A couple of weeks ago cyclist Charlie Alliston was charged with “wanton and furious driving” after hitting and killing a pedestrian who stepped out in front of him whilst he was riding a bike with no front break. The whole situation was enormously unfortunate; he should absolutely have had two breaks on his bike (it’s the law!), but to be killed by a bike travelling at 14mph is statistically very unlikely (this article in The Guardian does the maths), so Kim Briggs was extraordinarily unlucky.
Now, the whys and wherefores of this story have been hotly debated in the bear pits of online tabloid comments sections for weeks, so I have no intention of trying to single-handedly put the issue to bed or trivialising what is a thoroughly tragic event. But I do think we should acknowledge that this has done nothing to help the image of cyclists in the eyes of the media, motorists of pedestrians. It’s important that they know, notwithstanding Alliston’s questionable behaviour and words, we are not all terrible people.
So, in an effort to curb the ever growing us-vs-them mindset, these are my rules of thumb, from one cyclist to others, so we don’t come across as total c**ckwombles.
- Make sure your breaks work / actually have breaks
London has been a hive of bike lane related activity recently and I have to say, it’s made a difference now that things are finally up and running and the roadworks are out of the way. I regularly use the now (nearly!) fully segregated lanes that have been built into CS7 and its offshoots (that’s the main drag from Clapham to the City), especially around Stockwell and on Blackfriars Road, and I have to say, for someone who was fed up of weaving in and out of traffic and getting everywhere at a snail’s pace, I now don’t have to! It’s also made it a heck of a lot safer for less confident riders and as long as people use them properly, they will (hopefully) continue to flourish and encourage more people to get on their bikes.
But as with all these things, there are people who still don’t use them correctly and it is time for me to have a bit of a rant about who should get out of my bike lane! Continue reading
As you will know, both myself and Kate are keen cycle commuters and have been for a while. We’ve already written some bits and pieces that can help you out but these mainly focused on clothing, sneaky ways of keeping your hair neat and not forgetting essential items….but something we didn’t touch on was the actual cycling part.
I constantly promote cycling to work left right and centre, and the first question I always get asked is ‘but isn’t it really dangerous to cycle in London?’ And my response? It can be dangerous if you make it dangerous. Yes, statistically there are more cycling accidents and deaths in London compared to some other European cities, but part of my point is that (shock horror) cyclists can be and (frequently are) to blame……
Here’s a popular one from the archives for you peeps – still as true as ever! We’d love to hear your #sportygirlproblems in the comments below or on Twitter
1. Your bedroom is perpetually in need of hoovering.
Especially if you play anything that involves wearing studded or moulded boots… Why is it so damn hard to get rid of every last bit of mud / grass / dirt? Or worst of all, these little blighters:
Whoever thought 3G pitches were a good idea has CLEARLY never spent entire weeks, post-training session, picking rubber pellets out of crevasses they hadn’t realised they had.
Recently Katie’s been tempting you all with delicious morsels of advice on commuting to work by bike / by foot / via the gym – so I thought I would add a couple of tidbits from my own experiences in the world of London’s superhighways to this smorgasbord of tips and tricks… Okay, I’ll leave the grossly extended food analogy now. And possibly make a snack before continuing to write.
- Indulge in a liquid breakfast
Okay, so my morning generally starts between 6.30 – 7am, depending on what time I need to get into the office. Not being much of a breakfast eater at the best of times, the idea of stomaching actual food at this hour (especially before a 40min bike ride) fills me horror. Enter, my juicer – my pride and joy – and his wee sidekick, blender. Although I really struggle to force down a couple of slices toast without feeling a bit on the queasy side 20 minutes into my cycle, I seem to be able to knock back a freshly squeezed juice or smoothie without any associated nausea – hooray! Continue reading
Cycling to work actually takes less time than commuting like a normal person, I don’t faff around so much whilst getting ready (Candy Crush, Buzzfeed and enthralling stories on BBC Breakfast can really take up more time than you think they do) and I actually find getting the train/tube incredibly stressful (I sort of dislike people at that time in the morning, plus I always seem to end up as hot and flustered as I would cycling) . It also gets me somewhere I need to be, makes me feel less guilty if I don’t go to the gym and saves me around £40 a week.
….which unfortunately seems to magically disappear.
Having cycled to work regularly since I first moved to London (alternating with running depending on my current training plan) I’ve had my fair share of forgotten items and have learnt a few shortcuts, hints and tips that I HAD to share with you to make things that little bit easier.