It was such a lovely sunny Sunday today the other half & I decided it was time to disinterr his bike from under a pile of leaves and mouse corpses and go for a cycle. I was hoping that as I cycle every day, and he cycles roughly every year these days, we might be able to break the usual pattern of our bike rides (him rapidly diminishing dot in the distance, me puffing and blowing behind). Wrong. Going out wasn’t too bad as we avoided any thing tricky (like a right turn) but on the way back things started to slip as he rediscovered his cycling legs and I discovered that mine were turning into jelly. (Not fair – I run, he smokes – where’s the logic in that?).
The real problem was the roundabouts. When you’re on a bike there are two kinds of roundabouts, the single lane kind which are quite nice as suddenly everything is a left turn, and the multi lane kind where you either have to take your place* in the traffic or end up suffering an undignified end at the hands of a duck bus. We ended up in Battersea where the only cycle lane we saw was on the pavement around the edge of a single-lane roundabout – which actually made the whole thing harder to cycle around than if they’d just made the road slightly wider and let us get on with it. Once back in Lambeth things were a little better but Lambeth’s idea of a cycle lane hops from road to pavement and back again and is prone to leading you out to the front of a junction or multi lane roundabout, putting you in one of those bike reservoirs at the front of the lights (aka ‘skittle alleys’ to the driving community) and then announcing that you’re on your own. At this point the other half and I parted company, literally and figuratively. He declared the experience ‘rather fun’ whereas I (once I had caught up and my heart rate had returned to something below that of a hummingbird’s) announced my intention never to cycle in his company again.
The truth is my five minute pootle to the station and back is nothing like enough preparation for real road cycling in London. I might have the yellow jacket, the lock and the lights but I’m a long way from being able to consider myself a cyclist yet. I am, however, still alive.
* Cyclists definition: Right in the middle of the road. Other road users definition: either on the pavement or under their wheels.