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Since August 2008
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Tag Archives: Commuting
Absence makes the heart grow fonder… However eager I am for the academic year to end in July and for the long holidays to start, six weeks later at the end of August I am secretly looking forward to the new academic year kicking off. I love fresh starts; all the errors of the past are brushed under the carpet (except the court case* of course) and new resolutions can be made as to how much better this year is going to be compared to the last. Best of all, I don’t have to stress about unmarked books for a few weeks at least.
As a commuting cyclist I can also loom forward to getting back into the saddle on a daily basis for my 15 mile round trip from Reading to Henley and back. Why not try it yourself? Here’s a motivational video to show you just how wonderful commuting by bike can be (although not obviously this fast). Enjoy!
* I am joking about the court case
Thought it was about time the video of my commute home from Henley-on-Thames to Reading got another airing. It was made back in 2009 and I am thinking about doing a remake with my new Biologic iPhone 4 mount for Reggie’s handlebars (as discussed a few days ago in this post); apart from being a ‘holder’ for the phone, with a few twists and turns, it will probably make an excellent tripod as well!
Cycling really is becoming mainstream. And fashionable. The full range can be seen on the Levi’s® website. (This is such hot-off-the-press news that the link isn’t yet active! You heard about it here first!!)
Following my ‘Bus W*****s in Bristol & Reading’ post of a few days ago, I finally have a response from one of the ‘customer champions’ of Reading Buses. Before you read what she says, you may want to read the original email I sent to the bus company. You’ll find it in the ‘Bus W*****s’ post;
All our drivers are expected to display the highest standards as professional drivers and to be courteous to other road users, I was therefore most concerned.
I can understand how you must have felt as the driver clearly seen in CCTV footage should have demonstrated a more considered approach. I agree that his actions were inconsiderate and not up to our usual high standards. The Driver has been interviewed and cautioned by his manager. We have now taken appropriate action to prevent a reoccurrence of the incident.
Please accept my sincere apologies for the upset our driver has caused you, we are constantly striving to maximize safety in our operation and I would like to thank you for bringing this matter to our attention.
A heartfelt apology. Thank-you to Reading Buses. It clearly is worth the bother of complaining. It’s just a pity that I have no-one to complain to about the two louts in a black Volvo 4×4 who came very close to ending my life last night as I cycled home from work. Rather obligingly, they pulled into the petrol station only a few metres down the road from the scene of their attempted manslaughter crime. The passenger told me I shouldn’t be on the road as I don’t pay road tax. He didn’t seem interested in me informing him that ‘Road Tax’ was abolished by Winston Churchill many years ago and replaced with ‘Vehicle Excise Duty’ which, courtesy of Twitter followers later in the evening, I discovered is zero for vehicles with zero emissions. When I asked one of the louts where I could cycle if not on the road, he explained that I should be on the pavement. Their ranting continued to the point where they asked ‘…just what do you want?’. I suggested an apology but non was forthcoming. I did ask if they could, on leaving the petrol station, try not to knock me off my bike as they drove down the road as well. It was a nice touch that a police van was positioned at the speed camera about hundred metres further along the road at which point their driving became somewhat subdued. One wonders what else, apart from their appalling driving abilities they had to hide. Volvo w*****s!
The above expression was coined of course by The Inbetweeners to great comic effect but what follows is at the other end of the spectrum of mirth. A Bristol bus driver has been sentenced to 17 months in prison afer using his bus as a weapon to knock a cyclist off the road. Watch the video and read the full story on the BBC website. Beyond belief. I will use the opportunity of this dreadful story to to mention my own bus w*****. I never mentioned the incident on this blog at the time it happened – two weeks ago tomorrow – as I thought I would give Reading Buses time to take some action. But they have been silent ever since I spoke to their customer relations department on Friday 3rd February and sent the follow-up email below on the 5th February;
“At around 7:10 am I was cycling north through Caversham. I crossed the river using Reading Bridge and turned left at the junction with Gosbrook Road. As I neared the Fox & Hounds pub (just opposite the turning right into Westfield Road), I had been caught up by one of the ‘Vitality’ buses. The road is quite narrow at that point and I needed to turn right to go up Westfield Road. I signalled to turn right and moved into the centre of the road. There was an on-coming vehicle and I was not able to turn right immediately however the bus behind me didn’t appear to be slowing down. I gestured with my hand (politely!) that he should do so but I felt obliged to slightly overshoot the turning. I then turned right and once on Westfield Road made a swirling motion at my right temple to indicate that I thought his actions were crazy. He seemed, from my perspective, to be far too close to me before I had turned. The incident at that point finished and I continued to the top of Westfield Road where as the light was red, I waited opposite the Prince of Wales pub. The same Vitality bus passed the pub heading up Peppard Road after having climbed Prospect Street. He looked at me and ‘gave me the finger’.”
Any comment Reading buses? I’m still waiting for a reponse…
Over the last few days, I have been crawling out of bed in the morning like a groom after his stag night. Not that I’ve been drinking the night before. Far from it. It has simply been the knowledge that Friday was the final day of term and my internal engine of energy had started to shut down prematurely. The freezing temperatures outside did nothing to boost my enthusiasm and on Friday morning I was even hoping that the school might shut down for the day due to the snow. It didn’t and so I set off for work at the very late (for me) time of 7.15am. I was however rewarded with a stunningly beautiful morning on the Berkshire-Oxfordshire borders. Blue sky, orange sun and bright white countryside all around. It was a photo-opportunity in the making… So I paused and took some pictures. One can be seen in an earlier post and the one here – a close up of Reggie silhouetted in the sunlight of dawn – has now gone viral. Kind of.
When I arrived at work I uploaded the picture in the earlier post and posted the picture above to Twitter. For good measure, I also sent it to the local BBC television news programme, South Today. I suspected I was in with a chance of it appearing on the show as it was a cracking shot but when Sally Taylor, the presenter of the programme said that they had been inundated with pictures, my heart sank a little: Reggie’s moment of fame had probably passed… But no! Not only had my photo made it onto the programme but it got top billing with my name on the screen (no mention of Reggie by name alas) and a suitably positive comment from the weather reporter. I grabbed my phone and snapped a picture of Reggie’s few seconds of regional television fame and here he is, slightly cropped from the original, basking in the sunlight of a cold morning in Oxfordshire and in the limelight afforded him by the local weather forecast. The picture has even found itself on South Today’s Facebook page along with other snowy snaps from the south of England. What next for little old Reggie Ridgeback I wonder? Hollywood?
Click here for more details.
…of 2011. There will be much more in 2012 no doubt. We shall see. In the meantime, an end of year portrait of the bike that I call Reggie and a few moments to think about the year ahead. I’ve been on Twitter tonight and lots of people are proudly proclaiming how many miles they have cycled in 2011 and whether or not they have achieved their target. I’ve never done such a thing but I think I will for 2012. I work 39 weeks a year for 5 days a week. That’s 195 days of commuting. Each round trip is about 14 miles so I should clock up just over 2,700 miles just by going to work (which in itself is quite amazing). Now there will probably be days when I don’t cycle to work for a variety of reasons ranging from illness to training courses, lethargy to mechanical problems so let’s bring that total down to 2,500 miles. Away from work, it shouldn’t be beyond me to cycle another 1,500 for ‘leisure’. That makes 4,000 miles (just over 6,400 kms). So my target is set and my odometer has been zeroed. I’ll post the total in one of the sidebars on a weekly basis. And why not make it a double challenge; sell 4,000 copies of Good Vibrations: Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie. That’s an equal if not greater challenge but I have made a good start in 2011. Happy New Year 2012!