Today’s Paper

I don’t often buy the Bristol Evening Post. It’s a vile, seditious, provincial cousin of the Daily Mail, full of articles about parking problems and wrongly-injured children. The letters page is usually fun though, in a look at the narrow-minded idiot kind of way. And they really don’t like cyclists.

I only buy it for the sport and jobs pages.

Predictably, today’s letters page contains a featured missive entitled “Dangerous Motorists” about some unfortunate reader nearly being run over at a pedestrian crossing by a car driver. It begins:

“We see regular complaints from readers of the Post about cyclists breaking the law and causing aggravation.. blah blah”

They just couldn’t help themselves. I’d blame Mr/Mrs “Name and address supplied” of Knowle, but I suspect the editor put that crap in to “spice it up” a bit.

Can I have my 35p back please?

It’s So Hard

We got a new car at the weekend. It’s a pleasure to have a vehicle that you can take from A to B whilst actually expecting to make it all the way to B. I’m going to attempt to celebrate this (and make up for last week) by managing to not use it to get to work any day this week.

I mean, I want to cycle to work, I really do. The benefits are palpable: I save having to buy 2 to 3 gallons of petrol each week, exercise is good for the heart, and I can shower at work and save on the water meter…

But it’s such hard work. Not the actual pedalling from A to B – that’s more or less flat, and only takes about 10 minutes longer (even less on the way home) than driving there – no, all the ancillary faffing about. Despite that 10 minutes extra trip time, I can usually count on arriving at my desk 30 minutes later than I would if driving.

And that’s 30 minutes I really don’t have these days. For months (if not years) my sleep patterns have been badly messed up. I go to bed, have a restless night of poor quality sleep, wake up tired when the alarm goes off, fail to get up for another hour or so, go to work tired, work (I say work.. but it’s the only time to catch up with stuff like blogging!) come home, cook, wash up, have an our or so to rest if I’m lucky, then go to bed early in order that I can fail to get another night’s sleep.

This morning the faffing consisted of the usuals like getting clothes, shoes etc. together in one place; shouting at, rounding up and chucking next door’s cats out of the house 5 or 6 times (they’re clever little gits who work as a team – when you open the door to throw one out, the other one runs in); remembering the extra clothes I’d forgotten to pack earlier; getting the bikes out of the garage; going back in to the house to round up next door’s cats again; walking mud all over the house (I’ll deal with that later); and when as I was finally ready to leave, Mrs. Dailyc told me that the brakes on her bike needed looking at, I really, really wasn’t in the mood. I apologise holeheartedly for shouting, being grumpy and generally turning into my dad.

Anyway, that’s what my plan to cycle to work every day this week is up against!

Good for the heart? If the stress doesn’t kill me first.

The Shame

Fans of the dailyc (all of you!) may have noticed the worrying lack of cycling news in the last few days. The shocking truth is that since Tuesday I’ve managed to drive to work each day. In my defence, yesterday’s drive was necessitated by the need to get to and from the dentist, but today my only excuse is that it’s a tad windy outside.

I parked up my car this morning just as the rain started again. It was a heavy shower, and with the 60mph wind at my back, my rear got completely druched in the 5 minute walk to the office, but my front remained completely dry. I regret not cycling now, cos with that wind power behind me it was have been wonderful!

By the way, I don’t claim to be an ecologist, or “road-warrior” type bike nutter.. and that’s my excuse for not cycling to work tomorrow either – I’m off to buy a shiny new car.

Handy hint

For 4×4 drivers. To get the thrill of that complete “off-road” experience, try parking with all 4 wheels on the pavement next time. Knob.

Bristol Sucks

Disappointingly, after 3 legs now of my bike commute I’ve not yet been nearly killed, even once. So I’ll fill in some background info about Bristol instead.

The city of Bristol is a transport disaster of the highest order, regularly grinding to a grid-locked halt in recent years.

In 1996, the county of Avon was abolished, as part of a governmental strategy to wrestle power from an authority that was beginning to get a little too big for its boots. Unusually for a governmental edict, this was highly successful, with the central “City of Bristol” continuing in its 11th year to be bugger all use to anybody.

From a transport point of view the abolishment was a masterstroke. Bristol is served by 3 main motorways, the bulk of which now fall within the largely rural county of South Gloucestershire. Most of what’s known as the Avon Ring Road is also countrolled by South Gloucestershire, on account of said “ring road” running around no more than the eastern edge of Bristol. Hardly a ring. In any case, any “incident” on any the aforementioned trunk routes inevitably leads to transport chaos within most of the city’s boundary.

Ill fated metro and other rail-based systems have been touted over the years, like the one which would have joined the city centre and the new town of Bradley Stoke, but the inability of Bristol and South Gloucestershire to agree on priorities put paid to that.

Don’t get me started on busses..

Bristol is a backward city. It’s premier music venue is an ancient relic named after a celebrated slave-trader, that’s changed little since the early 1900s. That’s a slight lie – the premier music venue for Bristol is actually Cardiff International Arena, which lies in another country!

GromitWhich leads neatly on to the 2008 City of Culture bid. A bid for a competition eventually won by Liverpool, which as far as one could tell revolved around Bristol’s twin cultural “reputations” of being the world centre of the plasticine dog industry (Aardman’s warehouse burnt down in 2006) and launching a few balloons  once a year (in 2006 it was too windy for the Balloon Fieta to actually launch anything).

The “historic harbourside” will shortly be entirely overrun with expensive modern apartment blocks, as despite its utter crapness, Bristol continues to expand and more and more lemmings join the daily traffic jam.

Hello

My new-year resolution to try to get a bit fitter was already failing badly when it was suggested to me to try setting up an Excel spreadsheet to track my weekly weight-loss. What an awfully geeky thing to do, I thought, followed by I know, I’ll start cycling to work and write a blog about it instead.

CyclistI’ve dabbled with the commute by bike in the past, and almost every day I get in to some kind of road-rage incident due to high level of twatty drivers in Bristol, but being particularly lazy, and what with the weather and all, my resolve has always lapsed. My journey to work is slightly over 5 miles, and it’s all well-lit, speed-limited, and with cycle and/or bus lanes most of the way, so it never ceases to amaze me how often I get nearly flattened by some dozy woman driver doing her make-up while driving her big German car whilst on the ‘phone.

Naturally this morning, after deciding to start the blog, the commute was painless and uneventful. If I don’t post any entries in this blog, it’s either because I’ve got bored of it and gone back to driving, or some some Nokia-wielding c*nt in a BMW mowed me down on the way home this evening. Watch this space…