I been riding – just not blogging

Hello to all. I am somewhat behind in the blogging side of things though I have been getting in a few rides, despite the weather.

First I took my car for its MOT and service – electing to use the Brompton to get back to the studio rather than a borrowed car.It was a good opportunity to use the little stretch of cycle path between Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge. In common with many cycle paths this is a really nice smooth path that unfortunately dumps you back into traffic at the exact point where a cycle path would be most useful. Still it made for a pleasant ride up the hill.

SDC16705

The Brompton is getting on a bit now. The folding pedal is starting to get a bit of rust on it, and there are some squeaks as I’m riding along.

Interestingly, if my Lemond Etape squeaks I’ll be trying to get it fixed within minutes of a rogue noise being detected. the slightest knock, grind, or high pitched emission from that bike is enough to have me out of the saddle and on the verge anxiously examining the cranks. With the Brompton I don’t mind at all, indeed it’s quite pleasant to have a squeak coming out as the Brompton trundles along the back lanes. The Brompton is a beautiful bike for Slow Cycling, although it can race along at 17-18mph with a bit of effort,  but then, why would you want to?

Of railway cats, cycle paths, ancient mariners, cancelled trains, films and rock n roll

Way way back in October I rode to Bristol for a great evenings entertainment courtesy of the Cube Cinema and my chum Tom Stubbs. I advertised the Rime of the Ancient Mariner (on bicycle) event a while back, but I didn’t mention that I was going to cycle there. I thought it would be poetic to arrive at a showing of a bicycle film by bike. Having set off a little later than planned, I realised that I would have to cycle considerably quickly to get to Bristol on time. Not a problem, despite barely cycling at all recently, I made good time on the road between the village and Bradford on Avon, before turning onto the canal path. It’s difficult to get speed up on the towpath, not least because of the danger to pedestrians, other cyclists and wildlife. There’s no reason to go fast on a towpath anyway and I knew I could make time up on the Bath/Bristol cycle path, so I just spun the cranks at a nice even pace and enjoyed the ride. Particularly pleasing was the scent of woodsmoke from the various barges and narrowboats. I was on the Lemond Etape, which provided a none too smooth ride over the various surfaces, cobbles, gravel, dirt, broken tarmac. Suffice to say that on arrival in Bath town centre I was wishing I’d decided to wear padded shorts. I had a change of clothes in my panniers (and a change of shoes), but had elected to leave the padding at home. Bath town centre proved easy to navigate, mainly because the cycle route is so clearly and regularly signposted. Quicker than I expected I was riding along the smooth tarmac of the Bristol to Path cycle way. For a long time this was (and may well still be) the jewel in the crown of Sustrans, a beautiful route following one of the old railway lines, dipping through meadows, woodland, over valleys and rivers, very picturesque in any season. The weather was good and the riding very pleasant. Leaves lay in drifts over the path and crunched pleasingly beneath the tyres. Here are two cats I saw en route:

100_8132dsc00967

All the way along, the route was busy with cyclists and walkers. As I arrived at Staple Hill Tunnel, a postman slotted in behind me and began drafting close on my wheel. I yanked out my cronky ol’ camera, which was giving up the ghost the screen had malfunctioned, and took a bit of poor-quality video footage:

Music provided by My Two Toms, who I was to see playing later on that very evening.

I approached Bristol deep in the gloaming, necessitating the use of my lights. Many, many cyclists were using the path and in places it became quite congested, but unlike being in a car, it felt great. Everyone was all smiles and ‘after you’ ‘no after you’. Hipsters with messenger bags mixed with grannies on Pashleys.

It took me a while to understand Tom’s directions, but soon I was ensconced in The Cube cinema, enjoying some terrific films, chatting to people about cycling and listening to some splendid tunes courtesy of My Two Toms and Bucky. The film maker and artist Michael Smith stole the show with his introduction to the film he and Tom made, and also his drawing along live to My Two Toms music. It was a great evening, and nice to find out afterwards that a Highway Cycling Group reader, Mair had turned up and enjoyed herself.

Back at Tom and Katherine’s, we stayed up until three, drinking and talking. During an attempt to take a picture of Tom and Katherine’s bikes I dropped my ailing camera on the stone floor and destroyed it. Ah well, goodbye old friend. A few hours sleep, then we were out on a visit to the famous Bristol Sweetmart, then on to Tom’s studio. Finally, I cycled to the station envisioning a nice sit down on the train, only to find trains on that line were cancelled due to engineering works. Buses were supplied but they wouldn’t let my Lemond Etape on. Wearily I cycled the thirty two miles home. A great weekend.

Why, here are some pictures:

Great Pultney Street, Bath

Great Pultney Street, Bath

Cafe Kino Bristol

Cafe Kino Bristol

Tom and Michael Smith introduce their film

Tom and Michael Smith introduce their film

Bucky Unplugged - Joff wearing my Walz Cycling Cap

Bucky Unplugged - Joff wearing my Walz Cycling Cap

Tom with bikes my smashed camera in his hand

Tom with bikes, my smashed camera in his hand

Street scene - Bristol

Street scene - Bristol

The menu at the old station halt cafe

The menu at the old station halt cafe

Congratulations to John on being appointed to the job of his dreams

Regular readers of this blog will know that often I head out for a ride with my friend John. I first met John when we both worked for the much missed and inimitable Ottakar’s books and we’ve remained friends even though that company has been absorbed into Waterstone’s, and workwise we’ve gone our separate ways. John, in common with many Ottakar’s store managers, got out of Waterstone’s a while back when he found the difference in company culture between the two businesses to be so radical that he no longer enjoyed his job. He went into factory work for a bed and mattress company, this was always intended to be a stop-gap job where he could gather his thoughts and not have to worry about work out of hours. Often he had spoken of his dream job being speccing out and building the perfect bike for customers, moving on to brazing and frame building. Those of you who’ve followed the blog for a while (and thank you very much for reading and coming back) will remember that John has a home bike workshop and is generous with his skills. There are very few bike mechanic things that John doesn’t know how to do, in fact, I can’t think of anything. He has respect and a love for the traditional in cycling, but also a hunger for the modern and the latest technology.

So it is with great pleasure that I can announce that he has found a job that suits his skills down to the ground. Working for Moulton Cycles building up bikes! Total dream job! I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about it in the coming months as John settles in at the workshop and test track of the Bradford-on-Avon based company. To celebrate a few of us congregated at his house for a few drinks and some nibbles. Andy was the only one who arrived by bike though. I bought John a bottle of wine from Cycles Gladiator – a modern wine with a beautiful traditional label – befitting of a celebration for a man who works with cutting edge Moulton bikes and also Pashley traditional bicycles.

Nice one John – and I didn’t even mention the rubbish keg of beer you supplied that night, that would pour pints of 50% head.

Rubbish!

Rubbish!

Oops!

Published in: on September 14, 2008 at 8:50 pm  Comments (2)  
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Picking up the car from the Garage, going via road resurfacing works, and all on a Brompton.

Drrring Drrring!

Drrring Drrring!

“Hello VW Audi Garage”

“Can I book my SEAT in for a service and MOT?”

“Yep, do you need a courtesy car?”

“No thanks mate, I’ve got it covered”.

The End

The End

Published in: on July 8, 2008 at 4:58 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Oranges and Lemons

Though the shop and post office in our village makes a manful effort to supply the needs of the village and surrounding environs, (homemade plum jam filled victoria sponge anyone?) there was a distinct lack of oranges and lemons to be had there today. I came away with a cucumber, some local lettuce and a very small lemon – but that wasn’t going to help me make elderflower cordial. So, having finished work, I took to the saddle of the Brompton and headed for The supermarket. I decided that I couldn’t face the Wingfield straight so I went via Tellisford and Farleigh Hungerford. It was very hilly indeed, but on a Brompton it doesn’t matter, a leisurely pace is all that can be managed so there is no need to sweat, strive and strain up hills. I crested the tallest hill at the point where I used a photograph I took to make the Highway Cycling Group poster:

Many people have asked how I did the painting of the landscape in the background, but I assure everyone that it is real. The only things that weren’t there in the original photo are the words and the clouds which I added from another photo.

Easing over this hill saw me take a fast descent via some sharp corners and a final climb to Farleigh Hungerford. I took a right onto the main road and passed the castle. Then on into Trowbridge – only to discover that the Tesco Express had neither oranges nor lemons. So it was down the cycle path to Bradford-on-Avon and the Sainsbury’s there. Soon I was departing the supermarket with a riding bag full to the brim with fruit and goodies, but that also meant an enormous amount of extra weight. Never mind, it sped me up on the downhills and gave me a work out on the uphills. I took the same route back again – stopping now and again to pick more elderflowers for the cordial. At the bend by the bridges at Farleigh Hungerford I stopped to read the rules of the Farleigh Swimming Club. This group own a field next to the river in a spot ideal for a bit of wild swimming – but it’s strictly members only.
Farleigh Swimming Club

I liked the texture underneath their information sign where the new poster had been stuck over the old, which was probably stuck over an even older poster.

Swimming club sign

The number to call for membership having been noted, I started the ascent of the hill by the castle. Oh this was a bad one, I could have done with the drop nose Wilderness Trail Bike saddle on my Mountain bike, the Brooks on the Brompton, although being a fine and beautiful saddle, does not give you much scope for sliding forward. I have also found that standing up a Brompton only really works if you’re going downhill. I struggled up and turned left into the village itself, another hill but out of the traffic and the heat it was fine. I carried on along the road, up and down up and down, broken up with sporadic forays into the hedge to pick elderflowers. My arms, slick with sweat, were now dusted with yellow pollen. The air itself was thick with it. As I sped down the final descent I passed a tandem going up the hill, a man and woman gave hearty if breathless hellos as we passed each other.

Back at the house – all goods were unloaded and once the kids were in bed, stage one of the cordial making commenced. Now the flowers are soaking overnight in the zesty water – the smell is delicious.

Today’s ride was gloriously warm and bathed in sunshine. The sights and smells were that of an English summer, lazy looking horses in fields, heavy pollen, fresh-mown grass and wildflowers gracing the verge. The sounds were the ticking of a sturmey archer hub, the distant drone of lawnmowers, the rich and lyrical singing of blackbirds in the hedge and the joyous shouts of children splashing in the river.

It was a perfect ride, and I dedicate it to the memory of Noah.

Bristol to Rode by Brompton part II; The Ecstasy

A mural by Bristol Temple Meads

I was hugely relieved to arrive at Bradford-on-Avon train station, I bought my ticket, folded the Brompton and hauled it over the footbridge to the opposite platform. The ride to the station had left me feeling very down, it was the first ride for ages where I had just not enjoyed myself at all, not even the sight of some pretty nice looking cruisers in the bike racks on the other platform could cheer me up. There was plenty of room on the train so I kept the Brompton next to my seat, it sat there folded up like a sleeping pet dog, resting against the bag. On arrival at Bristol Temple Meads I carried the bike down into the underpass and through the ticket barrier to the front of the station. There in the shadow of this epic temple to Brunel’s mighty railway, I woke the Brompton, unfolding it and launching myself onto the cobbled road.

Turning right, I headed towards Old Market via the gargantuan new developments towering over the road and dwarfing the remains of the old Victorian buildings. It started off well, nice clear mixed use pathways with bike symbols, bike lights added to the crossings, but then suddenly I wasn’t sure if I was on a pavement or a bike lane, it just ran out or something. At Old Market I got off and pushed the bike up the pavement past drifts of paper and litter until I found the studio. Once inside I was able to use the bike racks. As the studio director is a cyclist (Rapha kit and a Condor bike) cyclists are very well catered for.

I worked until gone three, then the director drew me a map of how to reach the station via the back route. I set off again through a maze of building works and half completed flats, dodging cranes, front loaders and works vans until I reached the station, only to find I had just missed a train and there wasn’t another for an hour.

strange drifts of litter how to get to the station by bike racing past the building sites on my brompton

I had seen signs to The Bristol to Bath Railway Path on the way to the station and noted that it was fifteen miles to Bath. No, that it was only fifteen miles to Bath.

Now obviously if I waited for the next train it would be an hour, then half an hour on the train, then twenty minutes on the road, a grand total of one hour fifty of traveling time. If I rode the thirty miles back to the village it was going to be two and a bit hours if I was lucky. Plus there was a distinct headwind and it was a bit squally, with showers racing in. Putting logic aside, as I often do, it was obvious that I was going to ride home by Brompton. If nothing else, I needed a cathartic ride to remove the memory of the mornings slog to Bradford on Avon (see previous post). So I set off for Bath, it took a little bit of time to find the entrance to the railway path, I ran out of signs quite quickly, but realised that the number 4 I was seeing on lamposts denoted cycle route 4, the Bristol to Bath Railway Path. For those not in the know, this is considered to be the flagship cycle path created by Sustrans, and, another reason why I wanted to ride it as soon as possible, it’s under threat. The West of England Partnership plan to install a Bus Rapid Transit along this green corridor, to send hybrid diesel buses down the path next to walkers and cyclists. This smacks of what I like to call SAHOGI (Someone At Head Office’s Good Idea) – it will be a colossal waste of money and time and severely degrade the experiences of walkers and cyclists. It will carve up some fantastic wildlife areas not to mention push pollution and noise down this path. What’s interesting is that Bristol is a hotbed of radical activity, so the communities had claimed the cycle path as their own. The protests and petitions were immediate and pretty effective.

So what’s it like to ride? Very nice, no slope too steep, the tarmac is in pretty good condition and public artworks pop up all down the path. The area is rich with wildlife and greenery, and there’s not much litter, not compared to the road anyway. The path was pretty busy with walkers and cyclists despite the cold wind and sudden showers, I lost count of the number of times I exchanged nods with cyclists going the other way.

The tunnel - great fun

One of my favourite stretches was the tunnel, this is lit for most of the day and it’s great fun to ride through. I could also mention the station halt that has been converted to a cafe so you can sit with your feet over the edge of the platform while you chew a bacon roll – I see I have just mentioned it, great. For steam railway fans there is a stretch of track with steam trains and rolling stock in various states of repair (and disrepair). Rust, charred wood, steam, the smell of bacon from the ‘buffet car’, a carriage with an internal light on and what looks like a home made office in it. A splendidly chaotic place that I feel much be explored fully in the future.

Then through some bluebell woods as I neared Bath, all too soon I was spat out into a residential area and industrial estate at the back end of the city. I followed the cycle network signs through the city centre then puffed up the hill to the beginning of the tow path for the next stage of the journey, the Bath to Bradford-on-Avon canal path. The Brompton is not really designed for this kind of rough cycling and to begin with it was like riding the cobbles of the Paris-Roubaix – my arms were jarred so much that I had visions of them suddenly popping out of the sockets. Luckily the path became smoother.

Ah the canal path – often when you see imagery of canal life you’ll see pictures of retired couples or families laughing gaily as they ease their pristine narrowboat through the lock, or wandering lightheartedly down the towpath, net in hand, big healthy grins. Thus:

The reality is often more radical – this stretch of the Kennet and Avon Canal is a hotbed of alternative lifestyles, from the the filthy-faced smiling old man in a santa had pulling a squeaking trolley of wood, to this boat here:

narrow boat on the Kennet and Avon canal

Look at that figurehead! Check out the doors, the tarp, the trike parked next to the craft! You don’t see that in the Canal Holiday’s brochures do you?

I continued onwards, fewer people on the towpath than on the Bristol to Bath stretch, but a few brave souls were out on bikes. There was also a lot of wood chopping going on next to the boats. On and on I went, by now my shoulderblades were aching a bit from the pummeling. The magnificent Aquaduct at Dundas was a pleasure to ride over, breathtaking views. Round the corner, a heron had had just been disturbed by a passing boat and was flying down the river at eye level. I matched it’s speed and for a good fifty or so meters we kept pace with each other before the heron headed for the left bank and stood looking for fish. Now the Aquaduct at Avoncliff, this one is quite exciting as there is a steep hill to go down and another to go up, right by the Cross Guns pub. Now on the final stretch of the towpath, and soon I could see the twinkling lights of the Lock Inn. Unfortunately there was no time for an epic Boatman’s Breakfast or the Captain Pugwash (smoked mackerel and eggs) as I had to hit the open road.

So there I was, on the final five to six mile stretch, possibly the most dangerous section of the ride in traffic. But now, strangely, going home, drivers seemed less willing to try dangerous overtaking, seemingly content to wait until the road was clear. I guess it must have just been bad luck on my ride in earlier that morning.

And so, purged of the memory and bad feeling from the morning’s ride I arrived home, tired but happy having ridden around twenty eight to thirty miles on the Brompton.

Bristol to Rode by Brompton Part I; The Agony

I’m not sure how it happened, but I ended up cycling home from Bristol on Friday. I’d taken my Brompton in as I couldn’t be bothered to drive to Bradford-on-Avon, plus I needed to be at the studio I was working at by 09:30-10:00 and the train times didn’t quite add up. I figured that if I rode to Bradford on Avon, then trained to Bristol, I could use the Brompton to ride to Old Market where the studio is. The ride to Bradford was a bit harder than I thought it would be, it’s only about 5.5 miles but the wind was against me and before nine o’clock everyone was driving stupidly fast, very close to each other and not pulling out enough when overtaking me. Rather than have to slow down, cars were attempting to slip past me while traffic was coming in the other direction. Needless to say, the drivers in the opposite lane were not liking this and beeping at the overtakees. It happened four times. Why are people in such a hurry to get to work? Are their jobs so stressful, so cut-throat that their boss will fire them if they are thirty seconds late having been ‘stuck’ behind a cyclist? And what’s with this thing of everyone just following the first person that overtakes without even looking to see if the road is clear? I’ve seen that happen a lot while I am driving. Four cars behind a lorry, the first driver checks the road, overtakes, the second follows, and then the THIRD pulls out and starts overtaking with no way of knowing if the road will be clear or even if there will be enough room in front of the lorry once the first two cars have overtaken. How does the third driver know that the first driver isn’t going to relax and ease off the pedal once they are past the lorry? I’ve watched it happened so many times, it often ends in flashing lights and beeping horns, if not from the oncoming traffic, but from the lorry that has to brake hard to let the idiot third driver in. Anyway that was happening a lot too, streams of traffic overtaking me without checking the road, sometimes on blind bends. At one point I was on a bend and heard the car behind revving up to overtake just as a truck came round the corner. I put out my right hand to tell the car to stay back and thankfully they dropped back, just in time to miss the lorry. Then with the road clear I motioned them past. They waved in acknowledgment that I had spared them from being smeared over the front of the oncoming truck.

Ahead of me in the road I could see the mangled corpse of a pheasant. The cars were all running over it, and as I got nearer I could see that the head and body where smashed into a mush, smeared over the tarmac. The wheels had missed one of the wings which, still attached to the mashed up remains of the torso, was flapping slowly back and forth in the slipstream of the passing traffic, beckoning like Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. Another car impatiently roared past me, narrowly missing my elbow.

It annoys me because it makes me feel guilty, that perhaps it’s my fault that these people just can’t wait even those twenty seconds to check the road is clear. If I wasn’t there then surely it would be okay and these drivers wouldn’t be putting their lives at risk. I have a right to be on the road (more than cars do, they are allowed on the road if they have MOT, insurance and excise duty paid) and bikes have been on the road for a generation ahead of cars, but I hate, really hate that I feel in some way responsible for putting the lives of people who can’t drive safely at risk. That’s why I just don’t like riding country B Roads anymore, it’s pure transportation to me, I just can’t get any pleasure out of it now.

I rode on, longing to get off the road and on the train, I felt thoroughly miserable.

Mystery of the Orange Shopper: Solved(ish).

The Orange Shopper (close up)

“Thank you for your e-mail.

I can confirm that there was a non UK promotion in Spring 2005 that used
bikes to promote the launch of a crunchy cream bread spread. This product is
not available in the UK.

The bikes were sourced from www.thoemus.ch/index.php?id=226

Unfortunately we are unable to advise how one of these promotional bikes has
come to be in the UK.

I hope that this information is helpful.

Customer Relations
Ovaltine UK”

For the previous entry on the Mysterious Orange Shopper, click here

Published in: on March 12, 2008 at 11:45 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Orange Shopper

Here’s a picture of that Orange shopper/folder I was talking about in yesterday’s post. I’ve not seen one like it before. It’s probably come from one of the longboats on the canal, note how it’s covered in mud from the canal path. Having said that, a lot of people ride down the canal path from Trowbridge, or more likely Freshford or Avoncliff.

This is also a good chance to try out this facility of blogging from my Flickr page, directly from the photo in question. If it works, it saves me faffing about with links and uploads.

Additional Information

Right, zooming in on the original photo shows a decal saying ‘Ovomaltine’ this is no help with the providence of the bike because that’s the original and correct spelling of the product known as Ovaltine. The colour of the bike is the same as the Ovomaltine website though, curiouser and curioser! 

Published in: on March 5, 2008 at 11:52 am  Comments (5)  
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Sainsbury nee Budgeons: “Lard, be gone!” and Bastard, Bastard, Lorry.

Imagine my surprise and alarm on discovering this morning that I appear to have a tractor tyre round my middle. I knew I’d put some weight on, but the nature of the blubber had not occured to me until now. By my reckoning, I would do well to lose about one and a half stone. To this end, I have decided to ‘do some running’, Jez reckons that it should take two weeks of running three times in seven days to start losing the lard, I’m giving it a go.

I made a start on the lardbusting today by cycling to the supermarket on the racer. It was bitterly cold, though the sky was bright and clear, so I found a lightweight merino scarf that belonged to my first born when he was just a toddler, and wrapped it round my head lengthways. Now with my ears covered up I could brave the elements. It took a little while to get going especially into the headwind, the Wingfield straight was murderous. Cars screaming by, overtaking in each other’s wake without even looking to see if the opposite carriage was clear. There was a close call as an SUV overtook me, narrowly missing an oncoming lorry and cutting into me, I was going 29mph in a 30mph area at the time. Away from the hidden dips and onto the straight itself things weren’t so bad, although the wind was searingly cold. By the time I reached the Farleigh, Trowbridge, Bradford-on-Avon crossroads I was feeling weary, but I’ve found something that helps. If when you first set off on a ride you start to flag, just stop for five minutes. I pulled over at the shrine by the crossroads and took a picture. As usual, the flowers were fresh.

Roadside shrine, Wingfield Crossroads

On getting back on the bike I felt refreshed and ready to go. I often find that a tiny break not long after setting off, perhaps two miles down the road, will get the energy levels up again. On towards Bradford-on-Avon, warming up nicely now, the cars few and far between. To my left the ditch had been recently dug out, a reminder of the recent floods, today the roads were dry, the Spring sunshine had melted the morning’s hard frost. I hurtled onto the roundabout on the Rode side of Bradford, hanging a right, then another, into the car prak of Sainsburys. Total chaos. The store is being extended and the carpark remodelled, traffic queued up everywhere. It wasn’t clear where cars should go, the arrows on the road bore no realtion to the current temporary layout. Not a problem for me on my bike though, I picked a clean line through to the new bike racks. It was pleasing to note that with my bike locked up, all the racks were in use, and someone had left a crazy looking folder or shopper in the foyer.

It didn’t take long for me to fill the backpack with grub from the shopping list my wife had supplied, then out on the road again, albeit somewhat more heavy-laden than the outward journey. I elected to go back via the Bradford-Trowbridge cycle path. Ah smooth, smooth tarmac. And just as well, I’d forgotten about the hill. Riding that stretch of cycle path is a real pleasure. It’s short but sweet, mixed use, but rarely do you meet another pedestrian, fields to the left and the smell of sewage when you reach the water treatment plant. Someone had written in pen on a sign “Polski Go Home!”, the directions to the recycling centre perhaps an odd place to choose to express one’s fear of immigration, but not as odd as writing the surreal message “Achtung Polski!” on the Wessex Water sign five meters later. The cycle path ends at the outskirts of Trowbridge, jettisoning the rider onto potholed crumbly tarmac. Heading into the roundabout a gravel lorry was in the left hand lane. I thought I’d better stay behind him, even though I was going right, because you never know…

..sure enough he was making a right turn without signalling. Actually he was going right the way round the roundabout, much to the surprise of a car waiting to come out of the Broadmead turning! The lorry driver could not hear the horn of the car, or move his hand to signal for one reason, and this became apparent as the cab swung broadside to me: He had his mobile phone pressed up against his ear and was using the palm of his left hand to spin the wheel. As an avid reader of The Moving Target messenger zine (I am not a fakenger, witness my photos and my ride – I could not be accused of copying neither courier style nor speed, I just think it’s one of the best cycling blogs out there) I am all too aware of the incredible danger HGVs present to urban cyclists* so luckily I hung back. If I’d have been in that right hand lane, looking to go right (and I could rightly assume that a vehicle in the left hand lane not signalling at a two exit roundabout is going straight ahead) I’d have been crushed, even at fifteen miles an hour, it would not have been pretty. The car that had pulled up short when the lorry passed in front was still honking his horn as he pulled out behind the lorry and followed it up the hill. Afterwards it occurred to me that I wasn’t shaken or surprised because I have started to get back into that cycling zone when you just ‘know’ when a vehicle is going to do something silly, and actually, that worried me because the last thing I want to feel is a complacency from assuming that I have some weird ‘bikey sense’ that tingles when something dangerous is going to happen. Got to stay alert!

Through Broadmead, up a different side of the same hill I’d just cycled down, and back along the Wingfield straight to home. A good ten miles in cold weather and, I feel, a reasonable start to the “Lard, be gone” campaign.

Tomorrow, running! Damn!

*Stop press, on picking up the link to Moving Target to place in this post, I saw that the latest post on MT concerns two Messengers , who did get hit by lorries. It’s sobering and very frightening, Buffalo Bill, the MT author writes “2 guys under lorries in the same day. Thank god you are both still alive.” and Christ, I second that, good luck to those riders, I hope they both make a speedy recovery.