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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Soft Touch

Never mind the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the recession or MPs own expenses there are far more serious issues.
MPs believe pavement cyclists should be targeted!!!!!

MPs were told only a small number of cyclists were irresponsible
The government should do more to target "irresponsible behaviour" by cyclists - particularly when they break traffic laws, a committee of MPs has said.

There was some confusion about road laws, including the fact that it is illegal to cycle on pavements, the Public Accounts Committee said.

It was responding to a National Audit Office report on road safety.

The Department for Transport said it could devise new rules but had to be satisfied police could enforce them.

In its response to the committee, the department said enforcing cycling offences "was typically not high on the agenda of most police forces due to competing demands on their time".

It also pointed out anti-social cyclists represent only a small number of total cyclists.

Others 'feel unsafe'

The committee's report was a response to a wide ranging NAO report on road safety published in May which suggested Britain was still behind other countries in tackling road safety for child pedestrians.

It said pedestrians and cyclists were particularly vulnerable - largely because they had little physical protection from crashes. In 2007 more than 30,000 pedestrians and 16,000 cyclists were injured, while 646 and 136 respectively were killed on Britain's roads.

MPs pointed out that there was a "perception that anti-social behaviour of some cyclists increases their risks and makes other road users feel unsafe".

The committee urges the government to "devise education, training and publicity measures to target such anti-social behaviour, particularly when it breaks traffic laws".

While deaths and injuries of cyclists had fallen overall since the mid 1990s, they had risen by 11% since 2004, the committee said.

During the committee's hearings two MPs raised concerns about "anti-social behaviour" of some cyclists and the fact there was some confusion among the public and the police about legal requirements on them.

'Not trivial'

Committee member and Tory MP David Curry said some were "irresponsible and arrogant road users" and said many people believed they took no notice of red lights and believed traffic cones were "not for them".

"The only time I have been knocked down in my life was by a cyclist going like a bat out of hell outside the House of Commons," he said.

"We seem to regard cyclists as living in some sort of superior moral category when they actually do not have any."

Labour member Geraldine Smith added that sometimes irresponsible cycling was "dismissed as something trivial" but it was a common complaint at meetings in her constituency.

She said one constituent had been seriously injured and there appeared to be "very little" the police could do, adding: "A police superintendent was at this forum with me and he said that it was legal to cycle on pavements."

Richard Devereux, the top civil servant at the Department for Transport, pointed out that, according to the Highway Code, it was illegal to cycle on pavements. But he said it was wrong to assume that all cyclists were dangerous.

"There are, without doubt, some elements of the cycling community who are in that position and there are equally, I imagine, rather more people who are far more dangerous drivers as well," he said.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Tail spin

I have even gone to two spinning classes this week !!!!!!!
Think I might be fighting back at SAD

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Slow moving depression

Being an Island the UK has a number of different weather systems that influence that our climate. We have the cold Arctic systems from the North, weak Continental systems from the east and in the Summer we have warm south and south westerly systems from the Azores and the Mediterranean.
At this time of year things get more reliable, often reliably bleak.
We tend to get a succession of westerly systems from the Atlantic.
They usually come in the form of low pressure systems called 'depressions' - how apt.
They are usually served up with ample helpings of wind, bucket fulls of rain, cool temperatures and various degrees of cloud cover.
Not beautiful cumulus clouds highlighted by Technicolour skies - but monochrome.
Blanketing us with all the various shades of grey.
This seems to be reflective of my current mood.
I would like to blame it on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but sadly it runs deeper than that.
Since I got back from America in September I have experienced some personal problems.
These have completely dampened my enthusiasm, not only for cycling but for everything.
The wheels of my bike have become stationary and my cycling clothes have seemingly shrunk as I have piled on the pounds with comfort eating, and more wine than is either necessary or appropriate.
I have tried to commit the Mules to some events next year to give me a focal point, but there own weather systems provide a year round facility and for them 2009 has not yet finished.
At the same time my blog has suffered too.
My weekly tales have been replaced by Videos and articles cut and pasted from cyberspace. Literary apathy prevails.
To compound things further I have lost the charger to my Camera so I cant even post any pictures.
Oh woe is me.

This morning I was reading my favorite cycling blogs one of which is
'Change your life ride a bike'
The answer was there in front of me.
Change your life Philip and ride your F**king bike!!!!!!
So today I did 22.82 miles, a short but challenging route with a few tough hills thrown in.
Hardly something to crow about, but I loved it.
The last time I rode I was wearing sunblock, today I was wearing multiple layers of clothes including long fingered gloves.
During my short trip I came across numerous cyclists.
They were all strangers to me but the customary acknowledgement seemed more pronounced.
Each nod, wave or greeting seemed to be more enthusiastic.
It was as if they all knew of my recent inactivity and welcomed me back into the fold.
Although I have lost some of the fitness I built up in the Summer, it was not as much as I thought it might be, and now I may have stopped the rot.
The thing about these depressions is that they eventually push through and somewhere over the Atlantic there may just be some fine weather.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Theres a flower in my Pedal

As my cycle inactivity continues I find myself reading about cycling and looking at cycling clips on U Tube.
I have promised myself that wheels will turn sometime soon.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

La bicicleta

Watching this I found myself scrambling for my beree and neckless of garlic cloves


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Out in the cold

This weekend the American Mules are completing the Valero 2009 Alamo ride to the river in San Antonio. In fact as I turn on the central heating and put on a woolly jumper, they will be turning their pedals on the second day with temperatures warm enough to still invigorate the sweat glands. Go Mules!!!!!!!!
Back on the other side of the Atlantic my life appears to be mirroring the onset of winter.
The trees recently abundant with rich foliage are now shedding there leaves and becoming thread bare. Their canopy recently a cyclists shelter from sudden cloudburst no longer offers that sort of support.
In the last three weeks I have not done any mileage and my cycle shoes lay redundant, providing their services as an occasional door stop.
'Addy' my race bike is hanging up in my spare bedroom and 'Scott' is keeping the garden utensils company in the shed.
I spent today with my daughters in Scarborough and noticed that even the four legged attractions appeared to be redundant, with no riders offering any useful employment.
One in particular stood on his own away from the rest, sad and forlorn.
When I approached him he stood motionless and written on his name band, on the top of his bridle was the word 'Hope' in bright red letters.
For that moment I did not no whether to Cry or laugh, instead I smiled.
It was a smile of resignation
Next summer there will be hoards of people clamoring up for a ride.
Next summer my wheels will be turning too.
I will be stronger, and better.
In the meantime I have started spinning at my local gym. I know its not the same as being 'Out there' but its a new beginning. I am sure in a few weeks 'Scott' will get his winter tyres on and I will be blazing an altogether new trail.
I have asked the Mules to give me a focal point for next year. A riding extravaganza, a real test.
I suggested the 'Triple by Pass' in Colorado which is being earnestly considered. The Rockies are a real attraction. However the Mules want to consider everything and anything. Ideally a two or three day mini tour in USA.
If anyone out there has any suggestions please let me know.

Mule echelon

Drafting the Mules

Saturday, October 3, 2009

La Bici

Sometimes in Life you loose what you love, and sometimes its taken away from you