6 months and counting

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Dave B, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. Dave B

    Dave B Guest

    Hi

    I've just about reached six months of cycle commuting. I'm not a long
    distance cyclist (9 miles a day) but I do cycle hard (but trying my best
    not to compromise my or anyone elses safety) and so I think it is a
    great way to keep my fitness level up. I see no reason why I won't
    manage to keep on cycling through 'the dark months'.

    As well as keeping me fit, I think it has improved my driving skills
    (yes I am ocassionally a cager!). I think my observation skills have
    improved vastly as they are needed when riding the bike.

    However, this improvement in observation comes at a price, I now see
    much more of the dark side of human nature.

    It feels like when I am on my bike some road users no longer see me as a
    human being, but rather a play thing or an annoyance. Yesterday (and
    most other days), waiting to turn right on a dual carriageway, I
    received abuse from several motorists for taking up their road and
    holding them up for a whole 10-15 seconds. How dare I! Why is that that
    just because I have decided to use a more environmentally friendly form
    of transport, and I am not surrounded by a metal cage that I suddenly
    don't have any rights any more? Where has courtesy and patience gone?
    Why do people feel then need to get from A to B in the shortest time
    possible, and damn anyone who gets in their way!
    And today a lorry having seen me on a roundabout decides to play a game
    with me and pulls right out in front of me forcing me to swerve and
    break in the wet. I could have ended up under his wheels but he only
    thinks to laugh and joke with his passenger. This sort of attitude
    surely costs lifes!?

    Of course not everyone is like this, and yes for every bad experience on
    the roads I have had 10 good experiences. However, there is no reason
    for ANYONE to get upset just because I am on the road!

    Anyway, I just feel grumpy this morning, my 6 month old didn't sleep
    well last night and some equipment I need to use at work has decided to
    give up the ghost, so I felt a bit of a rant would make me feel better!

    I must admit it has worked and I am looking forward to the cycle home
    already (even though its mostly uphill and it is windy!)

    Take care on the roads folks (especially at this time of year) and have
    a good Christmas and New year.

    Dave
     
    Tags:


  2. sothach

    sothach Guest

    Dave B wrote:
    > However, this improvement in observation comes at a price, I now see
    > much more of the dark side of human nature.

    Yeah, it happens a lot, I'd guess. Even if you take up cycling for
    reasons like convenience, health or whatever, you run the risk of being
    radicalised by the way you are treated on the roads.
    Me, I'm off to hug a tree now.
     
  3. iakobski

    iakobski Guest

    Dave B wrote:
    >> manage to keep on cycling through 'the dark months'.


    Hey, the days are getting lighter from now on!

    The attitude that the roads are only for motor vehicles is definitely
    getting stronger. It's one thing to understand that a tonne or more of
    fast moving metal may be difficult to manouevre, therefore don't step
    out in front of one. It's another thing entirely for drivers to expect
    anyone not in another motor vehicle to leap or run out of their path;
    and to insist on some kind of right not to have to slow down.

    A driver had a go at me the other day for walking on the road. I was on
    the right, wearing fluorescents (in daylight) and it was a country lane
    with no pavement. But he thought I was both mad and inconsiderate for
    expecting to walk on it. There are many joggers on the lanes where I
    live, they are expected to leap off the road onto the muddy verge or
    into a ditch if there are cars passing. Horse riders are beeped at.

    Cyclists are considered "mad" if they cycle on a trunk road "with all
    that traffic". They're also considered "mad" if they cycle on a winding
    lane, as "surely some car will run them over as they come round a blind
    bend". And they're also "inconsiderate" if they cycle in town, because
    they "clearly hold up the busy traffic".
     
  4. Dave B

    Dave B Guest

    sothach wrote:

    > Me, I'm off to hug a tree now.
    >

    Make sure it's a tree with a large girth. Much more satisfying that way ;-)
     
  5. Phil Clarke

    Phil Clarke Guest

    Dave B wrote:

    > Why is that that
    > just because I have decided to use a more environmentally friendly form
    > of transport, and I am not surrounded by a metal cage that I suddenly
    > don't have any rights any more?


    its nothing to do with the bike, environment or lack of cage, yer "know
    all of my rights & none of my responsibilities" minority just see you as
    an obstruction to their unimpeded progress. If you were an old dear or
    learner driver holding them up on the dual carriageway you'd get the
    same abuse.
     
  6. Dave B

    Dave B Guest

    iakobski wrote:

    >
    > Hey, the days are getting lighter from now on!
    >


    Ah but the clouds are thicker! (At least they are here in Glasgow!)
     
  7. Dave B

    Dave B Guest

    Phil Clarke wrote:

    >
    >
    > its nothing to do with the bike, environment or lack of cage, yer "know
    > all of my rights & none of my responsibilities" minority just see you as
    > an obstruction to their unimpeded progress.


    I suppose your right. It's just that I notice it now I am on my bike.

    The drinking culture is often quoted as a major problem in the UK, but I
    feel there is also an 'Out of my way' culture that is fast developing.
     
  8. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    Dave B wrote:
    >
    > Anyway, I just feel grumpy this morning, my 6 month old didn't sleep
    > well last night and some equipment I need to use at work has decided to
    > give up the ghost, so I felt a bit of a rant would make me feel better!
    >


    The other two advantages of cycle commuting are that 1) exercise is the
    recommended way to burn off the stress induced adrenalin of the day
    which means less stress and stress damage and 2) when I cycle fast or in
    traffic I find it difficult to think about work issues so by the time I
    get home I have switched off from the office rather than still having
    stuff churning over in my mind.


    --
    Tony

    "The best way I know of to win an argument is to start by being in the
    right."
    - Lord Hailsham
     
  9. In article <[email protected]>, Dave B
    ([email protected]) wrote:
    > sothach wrote:
    >
    > > Me, I'm off to hug a tree now.
    > >

    > Make sure it's a tree with a large girth. Much more satisfying that way ;-)


    Quite. I am told that this tree:

    <URL:http://legslarry.8bit.co.uk/Wretch/treehugging_hippy.jpg>

    is really too small for full enjoyment of the Tree-Hugging Experience.

    --
    Dave Larrington - <http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/>
    Help me, Mrs. Medleycott, I don't know what to do. I've only got three
    bullets and there's four of Mötley Crüe.
     
  10. Dave B wrote:


    > Ah but the clouds are thicker! (At least they are here in Glasgow!)


    I do most of my cycling in and around the north of Glasgow. On the
    whole I don't have too many problems. I see as many bad drivers when
    driving as I do when cycling.
    In the last few months I have only had one driver toot at me because
    I was "holding him up" and another deliberately drive very close to me
    because I wasn't in the cycle lane.
    I think most other incidents were just bits of bad driving which
    would or could have happened whether I was on the bike or the car.
    For safe urban cycling I use the following tactics based on
    experience and ideas picked up from this group and elsewhere.

    1 Wear a bright jacket. The sooner drivers see you the better.

    2 Loads of lights and reflectives at night. I use 2 Cateye LD600 rear
    lights. A 10w front light. A large rear reflector intended for the back
    of a caraven, reflective tape on mudguards. Reflective ankleband. My
    10w front light was fitted when my commute included unlit roads. For
    normal urban roads a good quality LED flashing light stands out more.

    3 No helmet. This one is debateable. My take is that drivers who see a
    cyclist without a helmet subconsciously see him as more vulnerable and
    take more care. It's more comfortable. If a car runs you over a helmet
    is not going to save you. And is not designed to.
    For a more detailed resume of helmet arguments see
    www.cyclehelmets.org

    4 Read Cyclecraft. THE manual for vehicular cycling. In particular
    unless the lanes are very wide it is almost always unsafe for a driver
    to overtake you without moving into the next lane. Do not give him the
    option of sqeezing past. Ride in the centre of your lane.
    On some roads this can lead to following traffic being delayed.
    Tough. Tractors, buses, learners, horses, all delay cars. Your safety
    is more important than 60 seconds of their time. Usually the first
    driver behind you is considerate and his car acts as a buffer between
    you and any idiots in the queue.
    Of course if the nature of the road means there are no safe passing
    places pull over every so often to let following traffic past.

    5 Never ride within the door zone of parked cars. If you do then sooner
    or later you will have a serious accident when a door is opened and
    you collide with it and are possibly hit by following traffic. The
    only exception is are when filtering past a line of parked cars and it
    is not safe to pass on the offside of the cars. In which case filter at
    little more than walking speed.

    6 A high proportion of cycling fatalities are caused by left turning
    HGVs. Take extreme care when passing stationary HGVs that you do not
    get stuck alongside them when they moves off.
    Iain
     
  11. Phil Clarke

    Phil Clarke Guest

    Dave B wrote:

    > I notice it now I am on my bike.


    :eek:) I notice it everywhere including in my car, I just have more
    "could've killed me!" moments on bikes & motorbikes.


    > The drinking culture is often quoted as a major problem in the UK, but I
    > feel there is also an 'Out of my way' culture that is fast developing.


    I agree, tho I think the "outa my way" culture is firmly here.

    The difference, IMHO, is the "binge drinking culture" makes for good
    press while ranting about your readers/viewers faults doesn't sell.


    Radio 2's chain-yanker-in-residence [1] Jeremy Vine is asking us this
    week which we think is the most commonly flouted UK law. His candidates
    are littering, underage drinking, holding a mobile while driving,
    hunting with hounds and motorway speeding.

    All fine soapboxes for Outraged of Home Counties, but where is
    "speeding, blocking access and careless driving in built up areas"? IMHO
    it doesn't get in 'cos its too close to home for the audience.


    [1] not a complaint - I don't think its investigative journalism but I
    do think its funny. :D
     
  12. "[email protected]" <[email protected]> wrote:

    > In the last few months I have only had one driver toot at me
    > because I was "holding him up" and another deliberately drive very
    > close to me because I wasn't in the cycle lane.


    My commute now has an "improved" section of road where a new flyover has replaced
    a level crossing, and the pavement on the flyover and a half mile either side has
    the red-top "cycle lane" surface, and I was a bit worried that I would be
    "expected" to use it rather than the road, but I have not *yet* (touch wood) been
    shouted or honked at, but no doubt someone will soon complain about tax payers
    money being wasted on unused cycle lanes!
     
  13. Dave B

    Dave B Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    >
    >
    >
    >
    >
    > 1 Wear a bright jacket. The sooner drivers see you the better.


    Yup. Got the jacket.
    >
    > 2 Loads of lights and reflectives at night. I use 2 Cateye LD600 rear
    > lights. A 10w front light. A large rear reflector intended for the back
    > of a caraven, reflective tape on mudguards. Reflective ankleband. My
    > 10w front light was fitted when my commute included unlit roads. For
    > normal urban roads a good quality LED flashing light stands out more.


    I have a cateye LD500 on front, a static red at the back, a flasher on
    the rear of my jacket and a flashing arm band on my right arm. I do
    intend on getting a front flasher to accompany the LD500. I think that
    should be enough for my urban route (if there is such a thing as enough!)

    >
    > 3 No helmet. This one is debateable. My take is that drivers who see a
    > cyclist without a helmet subconsciously see him as more vulnerable and
    > take more care. It's more comfortable. If a car runs you over a helmet
    > is not going to save you. And is not designed to.
    > For a more detailed resume of helmet arguments see
    > www.cyclehelmets.org


    I'm a helmet wearer, but I can see the point to both sides of the argument.

    >
    > 4 Read Cyclecraft. THE manual for vehicular cycling. In particular
    > unless the lanes are very wide it is almost always unsafe for a driver
    > to overtake you without moving into the next lane. Do not give him the
    > option of sqeezing past. Ride in the centre of your lane.
    > On some roads this can lead to following traffic being delayed.
    > Tough. Tractors, buses, learners, horses, all delay cars. Your safety
    > is more important than 60 seconds of their time. Usually the first
    > driver behind you is considerate and his car acts as a buffer between
    > you and any idiots in the queue.
    > Of course if the nature of the road means there are no safe passing
    > places pull over every so often to let following traffic past.


    Got it and have read it. When waiting to turn right on the
    dual-carriageway I take a central position for safety. Thats what annoys
    the drivers behind!

    >
    > 5 Never ride within the door zone of parked cars. If you do then sooner
    > or later you will have a serious accident when a door is opened and
    > you collide with it and are possibly hit by following traffic. The
    > only exception is are when filtering past a line of parked cars and it
    > is not safe to pass on the offside of the cars. In which case filter at
    > little more than walking speed.


    Absolutely!

    >
    > 6 A high proportion of cycling fatalities are caused by left turning
    > HGVs. Take extreme care when passing stationary HGVs that you do not
    > get stuck alongside them when they moves off.
    > Iain
    >


    Won't pass an HGV unless it's parked or held up in a jam. Certainly not
    near junction.



    Have I passed?!?! ;-)

    Dave
     
  14. Ian Blake

    Ian Blake Guest

    On 21 Dec 2005 03:18:38 -0800, "iakobski" <[email protected]>
    wrote:

    >
    >Hey, the days are getting lighter from now on!
    >


    Sorry to rain on your parade but. It is true that the shortest
    daylight time is the solstice. It is also true that sunset is getting
    later. Unfortunately sunrise continues to get later until the first
    week of January. It is the dark mornings I hate most.

    eg. Sunrise and sunset times for Cardiff.
    Today 8:15 and 16:05
    Tomorrow 8:16 and 16:06
    24th December 8:17 and 16:07
    27th December 8:18 and 16:09
    4th January 8:18 and 16:17
    5th January 8:17 and 16:18

    (It starts to get light before sun rise, morning twilight)
     
  15. "Dave B" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > Got it and have read it. When waiting to turn right on the
    > dual-carriageway I take a central position for safety. Thats what annoys
    > the drivers behind!


    Most d/c's tend to have a dedicated space to wait to turn right don't they,
    rather than having to wait in the "ahead" lane?
     
  16. Clive George

    Clive George Guest

    "Ian Blake" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    > On 21 Dec 2005 03:18:38 -0800, "iakobski" <[email protected]>
    > wrote:
    >
    >>
    >>Hey, the days are getting lighter from now on!
    >>

    >
    > Sorry to rain on your parade but. It is true that the shortest
    > daylight time is the solstice. It is also true that sunset is getting
    > later. Unfortunately sunrise continues to get later until the first
    > week of January. It is the dark mornings I hate most.


    Not unfortunately at all! Dark mornings can merely be ignored whilst one is
    lying in bed, so there is more available daylight :)

    cheers,
    clive
     
  17. "Ian Blake" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]

    > Sorry to rain on your parade but. It is true that the shortest
    > daylight time is the solstice. It is also true that sunset is getting
    > later. Unfortunately sunrise continues to get later until the first
    > week of January. It is the dark mornings I hate most.
    >
    > eg. Sunrise and sunset times for Cardiff.
    > Today 8:15 and 16:05
    > Tomorrow 8:16 and 16:06
    > 24th December 8:17 and 16:07
    > 27th December 8:18 and 16:09
    > 4th January 8:18 and 16:17
    > 5th January 8:17 and 16:18


    I always thought that the "shadow" on the earth as shown on those online
    maps that show areas of the earth that are light was a totally even curve,
    so there must be some reason why it's not "even".
     
  18. Dave B wrote:


    > Have I passed?!?! ;-)


    100%. Sorry if my post was stating the obvious. Sometimes things are
    only obvious once you know them.
    Iain
     
  19. sothach

    sothach Guest

    [email protected] wrote:

    > 100%. Sorry if my post was stating the obvious. Sometimes things are
    > only obvious once you know them.


    No need to apologise, its always worth hearing others take. My own
    'top-tip' is
    to review your commute in a quite moment (if you have one) each
    evening.
    The sort of things I go over in my head is:
    1. Danger spots - I kind of colour-code junctions to myself, and figure
    out if I can
    find a route that avoids the reds (usually, across-the-traffic turns
    and bad cyclepaths)
    2. Did I sacrifice safety for speed at any point?
    3. My mental state - did I get wound-up by other road users' behavour?
    Did I
    do something stupid as a result?
    4. Anything dodgy about the bikes mechanical state - brakes ok? lights
    good?
     
  20. Dave B

    Dave B Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    >
    >
    > 100%. Sorry if my post was stating the obvious. Sometimes things are
    > only obvious once you know them.
    > Iain
    >


    No problem! I only know these things by reading this newsgroup!

    Had a better cycle in today, despite the rain. Probably as the roads
    were a lot quieter!

    Dave
     
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