To Cambridghe cyclists

Discussion in 'UK and Europe' started by Eatmorepies, Jun 12, 2003.

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  1. Eatmorepies

    Eatmorepies Guest

    I spent some time in Cambridge today and have some observations for you.

    Some of your bikes are a disgrace. Rusty chains galore and horrible squeaking, clanking and
    squealing from wheels, brakes and mudguards.

    Your traffic sense is terrible. I saw one rider emerge from the nearside of a bus into the path of a
    car turning right on a green filter - she shouted abuse at the car driver.

    You ride on flat tyres. Pump them up, that way you will reduce impact punctures and use less energy.

    You seem to enjoy riding bikes as a means of transport.

    If I lived in Cambridge I would ride a bike with a higher maintainence programme and be a little
    more careful when weaving in and out of lines of cars.

    Do you have many accidents?

    John
     
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  2. Eatmorepies wrote:
    > I spent some time in Cambridge today and have some observations for you.
    >
    > Some of your bikes are a disgrace. Rusty chains galore and horrible squeaking, clanking and
    > squealing from wheels, brakes and mudguards.

    Yep. That covers most of 'em. You may have noticed that non-straight wheels are fairly
    pre-eminent too.

    > Your traffic sense is terrible. I saw one rider emerge from the nearside of a bus into the path of
    > a car turning right on a green filter - she shouted abuse at the car driver.

    That's a nice counterbalance to the usual cam.transport view that all motorists are blind, and
    cyclists all angelic :). Fact is, that traffic sense all round is pretty dire, with buses and taxis
    being particularly bad.

    > You ride on flat tyres. Pump them up, that way you will reduce impact punctures and use
    > less energy.

    Also, and the thing that irritates me the most, is the number of people who just don't understand
    that pedalling with the heel is incredibly suboptimal.

    > You seem to enjoy riding bikes as a means of transport.

    I think this is generally true, though to an extent it's 'just the way it's always been', and
    tbh, the PT is so dire, and the council so anti-car, that it's the easiest mode of transport in
    most cases.

    > If I lived in Cambridge I would ride a bike with a higher maintainence programme and be a little
    > more careful when weaving in and out of lines of cars.

    Yes, but you'd probably obey traffic lights, wear sensible clothing, put lights on at night etc
    etc too...

    > Do you have many accidents?

    You probably visited a little early in the year to see the full horror of foreign language students
    - they're given bikes, possibly a leaflet, and let loose. It's horrendous, even though the bikes
    are generally fairly distinctive and all the locals know to give them a wide berth (in car, on
    bike, or whatever)

    w
     
  3. Tony Raven

    Tony Raven Guest

    In news:[email protected], Eatmorepies <[email protected]> typed:
    > I spent some time in Cambridge today and have some observations for you.
    >

    Welcome to Bicycle Utopia. Cambridge is just a taster of what the world is like when a significant
    number of people switch from their cars to bikes ;-)

    Tony

    --
    http://www.raven-family.com

    "All truth goes through three steps: First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed.
    Finally, it is accepted as self-evident." Arthur Schopenhauer
     
  4. "Eatmorepies" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:<[email protected]>...
    > I spent some time in Cambridge today and have some observations for you.
    >
    > Your traffic sense is terrible. I saw one rider emerge from the nearside of a bus into the path of
    > a car turning right on a green filter - she shouted abuse at the car driver.
    >

    I've only been to Cambridge once - about 4 months ago - and the conduct of some cyclists was
    downright scary! Almost made me ashamed to own a bike; lack of lights after dark (esp. on mixed-use
    paths) and a disregard for traffic signals, amongst other things, seemed to be par for the course.

    David E. Belcher

    Dept. of Chemistry, University of York
     
  5. [email protected] (David E. Belcher) wrote: ( I've only been to Cambridge once - about 4
    months ago - and the ) conduct of some cyclists was downright scary! Almost made me ashamed ( to own
    a bike; lack of lights after dark (esp. on mixed-use paths) and ) a disregard for traffic signals,
    amongst other things, seemed to be ( par for the course.

    Anywhere where there are a lot of cyclists, there are a goodly number of bad cyclists. They're also
    more obvious than the rest. No, really. If it's anything like Oxford (and in many ways, Cambridg(h)e
    aspires to be... oh, sorry, I'll stop that now) then every time you're stopped at a red light it
    will seem that you'll be passed by a cyclist running the lights, but that's only because you notice
    and note it when it happens, and you barely notice that there are five or six cyclist stopped at the
    light with you. And it's easier to remember all those unlit cyclists that you were nearly killed by
    than it is to count the number of well-lit cyclists who kept out of your way. (It almost makes you
    think that being a bad cyclists is a sensible survival strategy.)

    I don't know how so many people can put up with riding bicycles that are totally unfit to ride,
    though. It's clearly partly that it's "possible" to get by doing no maintenance and spending no
    money, but still...
     
  6. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    "Geraint Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > I don't know how so many people can put up with riding bicycles that are totally unfit to ride,
    > though. It's clearly partly that it's "possible" to get by doing no maintenance and spending no
    > money, but still...

    Coz in Cambridge terms two miles is a long trip. You really don't need much of a bike to do
    two miles!

    Yes, it's 'can't be bothered, don't need to'. And given the choice between bike maintenance and
    beer, which would you choose? (well I always chose the latter, but then I'm odd like that).

    cheers, clive
     
  7. Ben

    Ben Guest

    I cycle in cambridge, keep my bike in good nick, and can turn both me and my bike into a veritable
    christmas tree when the need arises. But however bad some cyclists may be, most are perfectly safe -
    which is more than can be said for the towns complememnt of kamikazee bus drivers/cabbies/other van
    drivers. I don't think I can remember the last time a truck gave way to me on the run up to
    Magdelane bridge, for instance (time to jump off the bike, spluttering obscenities)

    Also, it has to be remembered that when the contest is between someone on a bike and someone in a 2
    tonne lump of metal on a little jaunt through town, at the end of the day, the onus on safety lies
    squarely with the car driver, simply by virtue of the fact that he is the one with the ability to
    casue by far the most harm.

    Humph.

    So there.

    Ben

    NB Did I mention the secret plot by bus drivers to knock all students bikes to bits, so that someone
    will actually have to use the incredibly empty and yet strangely prollific bus service ....
     
  8. ( Yes, it's 'can't be bothered, don't need to'. And given the choice between ) bike maintenance and
    beer, which would you choose? (well I always chose the ( latter, but then I'm odd like that).

    What is this "beer" of which you speak?
     
  9. Tony Finch

    Tony Finch Guest

    "Tony Raven" <[email protected]> wrote:
    >Eatmorepies <[email protected]> typed:
    >>
    >> I spent some time in Cambridge today and have some observations for you.
    >
    >Welcome to Bicycle Utopia. Cambridge is just a taster of what the world is like when a significant
    >number of people switch from their cars to bikes ;-)

    Cambridge is almost a Dutch city on the wrong side of the North Sea. It isn't quite flat enough or
    riddled with enough waterways, and the traffic is too aggressive and the public transport is too
    crap, but the bikes!

    Tony (recently returned from Leiden).
    --
    f.a.n.finch <[email protected]> http://dotat.at/ COLWYN BAY TO THE MULL OF GALLOWAY INCLUDING THE ISLE OF
    MAN: WEST OR SOUTHWEST 3 OR 4 BECOMING VARIABLE 3 OR LESS. FAIR. GOOD. SLIGHT BECOMING SMOOTH.
     
  10. Tony Finch

    Tony Finch Guest

    >Coz in Cambridge terms two miles is a long trip.

    That's just the undergraduate (non-Girton) view of things.

    Tony.
    --
    f.a.n.finch <[email protected]> http://dotat.at/ SELSEY BILL TO LYME REGIS: NORTH OR NORTHWEST 3 BECOMING
    VARIABLE 3 OR LESS, WITH AFTERNOON ONSHORE BREEZES, THEN EAST OR NORTHEAST 3 OR 4. SHOWERS
    LATER. GOOD BECOMING MODERATE. SMOOTH.
     
  11. In article <[email protected]>, Eatmorepies wrote:
    >You seem to enjoy riding bikes as a means of transport.

    One of the highest proportions of cycle journeys in the country. There are plenty of well maintained
    well ridden bikes around too. But you haven't seen the full horror that is the language students -
    cycling three abreast the wrong away round roundabouts and suchlike.

    >If I lived in Cambridge I would ride a bike with a higher maintainence programme and be a little
    >more careful when weaving in and out of lines of cars.
    >
    >Do you have many accidents?

    Road accident data: http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/sub/eandt/roadsafety/acc.htm
     
  12. Daniel Auger

    Daniel Auger Guest

    On Thu, 12 Jun 2003, Eatmorepies wrote:

    > I spent some time in Cambridge today and have some observations for you.
    >
    > Some of your bikes are a disgrace. Rusty chains galore and horrible squeaking, clanking and
    > squealing from wheels, brakes and mudguards.
    >
    > Your traffic sense is terrible. I saw one rider emerge from the nearside of a bus into the path of
    > a car turning right on a green filter - she shouted abuse at the car driver.
    >
    > You ride on flat tyres. Pump them up, that way you will reduce impact punctures and use
    > less energy.
    >
    > You seem to enjoy riding bikes as a means of transport.
    >
    > If I lived in Cambridge I would ride a bike with a higher maintainence programme and be a little
    > more careful when weaving in and out of lines of cars.
    >
    > Do you have many accidents?

    A Cambridge cyclist, I am guilty of none of the above offences.

    I think your observations are valid, and I believe that we do have a high cycle accident rate. I
    can't back this up with statistics, though.

    The worst offenders on the traffic-sense front are said to be the summer school students.

    Don't forget that you only notice the bad cyclists, just as you only notice the bad motorists. :)

    --
    Daniel Auger - [email protected] (Please remove Granta to get a valid address.)
     
  13. > I spent some time in Cambridge today and have some observations for you.
    >
    > Some of your bikes are a disgrace. Rusty chains galore and horrible squeaking, clanking and
    > squealing from wheels, brakes and mudguards.
    >

    It's an anti theft technique, I understand. Your bike needs to be less desirable than the bike
    next door, in a competitive field. Forty years ago when I was a student (er, in London) it seemed
    to be quite a status symbol in Oxbridge to have a ***really*** decrepit bike. With such a bike,
    even if their bike did get stolen, Oxbridge students didn't care. What's more, if their bike had
    mysteriously vanished when they came out of a shop, they knew, by looking at the remaining bikes,
    that their owners didn't care either, if their bikes got stolen. Cambridge is small enough, that,
    with student bikes having registration numbers, your bike would usually reappear somewhere within
    a few days.

    It's the same in Amsterdam, I gather. From each according to their ability, to each according to
    their need.

    After having spent a quarter of a century in the USA, I was interested in making another visit
    to Cambridge to see whether it would have the same bikes, just a quarter of a century older, or
    new bikes.

    The old bikes do seem to have gone to that place in the sky where all bad bikes go, (the Cam?) and
    the present day bikes seem to be less antique than they used to be. Is that because students are
    more affluent; because bikes are less rugged than they used to be; because they look newer, no
    longer being universally coloured black? I don't know.

    Jeremy Parker
     
  14. Tony Finch

    Tony Finch Guest

    [email protected] (Alan Braggins) wrote:
    >
    >One of the highest proportions of cycle journeys in the country.

    The highest by a significant margin: 25% against 17% for the runner-up IIRC.

    Tony.
    --
    f.a.n.finch <[email protected]> http://dotat.at/ SHANNON ROCKALL: SOUTHWEST BACKING SOUTH 4 OR 5,
    INCREASING 6 OR 7 IN WEST LATER. RAIN AT TIMES. MODERATE OR GOOD.
     
  15. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    "Geraint Jones" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...

    > ( Yes, it's 'can't be bothered, don't need to'. And given the choice
    between
    > ) bike maintenance and beer, which would you choose? (well I always chose
    the
    > ( latter, but then I'm odd like that).

    Bother, terminal brain fart on my part. I meant the former - I'm actually a terminal beer fairy
    (definitely quality before quantity).

    > What is this "beer" of which you speak?

    Ok, it doesn't really exist in Cambridge. Mmmm, IPA. I don't live in Cambridge any more, and there
    are several rather good breweries close enough to be considered 'local. These facts are not
    unrelated.

    cheers, clive
     
  16. [email protected] wrote: ( The old bikes do seem to have gone to that place in the sky
    where all ) bad bikes go, (the Cam?) and the present day bikes seem to be less ( antique than they
    used to be. Is that because students are more ) affluent; because bikes are less rugged than they
    used to be; because ( they look newer, no longer being universally coloured black? I don't ) know.

    You probably think that policemen are looking younger, too; don't you?
     
  17. Just Zis Guy

    Just Zis Guy Guest

    "Tony Finch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:sIj*[email protected]...

    > SHANNON ROCKALL: SOUTHWEST BACKING SOUTH 4 OR 5, INCREASING 6 OR 7 IN WEST LATER. RAIN AT TIMES.
    > MODERATE OR GOOD.

    I can almost hear Charlotte Green...

    --
    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.
     
  18. Ian Smith

    Ian Smith Guest

    On 13 Jun 2003, David E. Belcher <[email protected]> wrote:
    >
    > I've only been to Cambridge once - about 4 months ago - and the conduct of some cyclists was
    > downright scary!

    I was cycling up castle hill in the dark once, behind someone without lights. A passing motorist
    pulled alongside and yelled out the window "get some lights", to which the response was "'s alright,
    I've got no brakes either", accompanied by a waggling of the evidently non-functioning levers.

    regards, Ian SMith
    --
    |\ /| no .sig
    |o o|
    |/ \|
     
  19. Nick Kew

    Nick Kew Guest

    In article <bLC*[email protected]>, one of infinite monkeys at the keyboard of Tony
    Finch <[email protected]> wrote:

    >>Coz in Cambridge terms two miles is a long trip.
    >
    > That's just the undergraduate (non-Girton) view of things.

    Speaking as a first-generation Girton male ....

    When I went up, I had a small-wheeled heavy-framed bike my uncle and aunt had bought for me at age
    ten. It served fine for getting between college and town, and it never seemed far. It was in better
    nick than many Cambridge bikes. But I did have to work hard to keep up with friends on better bikes:
    what for them was leisurely was a sprint for me.

    So, in (IIRC) November of my first term, I got my first "real" bike. Ten gears (narrow ratios but
    ample for flat country), drop bars, and an immediate pleasure to ride. Suddenly that sprint became a
    stroll, although the actual speed was rather faster.

    --
    Axis of Evil: Whose economy needs ever more wars? Arms Exports $bn: USA 14.2, UK 5.1, vs France 1.5,
    Germany 0.8 (The Economist, July 2002)
     
  20. Whazzarke

    Whazzarke Guest

    "Just zis Guy, you know?" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]...
    > "Tony Finch" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:sIj*[email protected]...
    >
    > > SHANNON ROCKALL: SOUTHWEST BACKING SOUTH 4 OR 5, INCREASING 6 OR 7 IN
    WEST
    > > LATER. RAIN AT TIMES. MODERATE OR GOOD.
    >
    > I can almost hear Charlotte Green...
    >

    A-haaaaa, now you're talking... I've considered writing to the BBC suggesting one of their "The next
    program is unsuitable for those of a lecherous disposition" warnings before her shamelessly wanton
    reading of the shipping forecast. In particular her inimitable way of pronouncing Tiree ( which I
    believe is a Hebridean island suitable for cycling round ).

    Yes, yes, quite right Matron...time for my medication.
     
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