I survived the first journey!

I set out really early yesterday just incase I got lost or the traffic was awful, leaving myself 1hr 45 minutes until my shift started from leaving my front door. I noticed 2 things:

1) most of the journey time is taken going from Dalston to Angel because of the sheer number of traffic lights.

2) I am the only cyclist in London stopping at traffic lights.

I know that’s a well known characteristic of London cyclists but I’m just not prepared to risk my life, even in a clear junction, just to not have to stop. Going along Essex Road there’s a t-junction with traffic lights where one road is joining Essex Road. Cyclists will normally just keep going along the road if no cars are joining from the minor road. Today, the normal traffic lights are down and replaced with temporary ones and traffic coming from the other direction are forced onto our side of the road.

3 cyclists still continued through a red light inches away from oncoming traffic who won’t have seen them because of the angle they were driving at around the road works.

They may have felt confident in their cycling, but you don’t know if a driver was about to take the corner wider then the rest and hit you head on. None of them were wearing helmets either.

Besides that, the rest of the ride was a good route thanks to the wonderful people of twitter and their advice. I rode straight on at Angel making my way on to Russell Square, past the British Museum, down Shaftsbury Avenue briefly before turning off towards Seven Dials down to Trafalgar Sq.

It’s a pleasant experience riding up the Mall. It brings back a bit of love for London and certainly a change of scenery seeing monuments and places you miss going by tube. The whole journey from door to desk (with an outfit change) was 1hr 20 which means I don’t even need to leave the house earlier than usual! I like the idea of doing this everyday, but we’ll we how that changes as this month progresses… after 3 hours answering phone calls I was flagging and was very glad when dinner time came round and I could eat at the staff canteen. Yesterday was an odd day as I’m not normally entitled to eat there, so a cycle commute followed by a 4 hour shift and another cycle home/onto my other job may be a strain. But I’ll learn and adapt.

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7 thoughts on “I survived the first journey!

  1. Peter Harrison says:

    I trust my cycling, but not other drivers, so I’ll be stopping at red lights when I’m in London. The biggest change for me will just be duration. Less than 10 minutes to get from one far end of town to the other where I am now!

    Glad it’s brought back some love for London 🙂

  2. Looking around on the net most people say they’re not worth it since they get in the way and hinder your breathing, and don’t do that much to stop the worst of the fumes. On cold days I get quite asthmatic when I exert myself so I’ll be looking for something to help with that later in the year (if I’m still going).

  3. I think maybe a scarf would be better for comfort and still filter somethings out and also keep you warm http://www.wiggle.co.uk/respro-bandit-scarf-anti-pollution-scarf/

    • Peter Harrison says:

      I’ve had to wear masks before and I always found them comfortable enough and breathing was ok for me. The pollution has never got to me too bad when I’ve been visiting London for a few days, but I’m never usually trundling along behind exhaust pipes either :/

      I just like that the scarf is Bandit! :p

  4. You might be “the only cyclist in London stopping at traffic lights,” but in time you will become just like the rest of us!

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