Mountain Bike Shenanigans

Public Transport
October 23rd, 2009

Train to London yesterday took just under two hours which is great. Train home took 3 including a 20 minute stop in Rugby getting me into Manchester at 1am. I think Beardy Branson should be made to endure that kind of ‘quality customer service’ from Virgin Trains at the end of a long day.

Riding to work this morning. Three number 50 buses within a 100 metres of each other. No wonder there is always an epic wait for one. With no competition on some routes there is no incentive for Stagecoach to sort this type of mess out.

None of this encourages me to even remotely consider working in a job where commuting is reliant on public transport. I’ll stick to my bike. Today’s probably the last day of riding to and from work without lights. The clocks fall back on Sunday, so it’ll be the season of commuting by lights until the 28th March from now on. Best dig out the HID…

Edale to Home
October 18th, 2009

It’s been a long time since I went on a decent ride, but yesterday I changed that with a great ride from the Peak Dirstict back to home. Great riding company with some of the riders from the various Ride the Alps trips I’ve been on and beautiful autumnal weather.

Peak District

Peak District

My legs are telling me they feel like they’ve done more than the 42 miles that the ride involved.

Kapow!
October 16th, 2009

kapow-smaller

It was going to happen. The signs were all there. Today on the way into work a student just walked straight into the bike lane and despite frantic ‘Ping Ping Pinging’, locking up both wheels and getting a bit sideways, I ploughed into the unfortunate pedestrian and used them to finally stop. Quite what they felt about being almost mowed down by a Roadrat I don’t know and to be honest I don’t really care. I’d look over my shoulder to see what was coming up behind me…

Having almost been ejected over the bars, I wasn’t in quite the right frame of mind to have been completely civil and cool, calm and polite. Some expletives may have crept in as I pointed out that he was walking in the bike lane (pointing to great big painted symbols) and that the pedestrian footpath was right next to it. You know, the one with all the people on… many of whom were having a good gawp. Still, he was lucky he didn’t receive the full impact as I’d scrubbed off a lot of speed. Bet he’ll have a dead leg tomorrow though. The cock.

The…
October 7th, 2009

The Bike Lane. A strip of tarmac clearly defined from the footpath by a raised solid white line and further delineated by a a regular spacing of green painted squares with bike symbols and on the footpath side red squares with pedestrian icons.

The Pedestrian. More than 57 varieties of people for sure. Different in every case, friends and foes, from the streetwise to the green. A friend of mine once was hit by a bus he walked out in front of. Didn’t look where he was going and wound up waking in a hospital ward not remembering a thing.

The Bell. Fitted to the handlebars on the commuting bike. Sometimes you ring it and it works in reminding people that they’re in the wrong place or that you’re approaching from behind them. Sometimes it doesn’t. The cheery ‘ping, ping’ reverberating off the walls of the underpass seems to fall on attentive, but not dozy ears.

The End. My patience draws nearer to it everyday. One day soon someone is going to come to a sticky conclusion.

The Bike Lane Pedestrian Bell End. A combination of all of the above.

Ped Down
October 2nd, 2009

I rode into work today mulling over the fact that the trackstand at the lights is a lost art. At lot of cyclists just seem to ignore the lights and ride on through them. I see it all the time it drives me mad. It clearly drive a lot of motorists mad too, because there are some choice comments in this thread on Pistonheads. Comments like these:

what!!! you mean like the to$$er that cycled through a red lighted PEDESTRIAN crossing in front of me causing me to brake very hard and still hit the t***. So the fact i was travelling at 20mph in a 30 mph limit, with my lights on going through a green lighted junction (with pedestrian crossing controlled by ligfhts) makes it MY FAULT that he cycled from the footpath at great speed, through said red light over a crossing designed to be walked over straight into the front of my car!! Absolute B*****!! He took me to court after £50,000 compensation. When I hit him, he had NO INSURANCE, so could not claim for damages off him. Amazingly, 5 days later, blame and claim he has insurance to sue me. I took it all in my stride, NOT, and fought him in court. What a joy for common sense, cqse dismissed he copped for my court costs. Still lost a day off work and the cost of repair to my car. Each case bshould be tried on its merits and you are INNOCENT UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY, i thought that was the premise for justice in this country. God I hate these interfering bloody do-gooders. Sorry if i offended anyone but I got a tad annoyed when i read that.

Contrasting with:

I’d like to see the legal onus placed on all cyclists that hit pedestrians and all pedestrians that step on insects and all insects that…….

Am i alone in being confused then, as a non ‘Londoner’ i thought it was a legal blood sport to be able to knock cyclists off? unfortunately too many hills round here so you don’t see many of the blighters…….

And at the other end of the spectrum this:

As a keen cyclist and petrol head I agree that this is a mad idea, whoever is at fault should be responsible.

However, most drivers in cars are blind to cyclists and would almost run them over rather than give them any consideration. I do not go through red lights or ride on the pavement, and like to think I am a considerate road user, regardless of the form of transport I am using.

The other morning, a fat c*** in a transit pick up passed me too close. So I give him a load of verbal and raise my hand in a v-sign, at which point the back of his van catches my hand. That is too close, whether or not my hand is by my side or at full arm’s length. He then brakes and obviously wants to get into the finer points of this, but the volume of traffic means he can’t just stop, so he waits for me in the nearest layby. Maybe I am mentally deficient, but if I had done that I would have said sorry, not been looking for a fight.

Further on, a dope in a Zafira pulled out in front of me causing me to swerve and brake. I give him a load of verbal too, and then because the traffic is moving slowly, I catch him, so we argue about it, me on my bike, him is his 1.5 ton heap of Luton’s finest, moving along the road at 15-20 mph. I tell him what the problem is, so he starts edging his heap nearer and nearer to me. So, some other clown in the wrong, and he is threatening me with his vehicle. What a big man!

The fact is that in most towns today, a push-bike is as quick as a car. I can certainly out-brake and out-steer anything on four wheels, and with the aid of a slight downhill, 30 mph is not difficult. I am infinitely more vulnerable than even a motorbike, and I just want to be able to make my journies in safety. I think this is what Cycling England are driving at.

On the Bike User Group mailing list at work some one has posted today about how he had an accident in 2006 and was hit by a bin wagon on a round about a 1 mile from his house. He was about 3 foot away from being crushed under the wagon and was saved by putting my arm out which threw him forward. He woke up with the truck right above him, the driver denied he did anything wrong and said that the cyclist jumped in front of him. So it’s the usual – it’s never their fault scenario that riders generally get (although I’d say it’s 50/50 in my experience of three over the bonnets and one through a windscreen). Anyway this dude was knocked out and suffered from severe concussion for about 2 to 3 weeks and mild concussion for about 3 months after.

So, back to today, and on the way into work a pedestrian just decided to walk across the road in front of me. I would have rung my bell, but that would have meant I would have had to release my death grip on the bars required to get both hands on the brakes. I resorted to yelling:

“whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA, WHOA, WHOA, W-H-O-A!

Which by the time I was about to run the silly cow over finally penetrated through her headphones and she had a proper fright and then fell over on the slippy wet tarmac. Which actually probably saved her because otherwise whe would have been wearing 95kg of me and a roadrat milliseconds later. By the time I’d slid to a halt and turned around to look, she was already picking herself up and walking away.

Riding to work it’s great. Never a dull moment.

IMBA: Long Live Long Rides