A typical London cycling death?

Woman and man cycling on bike path

Are women on bikes more at risk then men?

The news this week that a female cyclist has died after being hit by a lorry in Denmark Hill has brought cycle safety into the spotlight once again.

So far this year six cyclists have been killed on the capital’s streets – all six of them in collisions involving HGVs. Five of those killed have been women, prompting Edmund King, president of the AA to describe the collision which led to death of Claire Hitier-Abadie in February as bearing “all the hallmarks of a ‘typical’ London cycling death – a female cyclist killed by a tipper truck turning left”. Continue reading

Beware the wrath of the cycling gods

Shadwell - not the most convenient place to get turfed off the Overground

Shadwell – not the most convenient place to get turfed off the Overground

I fear I may have offended the cycling gods.

No sooner had I published my last blog post than I started to develop a chest infection. Cue three weeks (and counting!) of hacking up a lung and generally feeling pretty rubbish.

So rubbish, in fact, that I’ve been unable to cycle for most of that time. Continue reading

Cycling, driving and convenience

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The Peak District – where I saw more people out on their bikes than I did in the centre of Sheffield

Given how long I’ve been living and cycling here, you’d think I’d be used to how many cyclists there are in London. Maybe it’s because I don’t get into central London very often – especially not during rush hour – that, whenever I do, the sheer mass of bikes flooding through the traffic always takes me by surprise.

I had the day off work recently. After visiting the Imperial War Museum for the afternoon, rush hour found me at the intersection of Waterloo Bridge and Aldwych. As I waited to cross the road, I watched in amazement at the phalanx of cyclists whizzing past. At every red light around me there were even more – at least twenty or thirty, maybe more, at each junction – bursting out of meagre advance stop boxes and snaking back through the traffic.

Compare that to my experience when I went up to Sheffield to deliver the trusty steed to his new retirement home. Continue reading

Bike dreams (part two)

Cityglide or Specialized - which is it to be?

Cityglide or Specialized – which is it to be?

In last week’s installment, the prospect of yet another expensive repair to the Trusty Steed led me to think about retiring him – and my idle daydreams of a beautiful new bike took a step closer to becoming reality

Ah, the beautiful Norco Cityglide 8…so pretty and yet so practical. Could this be my bike of dreams?

There was only one thing for it. I had to take it for a test ride.

In my experience, there are two possible outcomes to a test ride. One is that I fall hopelessly in love, and can think of nothing else but how wonderful the bike is and what a difference it will make to my life – with the inevitable consequence that I cannot rest until I’ve bought it. The other is that a bike I’ve spent days drooling over turns out to be rather more prosaic than I’d been imagining, and my dreams are left in tatters. Continue reading

Bike dreams

The ever faithful Trusty Steed - but is it time to retire him?

The ever faithful Trusty Steed – but is it time to retire him?

Dear readers, I have a confession to make. I have cheated on the Trusty Steed.

It started, as these things usually do, innocently enough. One quiet afternoon at work an email advertising Evans Cycles’ end of summer sale landed in my inbox. I had nothing pressing on my to do list at the time, so I clicked through.

As I glanced through the array of slightly-cheaper-than-usual bikes, one of them caught my eye. The Norco Cityglide 3 – a beautiful powder blue, three-speed town bike. Not a brand I’d ever heard of before, but never mind that. My head had been turned. Continue reading

“Come on love, get yer kit off”

Warning: this post contains pictures of naked people.

The World Naked Bike Ride crossing Waterloo Bridge

The World Naked Bike Ride crossing Waterloo Bridge

I was heading down Old Bond Street towards Piccadilly when I saw them.

I’d spent the previous hour cycling through the side streets of Soho and Mayfair in a fruitless search for some buttons for the cardigan I’d just finished making. After trying four different haberdasheries to no avail, I decided to head to Waterloo to have a coffee and wait to catch sight of the London leg of the World Naked Bike Ride.

Except there they were in front of me – a stream of naked and semi-naked people on bikes, all heading along Piccadilly, not 20 metres ahead. As I reached the lights, I realised there were no marshals nor police escort blocking the traffic: naked flesh mingled with cars, buses and taxis. What’s more, once the lights changed to green, the cars queuing up behind me would be joining them – as would I. Continue reading

Tweed Run – 17 May 2014

A little light refreshment along the way

A little light refreshment along the way

In a narrow, winding street just off Clerkenwell Green, lined with shuttered shops and old warehouses converted into modern office space, all was quiet. Except for me and a man out walking his dog it was completely deserted. There was no indication that anything was going to happen to make this particular Saturday afternoon any different from every other Saturday afternoon in this part of town.

And then from around the corner a lone cyclist appeared, dressed in head-to-toe tweed and riding a vintage bicycle. Continue reading

The seven-year itch

The Trusty Steed - seven years old today

The Trusty Steed – seven years old today

Sorting through some old papers recently, I came across the receipt for the Trusty Steed. The date on this now extremely faded scrap of paper was 31 March 2007 – which means the Trusty Steed is now seven years old.

(OK, technically you could argue that he’s slightly older as he’s a 2006 model, but I look upon that more as the date of conception. His actual birthday is the day he became mine.)

Seven years. That’s longer than I had with all three of my previous bikes put together. Continue reading

I have always depended on the kindness of strangers

This is getting to be a regular occurrence

This is getting to be a regular occurrence

I came off my bike again on Thursday evening – and I mean properly came off. No getting my trousers caught, or skidding down the ramp at work for me this time.

No, those were just practice runs ahead of the main event.

I was on my way home from work when it happened. I’d taken a detour to stop off at Sainsbury’s in Camden, and I was heading down Parkhurst Road towards the junction with Holloway Road when I very suddenly came off my bike.

It all happened so quickly I had no time to react at all. One second I was cycling along, thinking about dinner and getting in from the rain, and the next second I was on the ground. Continue reading

Cycle safety – more than just red lights and helmets

Strangely, Boris has so far been silent on the issue of using mobile phones while cycling

Strangely, Boris has so far been silent on the issue of mobile phones and cycling

Oh dear, oh dear. First there was Boris and his comments about cyclists running red lights and wearing headphones. Then there was Operation Safeway, with 2,500 police offices deployed at major junctions across London to hand out safety advice to cyclists. And now traffic police in London have reportedly been given targets for the number of cyclists they have to ticket each month.

All this in response to the recent spate of people being killed or seriously injured while cycling in London. Anyone would think it was their fault they got knocked off their bikes.

Actually, anyone would – and they do. That’s the problem. Continue reading