Freed of that commute in my new job in the swanky area of Summertown, I have been cycling to work from my home in Appleton for the last three weeks qnd it has been a joy.It’s a round-trip of just under 16 miles, so great training for the triathlon and just general good fitness. I also arrive at work feeling wide awake and don’t have the same sluggish start I often experienced in my previous job.
But I was concerned before I started. Being a keen cyclist, I have seen some of the stuff on YouTube from various cycling commuters who post updates from their daily lives. I am thinking about Cyclegaz, CyclingMikey, Magnatom and a few others and their commute looked like a daily hell on wheels, a continual battle against motorists who course with murderous intent.
Their channels are full of close calls and road rage. It didn’t even begin to resemble my experience of being a cycle commuter four years ago when I worked at the Oxford Mail but, thought I, perhaps things have changed. Perhaps Clarkson and his foolish tirades had bought out a criminal anarchy among car drivers that wasn’t there in the noughties?
But no. My commute has thus far been pretty pleasant. There has been the odd car come closer than I would like and more than the odd silly cyclist taking no care over their own road skills but I have to say that overall my impression has been pretty good.I have enjoyed the healthy rivalry with a few other speedy commuters who hate the thought of being bested by a bloke on a one-tonne steel mountain bike and many car drivers in Oxford are careful to give a cyclist enough room.
There’s a few who try the old left hook – overtake only to slam on the indicator and brake and cut across you but not too many so far.The thing that has annoyed me most so far is the amount of cyclists willing to jump red lights. There are some red lights that beg to be ‘jumped’ and I understand that, but seeing cyclist hammer through pedestrian crossings at high speed or totter through a dangerous busy junction without a care for others makes my blood boil.
Red Light Jumpers (even those in lycra) nearly all have one thing in common – I can catch then within about 400m. My suggestion to them would be to get some muscles to cut that commute time rather than endanger other people on the road.But back to my point. It seems social media is just good as the mainstream media about scaremongering – always best to find out something for yourself.