Thursday, 14th April: More meetings in Cambridge today, although now my daughter has passed her driving test I will have a bit more spare time. Apparently the pass rate varies around the country, but is around 50%.although the motor bike pass rate is generally higher.
One of the comments you often see when there is a “car versus bicycle discussion” after some sort of bike/vehicle related news is that Cyclists should have to pay road tax, be tested and insured. Well there is no such thing as “road tax”, the DirectGov website refers to the tax as Vehicle tax and the rate is based upon the fuel type and CO2 emissions. The lowest band - band A has a zero cost – um bicycles seem to fit that bill. Tests – well I have a driving license for cars and motorbikes, so yep two wheeled vehicles and tri-cycles also seem to fit that bill. What about insurance – well yes I am covered by my CTC membership and home insurance as well. For a more complete look at the discussion – I Pay Road Tax is an interesting site. Come to think of it shouldn’t I get a refund on the Vehicle tax I pay on my car when I am cycling! here is more information on “Bloody cyclists” don’t worry it is pro-cycling.
This all misses the point though – most drivers are too frightened to cycle – they know what it is like on the roads – that is wrong. it is one of the reasons that I end up cycling the long way, for my safety and my sanity. So paradoxically those motorists demonise cyclists to justify their remaining in cars and vans.
It was once again meetings in Cambridge, there seem to have been quite a lot of them recently. This time around I had less time for a long circular route, but did manage to get up to the top of Coldham’s Lane and then back down the Tins Path why – well just to stretch my legs really. Having gotten some better cycling facilities it would be rude not to use them! This is the route to the Tins Path from Coldham’s Lane – not the most picturesque road and perhaps typical of many town cycling routes – at least in some of the towns I have been in – Glasgow, London, Cambridge, Ipswich, Boston, Hull… you get the picture. However it is actually a great cycling resource.
This is what it looks like at the entrance off Coldham’s Lane – it is signed and the gate prevents any motor vehicles clogging it up.
As I mentioned recently the only narrow spot is the railway bridge – which for reasons of both cost and hassle was not replaced. The bridge is quite steep as it has to rise above the railway line as you come off it heading towards Cambridge it seems to accentuate the height. Although it might just be that because I live in the Flatlands I am not so used to great heights.
And that is it as far as pictures – I still got a ride out and on the way home had a near miss with a cyclist who was so intent on avoiding a car that she almost ran into me instead. I did think she might pop out and so was not unduly phased by the near miss. Part of the reason is that when you are cycling you focus on the really dangerous things around you – motor vehicles.
I also had the opportunity to cycle up Downing Street – currently the scene of roadworks and a sign that says cyclists dismount. I assume this to mean that the cycle lane has been closed and so joined the main traffic flow. You do have to keep your wits about you though – there is a fair flow of cyclists turning onto St Andrew’s Street which isn’t the most pleasant street on a bike as the cars and buses don’t seem to like to wait. I usually turn down Park Terrace to avoid Regent Street.