Friday, 21 September 2007

Friday again

End of another week. Autumn really took hold as the Indian summer was transformed into a wet, cold and dark time as bands of heavy rain swept across Britain. I've even had the lights on this morning. That was more because of the pouring rain than the light conditions. Despite the weather, I cycled every day, but I'd have to say it is unusual to get wet quite so much. I think generally people perceive that it constantly rains and that of course would put people off cycle commuting. This week was one of those weeks when you might think that way, but out of 10 trips there are only 3 that I cycled in heavy rain. After getting changed into dry clothes I felt quite invigorated.

The week also involved a couple of potential incidents. One was what my American readers would call the dreaded 'right-hook', except in the UK it is on the left. I was overtaken, by an SUV, who immediately braked and turned left, causing me to brake suddenly. It seems to be a common problem with SUV's or as we tend to call them 4x4's. I think where cyclists are concerned, a mental calculation to judge a cyclist's speed comes secondary to all the other mental calculations going on in the driver's mind. It's definitely worth keeping ears and eyes fully alert to everything around. This is one reason I don't cycle with a personal stereo. I heard the vehicle accelerating quite hard and then the change of engine note as he drove alongside so I already had my hands hovering over the brakes when he cut me up.

Similarly I encountered an unusual 'right-hook' (that's a left one to those of you on the right!). A young lady was coming towards me in a car and wanted to turn right across the road into a side road. As I watched, I suspected early on from her unsure but continued movement across the carriagway that she was heading into the path where I was cycling. She clearly hadn't seen me. Again it was anchors on to avoid her and I would have if she'd carried on, but she saw me at the last minute. She was very apologetic, signalling that she hadn't seen me. A stark reminder that despite us thinking we are highly visible in bright reflective gear, there will always be someone who just doesn't see you.

This is week 3 of the major roadworks on my commute. Things are really hotting up at the corner where Beechwood Road meets Philips Road. The reconfiguration of the road on the outside of the bend was completed allowing the work to transfer over the road and temporary traffic lights to be installed. The delay waiting at the light is not significant enough that it warrants a detour although I might consider going through Little Harwood for a change. I'm not sure what they're doing now but it involves bigger diggers. Riveting stuff...

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