Thursday, 20 September 2012

When a right turn becomes a wrong turn




There are times in my life when I have taken the wrong turn. Putting Thai green curry paste in my pasta and buying a £30 hula hoop are just a couple of mistakes I have made.

Now I find myself a lot wiser (oh yes I do indeed!), my diet no longer contains Thai green curry paste pasta and I sold the hula hoop for half the price. However, I still seem to be taking a BIG FAT wrong turn every day.

This turn disguises itself under the guise of a 'right turn', but frankly, there is nothing 'right' about this turn apart from the direction.

Located where Hanley Road meets Hornsey Rise, this part of the road is nothing but a big fat gremlin. Please see picture below:

I find myself entering one of the following three scenarios:

Scenario one:

I look over my shoulder and make eye contact with driver who seems to be at a good distance away. My arm is flailing out indicating my intention to turn right. Car is unexpectedly approaching at high speed, ignoring my intentions to turn and starts to overtake, even though I am moving to the centre of the road. I am left cut up, hovering in the lane and just about missing the junction I want to turn into. #FAIL

Scenario two:

Car is at the junction I want to turn into and indicating right to turn onto the road I am travelling on. I have the right of way and confidently move into the ‘centre right turn space’, I am just about to make the turn when the driver decides to pull out regardless that I am nearly travelling in front of their car. I am close to crashing onto their bonnet and have to screech the brakes on.

Maybe if I was in a car instead of a bicycle, the situation would be different. #FAIL

Scenario three:

I stick out my right turn to indicate (after checking over my shoulder and making sure it is safe), I move into the centre of the road because the car driver behind has slowed down and make the right turn at ease #HURRAH!

 I have noted a couple of points of interest drawn from my experiences of this junction:

  • If I was driving a car making the right turn, I would not experience these troubles because a car HOGS THE ENTIRE LANE
  • The car drivers drive way to fast on Hornsey Rise!

So there we have it, my latest gremlin on my ride home from work, where a right turn becomes a wrong turn. I might just have to stick to my Thai Green Curry pasta and Hula Hooping.

 Do you have any right turns on your bicycle rides you dread?

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Cyclorama

Right folks, are you a bicycle-fevered-geek-cyclist? Are you one of those smug kids who knows everything about cycling? Well my friend, I think it’s time to meet your match and it takes the form of Jim McGurn and Mick Allan, authors of Cyclorama. It's clear that these two chaps know their stuff BIGTIME and they have kindly shared their knowledge amongst the pages of Cyclorama, capturing all things beautiful and quirky about the bicycle. From the basic definition of what a road bike is to case studies about riding in different countries, this book covers ground you have not cycled yet.
Since swatting up on my bicycle knowledge courtesy of Cyclorama, I now consider myself quite the bicycle expert. I know what a conference bike is, I know the important role a bicycle plays in North Korea, I know that there is a Tour de Rwanda and I also know that I never want to take part in the Tour de Rwanda.

There are some interesting musings to be found on the pages, for instance I particularly like this summary describing how cycling is polemic:
Cycling is a sort of polemic. It is fun, but it provokes. It is easy, yet requires exertion. It is banal and trivial, yet it's an artistic expression of motion. It is a step backwards and a step to progress.
These paradoxes extend to cyclists too. They're often both more cranky yet somehow more human than many of their car-loving contemporaries. When they cycle they are being sensible and yet are imaginatively comical. On the streets they are victim  and culprit in one.*
I would say that if you are a bicycle fanatic and dream about cycling at least once a week than this is the book for you. In fact, if you are reading this blog than that puts you in the bicycle fanatic category instantly. Congratulations!


They also have a pretty cool website.

On another note, have you been wandering where I have been the last two weeks? Well, I have found my favourite hangout to cycle to. I've been taking a back seat and scoffing myself with these bad boys from MEAT market (thank goodness for the calorie burning bicycle ride home).
MEAT Market, oh how do you do it?
I had to share this with you because I didn't want you to be concerned that I had some bicycle accident or something. Over and out.

*Quote from edited extract from 'It's those cyclists again! - A short psychology of cycling' by Michael Degen