Tag Archives: cycling

Girl, put your hi-viz on

Something dreadful has happened to me. I have become a bus commuter. I was spoilt by riding the beautiful hot roads of South West Australia and since I came home the prospect of breaking 2Moos out of the garage, riding to work in the wet and the cold and the slime, and repeating the operation in reverse at the end of the day just hasn’t appealed. As I lamented before Christmas, in the absence of any parking spaces at work my only alternative is to get the Guided Bus. There are severe limitations to this as a mode of transport, not least that the cheap one (Whippet – I wonder if the Tight Fisted Northerner stereotype was deliberate?) ends at 5 to 8, when the night is yet young. But it turns out I do quite enjoy the 2-mile cycle to and from the bus stop. I have my “Now’s the Time” hi-viz jacket and a pair of robust boots. Except last Friday when I had my Now’s the Time hi-viz and a pair of 7-inch heels with flames down the side. And I pay £12.50 for the week. I had to take 2Moos to the office yesterday and – quelle horreur – I didn’t enjoy it. What on earth is going on? Have I been abducted and replaced by an imposter?

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What a difference a day makes


I am sneakily becoming a full-time 2-wheel commuter, though riding an adventure-touring motorcycle with powder-coated aluminium panniers 6 miles to the office feels a little bit like pony-trekking on Red Rum.

Yesterday was stressful. Today I decided to go Easy Listening (helped by the fact that I am hoping for an early departure north for RBR camping in the High Peak, so we are sat-navved and duffled up and ready to roll once the sun hits the yardarm) and roll with the flow instead of trying to outrace the waves. Much more cheerful, much less risky, and – as could have been entirely predicted – quicker (though I think it’s an unfair comparison, most of London seems to shirk from home on Fridays.)

My beatific mood was only broken by a tale of two cyclists. I want to be able to use bus lanes, but the CTC believes that I present an “actual and perceived threat” to pedestrians and seeks to change Boris’s mind. I accept we all have bad days and don’t always ride the way we would wish ourselves to. And I have had the arguments about conserving momentum by riding through red lights if it’s safe to proceed explained to me. But I don’t think any of that makes it OK to ignore the red light at a pedestrian crossing, bomb across at full speed, and cause an 8 year-old boy and his mum to leap back out of your way – Mr Stripey Shirt, serious helmet and thousand-yard stare, I’m talking to you.

Karmic harmony was restored by a gentle “ting ting” from another cyclist catching me on my off-side (this is the point at which I decided I was proceeding a little too peacefully). He came past me, indicated left with his arm, cut in leaving lots of room, and pedalled serenely on down the Caledonian Road. No aggro, no conflict – and no lycra. Maybe it’s lack of blood flow to their manly parts that puts them in such a bad mood…

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