No frogs this morning – it seems they’re all oop north – so I’ve had to take desperate measures and extend my cycle ride out to Queenstown Road instead of Vauxhall in the hunt for blogging material. Oh, OK then, getting fit may also have had something to do with it – my regular pootle is so undemanding these days that I don’t even bother to change gears. Queenstown Road is the Station That Time Forgot, and promises a rich seam of disgruntlement, as does the ride there and back: from the muttering man on the platform to people who insist on crossing roads trailing dogs on twenty-foot leashes, all this and more on coming soon on a weblog near you.
But one thing the journey did today was remind me of the Tory transport minister* back in the eighties who said it wasn’t government policy to encourage cycling because the statistics in Britain (unlike Holland) showed that it tended to shorten your life, not lengthen it. Since then, we’ve got all sorts of government campaigns urging us out on our bikes more, and all sorts of badly drawn pictures of bicycles stencilled onto our roads, but I wonder if anyone’s ever gone back to re-do the maths. It’s surely no coincidence that the symbol we use for a bike lane is a flattened bike with no rider – that does seem to be the most likely consequence of actually trying to use one. Up to now, I’ve used back roads and parks and it’s been fine, but now I’m out there on the main roads it’s scary stuff. The Tories, God love’em, were wrong about pretty much everything, but at least they were disarmingly honest. The lot we have now is quite capable of sending us out on our bikes with a cheery wave and a grin to fulfil some target they’ve dreamt up, without remembering to mention that we’re about to knock five years off our life expectancy in the process.
Still, I have my yellow jacket, so I should be fine. And if I’m not – oh what a blog that would be.
*I have absolutely no idea. I said I was interested in politics, not obsessed.