of Sauchiehall Street pedestrian precinct with the cops right behind me in the car. Sauchiehall Street pedestrian precinct is roughly four car lanes in width, divided into 3 sections by metal bollards. I switched into the left hand side aisle, I had a plan. Hope Street was approaching so I’d swing the back end out to the right, head up the pavement and double back on myself. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out that way.

I pulled the back brake hard and leaned to the left to swing the back end out, it swung – a bit, then it straightened up again. I’d been meaning to replace the brake blocks for weeks and just never got round to it, so the brakes weren’t biting. I crashed head on into a section of railing on Hope Street. I got off my bike, put my hands up and said “I surrender” and one of the nice policemen jumped out the car and tried to kick me in the balls with his size 12s, fortunately I reacted quick enough to catch his christmas spirit it in the thigh instead.

Just at that point another cop appeared, running down Hope Street to intercept me – they’d actually radioed for help!! I got taken in the car and questioned. I, of course denied all knowledge of actually knowing Bruce and told them that I thought it’d be nice to go out cycling when there’s no cars around. They let me go. I’d given them 10 minutes of entertainment. My bike was unrideable as I'd bent the forks in the crash, so I carried it back to Bruce's and hammered them back to roughly where they were meant to be! Was certainly an interesting New Year.

All content (c) 2008-2012 Mark Gallagher