MJR's slef-reflections

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More driving and cycling

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 18:17:56 +0100

Jeff Bailey asked:

"Heya Brits! Any of you still driving cars at ~ 1.15 according to the Daily Mail"

Yes, I am. I drove on Monday (at 1.18/l) because it was the least bad option for the journey. I try to avoid it and I felt bad afterwards (literally - it was too damn hot and each part of the journey was too short for the cab to cool down), but the car was available and the other choices involved not attending some events.

On Sunday, I used my bike instead, but I was I wondering if the world is full of Sunday drivers today or whether I was really riding that badly. You name a junction on my route and I seemed to get into a conflict with a car at it.

Today's bike trip went much better, even getting thanks from a coach for pulling aside halfway up an incline, but I had to take avoiding action as I re-entered the village because of a police car. I'm pretty damn sure that wasn't my fault, but I do wonder when it's the police.

I'm still riding without a helmet, without ill effects. Gunnar Wolf was getting a breeze through a different kind of helmet but I think it's telling that cyclists "feel naked" rather than actually being naked (usually, at least). Have we got too used to being cocooned in metal boxes while out on the roads? I've always ridden and walked a lot - is this why I don't miss the hat much? I must remember to drink more in summer without it, though.

I share Criag Sanders's scepticism about the protests and Chrisitan Perrier's enthusiasm for bike-pools. I don't agree with many of Russel Coker's views on oil prices but they are interesting reading, even so.

I'm taking part in JamBustingJune for the West of England region and BikeWeek 14-21 June 2008

Tags: cycling, life, toll road, travel.

Comments On This Entry

Submitted at 0638 on 12 Jun by Russell Coker

What part don't you agree with?

Submitted at 1044 on 12 Jun by Casper Gielen

It's probably a matter of experience. You're not sure how to behave, and neither is the driver of the car.

I'm from The Netherlands, where bicycles are the primary mode of transportation. We have a bunch of laws to protect cyclists, and every car driver knows that he will be found guilty by default in any accident between a car and a bicycle. In many other countries the drivers reaction is either "Help, a bicycle, what should I do?" or "Grrr, a bicycle, get of the road!". Both cases will result in unpredictable behaviour.

This might not be a good idea everywhere, but in a (potentially) dangerous situation, the best thing to do is to be very clear about your intentions. If things get hairy, don't drive at the side of the road, but drive in the middle. This way cars won't try to pass you. They might give you some angry looks, but at least you are in control of the situation.

Submitted at 1657 on 12 Jun by MJ Ray

Russell asked what I don't agree with: what Ford should do, the limits of car club viability and the desirability of biofuel so far.

There is a wonderful billboard by a busy roundabout in Havana of a small red car being fed a spoonful of sweetcorn with a slogan like "The Madness of the First World" with which I totally agree (although I think there are some other motives for that particular advert).

Comments are moderated (damn spammers) but almost anything sensible gets approved (albeit eventually). If you give a web address, I'll link it. I won't publish your email address unless you ask me to, but I'll email you a link when the comment is posted, or the reason why it's not posted.

This is copyright 2008 MJ Ray. See fuller notice on front page.