Saturday, December 5, 2009

Dark and Muddy paths

Two pieces of news caught my eye - this one in the Independent - "Cyclists three times more likely to die on UK roads than abroad"- which having just cycled in India seemed a little improbable. And there was this one in the Cambridge Evening News: "How finding a secure place to park is headache for cyclists". Starting with the second one first. Whenever I have to go to London I will catch the train - I have not driven in London since the congestion charging was brought in there. for most of those journeys I cycle to the local railway station. It is not a long journey but the journey home can be a great tonic after spending the day down there. I can also cycle in as quickly as I can drive in . The big problem though is finding somewhere to park my bicycle. They have a lot of spaces - but not enough for the number of cyclists. Normally businesses try to keep their customers happy - but as I understand it the level of commuter traffic is pretty much at saturation point. So no-one seems bothered that there are unhappy cyclists. So nothing happens - although the area is due for re-development and there is even talk of adding another platform - to increase the amount of rail passengers that can be carried at peak times. So as usual nothing happens.

Well the Cambridge Cycling Campaign have recently undertaken a survey - up to 400 bikes were not locked to recognisable parking stands as the station's 700 cycle spaces were full. That is quite a number of commuters - it seems an odd way to run the local economy - make commuting so unpleasant that people move away... Yet at the same time the police urge us to prevent crime by locking our bicycles - humm - not a lot of joined up thinking in this neck of the woods. Bring on congestion charging and teach the b*gg*rs a lesson.

The first article actually compares injury rates for cyclists in the UK with Holland and Denmark - surprise, surprise the UK is worse. Why is that - well frankly who cares about cyclists in the UK? We are seen as a nuisance delaying motorists on their already delayed journeys. You only have to look at some of the barmy cycle paths provided - even here in Cambridge to see that. Too often we are told about "wonderful" increases in numbers of cyclists rather than whether there has been a switch from motoring to cycling. The bottom line is that the UK culture favours laziness.

Wow - sorry a bit of a rant - some good news - Tescos has a two for the price of one offer on Jelly babies - time to stock up.

I have been out cycling today - later than normal and so most of the trip was in the dark. It was warmer but duller today - as seen in this picture of the Church at Wicken Fen.


I had to resort to a bit of Picasa manipulation to make any of the small number of pictures I took look interesting. This one benefited from a bit of tinting to highlight the contrast in the sky.


On the way home I took Straight Drove from Reach - it has certainly rained a bit recently - I had both front lights on - but that only illuminated the muddy ruts - it did not make it any easier - especially as I was on my Hybrid - Marin with thinnish, smoothish tyres on. It was quite good fun trying to keep my balance as the bike slid around and the rear wheel spun when a pedalled too hard. I managed not to fall off - although it did slow me down so I was caught out in the rain as well - but no matter. The only challenge is the bike is filthy and will need a good clean tomorrow.

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