Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Biking the strike

Luckily I'm off work tomorrow because I can honestly say that this morning was one of the worst commutes by bike I've ever had.

At junctions where I usually see two other cyclists there were between 10 and 15 and it was clear that a lot of them had never cycled on road before or usually used their bikes in races on the weekends. If it wasn't a basketed beauty weaving across the lane in front of you it was a lycra loonie whizzing past like silent death, or it was the plucky first-timer on the wrong gear - legs going like the clappers but actual speed is approximately two miles an hour.

The sheer volume and the fact that so many of them expected you to skip red lights meant I was forced to go through a couple, something I avoid doing if at all possible. At one point when I refused at a junction a cyclist behind me hit my back wheel because she was following so close.

Not only that but there was also a lot of angry drivers on the road. Overtaking too close, swearing at cyclists because they're actually angry about the gridlock making them late and the fact we can sail past it all on bikes, bus drivers cutting people up ruthlessly and swerving into cycle lanes.

What was so disappointing to me was that for a lot of people, it was their first experience of cycling on the road in London and it's so not like this most of the time. There is always the occasional bad driver and crap cyclist but the numbers today were unprecedented. I really hope people aren't put off long-term by the chaos of today.

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