Wednesday, September 16, 2009

India Preparations & What are cycle lanes for..... parking of course

Today I had meetings around Cambridge and so planned to cycle to them as it is much easier to park and of course far more pleasant than being stuck in a car. Before setting off I had an appointment with a Nurse at my local surgery to get some travel advice. They have installed a self-service registration for people arriving for appointments - if it was an intelligence test then I failed it. I used to think I knew about computers but as part of the process you have to tap in your date and month of birth. Now I was born late in the month and every time I tapped the "two" button it went onto the next screen before I had chance to tap the second digit - it turned out you are a choice of 31 buttons, which I had ignored, so used was I to typing the date of my birth as the individual digits. I did learn that quite a few people do that though.

The good news was that the area I will be cycling in India is low risk, so we just need to take anti-mosquito precautions. The bad news was that my Typhoid jab needed renewing, apparently it was three years since my last one - mind you it only took a matter of moments to have the injection, which because I am left-handed I have in my right arm. I was left with a slight ache in my arm as I cycled around but better safe than sorry. The only minor hassle is that my son will also have to have the same injection as he also had his typhoid jab three years ago. Hopefully he will be able to get to a clinic close to where he works.

The company arranging the tour is US-based and so I have also had to transfer payment in dollars through my bank - but that went through today. Because of the overheads of credit cards they try to avoid them, which is understandable. I seem to have sorted flight details (well technically my travel agent has). I do need to book a hotel for one night in Bangalore for the turn leg of our journey. I have decided that we will stay in an airport hotel as the flight time is 07.50am in the morning and the airport is 40Km from Bangalore town centre.

The weather was not too warm cycling around Cambridge - but as I was wearing work clothes it was quite pleasant and I hope I was not too hot and sweaty for my meetings.. Cambridge has got a hodge-podge of cycling routes, with a lot of signage, although I tend to take the routes I know. As a cyclist I think you get so used to ridiculous cycle paths/markings that you ignore them. Cycling along Gilbert Road as I overtook yet another parked car I realised that cars were passing me very closely. I do think that cycle paths like this, which are advisory so that cars park along the road are probably more dangerous than no cycle lanes at all. In this part of the road there were four cars parked in the cycle lanes, further down there were a lot more. I wonder what the point is - what was the planner thinking when they had them painted - perhaps it is intended to train all motorists to treat cyclists with the contempt they deserve!


I don't have a picture of Histon Road, which has Mandatory cycle lanes along each side of the road, but I was passed with only inches to spare by a learner driver. It struck me, (the idea not the car phew), that it is true cars really do pass cyclists more closely when there is the MCL barrier (mandatory cycle lane). What magic powers the paint has.

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