Monday, November 7, 2011

Getting forgetful as I get older?

Where did last week go? – well in my case work activities swallowed most of it. Working from home is great, except when you have to go elsewhere. Then I find that commuting becomes more stressful because you tend to forgot how to do it. Still it means that I get to reduce the gap between doing some cycling and blogging about it.

Which reminds me – it is probably a good thing it is getting colder. Even when I don’t get to cycle any distance I do tend to cycle out to get a newspaper before having my breakfast. It is not far, perhaps around 0.5 miles, but it is fresh air and I quite often add another 0.5 miles on just riding a bit further.

Getting out on my bike also means I find out what the weather is really like before having to go further afield. Unless I have to leave very early I tend to dress in shorts and t-shirt and a jumper, then after breakfast put on appropriate clothes for whatever I am doing. Which means when I don’t have to go anywhere I stay in shorts and t-shirt.

I guess it means that people think I am a bit odd, but hey it is one of life’s little ironies. When I was at school I fought with my parents to stop having to wear shorts to school. In my day that didn’t happen until the third year in my Grammar School (year 9 as it is now called). Now wearing shorts is my little statement of freedom. Mind you I will start wearing long trousers at some point over the winter, then a little later I will start to wear leggings when I cycle.

At the moment I am not wearing Lycra when out cycling, 50Km/30miles does not really need special gear. Although I have started wearing a fluorescent yellow cycling jacket when out cycling in the evenings -  you can’t trust drivers.

It is getting colder though. A fact that I noticed the other morning as I set of to the paper shop. it was a bright autumnal day, but quite fresh. What was a little surprising was how fresh it felt in the shorts department, I had a Biggles moment (Biggles flies undone). A good job it was cold, I would have gotten some strange looks at the paper shop. They have already remarked on the fact I am continuing to wear my shorts into November. Check out this picture – it neatly sums up the cyclists' dilemma when it comes to cycling gear. (Found here.)

So a couple of times last week I had to get to London and not easy on the Tube places to reach either. No I know that I should have really planned to take my bike. Before you ask I don’t have to worry about restrictions as I have a Brompton… Recently visited by the Chancellor, George Osborne (July 2011). They are something of a rarity in terms of being made in London. They have also been ridden in London by Hugh Jackman. (Other folding bicycles are available!)

But I had stuff to carry and the journey the other end would have been a challenge – I know all excuses.  I wish I had cycled, at least to the station. Mind you cycle parking there is so desperate that any and all fencing gets used – including unfortunately a disabled ramp. I don’t condone it, but can some of the relentless anti-cyclists not just get over it. (See the comments).  The trouble is if you cycle and there is not enough space you either miss your train, or lock it somewhere.  One commenter did waffle on about “typical cyclists only think of themselves”. It probably comes as a shock to him but that effectively is what every single motorist is doing – we are running out of petrol and polluting the planet.

I am pleased to see that Julian Huppert (MP for Cambridge) uses bicycles for transport and also observed that there was a lack of Cambridge Cycle racks. Personally I would prefer to see higher parking charges – although more to help make our towns and cities nicer places to live work and commute than to fill budget holes as Cycalogical comments about Westminster. The trouble is we are so intuitionally wed to the idea that cars are the only fruit Councillors Ignore their own Cycle parking Policies.

We are also approaching that time of year when there is more excuse to go out and party and the Police are taking the opportunity to warn drivers of the dangers of driver ‘the morning after’. Worryingly cyclists do get hit by cars, even in the mornings when it is light. Of course it could have been the other way round in the linked article, the headline imputes no responsibility although in the text it does say the the cyclists collided with a car. Lazy journalism or spot on journalism – who knows.

After the tragic accident on the M5 there is more focus on the possible raising of the motorway speed limit to 80mph. What is more concerning is that road deaths are also increasing, so far 7% up on last year. The trouble is such figures provide ideal sound-bite territory for the various organisations and sound-bites don’t actually provide much on the real cause and effect issues. The number of cyclist casualties increased by increased by 5% and child pedestrians killed or seriously injured increased by 3%.   Perhaps the lowest bidder one the contract to paint this road with Keep Klear.

I did take some pictures even though I wasn’t on my bike – here is the new platform at Cambridge Railway Station – see the new bridge up at the far end. That’ll be fun to carry a bike over. Apparently cyclists were not high up the agenda.

As I haven’t put in many pictures here are some rather nice pictures of trees at dusk and some stunning wildlife pictures. Not so nice, but dramatic a pair of fallen 1,500-year-old sequoias.

Here are two I prepared earlier.

I got a crick in my neck taking this picture.

And finally Cambridgeshire has its own Watergate. in what has to be a case of poetic justice three senior council members caught urinating in the bushes (after approving closure of public toilets).  Personally I think that we might have become a little prudish, when out cycling long distances there aren’t public toilets in the countryside and lets face it there are times when having a wee is communal.



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