Monday, 14 September 2009

Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to work I go....

My work hack. I call him Asthma, bacause of the wheezing sounds I make when riding him.

My daily commute starts around 7. From the end of my road I have to join a large road, which immediately joins a main road at a T junction. The village has a blanket 30mph limit, but is frequently exceeded by early morning cagers.

As you can see here, the traffic is coming towards me, and the van, true to form, turns left up the slip road off the main road and past my road end - at speed with a last second indication. That point is about 50m away, and at 30mph the van would pass in about 3 seconds. He passed in less than 2, a speed I roughly work out to be 45mph. Add to that the fact few drivers indicate this left turn, makes exiting my road a lottery on a bike, and at busy times I have been stood there for 5-10 minutes waiting for a lemming to have the good grace to allow me to traverse the junction.

Once out, I turn left onto the main road and straight into a hill, but I take it easy as I am not warmed up.

With the hill out of the way the road opens up slightly and visibility improves, and with it cagers feel the need for speed.

For once the overtakes weren't bad, but it highlights the proximity of a very vulnerable road user to high speed traffic. It also (for any hindsight enriched traffic planners) shows the ample amount of room to either side of the road for a dedicated cycle path.

The gratuitous 'shadow' shot.

Just over a shallow rise there is a dip in the road with a left hand kink with trees either side reducing visibility. I have witnessed cars and vans overtaking artic trucks through here - with NO VISIBILITY. Mark my words, there WILL be a fatal head on collision here one day, and the local papers and authorties will be asking, "How could such a thing happen?"

Well, I wonder?

I decided to film this bit, and show what traffic is like through the dip/bend.

With the dip out of the way there is a hill into the village I work in to contend with.

If I time it wrong, I get to the village when workers at local factory have a smoke break, and the stench of their smoke drifts into my path as their smoking area is so close to the road. Really nice when gasping for air after the climb up the hill.

Into the village, a bollard in the middle of the road acts as a pinch point, 3 cars in the last year have been overtaking me here, and ended up playing 'Alloy Wheel Ping-Pong' on the kerbing. All because they can't wait 5 seconds.

As a final test, a climb up the hill through the village towards my work gets me nice and warm just before I stop. This morning a car coming towards me did the 250 metres from the 30mph sign (in the distance) entering the village to my works drive in less than 10 seconds, it should have taken 15 or so.I was going to turn right, but their speeding in a residential area (past a primary school) meant I had to wait. The sooner a blanket 20mph is put in place country-wide in residential areas, and rigourously enforced - the better.

And here's the view for the final climb up the drive.

Edit: I have just seen how blurred the pics are; I was riding at the time, so couldn't give them the full David Bailey treatment, and didn't want to stop and be late for work.

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