I like to imagine a meeting room at the council offices. It probably has large
posters of roundabouts and bits of bypass of which the team is especially proud.
I envisage two men dressed in brown corduroy suits from the 1970s, with yellow shirts and sideburns, as if in a documentary about British Leyland.
“Starting at the southern end of the route,” one of the corduroy suits might say, “the consultation raised a query about this section. As you can see, the bike lane disappears here.” He points to a large-scale map. “And then
reappears here, on the other side of the motorway junction, some 400 yards away.”
“So? I would have thought that the cyclists just disappear and then reappear accordingly,” the other suit says.
“Yeeess. Well, seems that they can’t actually do that yet, which is certainly inconvenient. If they could, they’d be able to just teleport right into town.”
“They could just ride along the dual carriageway and over the motorway roundabout. Real cracker of a roundabout that. One of Kevin’s last before he got too fat to get out of bed. Three lanes, traffic lights, all designed to maximise vehicle throughput velocity. I think the cyclists would actually rather like it.”
The first corduroy suit nods in agreement. “Good!” he says.
“Next we have some drain gratings on the current path that will apparently trap bike wheels.”
“Oh yes, did you miss the meeting about those? They’re only wide enough to trap tyres under 25mm.
Effectively they’re a sieve, to remove the kind of people who buy expensive racing bicycles. They’ll land in a heap, get taken to hospital, and the local kids can nick their bikes. That’s socialism in action.”
“And this nine-inch kerb just here?” He blithely stabs a finger at another point on the map.
“For wrecking wheels, which are then replaced at this bike shop, 200 yards away, here,” Corduroy Suit Two points out his brother-in-law’s bike shop. “That’s capitalism in action.”
Corduroy Suit One thumbs through some notes. “There were some other issues that were raised,” he says. “Ah yes, the bike path design also includes a flight of steps just after the Tesco junction.”
“Of course it does. It’s much easier than having a slope. How would you like it if we took the office steps out and replaced them with a 40-degree hill?”
“That’s impossible on a bike.”
“No, no, they have special wheels for going up steps now. Square ones.” “Ah, sorry, I didn’t know that. It’s good that at least one of us went on that course.” “Last item: the one-way street just south of the town centre. There is a suggestion that we create a contra-flow bike lane, going against the traffic.”
“What? We have cars and lorries all going one way down a narrow road, and we encourage bikes to go in the other direction? Protected by a bit of paint and a few six-inch-square signs that nobody understands? That’s brilliant.
That could resolve the whole cycling issue in a matter of weeks.” “That’s not all. Once we’ve got rid of the cyclists, I mean ‘resolved the cycling issues’, we can use the lane for parking. It’s right outside the office.” “Wonderful idea. Parking is getting so hard I keep waking up in a cold sweat after a nightmare where I had to cycle to work.”
Acts of cycling stupidity
Not strictly cycling, but… A triathlete friend of mine reported a clubmate who was thinking of buying himself an ‘endless pool’ – a sort of water treadmill that creates a strong current to swim against in something not much bigger than a bath.
He was concerned that, like a running treadmill, the fact you weren’t actually moving would make any given speed feel a bit too easy. He explained this to the attentive salesman: “I assume that it’s the same in an endless pool, so I want to know if the same solution works?” The salesman looked a little puzzled. “I mean,” he continued, “Can I set the pool to a one-per-cent gradient so that I’m swimming slightly uphill?”
How to… Put on a rain jacket
There are three ways to put on a rain jacket. The pro way is to sit up, hands off the bars, take jacket from team car, and put it on with the casual assurance of someone at home in front of the wardrobe.
The amateur way is to stop, take jacket from pocket, put it on, and start off again.
The idiot way is a combination of the two. It’s normally done by someone who would stop if they were on their own, but who is trying to look cool in front of his friends. And fails.
Take jacket from pocket. Try to ignore the smashing noise that was almost certainly a phone from the same pocket hitting the ground. Sit up, and take the remaining hand off bars. Replace hand very fast as you swerve into the guy next to you. Apologise.
Notice that the jacket flaps a lot more than they do on TV. Notice also that jacket is already zipped up after your other half washed it and folded it. Unzip it, almost crashing again in process. Put right arm in left sleeve. Remove. Place left arm in right sleeve. Swerve helplessly on to the wrong side of road.
Finally, struggle arms into correct sleeves. Try to stretch bottom of zip downwards far enough to get it sufficiently straight that you can zip it up. Discover jacket is size too big for this. Lean back on saddle to stretch it further. Lose control. Crash into hedge.
Zip up jacket.
This article was first published in the November 7 issue of Cycling Weekly. Read Cycling Weekly magazine on the day of release where ever you are in the world International digital edition, UK digital edition. And if you like us, rate us!