Monday, 30 September 2013

Pixies, Tadpoles and Phones

By about 7.59 am, it was clear we were out of practice. Sitting on the doorsteps of the northern meeting post (aka Dr Doug's flat), I wondered whether to ring the bell and wake up the residents.  Instead, I left a message on Doug's phone: clearly something had gone awry, the planned Trois V ride to Epping or up the Lee would be called off, and I was going to do some laps of Regent's Park.

Then, I picked up the Squadra and began to cycle off.  At this point, of course, Doug appeared, having gone to the other northern meeting post, Seven Sister's Lane.  Having no phone with him, and not seeing any members of the Trois V arrive, he was returning to do some laps.   With that, and my accusation that Doug was suffering from a hangover and unable to ride languishing unheard on his answerphone, waiting to detonate later, we headed north.

We had lost some time, so resolved to head straight to to Toot Hill.  This we did.  As ever, the moment you leave London and enter the countryside made it all worthwhile.

Essex and the Outside
Before this I had a descent which contrasted unfavourably with the Pyrenees.  For one thing, Broadhill in Woodford is very straight.  For another, drivers drive very close to you compared to the cycling-friendly French, Catalan and Basque.  A young man in a small blue car decided to hit what felt like sixty as he almost hit me.  At the bottom.  I gave chase, with the advice from Doug sounding out behind me 'Calm Down Matt!!!'.

A deep breath, pull up by his window, and very politely, I hope, suggested if he was going to drive so fast he may like to consider giving humans a bit more of a berth.  A second of staring into each others eyes.  He folded first and nodded assent.

The out to Toot Hill, discussing the Pixies en route and discovering that there were a lot more hills than we remembered on the way, and back, as we planned.  Stava records the route something as a tadpole.  One day, it may be a frog.

A constitutional amendment: henceforth, all meeting points will be confirmed by name and street the evening before.  And, noted, Dr Doug always announces his hangovers in advance.

Flotsnoo!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

More Space for Cyclists!

On Monday, 5000 cyclists rode around the Houses of Parliament to demand Space for Cycling in London.

Today, while riding some evening laps of Regents Park, I came upon one of the traffic lights. A minivan had stopped in the bike bay. Stopping a motor vehicle in the bike bay at a traffic light is an offense that carries a £60 fine and costs you three points on your driving license as well.  So what did the Metropolitan Police van sitting behind this minivan do?

Gunned the engine and nearly sideswiped me while trying to overtake me from the light, because instead of being in the bike bay at the front of the light like I'd expected, I was trapped alongside the minivan.

Safe cycling in London has a long way to go yet.

Flotsnoo!