Author Topic: A rough patch  (Read 3378 times)

ABlipInContinuity

A rough patch
« on: April 25, 2008, 03:50:06 pm »
Seem to be going through a rough patch lately. I seem to be having a bad incident every couple of days.

All the following seem to be factors:

- Geographical area. I'm cycling in Manchester. The problems appear to be centered in certain parts of Manchester. Unfortunately as my girlfriend/partner lives in one of the problem areas, I'm finding them difficult to avoid.
- Wearing a cycle helmet. I think this also goes for any cycling attire. I think the more you look like a cyclist, the more drivers consider you to be a problem. I think it's competition for road space. The helmet is on because it does a fairly decent job of keeping my head dry but at the same time stopping it getting to sweaty. I tend not to wear it in the summer.
- Bike type. The bike I'm getting most incidents on is matt black and has a "cool" and purposeful look to it. I think this just tips the ice berg with some motorists.
- Positioning. I ride most the type in secondary position. I use primary through pinch points and on approach to/through hazards or when matching the traffics speed.
- Progress and speed. I think the cycle helmet, bike type and assertive positioning make cyclists look like competition. I think when drivers see cyclists progressing well through traffic or even travelling at speed, you are competition. If I recall all my incidents, I've been making progress close to, equal to or better than the traffic around me.

So from this set of points the answers are:
Ride in safe areas - Not always possible
Wear normal clothing and don't wear a helmet
Ride a cheap MTB or old raleigh 3 speed or similar
Ride more 'submissively'
Slow down

I did spend a good while (before it was stolen) riding an old blue Raleigh Manta Ray which was an early 90s heavy steel MTB, in normal clothes, in nicer areas. With it could do about 20 mph for short periods, maybe even 25 mph in short bursts but cruising was far slower. And in my anecdotal experience, incidents using this rig (in normal clothing) were rare. But then, my longest trip was about 5 miles each way and I wasn't on the bike half so often.

I even experimented with cycling much more submissively - and although that seemed to avoid getting agro from drivers, the overtake and turn left incidents were much more prevelant.

This of course is not very scientific at all. On the whole I enjoy being out there with the traffic, riding far and riding fast. I'm averaging about 20-30 miles a day in commutes and errands. I'm already compromising in riding almost everywhere in jeans. Should I trade off on speed, comfort and safety (at least as far a being seen) just avoid some of the aggresion I keep on getting?

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2008, 06:08:49 pm »
Death before compromise !!!

I even experimented with cycling much more submissively - and although that seemed to avoid getting agro from drivers, the overtake and turn left incidents were much more prevelant.
Ahem ...
but seriously, your comment above summarises why you shouldn't change anything just because your stats have been poor recently.

You might try a little waving and (insincere) cheesy grins - this might disarm a few people. But really you have to put yourself first whenever possible. Don't let people bully you, but respect other road users when your safety isn't compromised.

And keep your chin up!
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

agagisgroovy

  • Formely yellow-ceitidh
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2008, 10:10:51 pm »
I look like a right idiot on my bike. My helmet sits strangely on my head, is bright yellow and coated in insulation tape because it decided to self destruct. I have a big pink backpack and a reflector vest, as well as tape around my ankle.

There is not much choice. School demands I take my books to school, and if I didn't wear my yellow my parents wouldn't let me ride. Same goes for the helmet -noone wears one. But most of the 'cyclists' just stay on the pavement and don't ride on the road like me.

A couple of days ago I got chased by a couple of teenagers on their BMX bikes. I got away no trouble because they were so slow up the hill.  ;D

redshift

  • High Priestess of wires
    • redshift home
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2008, 09:30:44 pm »
Care to elaborate which bits of Manchester you're riding through? 

I ride out north of the city, through Cheetham Hill, or Strangeways, or Broughton, depending on mood, time of day, or traffic conditions.  I've not found any way to avoid the twats, just grinning and bearing it, and occasionally resorting to lesser-used roads sometimes.  Once I get out towards Bowker Vale I tend to feel like I'm through the jungle.

I've had stones and bottles and eggs thrown at me in both Broughton and Cheetham Hill, and was shot with an air gun between Queen's Road and Smedley Lane.  Tossers leaning out of windows and screaming abuse just because I ride on the road get ignored, as do people who spit at me.  I think it's just bloodymindedness on my part that means I don't stop riding to work, although in general it seems to have eased off over the last couple of years.
L
:)
Windcheetah No. 176
The all-round entertainer gets quite arsey,
They won't translate his lame shit into Farsi
Somehow to let it go would be more classy…

eck

  • Gonna ride my bike until I get home...
    • Angus Bike Chain CC
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #4 on: April 28, 2008, 09:34:55 pm »
Care to elaborate which bits of Manchester you're riding through? 

I've had stones and bottles and eggs thrown at me in both Broughton and Cheetham Hill, and was shot with an air gun between Queen's Road and Smedley Lane. 

Jeeze. I used to live on Smedley Road, just off Queen's Road, in the early 80s. I thought the tone would have improved a bit after I left. I was never shot at, but had the wheels nicked off our car once.
It's a bit weird, but actually quite wonderful.

Julian

  • samoture
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #5 on: April 28, 2008, 10:21:24 pm »
I look like a right idiot on my bike. My helmet sits strangely on my head, is bright yellow and coated in insulation tape because it decided to self destruct.

:o

That's not going to do you much good when you need it, then!  If your parents want you to wear one (and I assume that's through concern for your safety, not simple fashion sadism) then can't you persuade them to get you one which fits and isn't held together with tape?

(Sorry, badly fitting helmets are a pet hate of mine.)

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #6 on: April 28, 2008, 10:23:57 pm »
While I accept that thee is merit on the 'use one' side of the helmet debate, I have no doubt whatsoever that a badly-fitted or damaged helmet is very dangerous.
Getting there...

Julian

  • samoture
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #7 on: April 28, 2008, 10:24:40 pm »
And back to the OP - Mr. Continuity, do you think that possibly over-analysis might be the problem? If you get yourself caught up in constant analysis and assessment of drivers' moves and your responses, that might be affecting your riding. 

Possibly?

???

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2008, 04:06:39 pm »
I look like a right idiot on my bike. My helmet sits strangely on my head, is bright yellow and coated in insulation tape because it decided to self destruct. I have a big pink backpack and a reflector vest, as well as tape around my ankle.

There is not much choice. School demands I take my books to school, and if I didn't wear my yellow my parents wouldn't let me ride. Same goes for the helmet -noone wears one. But most of the 'cyclists' just stay on the pavement and don't ride on the road like me.

A couple of days ago I got chased by a couple of teenagers on their BMX bikes. I got away no trouble because they were so slow up the hill.  ;D

y-c, I think you should campaign for a BMX-style helmet. Better protection, and other kids will accept it.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

MikeFromLFE

  • Previously known as Millimole
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2008, 09:23:17 pm »
And back to the OP - Mr. Continuity, do you think that possibly over-analysis might be the problem? If you get yourself caught up in constant analysis and assessment of drivers' moves and your responses, that might be affecting your riding. 

Possibly?

???
My thought to - based on my experiences in the past when I was perhaps a little more easily wound up than maybe I am today.
A few days off the bike, or taking a totally different route, seemed to help avoid 'incidents' when commuting. I generally commute in 'normal' clothes (whatever is normal about shirt, tie, etc?), but do tend to wear a HiVis vest. The commuting bike is a 'sit up and beg' Decathlon Hoprider.
Conversely, the 'incidents' that shook me up the most tended to happen in rural areas (Sunday lunchtime drinkers, Milk Collection Lorry on single lane track etc etc)  - but to agree with the OP it was when I tended to be riding faster, (but not wearing a helmet).

It took some navel -gazing to realise that it wasn't *always* them (just sometimes).
Too many angry people - breathe & relax.

Crock of Gold

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2008, 09:49:46 am »
And back to the OP - Mr. Continuity, do you think that possibly over-analysis might be the problem? If you get yourself caught up in constant analysis and assessment of drivers' moves and your responses, that might be affecting your riding. 

Possibly?

???

That's an interesting point.

But to get to the level of cycling without constantly analysing you have to go through that learning curve.

It's the Unconscious Competence level. (Yes, I have been on a Training course)

But to get there first you have to be:

1: Unconsciously Incompetent
2: Consciously Incompetent
3: Consciously Competent

So, in cycling terms

1: Would mean cycling in the gutter thinking it the safest place to be
2: Cycling in the gutter knowing it is wrong but not able to move to Primary
3: Cycling out of the gutter and always thinking that it is your right to do so whilst studying other drivers positions etc
4: Cycling out of the gutter as second nature in a relaxed fashion.

I think if you hit 4, then you are also less likely to get wound up by others' behaviour on the roads.

I'm at 3 but occasionally hit 4. I'd like to stay there because it all feels so unforced, relaxed and safer.

ABlipInContinuity

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2008, 03:00:10 pm »
To top it all off, my girlfriend was mugged outside her house for my mountain bike and trailer whilst I out the back fetching her bike.

That's the second bike nicked this year. And that's even before considering the assault. I'm so relieved she wasn't seriously hurt but I don't think she will get over the incident.

We were just going to fetch some compost. It was the third time out on the bike for her.

The trailer had all my locks in. My lights were attached to the bike. It's primary purpose was getting the weekly shop in. I'd not found time yet to use it off road.

F*ck this i'm gonna buy a car.

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2008, 03:06:05 pm »
I am reminded of the research published last year by (I think) someone in University of Bath) that riding with a helmet carried a greater danger of being harmed or intimidated by traffic.

Riding helmet-less with long blonde hair was the safest way I seem to recall.

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2008, 03:12:14 pm »
ABIC, gosh, I'm really sorry to hear this mate.  That sucks, you have my sympathies.
Your Royal Charles are belong to us.

Domestique

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #14 on: May 01, 2008, 03:20:41 pm »
Pleased your GF is ok, thats the most important thing.
Does your houshold insurance cover things like this?

ABlipInContinuity

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #15 on: May 01, 2008, 09:58:49 pm »
I'm sorry I don't buy the over analysis theory.

I'm very relaxed on the bike in normal circumstances. I'm not easily irritated by driver behaviour. In most circumstances driver behaviour can be anticipated and accounted for.

The incidents I'm referring to are not mere 'SMIDYs' but incidents where I'm being targetted by motorists.

I've been driven at 3 times in 3 weeks. Twice in two days. And when I say driven at, I mean it. I'm not talking of drivers 'getting a bit close back there', I'm talking about young lads who are drunk and high in BMWs and Lexii (the plural of Lexus?) getting a kick out of trying to run down a cyclist. Additionally some professional drivers using their vans/cabs as missiles.

My mugging is just the icing on the cake. I'll just stick to a club run on Sundays.

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2008, 09:47:29 am »
F*ck this i'm gonna buy a car.
And I can't say I'd blame you with the luck you've been having.

About once every 2 months I get so pissed at drivers (usually just takes 1 real moron), that I resolve to rent a humvee for a week and bully EVERYONE in a cage with it. I would be doubly courteous to all vulnerable road users, but I would cheerfully use my vehicle as a weapon against any cager I didn't like the look of (e.g. drivers of all the stereotypical w@nker-mobiles you mention).

Hopefully I would spread so much fear amongst the cagers that either they would all stay at home, or folks would actually start to behave civilly on the road.

Or I'd get sent to jail.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2008, 09:50:28 am »
Hopefully I would spread so much fear amongst the cagers that either they would all stay at home, or folks would actually start to behave civilly on the road.

Or I'd get sent to jail.

Or it would just escalate and they'd drive even more like twats.
"Yes please" said Squirrel "biscuits are our favourite things."

mattc

  • n.b. have grown beard since photo taken
    • Didcot Audaxes
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2008, 10:52:15 am »
Hopefully I would spread so much fear amongst the cagers that either they would all stay at home, or folks would actually start to behave civilly on the road.

Or I'd get sent to jail.

Or it would just escalate and they'd drive even more like twats.
Maybe - but hopefully a few would have died under my wheels of justice.
Has never ridden RAAM
---------
No.11  Because of the great host of those who dislike the least appearance of "swank " when they travel the roads and lanes. - From Kuklos' 39 Articles

ABlipInContinuity

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2008, 09:04:25 pm »
Must be time to give up!

Actually, feeling a lot more positive and thinking that I should not let it beat me.

My partner and I were cycling to the Aquatics Centre in Manchester to go swimming. I was hit on the head by what I think was a piece of masonary thrown from a car travelling in the opposite direction.

I was fortunate really, I although I momentarily lost vision and my ears rang out for a few seconds, I didn't loose conciousness and did fall off the bike. My partner dashed to my aid and I was whisked down to Manchester Royal Infirmary where they glued the laceration to my head back up.

We are both staying indoors tomorrow. I'll be back on the bike in a day or two.

There were lots of other cyclists about. It seems like to much of a coincidence following the bike mugging - it was close to home - we are both worried it was a reprised attack as all three involved were arrested.

ABlipInContinuity

Re: A rough patch
« Reply #20 on: May 05, 2008, 12:09:09 am »
Going to pick the bikes up from Manchester Royal Infirmary tomorrow.

Feeling quite upbeat about cycling again. Just a bit worried my nerves might be frail.

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: A rough patch
« Reply #21 on: May 05, 2008, 02:14:10 am »
Just do it. It'll be OK.
Getting there...