Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Have you ever followed a cyclist? Not in a creepy way ...

I had an odd experience the other day. As I cycled down the Bayswater Road, I noticed a fellow cyclist with a distinctive bag, slung around his back. Nothing too strange there. The bag had a kind of snake motif on it. He peeled off on a different route. But then I saw him again the other side of London on Old Street roundabout about half an hour later. He was still just ahead of me.

Then, weirdly, a few days later, I saw the same guy, again on the Bayswater road, and again in East London, just beyond Old Street. The bag identified him for sure.

Here's where my behaviour, arguably, gets strange. I figured: this guy is commuting to the same place, roughly, as me. He's obviously got a different route and it may be a bit quicker than mine as he's normally travelling a bit slower than me. If I ever see him again, I'll follow him.

Sure enough, a few days later, I did just that. He took me on a very different route, and, sure enough, we arrived at Old Street roundabout and he ended up going very close to my house before disappearing on a bit further.

It was a bit of a blur and I can only remember bits of the route, but I do sometimes now employ at least some of his route. It felt a little bit suspect following someone like that, but I don't think he minded or noticed, and I got some good info from it.

I don't necessarily advocate following complete strangers - and I dread to think what would have happened if, say, he'd decided that night to go and see a friend in a completely different part of London - but this was quite positive. Anyone done this kind of following? Or indeed been followed?  Are there better ways of discovering new cycle routes?

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