Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Tim's Cycling Diary Part 3 - Assuming the Primary Position

After a 2 week break, I was back out on the A4040 ring route and this time I was on my new bike. It’s my first proper road bike as I have always ridden hybrid bikes before. I blame my mother for this. In my youth I always wanted a racing bike, but I was brought up to believe that nice boys don’t have dropped handlebars. I suppose that as a grown man I could have got a proper road bike well before reaching the age of 45 but I'd never got round to it until now.

So as I had a lot to contend with in getting used to a completely new riding position, saddle, brakes, gears etc, and I was a little late setting out, I cut my ride short.

Image from Google Street View
Setting off anti-clockwise, I started at the junction of Handsworth Wood Road and Church Lane and then followed the 11A route through Handsworth. Having passed Winson Green prison, I encountered this bit of road engineering (see right).

There is a bus lane which suddenly veers to the left into Aberdeen Street and leads to the City Hospital. As you can see, you are in the bus lane but as you approach the lights. The bus lane goes off to the left and suddenly you have a cycle lane to go straight on, which ought to be ok, but that means that you have to veer to the right to enter the cycle lane. An experienced cyclist approaching the junction will be taking the primary position to make sure that they can go straight on without being swiped by a vehicle. I think that inexperienced cyclists will just worry about being assertive as they approach the start of the cycle lane and end up dismounting.

According to the sign, buses and bikes can take the bus lane leading to Aberdeen Street, but as taxis (including private hire vehicles) have been permitted to use bus lanes elsewhere in Birmingham, I cannot help feeling that sooner or later a cyclist is going to come a cropper – and probably from white van man who should not even be going that way.

Later, I checked our cycling map. There have been some accidents in the vicinity but nothing right on that junction. I fear though that it is a matter of time. Being a personal injury solicitor you have to have a way of insulating yourself from the trauma or you would not be able to do the job. As I cycled along Winson Green Road, I consoled myself that if I was knocked off my bike in this vicinity at least it’s not far to the hospital!

On a more positive note, I managed to pick up a Focus Cayo 105 Ltd Triple on e-bay. Ill health had prevented the previous owner from riding it. His loss is my gain. I'm chuffed with the new bike! Meanwhile, it’s half term, so less cars on the road. Looking forward to a pleasant week!

by Tim Beasley - Partner Levenes Solicitors

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