Clocks have changed – light up

A common theme on post coming from various sites recently. The days are getting shorter, your commute is going to be in darkness, so buy some lights.

A few years ago I took a different look on using lights. I did, like many, used lights only when riding in the dark. But in 2008 when the EU regulations were announced that in 2011 all new cars sold in the EU would have to have Daytime Running Lights (DRL), things had to change. When cars started to have lights during the day because for a basic reason of better visibility to other road users, then surely us skinny two wheelers have should do the same and run perhaps even better lighting systems to stand out against everyone else and keep safe.

I noticed, and this is only from my own personal perspective, that I got less issues when I ran lights all the time, this unfortunately is very hard to prove and it could be down to many things but I have no doubt that running lights in all conditions makes a difference.

The only issue is during the day a small light isn’t going to cut it, you are competing with the natural light from the sun. Any light that is going to get you seen from a good distance is going to have to be powerful, and generally that means costly, especially if you want the battery to last at least several days.

So don’t just run lights during the night, run them all the time, every little helps!

Taking a Picture of your Bicycle!

A bicycle is a work of art. The formation of the frame, the paint and the wear and tear of parts makes each bicycle individual. There is one shot that every cyclist must get, the one which shows everything about it in its best light. The obsessive compulsive posers at bikeradar call this the reference shot.

Continue reading “Taking a Picture of your Bicycle!”

How are they spending the money? – Croydon A cycling Borough

Back in May 2011 the Mayor of London announced that Croydon was a cycling borough and would receive £450,000 over a 3 year period to improve cycling in the borough.

Croydon is one of the largest boroughs in London, both by land and by population. £450,000 is not going to change cycling in the borough for everyone. Wondering how the money would be spent I asked the council if they could give me some information on their plans.

The majority of the money is being spent on a cycling hub at East Croydon station. The idea being to attract people to cycling by getting those who use the tram or bus to get too and from the station on their way to work in central London. It’s probably the best place in Croydon to build a cycling hub, it is the busiest train station with a huge range of destination. The east Croydon area is going over a massive re-development process for the 2020 vision. This includes high-rise buildings, arenas and all sorts. The footfall around the area will increase dramatically and it won’t just be seen as a transport hub.

Money is also going to be spent on making Wellesley Road ‘feel less concrete cars-ville [and] more “Connected City” ‘, those are the words from Croydon Council!!! The way they are going to do this is by adding in several surface level pedestrian crossings. Something which Wellesley road hasn’t seen for a number of years! This should help connect East and West Croydon together making it possible for people to easily move around the town.

£105,000 of the money will go to marking more cycling routes in the town centre and to encourage and enable cycling through parks. Croydon has a vast quantity of parks but most of them have bylaws that prevent you from cycling in them. Getting through the town centre is also a bit of a tricky task at present, the options are to go down an urban motorway or try to survive with the buses and trams on the back route.

Money is also being given to provide cycle training at schools and to those who want it, community led rides, and cycle awareness training for HGV drivers.

I’m sure we could all think of ways to spend £450,000 to make cycling better in our boroughs, the Cycle Hub is probably one of the best things that could be done and if done  well, will last us for decades!

Road Safety Week

It’s been and gone but nothing has changed. It was the same old same old for me on the roads. Silly Cyclists, motorists imitating motorcyclist’s, mobile phone use and general lack of concern for other road users. hit the cycling media in a bad way in the past week, dropping the road tax bomb in a poll. I had someone from contact me last week with regards to road safer week and what they had done. For some reason they didn’t get back to me when I asked them about that road tax comment.

The Mayor of London announced a review of all the superhighways. They haven’t appeared to be so super after two cyclists had been killed using them in the space of only a few weeks. RIP. I’ve always been quite clinical of the superhighways, I raised concerns I had about them to TFL before they were built and got no where. If you are going to call something super and describe it as a safer journey, then they better be super and they better be safe. Unfortunately I feel that none of them are currently in a safe state as they are just a bit of blue paint on the side of the road.

Lots of other things happened over the whole country. Most I fear where for little gain, ‘a thought today, forgotten tomorrow’ springs to mind. This is the first Road Safety Week in the Decade of Action. Again something which looks like it hasn’t really taken off.

I had several encounters in the past week that shows the attitude of some of the drives on our road rather well.

This driver attempts to cut across my path, he states that he saw me and that I was too far out from the pavement. He then shows just why you should cycle that far out from the pavement as he does a close pass on another cyclist and then stops straight away.

This driver actually drove relatively well but sounds her horn as she comes past. I ask her later on what the problem was, apparently I was too far out from the pavement again and it is dangerous for her to change lanes to move around me. I should therefore be closer to the pavement so she could overtake me without changing lanes. No thanks!

They say cyclists don’t stop at red lights, clearly this guy left his bike at home.

And a small shunt I witnessed on Friday evening. No damage done but shows just how aware some drivers are of what is in front of them and the size of their vehicle.