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Another way?

August 11, 2012

So we have found a possible alternative… not so pleasant but I guess it does the job… for now.

Two commute routes

Cycle commutes.

http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/qzq6ypfydSY

I guess the cars (& vans) win?!  I have been forced (for the sake of the children) to look for an alternative to the best route via road.

So a different route in to work, as an inebriated foolish crow might fly.
It’s half a mile (a few minutes) longer. The jury is still out, there are some obstacles to get the knack of and no school children at present – it’ll be a different matter when the oh so well mannered and respectful students are on the prowl.

I’ll miss the morning skys and sunsets etc as the view from up on Barkby Thorpe is often vitalising.
I guess I’ll also miss the inclines that get the blood pumping.

The new route has poor, fractured, token cycle lanes from syston to Round Hill School but then a good bit of new cycle way (sans kids) to Thurmaston Citycycles junction. We then weave through the golfing estate. Then it’s back on familiar ground over Troon Way and via Gleneagles onto Catherine St.. Cycling in the city is still ‘on road’ – I don’t find city drivers too bad on secondary roads (the primary artery roads can be different!).

After nearly 2 years of cycling, the reason I’ve left the ‘country route’ as the crow flies through Barkby (+Thorpe) etc  is that “the automobile traffic rules!”. It’s not worth the risk!
In my humble experience/opinion, probably:
80% of the traffic – most traffic observes cyclists, reduces speed and gives room when passing.
15 % of the traffic – it’s hard to tell wether they see you. They do not reduce speed, but luckily they do not hit you. The manoeuvres vary from revving engines and inappropriate gears, giving space too late when overtaking (they give plenty of space to the invisible cyclist in front of me), and the all too often “let me past ‘cos I need to copulate with the car in front!” speeding past you up the tail of the car in front just to brake late! I’m not going to mention mobile phones, make-up mirrors and nose picking.
It’s the 5% that are the worry – these fall into two camps:
1. “The Aggressive”: Not slowing, indeed, often accelerating faster (than the limit?) to pass you. Not giving any extra room ‘cos I guess they don’t care? (God knows if they see the cyclist). The impatient contemptuous ignorant dickwit attitude that cyclists are a pain in the front bumper and must not be tollerated and must be passed, blocked or bullied.
2. The “Ooops Sorry I Didn’t See You”: this is possibly the more worrying, “sorry. I misjudged it”, or “I didn’t see you”, is not going to help scrape you off the floor or put your head back on your torso. It’s people that are just not aware (anymore) of their responsibility when driving a vehicle – I guess they are “new drivers”, “infrequent drivers”, “careless drivers”, “distracted drivers”, “over confident drivers?”, “ill prepared drivers”… I don’t know, but there are too many of them on the roads.

If you don’t agree that these types of driver/people exist, try and share the roads with them from the position of a cyclist.
When you cycle, all your senses are engaged in the activity; you are “cycling”, not thinking about the radio, the windows, the make-up, the phone, the back seat, the glove box…  “you are cycling”, and you are intently engaged with where you are – you can’t miss the careless perilous incidents and obstacles when they’re encountered.

So the Queniborough-Barkby-Leicester road is too dangerous – it will only take one incident to put me in hospital.
Jury’s still out but for now, I’ll have to risk the possible prang at 10mph on an estate road rather than the potential ‘prang’ at 30mph on the best road.
New route many many low speed hazards and manoeuvres. Old route occasional high-speed potential killers.

Should cyclists freely share space on the road?
Should cyclists be given road quality cycling space else where?
Should cyclists be happy with 3rd rate white-lined gutters?
Should cyclists just shut up and get on or off their bikes?

Forgive me I know not what I do.

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