Friday, October 10, 2003

Reflections of a novice cyclist in Cambridge

(1) No-one wears a helmet. Don't let this discourage you. You need it (see (2)).

(2) There is possibly nothing more dangerous on the road than a timid, inexperienced cyclist. Pulling over when you hear cars behind you may slow your journey, but probably prolongs your life.

(3) The cars are more experienced at aiming to miss cyclists than you are at aiming to miss cars, trust the local drivers - up to a point. Even the homicidal taxi drivers don't want to damage their paintwork.

(4) This is, in many ways, a sleepy academic town: it therefore does not have a sufficiently developed system of roads to handle the traffic. It is, at times, busy and chaotic.

(5) Get a cycle route map. Do not be surprised that the routes don't always link up.

(6) It is not at all signposted, but between 10 and 4 riding a bicycle in the pedestrian area around the market square will get you a £30 fine. Avoid this.

(7) Remember to get a bicycle number from your porters.

(8) Always chain your bike to something other than itself. It is surprisingly easy for theives with vans to make off with large numbers of unattended bikes at night. Rumour has it they are sold in Oxford (while our black market trades in Oxford cycles).

(9) Buy some damn bicycle clips. You look like Tintin tucking fawn pants into long socks all the time. Cycling in in an old tee-shirt (even on a cold day) and then changing into law-student-wear is not a bad idea.

(10) Relax, breath out, learn to enjoy it. Eventually you too will be bale to cover the distance from law school to home in 15 minutes, not the present 35.

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