Cycling in the moonlight

trees-in-park

Transport for London (TfL) recently didn’t publish a document that suggested that cyclists that followed the rules of the road were more likely to be killed or injured than those who stuck to the rules.

By following the highway code, cyclists are more at risk than those who jump red lights. The report implies that many of the 2,490 cyclists that were killed or seriously injured last year, might have been better off wheeling through stop signs, ahead of the traffic behind.

Many bike riders get hit by lorrys, which have some dangerous blind spots. Often the victims are squashed while lorrys turn left, or when the cyclist ironically ‘does the right thing’ and waits patiently in the cyclist’s advance stop area. The lofty perch of the Yorkie eaters, means the cyclist is hidden from view.

Jumping red lights

I know this from my own commuting rides. I jump the red lights, occasionally mount the pavement to avoid the dodgy sections of my route, oh, and I listen to my iPod while pedalling. Sure I could drive instead, but my work as a web developer means that my free gym does give me some much needed cardiovascular excercise and it is even faster (and a lot more eco-logically sound) than a Bentley too, on my commute anyway.

Medals for Cyclists

I think that the eco-friendly cyclist is often not rewarded or even encouraged for her efforts. We are all told to leave the car at home, but are presented with cycle lanes with more bumps than Jordan and more cracks than the San Andreas Fault. Then there are the less than perfect edges, drains and man hole covers which are kept out of the gas guzzlers sacred path. It’s all a bit lame, surely cycle paths are a lot cheaper to build than new roads? The benefits of a fitter populace, to health from excercise and reductions in emissions surely make it ridiculous not to do? Sure petrol-heads can offset their carbon or buy a hybrid, but it isn’t nowhere as sustainable a good old bike.

Richmond Park

It’s not all doom and gloom for us cyclists though. Someone told me that cycling in the moonlight round Richmond Park is a truly devine experience. I only have done this in daylight. The 7 mile route is fantastic, even while avoiding the motorists and deer. There are some real gluteus maximus testing hills, that just as you think your getting to the summit, reveal ever unfolding altitudes that get even these nicotine painted lungs moving.

Watch out Bambi

So, watch out for the next full moon. Forget your warewolves, you might just see me flying down hill, free-wheeling to a little bit of AC/DC or Eckhart Tolle as the wind blows through my greying hair.

Going Green

cycle-to-work

I went green today, no I didn’t replace my lightbulbs with energy efficient varieties, I got on my bike. I have already replaced all my light bulbs, I recycle much of my rubbish but what I did today, made me really green.

For the first time in about 6 months I dragged my trusty Sirrus Pro from out of the cupboard and cycled to work. My stopping smoking phase is history unfortunately, and after about 5 minutes I had turned a quesy shade of green. I arrived safely at work about half an hour later coughing up the residues of my Marlboro addiction. I am really unfit, but with the days slowly getting longer (I don’t like cycling in the dark) I am going to be doing a lot more on my two wheeled stead.

I have had this bike about 4 years and apart from a dodgy set of wheels, which Specialized replaced with ultra-slick Shimanos, it has been a really reliable means of transport. The relatively high cost of the bike has long since been paid for by the money I have saved in petrol or bus fares.

My company is going green too. We ordered our first hybrid chauffeur car a couple of weeks ago, and we believe we are the first chauffeur company to introduce hybrid vehicles to our fleet. We have been leading up to this point over 18 months, and in the coming weeks we will announce that our whole vehicle fleet will be carbon offset, which is good. What we really want to do though is get hydrogen powered vehicles, like the BMW Hydrogen 7. Unfortunately these probably won’t be available for a few years, but we will be the first in line to buy them. The ultimate car for our chauffeur business would be a Hydrogen powered Rolls-Royce Phantom, I hope with BMW’s connection with Rolls, that they do indeed produce such a vehicle. Time will tell.

The Toyota Prius is used by a few mini-cab companies and some eco-aware individuals, but even a Prius or any other greener vehicle can prove costly to the environment. This week I have been overtaken twice on the motorway by Prius drivers doing at least 100mph! Which sort of defeats the object, I feel.

Anyway, even a hydrogen powered mini would be nowhere near as environmentally friendly as my good old bike. So if you see a green hued cyclist, give me a wave or even better some oxygen.