Posts tagged cycling
Posts tagged cycling
Riding back from Chasewater this afternoon along side the canal in Brownhills and I suddenly felt in unfamiliar territory. Everything was wide open and I felt as though I had never ridden along there before. I realised that a good three feet had been taken off the tops of the hawthorn hedgerow and I could see the vista beyond and what a lovely vista it is too. I’m a bit short so I’ve never seen over the top before!
It was a lovely ride today, I was achieving zen on the bike when two things happened. The one I will not mention but the other was a car driver who despite being a long way behind me and seeing me towards the middle of the road and indicating that I was turning right, decided to speed up like a boy-racer and then overtake me. My language was not of a zen-like quality! The bad behaviour of car drivers towards cyclists never ceases to amaze me. I’m very cautious and careful on the roads, I don’t like being on them and incidents like this scare me. Perhaps that’s why they do it.
I took the wrong turn today on my ride. Instead of turning towards Park Lime Pits at Longwood Bridge I decided I fancied a tour of Sandwell Valley and went in the opposite direction. Bad move. I should have remembered that we’ve had biblical amounts of rain. The tow-path was in a dreadful state. Huge swathes of mud sucking me into its depths and long, wide puddles some of which were very deep. I spent far too much time trying to stay on my bike rather than enjoying the wonderful sites of nature all around me. I do so wish that someone somewhere would spend some money on improving this tow-path. It’s a beautiful ride when you’re not having to keep your eyes firmly on the ground to avoid a swim in the cut! It’s also heavily used by walkers as well as cyclists and improvements would therefore benefit all users. Don’t suppose for one moment though that it is high on the list of must do projects in these times of austerity.
Having only been cycling for just over six months this is my first summer on a bike. It is a relief not to have to pull on all manner of warm under layers and two pairs of socks, liner gloves, scarves and long leg coverings but going bare legged and bare armed have their own dangers. I am now discovering the joys of nettle stings, bramble thorns wedged into tender leg skin, scratches, grazes and stings. Yes I could cover up a little more but then I wouldn’t feel the warmth of the occasional sunburst upon my skin and that is a joyous feeling.
I am also discovering that if there is an orifice not closed or covered then a fly or a gnat or midge will make it’s way in. No more riding with my mouth open unless I feel that a five course meal of flies is in order. I try not to panic when something lands in my ear but I do want to scream.
Despite these inconveniences cycling now it is warmer is a delight. The only trouble is I keep stopping to look, observe and watch all of the flora and fauna putting on a wonderful show. It’s all taking twice as long!
When it’s won from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group…
My last blog was written in the excitement of having discovered that I had ‘won’ a place at the Cycle Summit 2012. I was really looking forward to attending on Wednesday but alas the summit has been cancelled because there wasn’t a large take up for places. Having looked at the costs of attending the conference this doesn’t come as a huge surprise. At nearly £300 or £200 depending upon who you might be representing at the summit plus travelling and possibly overnight accommodation in London, it wasn’t cheap in these times of austerity.
The agenda looked interesting and I was particularly looking forward to the discussions and talks on cycling safety for very obvious reasons. I was also looking forward to being engrossed with what is a new subject for me, where I have a lot to learn but equally having not being involved with cycling for all of my life, I felt that maybe I could offer a fresh view to some who perhaps are a little jaded and cynical. After all this is all about encouraging more people to cycle and what can be fresher than someone who has only been cycling for 6 months?
It is a great pity for the world of cycling that the summit has been cancelled. Perhaps they need to think about holding such an event outside of London, somewhere a little more accessible for people from all over the UK, somewhere cheaper to book halls and accommodation. Somewhere like Birmingham for example?
Just a thought…
Back when WM Police weren’t playing ball with us I started following various cycling people and groups on twitter including the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group. Imagine my amazement today when I discovered that I’ve ‘won’ a free place at Cycle Summit 2012! I am over the moon about this particularly taking into account what Aiden and I have been through and how presently we are actively helping with shaping the policy with regard to WM Police attendance at RTCs involving cyclists.
This is an amazing opportunity for me and I intend to grasp it and work it.
I don’t know who NBC is apart from being a member of the Birmingham Cyclist Forum but I would like to thank them for designing and making available this wonderful resource for anyone who wants to know where they can cycle locally (ish) in a traffic free environment. Absolutely brilliant!