Monday, 1 November 2010

Things on the Rail I can do without

  1. Smashed champagne bottles (if you can believe that?) 
  2. Sarcastic Impington Village College Kids
  3. Either of
    • Branches (no, I do not mean twigs, I mean bloody huge branches)
    • Big bits of wood (!)
  4. Dog sh*t
  5. Horse sh*t
  6. More dog sh*t
So it seems that the rail has become a kind of safe route home for the drunk party-goer. They can wobble their way home without fear of staggering into the path of traffic. Trouble is they're leaving smashed glass bottles on the rail and on the cycle path (less the latter as it's gravel - the rail concrete)

I'm sure the branches usually get where they are by falling from trees (duh!) but the wood??? I have one question: why?

#2 is an odd one. Children walking to school to Impington Village College use the rail. As I approach them they have in the past simply moved out of the way. However, they then discovered that I got annoyed if they made me stop before moving. Initially I told them that I was riding very fast & it'd be safer if they simply stood aside. I even told one girl on a bike that I'd lean against the rail and she could easily move past me. Somehow that didn't go down well either. Too late, I've given them the ammunition and now they always leave it to the last second to move. I have to come to a complete halt and then they move. The recent development is that they've now taken to telling me off when I don't thank them; like I'm going to say "thank you" if they make me stop first. grrr

As for 4 & 5. Well #5 is mostly around the stables at the NW corner of Histon. I am personally surprised that a horse can comfortably walk on the rail, let alone defecate on it! :-) #4 happens everywhere and just goes to show how little community spirit exists. People only clear up their dog sh*t where there's a sign threatening them with a fine for not or enough witnesses for the social unacceptability of it to pre-shame them into taking it home with them. Where there's no-one around and they think there's no victim, they just don't give a, well, sh*t!

Of course the thing that's missing from my list is the huge lumps of concrete that are temporarily there to stop traffic from joining the rail. I do wish they all left room for bikes to comfortably go round them, rather than having to come to a dead stop, de-clip your pedals and creep through a gap of about 10cm. :-(

Monday, 25 October 2010

Riding on the A428!

Monday 25th, 11:04

According to the Cambridge News,
"A 30-year-old man, from London, has also been arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving following the death of a cyclist yesterday.
It follows a collision at 7.17pm on the eastbound carriageway of the A428 between Dry Drayton and Cambourne.
The 53-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene after being involved in a collision with a white Ford Transit van.
The man arrested has been released on police bail, a spokesman for Cambridgeshire Constabulary said."
I (almost) saw this happen. :-(

The article was published on the 24th and mentions 7.17pm and indeed was referring to the evening of Saturday the 23rd.

I was driving from Cambourne to Cambridge and was approaching the Dry Drayton exit when loads of Police cars with flashing blue lights appeared going both East and West. Turns out they were coming from Cambridge and doing "U" turns at the Cambourne exit to get to the scene.

The collision appeared to have happened mere metres from the start of the Eastbound off-ramp at the Dry Drayton exit. Indeed, there were big gouged skid marks running up the embankment after the start of the off-ramp.

My heart sank when I saw the bike on the edge of the road. I have to tell you, it was pitch black and I would have thought twice before riding along the A428.

I have ridden along the A14 quite a few times, but it's always been in broad daylight and it is often the case that I'm doing so when the traffic is so heavy I'm going faster than it is. Also, I almost always only have need to go North on the A14 and that means going along the side with the lorry park / lay-by etc. I spend well over 75% of my journey physically separated from the traffic-proper.

I decided to give it a try when I saw the blue "cyclists should ride this way" sign / road map thing. I figured if there are signs saying where the cyclists should ride I have license to ride there. When I figure out what these are called / get a photo I'll update this post.

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Close call with a BMW

Last night I was riding onto the dreaded Longstanton - Oakington no-vehicles road when a BMW tried to go around me whilst the driver was using his bloody iPhone (in his right hand [1])!

I (naturally) yelled at him to put the phone away and he came along side me & rolled down the passenger window. I yelled again to put his phone away (and that it was dangerous) and just as he was about to yell something back, another car came off the no-vehicles road head-on at the BMW. :-)

Of course he floored-it, rather than stopping (why that choice I wonder), & only just got out of the way of a bad collision, then he sped off, almost with his tail between his legs, point obviously conceded that he was reckless and should pay more attention the road. What a moron!

Katie Price was just fined £1,000 for swerving into the path of oncoming traffic because she was distracted whilst using her phone. I almost wish this guy had had an accident, even if it had involved me, so that he could have been fined too and taught a lesson.

4 minutes after that I was on a blind bend on the same road and a black 8th generation European-shape Honda Civic overtook me even though I waved a hand at him & yelled not to go around me on a dangerous bend.

[Addendum]: This morning (Oct 19th 2010) the very same Civic was going to overtake me in the 30mph in St. Michaels with an oncoming car. It only decided not to when I waved it back. After the oncoming traffic passed by, the Civic screamed by at well over 40mph. What a complete and total moron!

Lord! 1.5 miles, 4 minutes and two close shaves. I hate the illegal drivers who use the no-vehicles road.

[1] I mention the right hand as it's plain that were it in his left hand and he wants to change gear, he can do so with a hand still on his steering wheel, but with a phone in his right hand then changing gear definitely means he's driving with no hands on the wheel at all!

Monday, 18 October 2010

Rail Riding

I shot this whilst riding on the Cambridge Guided Bus rail, approaching the underpass of the A14 just out from the Cambridge Regional College.
The rail is baby smooth, (by definition) traffic free and apart from the breaks where there are stations & crossings of/with real roads it is really fast.
Since veering off/to either edge would mean certain injury (going as fast as I do) one has to concentrate quite hard on the rail so watching the countryside isn't possible. For me this is a commute, so I'm prepared to pay that price.
p.s. I fixed the "Private Video" mistake.