What a fantastic evening coming after a stunning run of great weather. This has meant I have been able to cycle to and from work at every possible opportunity. I don't mind cycling in the sun, or the mist, or the cold, or even the snow, but rain...well, I really don't like rain and the spray that goes with it.
I also don't like car drivers who think it is OK to cut past so close that I can pretty much reach out and touch their inside wing mirror, especially when there is no oncoming traffic. Now, I don't expect a passing driver to fall into the opposite verge, but please, give me a bit of space. The road-edges around here are atrocious and there are many holes and rough bits that I may need to swerve to avoid. Or hedges that are not trimmed back and are flicking in my face.
Behind the wheel of two tonnes of metal I understand that these are things a driver does not worry about, and why should they. But the cyclist, who is doing something for their health and general well being is very concerned with them and also the possibility of being tipped off into the path of the car behind.
So, the plea for tonight is give the cyclist a bit of space. A bit of air. Room to breathe and all that.
I cycled home tonight from Coombe Bissett along the Stratford Tony Road, up to the Race Course, then down on the Wilton Road, through Quidhampton, onto the Town Path (dismounting where appropriate*) then along the Harnham Road and back up to Ridings Mead and home. It took around 40 minutes, which was quicker than I had expected, and I felt and still feel fantastic when I arrived home.
The views as you see when dropping down off the Race Plain, looking towards the Cathedral over the water meadows was truly stunning and it was nice then to ride across that view, as it were, on the Town Path. Unfortunately I didn't stop for a photo but this is on the doorstep of anyone in the Salisbury area so come and have a look for yourself.
*The Town Path is causing a bit of contention at the moment due to its cycling path status. The path links Harnham to Crane Street in Salisbury and is well used by walkers, joggers, runners, people admiring the views, and cyclists. The bridges at either end of the Path are currently "No Cycling" which seems fair, as they can be crowded and especially at the Harnham end are very narrow. In between, it is a joint cycleway/footpath, and tonight I slowed or stopped a couple of times to let people through but was able to cycle the majority.
Unfortunately there have been a number of accidents with cyclists crashing into pedestrians (or possibly the other way round) and to add fuel to the fire Wiltshire Council are now trying to interfere but much to the disgust of some of the pedestrian users, rather than stop cycling altogether they are proposing to make the whole path a cycleway, including the narrow bridges.
Now, I cannot see why they need to meddle at all, and if they are determined to do something then some narrow bollards on the bridges (or a chicane-gate) would mean cyclists are forced to dismount and I think this might solve a lot of the problems.
However, they have proposed the exact opposite, something to do with maintaining an unbroken cycleway from somewhere to somewhere else.
So, it is contentious, I feel that cyclists should all do better to improve our image (3rd party insurance in case of accidents, always wear a helmet and high-vis clothing, behave responsibly when on the bike and stop if you think you might hit someone). In turn, we would hopefully be viewed with more respect by the public and in turn given a better deal when we are on the road. See my plea above.
I would be interested to read other people's thoughts on this issue - just leave a comment below.