Saturday, July 9, 2011

Tell me why–Mondays aren’t bad when they start with a cycle ride

Monday, July 4th: It was a working away day today. Which means not working from home but actually having to go out to meetings in Cambridge. It was pleasant but not too warm first thing in the morning and unusually I managed to set off in plenty of time. This meant that I was able to cycle at a moderate pace in my “work” clothes and everything was good.

One habit I have gotten into when cycling somewhere for a meeting is to try to arrive early at sit outside for 5 minutes to cool down.  When you are cycling you create your own breeze which means that when you stop you can start over-heating quite quickly. So sitting outside in the shade can help to reduce that a bit.

Depending on what I am doing I might review the work that is the purpose of the meeting. Alternatively I sit on the wall and take pictures. Like this one of my reflection in a nearby window.

Unfortunately, I set of late for my next meeting and so what should have been a pleasant cycle through Cambridge became a mad dash with me fretting at every traffic light because they all seemed to be go red just as I reached them.  I stopped, as  getting to meetings on time is less important than staying safe, well for me anyway. One thing I have noticed is that the red-light jumping can be so bad nowadays that cyclists behind don’t expect a “fellow” cyclist to stop and will run into you.

The challenge is that when you stop you expend quite a lot of energy getting back up to speed – which makes you hotter than ever. So at the next red light the sweat starts pouring out almost instantaneously and then you have to expend another chunk of energy getting going again. For the mathematically minded the energy is proportional to the square of your speed (velocity) and so if like me you are trying to get somewhere quickly it means you get even hotter.

The other thing was the sun – it was now shining gloriously which ordinarily is a great thing – but why just as I was having to speed across town. Although I should point out this was not speeding in the sense of transgressing the law – just going faster than I normally do.

I like the 20mph speed limits in Cambridge although I am not surprised that they are not always having the desired effect. Too many people consider some of the traffic rules and regulations petty and because the chances of getting caught are slim tend to ignore them. Without trying I saw two white van men on the phone and what also looked like a school run-mum. It is my life you are risking you know.

Accidents do happen and the vulnerable road user is the one that gets hurt – “Teenage cyclist injured in collision with dustcart”. When big chunks of metal and smaller skin covered beings shared the road then it is the smaller beings who come of worst, regardless of fault. In my mind this means there needs to be a higher duty of care placed upon motorists. In fact I think that is why many motorists are anti-cyclist – they can’t cope with the extra mental workload of driving when there are cyclists (even well behaved ones) around.

Which of course means two things, one when on the road cyclists needed to be treated with much greater regards and “We need more bike paths”, I agree with Sir Chris Hoy on that one.

Here is a picture of the near countryside around Cambridge despite my urban travels at least I can remind myself what it is like.

The next three days involve letting the train take the strain to Manchester.  I am tempted to take my folder – but the logistics will probably deter me.

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