Cycling in heavy traffic

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Thomas, Jun 10, 2003.

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  1. Thomas

    Thomas Guest

    Hi all,

    I've now been cycling to and from work every day in London. I've got to say that I absolutely love
    it! So far, my only problems have been a couple of bus drivers refusing to acknowledge that I need
    at least a *few* inches on the road thankyouverymuch and a couple of Volvo drivers who have kept at
    the same speed as me, not giving me anywhere to go when there's a car parked up ahead in front of
    me. Delightful.

    Anyways, on my cycle back to Shepherd's Bush, I have to cross and go down Holland Park Avenue
    briefly. On quite a few evenings, the traffic has been at a near standstill, with barely a foot of
    space to the left of the cars. With the traffic moving pretty slowly, I'm not too worried about
    cycling down this pit, but I find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However, I've noticed a fair
    few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting pace down there.

    I'm at rather a loss as to what to do about this. I presume my slow speed is caused by a lack of
    experience, but I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic. Quite how DO you do it?

    If nothing else, I really hate holding up other cyclists whilst I plod along. (I also dislike it
    myself, preferring speed over comfort on these journeys).

    Many thanks, Thomas, who can't even drive and finds this "highway rules" thingymajig very
    intriguing...
     
    Tags:


  2. Stephen \

    Stephen \ Guest

    "Thomas" <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I've now been cycling to and from work every day in London. I've got to
    say
    > that I absolutely love it! So far, my only problems have been a couple of bus drivers refusing to
    > acknowledge that I need at least a *few* inches on the road thankyouverymuch and a couple of Volvo
    > drivers who have kept at
    the
    > same speed as me, not giving me anywhere to go when there's a car parked
    up
    > ahead in front of me. Delightful.
    >
    > Anyways, on my cycle back to Shepherd's Bush, I have to cross and go down Holland Park Avenue
    > briefly. On quite a few evenings, the traffic has been at a near standstill, with barely a foot of
    > space to the left of the cars. With the traffic moving pretty slowly, I'm not too worried about
    > cycling down this pit, but I find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However,
    I've
    > noticed a fair few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting pace down there.
    >
    > I'm at rather a loss as to what to do about this. I presume my slow speed
    is
    > caused by a lack of experience, but I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic.
    > Quite how DO you do it?
    >
    > If nothing else, I really hate holding up other cyclists whilst I plod along. (I also dislike it
    > myself, preferring speed over comfort on these journeys).
    >
    > Many thanks, Thomas, who can't even drive and finds this "highway rules" thingymajig
    very
    > intriguing...
    >
    You may have seen me flying down the same stretch! But on the pavement. Whether you are a car driver
    or cyclist there are always some who will fly. I cycled in to work through Shepherds Bush when we
    had that bad weather and I had to give up on sheet ice but still some guys went flying by on their
    bikes! The stretch you mention is a fast stretch which sometimes snarls up, yesterday and today
    being examples. It's alway due to traffic in Shepherds Bush going down to Hammersmith - the Uxbridge
    Road is usually fine. Anyway there are only 2 options there - pavement or on the other side of the
    road. I find there's never a clear run down the left hand lane due to buses, lorries and cars well
    over or down the middle for the same reason. I prefer to take an average pace on the pavement. Also
    had my only accident since I started cycling into central London on that stretch - hit a kid who ran
    out in to the road on Halloween a few years ago! It's really not worth going too mad there just to
    save a minute on the ride home.

    Anyway - I go by there about 6:30-7:00 so if you are there at that time let me know. Would be nice
    to meet someone from here on the road not on the computer.
     
  3. Mark Burch

    Mark Burch Guest

    "Thomas" <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > down this pit, but I find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However,
    I've
    > noticed a fair few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting pace down there.
    >
    > I'm at rather a loss as to what to do about this. I presume my slow speed
    is
    > caused by a lack of experience, but I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic.
    > Quite how DO you do it?
    >

    I don't know the roads that you are describing but if there is heavy traffic moving very slowly I
    overtake on the right, not the left. Signalling if necessary and only if I can overtake without
    coming into conflict with oncoming traffic of course.

    Mark
     
  4. The Mark

    The Mark Guest

    Thomas wrote:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I've now been cycling to and from work every day in London. I've got to say that I absolutely love
    > it! So far, my only problems have been a couple of bus drivers refusing to acknowledge that I need
    > at least a *few* inches on the road thankyouverymuch and a couple of Volvo drivers who have kept
    > at the same speed as me, not giving me anywhere to go when there's a car parked up ahead in front
    > of me. Delightful.
    >
    I heard a horn close behind me coming home from work today, I looked round to find a volvo
    close behind in the bus lane I was in. It's amazing how slow you can go when there's a strong
    head wind. :)
    --
    Mark
     
  5. Chris French

    Chris French Guest

    In message <[email protected]>, Thomas <[email protected][at].invalid> writes
    >Anyways, on my cycle back to Shepherd's Bush, I have to cross and go down Holland Park Avenue
    >briefly. On quite a few evenings, the traffic has been at a near standstill, with barely a foot of
    >space to the left of the cars. With the traffic moving pretty slowly, I'm not too worried about
    >cycling down this pit, but I find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However, I've noticed a fair
    >few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting pace down there.
    >

    Personally I avoid narrow bits of road between the cars and the pavement if I can - and if I can't I
    take care - car passengers are liable to open a door without looking behind properly in these
    situations, or a car pull over to let someone out without warning. And anyway, usually sooner or
    later a bus or lorry ends up to near the kerb to pass.

    If there is a cycle lane marked then it's usually better as there is a bit more space.

    I go for either overtaking on the right, or filtering between the lanes of traffic, depending on the
    situation, space etc.
    --
    Chris French, Leeds
     
  6. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    Thomas wrote:
    > Anyways, on my cycle back to Shepherd's Bush, I have to cross and go down Holland Park Avenue
    > briefly. On quite a few evenings, the traffic has been at a near standstill, with barely a foot of
    > space to the left of the cars. With the traffic moving pretty slowly, I'm not too worried about
    > cycling down this pit, but I find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However, I've noticed a
    > fair few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting pace down there.

    Well, they're stupid and pushing their luck. Each one of them will most likely come a
    cropper one day.

    You should "understake" slowly and carefully (when safe) like you are doing, or overtake on the
    other side, or wait behind, or find another route.

    ~PB
     
  7. Pete Biggs

    Pete Biggs Guest

    By the way, don't feel at all guilty about holding up faster cyclists anywhere. They enjoy the
    excuse to have a rest for a while! :)

    ~PB
     
  8. "Thomas" <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > Hi all,

    > Anyways, on my cycle back to Shepherd's Bush, I have to cross and go down Holland Park Avenue
    > briefly. On quite a few evenings, the traffic has been at a near standstill, with barely a foot of
    > space to the left of the cars. With the traffic moving pretty slowly, I'm not too worried about
    > cycling down this pit, but I find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However,
    I've
    > noticed a fair few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting pace down there.
    >
    > I'm at rather a loss as to what to do about this. I presume my slow speed
    is
    > caused by a lack of experience, but I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic.
    > Quite how DO you do it?
    >

    I go down and up the full length of Holland Park Avenue everyday - downhill in the mornings and
    uphill on the way home. You can get standstill traffic in either direction at either time of day,
    but mostly I find it tends to be on the downhill Shepherd's Bush direction side of the road. What do
    I do? I go past any which way I can, wherever there's the most room - I may go left, right, or
    middle - it's two lanes in both directions, and usually do a bit of all three, switching lanes as
    necessary. Today it was pretty much standstill in the uphill direction and I mostly rode up along
    the chevrons in the middle of the road. The only thing to be aware of is motorcycles doing the same
    thing coming either way.

    I do not take to the pavement. I generally do not overtake standstill traffic at speed and certainly
    not where there's no room to manoevre - kerb side or in the middle between two lanes. Going downhill
    you can get quite a good speed up on Holland Park Avenue - I frequently touch over 30mph when
    traffic is flowing - but I wouldn't consider it when traffic is at a standstill, even if it were
    possible on the outside.

    Rich
     
  9. Stephen \

    Stephen \ Guest

    "Richard Goodman" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Thomas" <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    > > Hi all,
    >
    > > Anyways, on my cycle back to Shepherd's Bush, I have to cross and go
    down
    > > Holland Park Avenue briefly. On quite a few evenings, the traffic has
    been
    > > at a near standstill, with barely a foot of space to the left of the
    cars.
    > > With the traffic moving pretty slowly, I'm not too worried about cycling down this pit, but I
    > > find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However,
    > I've
    > > noticed a fair few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting
    pace
    > > down there.
    > >
    > > I'm at rather a loss as to what to do about this. I presume my slow
    speed
    > is
    > > caused by a lack of experience, but I'm also curious about passing
    heavy,
    > > slow-moving traffic. Quite how DO you do it?
    > >
    >
    >
    > I go down and up the full length of Holland Park Avenue everyday -
    downhill
    > in the mornings and uphill on the way home. You can get standstill
    traffic
    > in either direction at either time of day, but mostly I find it tends to
    be
    > on the downhill Shepherd's Bush direction side of the road. What do I
    do?
    > I go past any which way I can, wherever there's the most room - I may go left, right, or middle -
    > it's two lanes in both directions, and usually do
    a
    > bit of all three, switching lanes as necessary. Today it was pretty much standstill in the uphill
    > direction and I mostly rode up along the chevrons in the middle of the road. The only thing to be
    > aware of is motorcycles doing the same thing coming either way.
    >
    > I do not take to the pavement. I generally do not overtake standstill traffic at speed and
    > certainly not where there's no room to manoevre -
    kerb
    > side or in the middle between two lanes. Going downhill you can get quite
    a
    > good speed up on Holland Park Avenue - I frequently touch over 30mph when traffic is flowing - but
    > I wouldn't consider it when traffic is at a standstill, even if it were possible on the outside.
    >
    > Rich
    >
    That's 3 of us on this route then in this thread alone. How about a meet one evening somewhere on
    that stretch?
     
  10. > That's 3 of us on this route then in this thread alone. How about a meet
    one
    > evening somewhere on that stretch?
    >

    I'd be 'up' for it - literally ;-)

    Rich
     
  11. In news:[email protected], Thomas <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot]
    uk> typed:
    > Hi all,
    >
    > I've now been cycling to and from work every day in London. I've got to say that I absolutely
    > love it!

    I'd noticed from your comments elsewhere. Nice to see you here, especially within 2 weeks of getting
    a bike or however long it is.

    > I'm at rather a loss as to what to do about this. I presume my slow speed is caused by a lack of
    > experience, but I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic. Quite how DO you do it?

    On the right, if at all possible. As the traffic starts to congest up, there will still normally be
    enough room between the two cars to move towards the right hand side of the lane and pass them,
    assuming oncoming traffic allows
    it.

    If the traffic's not moving very fast in the first place, it's probably best to be in between the
    cars in the first place, rather than to the left of them.

    > If nothing else, I really hate holding up other cyclists whilst I plod along. (I also dislike it
    > myself, preferring speed over comfort on these journeys).

    If it's narrow enough to be difficult to fit between the cars, then it's almost certainly best to be
    going at walking pace. People can step off the pavement or open a car door or walk between two vans
    and get in the way and hurt you as well as themselves.

    > Thomas, who can't even drive and finds this "highway rules" thingymajig very intriguing...

    That doesn't stop plenty of other people from getting behind the wheel of a car :)

    Have fun on the commute,

    Ambrose
     
  12. Thomas wrote:
    > I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic. Quite how DO you do it?

    Anywhere there's space. After a while you'll probably be able to find the "line of least resistance"
    without having to think about it, but watch out for kamikaze motorcyclists, especuially at this time
    of the year when they haven't quite got Mad Sunday out of their systems yet. The one I overtook this
    morning got quite upset about this state of affairs. I imagine he got even more upset when Plod
    pulled him over.

    Dave Larrington - http://www.legslarry.beerdrinkers.co.uk/
    ===========================================================
    Editor - British Human Power Club Newsletter
    http://www.bhpc.org.uk/
    ===========================================================
     
  13. > I've now been cycling to and from work every day in London. I've got to say that I absolutely
    > love it!

    Ah, but of course. That's the only reason **to** cycle really.

    There's a book you should check out of the library, or even buy, John Franklin, "Cyclecraft, Skilled
    Cycling Techniques for Adults". The Stationery Office, 1997

    Jeremy Parker
     
  14. Davep

    Davep Guest

    Thomas wrote:
    >
    > but I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic. Quite how DO you do it?
    >
    on the right, with the motorcyclists. I quite often see the same m/bikers and I'm sure they're used
    to my cycling "style". I very rarely undertake unless there's a cyclelane and then it'll be at a
    much slower speed. My latest route from Blackfriars is staying just north of the river all the way
    to Wandsworth Bridge ( then wimbledon and Worcester Park ). When the traffic is light and there's an
    easterly breeze it's a lovely part of the journey.

    davep
     
  15. Bob Flemming

    Bob Flemming Guest

    On Tue, 10 Jun 2003 20:45:21 +0100, "Thomas" <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk> wrote:

    >Hi all,
    >
    >I've now been cycling to and from work every day in London. I've got to say that I
    >absolutely love it!

    Great, wish I had a job where I could!

    >So far, my only problems have been a couple of bus drivers refusing to acknowledge that I need at
    >least a *few* inches on the road thankyouverymuch and a couple of Volvo drivers who have kept at
    >the same speed as me, not giving me anywhere to go when there's a car parked up ahead in front of
    >me. Delightful.
    >
    >Anyways, on my cycle back to Shepherd's Bush, I have to cross and go down Holland Park Avenue
    >briefly. On quite a few evenings, the traffic has been at a near standstill, with barely a foot of
    >space to the left of the cars. With the traffic moving pretty slowly, I'm not too worried about
    >cycling down this pit, but I find I have to go *very* slowly to do so. However, I've noticed a fair
    >few of the other cyclists going at a decent commuting pace down there.
    >
    >I'm at rather a loss as to what to do about this. I presume my slow speed is caused by a lack of
    >experience, but I'm also curious about passing heavy, slow-moving traffic. Quite how DO you do it?

    Legally, on the right. We drive on the left and overtake on the right in this country. But we all
    know that this is not always the way things work. Undertaking is fine, if there's room we all do it,
    but I'd suggest that when this happens, be careful and watch for those cars turning left, if they
    clatter into you with this manovure.. .....tough. Most important thing is to be as *aware* as you
    can, and if you ever find yourself in a position where you're just about to 'chance' something -
    don't. Hold up, and wait until you feel happier about doing it. Good road sense helps so much. Being
    a car driver helps too
    - you have insight into 'driving bad habits' :)

    In all honesty, when I think about how many cars have passed me as a cyclist, I find most motorists
    to be basically ok, it's a minority that are problematic.

    Have a good trip!

    bob
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Guest

    "the Mark" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > Thomas wrote:
    > > Hi all,
    > >
    > > I've now been cycling to and from work every day in London. I've got to say that I absolutely
    > > love it! So far, my only problems have been a couple of bus drivers refusing to acknowledge that
    > > I need at least a *few* inches on the road thankyouverymuch and a couple of Volvo drivers who
    > > have kept at the same speed as me, not giving me anywhere to go when there's a car parked up
    > > ahead in front of me. Delightful.
    > >
    > I heard a horn close behind me coming home from work today, I looked round to find a volvo close
    > behind in the bus lane I was in. It's amazing how
    slow
    > you can go when there's a strong head wind. :)

    Heh, and strangely enough this is one of the things I definately *don't* remember from cycling a few
    years back - wind REALLY slows you down... being stoopid, it actually took me a while to work out
    quite why I wasn't going as fast as usual the other day. D'oh.

    Thomas.
     
  17. Thomas

    Thomas Guest

    "Stephen (aka steford)" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    >
    > "Thomas" <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk> wrote in message
    > news:[email protected]...
    <snip>

    > > If nothing else, I really hate holding up other cyclists whilst I plod along. (I also dislike it
    > > myself, preferring speed over comfort on these journeys).
    > >
    > > Many thanks, Thomas, who can't even drive and finds this "highway rules" thingymajig
    > very
    > > intriguing...
    > >
    > You may have seen me flying down the same stretch! But on the pavement. Whether you are a car
    > driver or cyclist there are always some who will
    fly.
    > I cycled in to work through Shepherds Bush when we had that bad weather
    and
    > I had to give up on sheet ice but still some guys went flying by on their bikes! The stretch you
    > mention is a fast stretch which sometimes snarls
    up,
    > yesterday and today being examples. It's alway due to traffic in Shepherds Bush going down to
    > Hammersmith - the Uxbridge Road is usually fine. Anyway there are only 2 options there - pavement
    > or on the other side of the
    road.
    > I find there's never a clear run down the left hand lane due to buses, lorries and cars well over
    > or down the middle for the same reason. I
    prefer
    > to take an average pace on the pavement. Also had my only accident since I started cycling into
    > central London on that stretch - hit a kid who ran out in to the road on Halloween a few
    years
    > ago! It's really not worth going too mad there just to save a minute on
    the
    > ride home.

    Thankfully, I'm on the road for barely a minute, I've always experienced heavy, slow-moving traffic
    there. For some reason, I find this really messes with my head. Most strange.

    However, I'll agree that it's damned good fun powering it down there at the weekends - so far, I've
    used it to get to Hyde Park a few times and the journey home is always enjoyable :-D

    > Anyway - I go by there about 6:30-7:00 so if you are there at that time
    let
    > me know. Would be nice to meet someone from here on the road not on the computer.

    Coincidentally enough, that's usually the time period I find myself cycling down there. Certainly
    wouldn't mind meeting up en route for a couple of pints ;) I'm cycling from Swiss Cottage, so
    anywhere around Holland Park / Notting Hill's pretty easy for me if that's any good.

    Thomas.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Guest

    "Pete Biggs" <pLime{remove_fruit}@biggs.tc> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > By the way, don't feel at all guilty about holding up faster cyclists anywhere. They enjoy the
    > excuse to have a rest for a while! :)

    Hehe, good then, glad to have some support for my naturally guilty mind :) Thankfully, I'm only on
    that road for a minute or two, but some cyclists (deliberately or not) manage to really put me off.

    Had one fella today who went zooming past me as I was waiting for a red light to change. The stupid
    thing was that, after about a minute of waiting for the lights, it took me about another minute to
    easily go past him. Some people tsk tsk tsk

    Thomas.
     
  19. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "Thomas" <tom [at] greysheep [dot] co [dot] uk> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > Heh, and strangely enough this is one of the things I definately *don't* remember from cycling a
    > few years back - wind REALLY slows you down...
    being
    > stoopid, it actually took me a while to work out quite why I wasn't going
    as
    > fast as usual the other day. D'oh.

    The Dark Side is swifter, young Jedi. Wind resistance is futile!

    --
    Guy
    ===
    I wonder if you wouldn't mind piecing out our imperfections with your thoughts; and while you're
    about it perhaps you could think when we talk of bicycles, that you see them printing their proud
    wheels i' the receiving earth; thanks awfully.
     
  20. Bryan

    Bryan New Member

    Joined:
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    I'm usually going the other way between 6.30 and 7, on my way form Uxbridge to Rotherhithe, so am always looking for an excuse to have a rest (recently I've been getting punctures just before shepeards bush, so have had a bit of a rest)

    Bryan
     
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