London is cycling crazy. Its official. And It's catching. It's not just the barclays bikes that have whipped everyone up into a fervour. It's cycling in general. I am now the proud owner of a ladies, hybrid, wicker basket sit up and beg bike. Bascially like a traditional london pashley, but is less heavier and bit more streamlined. But before you hop on the barclays bikes or hop on your owne bike in london town. Be warned. Its addictive, very addictive.
And if you don't know the cycling code of conduct rules be afraid, very afraid.
Lesson 101 - always overtake on the right, if you ever ever, overtake on the left be prepared for abuse, bell ringing, subsequent overtaking and further abuseand in some cases random waterbottle throwing
Lesson 102 - never wait too close to horses and riders on the road. This might sound simple enough and straightforward but actually it can be deceptive. I was parked two meters behind a horse and rider at lights and it projectile pooped into my lovely wicker bike basket. Not cool, not cool at all.
Lesson 103 - Black cabs hate cyclists. Nearly as much as red bus drivers do. So watch out, its much like dodge em's only without the padding. They will cut you off, they will bully you and they will try to run you off the road. Watch out for bus horns, they are so loud and surprising you could lost balance and topple over.
Lesson 104 - never wear glasses while riding on cold winter mornings. They will fog up and you'll end up running into a parked car and skinning your knee.
Lesson 105 - never ride too close to parked cars. You never know when an old dear will open her door and you'll slam into it and sommersault over the door frame.. not fun and not classy
Lesson 106 - bikes aren't easy to carry up stairs, regardless of how much carbon frame they are claimed to have. So making plans for a day out but need to carry it up a flight of stairs? think again
Lesson 107 - indicate, indicate, indicate. If you can't ride one handed, don't ride. It's mandatory to indicate otherwise cars will assume you are going their way and run you down. You might feel like a stupid lollypop lady gesturing right and left with your arms but it might save your life
Lessons 108 - never start off at lights in 3rd gear. It will only result in more bell ringing and horn blowing
Lesson 109 - Either stop near the front of a vehicle or at the end of a vehicle, never in the middle. They can't see you and while itq might be an opportune time to pick your nose, it isn't fun facing the prospect of being sideswiped by a bendy bus
Lesson 110 - Watch out for pedestrians. They see bikes like they see green lights when red men are walking. They walk everywhere and anywhere. The world is their terrain and just one arm side swipe or elbow, or scuff from a stray foot can send you sprawling.
Lesson 111 - an additional side note - don't ride with your mouth open, leaves and bugs are prone to fly into it.. and wet leaves equal slipperyness.
Just a few of the lessons I've learnt the hard way while cycling into work every day. Now autumn has well and truly set in I'm looking at buying some lycra, yes perhaps even some with the padding, not that I don't have enough padding in the derriere section. Plus I'll then fit in with the serious riders who strut the lyrcra with pride.
afterall at the end of the day, its not about the bike is it?
to read about my flirting adventures mid cycle visit - http://jessannahart.blogspot.com/2010/10/blue-skies-seem-to-have-brought-out.html