Friday, 18 December 2009

How many of you made it in on a bike in the snow today?

All I can say is, thank the Lord for ski gloves. I've written about them before but once again they've proved completely indespensible.

I had an amazing moment this morning - I left much earlier than usual and cycled down the Regent's Canal while it was still pretty much pitch black. I was wearing just enough of the right kind of clothes to keep warm. The wind, for once, was behind me.  I only passed one other cyclist and there were no pedestrians. It just felt ... amazingly exhilerating cycling into the dawn, with a few dots of snow billowing about.


Any snow-related biking stories out there? Perhaps those in Canada can give us an insight?

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Real exercise ... running not biking!

Ran out of house to get to tube. Tried to relax on tube and allow sweat to dry. (Sorry). Ran from tube to work. Ran to meeting room to attend clearly very important meeting.

Now feel more exhausted than if I'd been cycling 10 miles.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Cyclists targeted as Westminster Council goes after ‘lycra louts’

Was quite intrigued by this article in the Times - on several levels ... I think it's right that cyclists do behave well ... I'm not sure we deserve to be fined and punished in that way ... and I agree that we need a better cycling eco-system to stop us taking to the pavements etc.

But most of all, I wonder who this poor guy is, cycling off the pavement (!) ... although he's clearly in the wrong, I feel a bit sorry for him for being picked out of thousands, and splashed over the Times to be the "lycra lout" the papers love to hate. Who is he? (Mr Yellow, that is).

A little addition to that post - there's a lovely article here by Keith Bingham - someone who's taken the trouble to go out with the police to see them in action at a traffic lights, stopping cyclists jumping reds and telling cars and lorries which have gone into the box to get back.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Should you dismount when told to do so?

I had two moments on my ride this morning when I was told by a sign to dismount. The first was on the Regent's Canal, just West of the Zoo, where there's some work going on and you have to go on to a jetty thing to get round it. I made a judgement: the dismount sign was probably for my own safety - in case it was slippery on the jetty - or because if there are lots of people it could be a hazard. I looked carefully - there was no-one in sight - so I biked carefully over the jetty. No harm done.

Then I went through a residential area just above the canal. I would normally dismount as there's a bit of a blind corner. But this time I decided I wouldn't, as every time I had dismounted before, I'd literally never seen a single pedestrian coming my way. But this time, of course, there was a pedestrian and although I was creeping along slowly, she was clearly angry (I got the impression this was quite a regular local issue) and told me off, said there could be elderly people coming through, etc etc. I tried to explain that this was the first time I hadn't dismounted but she was clearly angry and didn't want to enter into a conversation.

I left feeling guilty and angry. I got to thinking about the hundred times I had dismounted, but no-one had noticed my good work (!), and how you can ruin cyclists' reputation by one moment like that.

I sort of think I should write a little note and leave it by the bike sign explaining my point of view and apologising if she was shocked when I appeared, and that perhaps I should shout loudly whenever next go through and do dismount, alerting everyone to the fact that cyclists do dismount ... but there's another part of me which says - just forget it, and next time you go through, dismount.

Anyone out there got on any views on whether we should always dismount when we see the sign?

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Neck cagoule - the answer to the cold

It's got cold on the mean streets of London. Cycling is more challenging. The best item I think I've ever bought for the cold (apart from the obvious - gloves, something to go on your legs, waterproof jacket) - is a neck cagoule from Mountain Equipment Co-Op in Canada. It's cheap but it just keeps your neck brilliantly cosy.

Just spotted that they're sometimes called neck gaitors, or neck warmers. This is the kind of thing I mean: