Deansgate circa 1930
Trams don't operate on this street now and the cobbles are long gone
My last of ten consecutive nights shifts tonight before my holiday so on a bit of a high. This one (and the first) are actually additional shifts i do on an ad hoc basis. So instead of heading to Bury tonight i turned left and blitzed 6 miles down the A56 into Manchester city centre.
20 mins and i am on Deansgate making about 18mph. Very little traffic as the road is partially shut due to roadworks but a fair number of pedestrians about (Friday evening in the city centre!!). It is still light but i have my front flasher on anyway. Then it happens. A male youth steps into the road without once bothering glancing in my general direction. Even though he is crossing my lane and oblivious to my presence i am not concerned - i have seen him and there is a 5M gap between us - stop pedalling, aim for the gutter area, pass behind and he'll be none the wiser. Or so i thought!
He must catch my flasher in the corner of his eye. Something makes him look anyway. All of a sudden the situation is dramatically changed. My flasher is now a full beam headlight and he is a frozen rabbit. Stay frozen i think, there is room for me to pass, start using the rear brake. No good - he decides maybe the middle of the road is not a place to wander into without thinking and so makes the decision to dart back to the pavement from whence he came. My route is now cut off. I will hit him if i carry on. Both brakes on hard. Lock the back wheel up. Turn away from him. Try to minimize the damage.
I slide to a halt with less than 10cm to spare. How i didn't flatten him i will never know. The look on his face was priceless - part gormless and part stunned with a smattering of embarrassment. He mumbled something i didn't listen to as i cycled round him. I realize my feet have not left the pedals, i have avoided a potential nasty collision by dint of my observation and riding skill, it is my last night shift and i am going to the Lakes for a weeks holiday tomorrow. I don't even tell him he is a pillock - he knows already. I feel really good.