Sunday 29 August 2010

Cycling Vindicated

Today was one of those days that I remember why I dusted off my old cycle several years ago. Traffic around Central Walthamstow was horrid with jams in pretty much every direction.

I cycled around the shops and back home several times today, completing all my shopping tasks in a fraction of the time required if I had driven. Although one may need an assertive disposition with the filtering at times, the drivers today were models of careful driving with not one close pass (barely any overtakes with the state of the traffic) and some making room for me to pass.So I thank them for their courtesy.

It is days like this that makes me remember the frustration of driving in the local area. Sometimes it will take over 30 minutes to go a couple of miles, and then half an hour later you can return in the opposite direction to see the traffic has cleared and the same journey would now take 5 minutes. There seems little reason for these sudden snarl-ups, apart from the fact that the roads are so narrow that it only takes one blocked junction or badly parked vehicle for everything to be affected.

Sometimes when I go past these jams, I want to talk to the drivers and say "I was in your situation a few years ago, and I hated it. Do yourself a favour and hop on a bicycle and regain your Saturday". But I doubt it would be well received, and it sounds a bit too evangelical for me. I imagine becoming the cycling equivalent of the Jehovahs Witnesses - earnestly pressing the latest copy of the London Cycling Campaign newsletter into reluctant hands. Besides if everyone started cycling, then there would be no stationary traffic to vindicate my decision to use a cycle....

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