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cyrus5   Posted 15th Jan 2006 9:27am
[CP] Director
L4Y Member
Post 39 / 241

Currently between cars, 'enjoying' public transport and cycling whilst saving up for a car. I thought I would share my experience so far:

Public Transport

Verdict : unsafe, unreliable, expensive

Cost : Unknown, too scared to add up the train and bus tickets.

Was waiting for a bus into Bexleyheath the other day when a couple of chavs out for a cruise in their car decided it would be a bit of a laugh to 'drive-by' me with their bb gun! The only thing I wish was that I had something to shoot back with.. I can certainly see why there is so much violence in the US! I wanted to kill the little gits ! and I was only barely hit by a 0.2g 6mm bit of plastic! Just wish I was quicker off the mark and got their number plate!

The most annoying thing is that I really enjoy airsoft shooting, as an organised event. Its a serious and enjoyable activity but the gov't are trying to ban any replica weapons because of these muppets. Which will sadly make a most enjoyable past time history..



Verdict : unsafe, nigh on 'death defying' , not *too* expensive (compared to a car), healthy

Cost : One bike nicked, had to buy a new one, had to buy 2 bike chains since the first one decided to not unlock itself after having it for 2 weeks. Difficult to return chain to the shop when its attached to a bike shed 4 miles away. Oh and had to buy some new clothes, even just 5 miles a day makes a big difference! lost 2 stone!

Cars nearly hit by
: Unknown number of BMW's (no stereotype, an amazing number of them actually do drive like prats, they also must be very narrow cars as the drivers are convinced they can fit between me and the traffic islands), Nissan 350z, Nice new shiney Porsche 911 (tempted to let him hit me just to see his face when he sees the scratches!), Huge builders lorry (traffic island same road as bmw's, I went for the pavement), Mercedes and BMW 4x4's, and far too many others to list..

Cars nearly hit: Audi A4, was stationary at junction, I was enjoying a down hill section after just starting off, brakes were wet... considered jumping, trainers saved me, lesson learnt!!

Lessons Learnt
1. Beware wet brakes!
2. Dont put those rear 'LED' lights on flashing, I remember they annoyed me when I drove, also they are distracting and people tend to subconciously drive towards what they are looking at.
3. GO WIDE! A hell of alot of motorists dont give cyclists any room, make room for yourself.
4. When going to traffic islands, if the car looks like it wants a go, GO WIDE!
5. Look ahead and make sure you look for 'exit routes' every now and then, a couple of times I've needed to get out of the way sharpish!
6. An untested tip from a guy at work is if someone drives really really close to you, slap the back of their car, apparently it really winds them up as they think they hit you, they probably wont drive so close to cyclists again, I'm normally too worried about avoiding the collsion however..
7. Dont try to turn too tightly around mini roundabouts, have had a couple of instances of 'tarmac burn' when I've tried leaning in more than physics will allow!

Closest Call
: I was nearly splattered against an escort on my way to work when a mupped in a Merc 4x4 decided that whilst i was overtaking the parked car it was reasonable to pull out around it at the last possible moment and allocate me less than 6" of space from the tip of my handle bar as I was rounding its rear corner (i kept close to the parked car since I saw him there, I do look behind me when I pull out!). Unknown to him, his stupid big car creates a big rush of air when close to non moving objects, which cause cyclists to end up sticking their hand out against the parked car to stop them from falling off. As he drove away, I gave him the middle finger, being rather ****** off. At which point he did an emergency stop, waited for me to catch up so that he could wind down his window and shout expleetives at me as he was driving along next to me, luckely I couldnt hear because of the wind and me not wanting to listen, but when he started wobbling his steering wheel towards me I thought better of entertaining him with my presence and abandoned myself and my bike on the pavement. He pulled into work about 200yds up the road, so knowing where he will be parked I am planning some reasonable form of revenge, I'll probably not carry it out though as I'm not inherently evil and because a day or two later whilst i was walking to the station, a people carrier drove past with a grinning man in the passenger seat who seemed to recognise me and really enjoy pointing at me whilst grinning..

Its enjoyable but certainly death defying, In one day, in the space of about 10 mins I managed to survive cycling round the hemel hempstead magic roundabout in xmas shopping traffic in the dark (with lights on), only to nearly crash into the flung open passenger door of bmw 4x4 as I cycled away from the front of the newsagents on the way home!

Outcome: Soon I'll have saved up enough for my car and I shall be safely within a box of steel once more! Thank god!!
Only the dead have seen the end of war - Plato
I think it would be a good idea. - Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilisation.!  
LordSeafood   Posted 15th Jan 2006 11:47am
L4Y Member
Post 774 / 1792

LOL, i enjoy bike riding in heavy/dangerous traffic ... i dont know i guess i just like the thrill. Ive hit about 4 cars (all because of wet weather) and have had a car hit me (somehow i escaped injury ... my bike wasnt so lucky)

Tip #1, dont hang on to the back of a truck ... it throws you off balance and the changes in acceleration are unnatural for a bike

Tip #2, if riding along a footpath be aware of those smartarses that think its funny to jump in front of you (they dont think its funny once you have broken their leg however)

Tip #3, Even though you have right of way at a give way sign ... you need to let the cars go first as they dont seem to think you are classified as a vechile
P.S. Still Alive.    
DG    Posted 15th Jan 2006 4:59pm
Post 553 / 700
I've been bicycling for the larger part of my life now (I don't even have a driver's license ! ), never have I found it to be unsafe.

Perhaps it's because bicycles are rooted into Dutch society, everyone has one or two. As a child first you learn to walk after which your parents will teach you how to ride a bicycle.
The major part of what makes cycling safe in the Netherlands are perhaps the cyclist-lanes, separate road sections for cyclists

(the orange/red lane)
There are cyclist-lanes everywhere, sometimes they're a part of the road, sometimes they're an entire road on itself!

So, at least in the Netherlands, cycling is safe!
And of course what you mentioned, a lot healthier than driving a car.
Alive and kicking    
cyrus5   Posted 15th Jan 2006 7:50pm
[CP] Director
L4Y Member
Post 44 / 241

cars go first as they dont seem to think you are classified as a vechile

True! Too True!

I only wish that there were more cycle lanes in the uk! Oh hang on, maybe not if these are anything to go by... and believe me this is less the exception and more the rule!!
Only the dead have seen the end of war - Plato
I think it would be a good idea. - Mahatma Gandhi, when asked what he thought of Western civilisation.!  

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