Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Archive for May 5th, 2007

“I had a race with a middle-aged woman last night.”

with 3 comments

citycycling .editorial

An on line journal from London and an editorial that left me going, “Oh Yuh!”

I am well over 50 and own no spandex. I could get from Metrotown to Gilbert and Williams in 90 minutes when I was bike commuting (that’s downhill – it took me a heck of a lot longer the very few times I tried it the other way!)

But on the marked cycle routes through Vancouver there was always, in his words, “some pillock trying to get home in the fastest possible time”. Indeed it was someone in spandex on a mountain bike who knocked me off coming fast round a blind bend in Central Park, Burnaby, who put a stop to my cycling. Mind you it was probably a good thing that I discovered as a result of that spill that I have osteoporosis but I digress.

If cycling is going to become widespread (as it must if we are to survive at all) then  the new cyclists will have to be welcomed, and not challenged. The silly “my bike is better than yours” – or the road racers – deter ordinary human beings who might get on a “comfort bike” or a commuter, as long as it was not essential that they have a shower and a complete change of clothing every time they chose to commute this way. It can be a workout if you wish – but it doesn’t have to be. And something like my Dad’s Raleigh Rudge (3 speed Sturmey Archer hub gears, dynamo, basket on the handlebars) is probably going to be a better choice than a fixie or a mountain bike, with fat knobbly tires.

And, I suspect, that abandoning the law requiring a helmet might help as well. When I came off at high speed it was my wrist I broke.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 5, 2007 at 10:39 am

Posted in cycling, Road safety