|That's not my house|
Back in October, I wrote a post about the cycle training session I had with David Dansky from Cycle Training UK. David is a connoisseur of the roads and I was lucky enough to get some tuition on how I really should be cycling instead of how I think I should be cycling. He gave me plenty of tips to make me the official Safety Queen I've always wanted to be.
It's taken a while to get used to, yes, and sometimes I slip back into my old lazy habits but I am certainly much more aware of my own conduct on the roads than I was before. There are three nifty moves which I have implementing on my rides:
Doubling the amount of times I look over my shoulder has made a MAJOR impact in the way I cycle. For example, a private driver in a blacked out friggin monster BMW was way too keen to plough passed me on a single filter lane the other day. I took the primary position and whipped my head over my shoulder to give him the 'don't even try it' look. Yeah, I had to repeat the move 5 times because he seemed to be getting trigger happy with the revving but in the end he finally got the hint and backed off. Before my training, I think I would have only looked behind maybe once in this situation which isn't enough communication for a driver who is pushy and intimidating. It's not all bad though, I also have a good 'Well hello there, I'm just here!' gaze in my repertoire. I save that for the good guys!
If you're not with the cycling lingo then don't worry, riding in primary pretty much means get yourself in the centre of the lane and stick to your guns. Great for narrow roads where it would be dangerous to let a driver over take you because of lack of space and it's particularly useful to avoid being flawed by someone opening a car door on you.
I've been rocking the primary move on many of the back roads on my commute. This move is perfect partnered with the 'don't even try it' or 'I'm just here' stare as explained above.
♫Don't go braking my heart♫
I get a C+ for this move because I keep catching myself not doing it! Resting your hands on your brakes is important in case you need to emergency stop because a dustbin or a dead rat is lying in your path (just normal street furniture of the roads of Islington). Unfortunately I get too carried away with the thrill of gliding down the road hanging back like I'm a bicycle gangster.
Like my Physics school report once said 'room for improvement'. Getting better at resting my hands on my brakes is going on my New Years resolution list.
With all these moves combined, I now feel confident in cycling around any of London's crazy roads, even through the City of London which has always been scary and off putting for me. Oh and before I go! I forgot to mention one more manoeuvre which I have found valuable on my commute and that is filtering to the front of traffic via the right hand side. With the boost of confidence I got from my training session, I now ignore the inadequate cycle paths which encourage cyclists to travel on the left and I fearlessly pedal on the right of traffic at junctions. I've even learned how super fast it makes your journey and it's so much more safer than sliding down the left where drivers may not see you and you are at risk of vehicles turning left.
I'd like to once again thank David for offering the training for me, he really has shown me a better, safer way of pedalling around the city. If you are interested in Cycle Training then visit the Cycle Training UK website. Also, some local authorities may offer the training free, I know the Borough of Islington does.