Surprise at a zebra crossing

Following on from my last post in which I told of my rule following, this evening on my way home, I stopped for a pedestrian to cross a zebra crossing.

He stopped and said “thank you” to me and I returned with “you’re welcome”. It struck me as I cycled away that as a pedestrian at a zebra crossing he has right of way and so really had no need to stop and say thank you – It struck me that he was surprised that i had stopped for him, which just goes to show that there are many of us road users out there who aren’t following the rules of the road – but should be!

Come on guys – we can do better!

Little miss rule follower

No matter which role i am in; driver, pedestrian or cyclist I am driven crazy by cyclists that jump red lights, ride on pavements and perform 100 other no-no’s. I’m a rule follower (I get nervous when I’m walking down the street and see a police officer, even though I know I haven’t done anything wrong) so I will happily wait at a set of red lights even when I could safely run through them, but many others do not.

This morning I spent half my commute, so approximately 15 minutes, following another cyclist. As I cycle through central London on my way to work, there are many sets of traffic lights, so you get used to the stop start rhythm of the journey. My fellow cyclist went through every single set of traffic lights (probably about 6 in total) when they were red.

He was obviously doing it because he thought he would be able to reach his destination quicker, however I (who waited at all the lights for them to turn green) managed to catch up to him between every set of lights. It was bizarrely satisfying that i was following the rules and wasn’t losing out in any way and I took enormous pleasure when I overtook him, childish yes, but I don’t care!!

This is a plea to all cyclists out there – please follow the rules of the road – they’re there to keep everyone safe.

Being competitive is bad!!

Since commuting on my bicycle to and from work every day, I’ve noticed that my competitive nature is coming to the fore.

I purchased a Garmin 200, largely so that I could follow routes and record my activities, but the feature that allows me to track my daily commute against a ‘virtual me’ showing the fastest time I have completed that route in, is driving me to push myself harder and harder.

I enjoy living on the edge, I love adrenaline sports and I’m very determined…this all leads to me wanting to beat my fastest time each and every time i do that route. Not only do I want to beat my own time, but I also want to beat fellow cyclists that are doing the same part of my route as me. I aim to be the fastest away from traffic lights and overtake those in front of me along the wonderful stretch that is Waterloo bridge – it’s not even like I’m in a hurry, I always allow extra time so that I won’t be late even if my journey takes longer than anticipated, but yet I still push myself, day in and day out. Is it just me, or does this competitive streak also come out in you?

All this results in me turning up as a hot mess when i arrive wherever I’m going – I’ve never taken so many showers as I do now!

Incidentally, all this sprint cycling has meant that my fitness levels are improving which is great news!

Cycling and chatting on the phone – not so sure that’s a good idea

So on this evening’s ride home, I found myself at some traffic lights And could hear a man talking. I assumed he was chatting with a fellow cyclist, however once we moved away from the lights, I realised he was chatting using the hands free kit of his mobile phone.

I found myself being very surprised that this was happening. As a London cyclist, I find myself checking over my shoulder for approaching danger every few seconds to ensure I’m safe to swerve around potholes or avoid sewer entries or grates for example. I concentrate the whole duration of my journey, looking ahead for danger, checking the road in front of me and being aware of what’s going on around me – and I just simply don’t think I could do all that and chat on the phone at the same time!

This man wasn’t cycling in a dangerous manner, so is it just me being over-cautious? What do you think? Is chatting on the phone at the same time as cycling down busy London roads ok?

So I think this cycling malarkey might be contagious

Anyone who knows me, will know that since I have been cycling regularly, I’ve been talking about cycling a lot more too.

First there was talk about the type of bike I had purchased, then a conversation around my helmet, locks, gloves etc and now on a regular basis how my commute was (almost ran over a cat today since you asked) and if I’ve cycled anywhere fun recently.

Not only have I been spending a large amount of my disposable income on cycling related purchases, but it seems that I’ve also convinced others to do so too! First my flatmate traded in her old bike for a new one and now cycles daily to work – and now, my other flatmate has bought one online, so that he can join the fun too. I don’t feel able to take all the credit for this, but I do think I helped give them the kick up the backside they needed, the upside of which is that now I may have some company on my rides!

Today’s commute

The weather this week has not really been all that conducive for cycling – at least not for me as I don’t yet have any waterproofs. Due to this, I have been travelling to work on the tube, rather than cycling.

The weather this morning seemed ok and I was looking forward to getting back out there on my bike when I remembered that I had plans to attend a friend’s celebratory drinks in the evening. That meant another day without cycling.

The tube was hot and crowded and it reminded me why I love to cycle. There was however one brief moment that brightened up my day. We were preparing to leave Waterloo and the driver made the announcement “please mind the closing doors”. The doors in my carriage closed, but they mustn’t have in all carriages as a few seconds later the doors re-opened shortly followed by a comment from the driver “what don’t you understand about “mind the closing doors?!”” It was so unexpected that it made many a commuter snigger, myself included and the dreariness of travelling by tube seemed to drift away!

Amusing tube drivers – just one of the reasons I love London!!