Man-flu has, unfortunately, struck the Grumpy household, so cycle trips have been somewhat curtailed this week. However, I did manage to summon the energy to visit the shops today for some provisions to comfort me in my weakest hours.
I am normally a high-viz and helmet kind of cyclist. I don't think these things make you any safer, but I do think that if some idiot hits me then I am not going to let some judge who has abandoned the practice of rational thinking mitigate liability because I wasn't dressed in yellow with a plastic hat.
To be fair, I think the cycle helmet may help in circumstances where a cyclist falls from a bicycle and hits their head, and I don't normally mind wearing one. But today I couldn't find it after a week of non-use (my toddler daughter has a habit of wearing it and then leaving it in unusual and hard to locate places), so I went without. I have to say I quite enjoyed the experience, but I doubt it was all down to not wearing a helmet.
It seemed a good day for cycling today. No close passes, no pulling out without seeing me. I had a chap in a 4x4 wait for me to turn across the road to reach the cycle parking, and I had a HGV wait patiently behind me down Hoe Street (not a lot of point overtaking at all down this road, but it doesn't stop some trying). Along Selbourne Road I had a car wait behind instead of overtaking and then stopping at the lights. I find Saturdays generally OK days to cycle. Maybe it is because there seems to be more cyclists out in the daytime on a Saturday (or it could just be my imagination).
Around Christmas the advantages of travelling by bicycle is shown. Today the traffic wasn't too bad, but in the run-up to Christmas the roads in this area - as is typical with most areas - become jammed. Today cycling down Selbourne Road, the way up to the tube station was absolutely queued. On my return only 30 minutes later, the traffic had cleared. And this is what is so frustrating about driving a car in this area - the traffic picks up incredibly quickly, means you spend 30 minutes doing a 5 minute journey yet the delays are completely unpredictable. Despite all the problems our roads and general car dominated travel mentality give to the cyclist, the time to cycle to somewhere is pretty constant, and the mobility a cycle affords is simply superior to a car in an area like Walthamstow on every level.