Monday, 10 December 2012

Diary of a New Cycle Commuter - Week 3

Previous articles in this series can be found here.

Week two was full of punctures. I only managed two of the five days, hence skipping straight to Week 3 here.
With this in mind, I thought I'd check for a flat Sunday night, sure enough, fourth flat in nine days. Patch and pump it up ready for tomorrow.

It was one of those mornings I wish I had a head cam (one is on the way). Nothing in terms of particularly bad misses, just two idiots in the space of ten seconds. First one was a cyclist, I'm waiting at red in the ASL, a fellow cyclist filters up to the lights as well. Instead stopping and waiting, he does that thing where you snake back and forwards in the ASL waiting for green because you don't want to stop and put your feet down. Amber, he's not paying attention... Green, his snaking has taken him right in front of me. So now my getaway is compromised. Cheers. As he tries to power off, his foot slips off the pedal and he has ends up having to put it down anyway, which in turn stops me, and the queue of cars behind.

20 meters up the road, there’s a school, lollypop lady, and of course "KEEP CLEAR" school markings and signs. Cutting a long story short, it was a MGIF (must get in front) driver who then immediately pulled in front of me to park up on the school markings. Swerving around the car I tapped my head whilst looking at the driver to ask what she was thinking? To her credit, she held her hand up in apology.

Up ahead I caught up with Mr Snakey Cyclist who was waiting at a light, with his foot on the floor. Had to fight every fibre of my being not to start snaking in front of him.

A friend text me to tell me they saw me this morning and that I looked like a fool with a light on my helmet. I replied to tell them that I didn't care, that people seeing me was the point and I saw them and that they looked stressed in their traffic jam. I got a "good point" in return, and my fifth puncture in 11 days on the way home.

Replaced the inner tube and once again checked the inside of the tire. Nothing. For the first time, checked the outside of the tire. Sure enough, two shards of glass embedded in the rubber. Doh indeed.

Apparently there was about twenty minutes of snow overnight which caused absolute travel carnage on North London's public transport. Not so for the bike! Quite satisfying flying past the queues of extra cars.

The day after the ridiculous BBC "War On Our Roads" documentary. Got called a tw*t, got spat at (they missed) and a pedestrian intentionally stepped in front of me. I wondered if it had anything to do with the show, as up until now, I'd had no problems like that.

Again, wished I had a head cam. On the way in I witnessed a very gentle shunt between two cars, they pulled into a side road, both drivers got out and started arguing. One pushed the other, the other pushed back. This is what happened:

"Don't be silly mate"
"I'm not being silly mate, you're being silly"
"I'm not being silly, you started being silly when you pushed me"
"You were being aggressive so I had to push you. I'm not silly"
"You are silly, you drove into the back of me"
"You slammed your brakes on you silly tw*t"
(Both check for damage)
"There’s no need for us to be silly about this, there's no damage"
"Well, I'm not being silly."
"I'm not being silly either"
"Oh for f**ks sake, we're both being silly. Let's just forget it."
(They shake hands and off they go.)

Lessons Learned:
Check the outside of tires for debris after a puncture.
Expect the unexpected.
Drivers in queues are "silly".
The stress level of cycling into work is nothing compared to that of the motorists I've seen this week!

Previous articles in this series can be found here.


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