Sunday, 12 May 2019

Is a few seconds really worth so much?

This weekend has been maybe the worst for cycling safety.

So many close and/or dangerous overtakes have occurred it is depressing.

I like to take photographs of my cycling, but today I just wanted to get home safely and as soon as possible.

I have posted before about the inconsiderate and downright dangerous  behaviour of some other road user. But this weekend was ridiculous.

This is from yesterday.


Just a pause of a few seconds was all the driver needed to make. Instead the car was driven over the raised round about and I was forced to brake to avoid the car or the curb.

I have reported the driver to the police, but I doubt anything will be done.

Today was worse.


An oncoming car didn't slow the Seat. My life, the people in the other car and the Seat's drivers life all put at risk to save a few seconds.


Here again the driver drove on the wrong side of the road towards a right hand bend with no way to know if anyone was coming the other way.


And then on a series of bends a pickup truck overtakes the car patiently waiting for a safe overtake  and me to save a few seconds on his trip.


No-one in Surrey seems interested in dealing with this.

The NHS has said they will give bicycles to the obese to get them to lose weight. I don't think most obese people are that way because they can't afford a bike. But suppose some of them do go out for a ride.  It's not likely they will do it for very long once they see how dangerous it is. Another wasted opportunity not to mention money.

The super cycle highways consuming huge sums of money, I don't think they are the complete answer. Are they maybe a partial admission that the law isn't being enforced? They can't be added to most roads, and when constructed; where do the vehicles go that use to park or drive there? Are they built more to make it harder for people to use the roads? It's doomed to fail if that's the case, it is a pipe dream to hope that everyone will walk, cycle or use public transport. It's just not an answer for everyone. Don't get me wrong, everyone should make changes to cut congestion and pollution. But even wishing really hard wont remove all cars and lorries from the road.

Another example of a solution that may not be as successful as it should to justify the cost is the twenty miles per hour limit applied to most minor roads in Croydon. I don't live in Croydon but do use the roads affected. I'm sure it cost a lot of money to put up all the signs. But it wasn't well publicised. Whenever I travel along at twenty, I always have a queue of cars close behind. And then it's like I'm cycling again; they try to overtake no matter the dangers. Bends in the road, or oncoming traffic doesn't stop them.

Both are examples of those that make the decisions thinking if you throw enough money at a problem and wish really hard it will be fixed. At least you can say you are doing something, or you would if you just had some money.

Of course the standard response is cyclists jump red lights, ride on the pavement etc. I don't, so how can you justify subjecting me to dangerous driving?

Then there is cyclists don't pay road tax. No-one does; it's called Vehicle Excise Duty and is based on emissions. So cyclists would be zero rated. Does it also mean any zero rated vehicles shouldn't use the road, or the driver potentially injured or killed?

Registration is a contentious issue, I'm not totally against it. Just not sure if it's not another opportunity to throw a lot of money around without actually changing much. All cars are registered and they still commit offences. And kill and injure more people than bikes.

The media has a terrible record on this too. Always trying to build a conflict between cyclists other road users. But then the media generally has a very poor record on research, and unbiased reporting.

Cyclists aren't just the victims though.

Don't jump red lights or ride on the pavement. If a junction or stretch of road is unsafe, don't make it worse by breaking the law.

Ride at appropriate speed and take into account other road users. Can they see you, can they react in time?

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Saturday, 11 May 2019

A performing dog?

bike leant against single track sign


It's the second lone ride weekend, Matt is recovering from jet lag and a fraught trip to America.

Today's ride was a new route, a loop past Chartwell.

I took the picture above at the beginning of a very narrow lane. The map I looked at when planning this didn't show just how steep a decent awaited me. I didn't cycle back up it, too tired and it was very poorly surfaced. Potholes, mud and gravel; and a grumpy old man.


I said good morning as I passed him. He shouted after me to watch the dog. I did; but it didn't seem to have a talent worth my interest. No juggling or anything. I don't think you will see it on Britain's Got Talent, unless staring becomes more popular.

On the way home it rained. We are very lucky and miss rain most of the time. It got much harder after I arrived home, so I guess it was still a win.

The forecast for tomorrow is rain, fingers crossed it abaits long enough to allow my ride.

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Monday, 6 May 2019

May Bank Holiday number one

road bike in a lane with bluebells

Yesterday's weather was better than it was on Saturday. Colder but less windy, which is easier to deal with.

I'm still on my own; Matt's in Pittsburgh for two weeks on business. It gives me a chance to use the road bike. It's faster but the gearing can make hills a challenge, especially when I'm feeling tired. Which I have been this weekend.

I don't know why, I just have periods where it's a real effort to do anything.

I have to push myself to get out, and the first couple of miles are a chore; hills come close to persuading me the ride may not have been a good idea. By mile three I'm into the ride, and it isn't so bad. I know I'll feel better the further I go. Subsequent hills are climbed without much stress. They are hard but no longer seem insurmountable.

And of course when I get home, all is right with the world.

road bike at a crossroads


Today, bank holiday Monday, was the nicest of the three day weekend to cycle. It was chilly rather than cold and the force of the wind was much reduced.

I felt stronger and fitter. Hills were taken a little faster, maybe a gear higher than before. Or I could change up earlier.  I still felt tired but it wasn't the big effort it had been.

When I got to the the crossroads at Tatsfield Church I had four choices. Left was a very hilly loop back to Tatsfield village, straight on lead to the bottom of the hill on the right. And right meant that same hill. The fourth option; back the way I had come.

I went for the last choice and headed home.


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Saturday, 4 May 2019

Headwinds and potholes

road bike leant against a wall chevening

What is it about headwinds? I nearly always face into them. It seems I could ride in a circle and feel their effect for the whole circuit. How is that possible?

There are other gripes about cycling: potholes and poor road surfaces in general. It's one of the reasons I rarely take out the road bike. Constant jarring and always being alert for potholes is very tiring.

A particularly bad section on my route today eventually had the camera swivel on it's mount.


Another section was the complete opposite. I turned off the main road onto Pilgrims Way and cycling nirvana; trees shielded me from the wind and fresh smooth tarmac was under my wheels. It didn't last very long but it was brilliant, and so relaxing.


Even when it appears smooth, it can be rough going.


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Friday, 26 April 2019

Go big

canvas prints on the wall


A few years ago I wrote a piece about the need to print pictures. Online is great, and better than the days of film when they most likely went in a draw never to be seen again. But you really can't beat having them hung on the wall.

And the bigger the better, size does matter.

It's great to visit someone who has one of my pictures hanging on their wall.

I have printed books and calendars, mostly just for me. Vanity printing I you could call it. Viewing on a screen just doesn't have the impact, or maybe it's that we are use to quickly flicking to the next image when we use a computer.

I looked at some options for big prints; posters is one format, but it's not the finish I was looking for. Printing big and framing is very expensive. I needed something in between.

Printing on canvas is affordable, but I hadn't been impressed with the quality, until I found The White Canvas Company

I ordered a 20 x 30 inch print, it was a very good price and the whole ordering process was easy.

When the print arrived it was with some trepidation that I opened it.

I shouldn't have worried it was so much better then my previous canvas prints. It went straight up on the wall of my office.

I have ordered many more for the office and other people.

If I had an unusual size requirement, or they thought a slightly different crop would suit the print we would discuss the options and agree on any changes.

I think if you get good service from a company you should say so. It's not a big outfit, the personal touch is another attraction. They think about the result; it's not a case of just printing as is, if it could be made better.

The reason I'm writing this now is because I have just taken delivery of my latest print. As you can see at the top of this page I have quite the collection.

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