Saturday, 28 January 2012

Imperial Winter Series Race 10 28th January 2012

We have been so spoilt this year with mild weather that today seemed exceptionally cold at about 5 º with a breeze from the North to propel us down the back straight and to slow us up to the finish.  The pace seemed altogether more sedate this week especially when working (or not)  into the wind.  We passed the 4th cats but just before they were getting ready to sprint for their finish.  As a consequence we all came over the line in a coagulated lump for their finish followed by some hairy moments as those still racing got apart from those who had finished.  Unluckily I punctured again this week though more luckily this time it was in the second lap, not the second to last.  I finally got to use one of the spare wheels I have been dutifully carrying to the hut.  I did spend most of the race at the back of the pack but at least this time I remained within the bunch until the finish.  From what I could see there was not a lot of activity off the front this week. 
I have a lot of catchup to do before March and time is starting to run out.
Thankfully no crashes today.  Must get onto Wiggle for new race tyres.
What a relief not to be blogging about my commuting dramas for a change.

Stats:  27.79 miles in 1h06m.  Average 25.3 mph.  Max 34.8 mph. 

Saturday, 21 January 2012

'Sorry', but is sorry always good enough?

When confronted by the police and by his employer the driver of this Asda branded tanker said he was sorry and that he would 'endeavour to give cyclists a wider berth in future'.  His transport manager put him on a computer based hazard awareness course.  He has been driving for the same company for 20 years with no previous driving infringements.  A prosecution was not thought to be in the public interest.

The problem I have is that he was aware of 'the hazard' (oka me) but chose to hoot and to drive close enough to both intimidate and to endanger.  For all I know he has been doing this for 20 years to hundreds of cyclists who just will not have been in a position to do anything because they did not have a camera on their helmet.

His conduct gave every appearance of being from the type of motorist who resents cyclists using 'their' road.

I am sure there is an underlying thought that it may have been close but no harm was done.  But again I have a problem with this.  It is this type of conduct that frightens people off cycling as a rational mode of transport.  Incidents like this make me think twice about cycling to work, notwithstanding that I know the statistics and I can be remarkably stubborn.  It is the subjective fear of danger that holds back the longed for 'cycling revolution'.

Getting cyclists off the roads maybe what drivers like this are seeking to achieve. There is an overwhelming public interest in ensuring that they do not succeed.  This ought to rank above the job security of professional drivers who prove themselves to be temperamentally unsuited to their work.

Imperial Winter Series Race 9

Another very mild day but with a strong westerly wind today.  I am afraid that anyone coming here via the Imperial site hoping for a meaningful race report is going to be disappointed again.  I was not well enough to race last week (or indeed ride at all) due to the heaviest cold I have had for many years.  I was not really up to it this week either; that and the wind saw me dropped as the race blew apart 30 minutes or so in.  As I took a breather, I was passed (lapped) by a lead group, a chasing group and the remainder.  I hopped back onto the third group since I was there and badly need the training and because I never voluntarily abandon a race.  I understand the front two groups got together again and then 2 got away in the final stages.
The race felt, and was, safe this week.  No crashes and no close shaves.  The main thing, as always, is to remain upright.
Today brings home that I have a lot to do before the road racing season gets underway.  I hope to make it to the first of my local reliability rides tomorrow with that in mind.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Dangerous and Reckless Cycling (Offences) Bill

Andrea Leadson MP was not in the House of Commons today to move her Dangerous and Reckless Cycling (Offences) Bill which was called on at 14:35 after a lengthy debate which talked out a Daylight Saving Bill.  I am not an expert in Parliamentary procedure but I think we can assume that it will not be back.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Scott Lomas Convicted and Sentenced for Threatening or Abusive Words or Behaviour

Here's the film, yes I have edited it; an unedited version is out there.

On 4th November 2010 while cycling into work I was subjected to a barrage of abuse from a motorist, Scott Lomas, which culminated in a threat to kill me.  I have documented in this blog the efforts I have had to make to get action taken after I reported this to the police.

Today Lomas was finally convicted, on his plea of guilty, to the Public Order Act offence of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress.

It transpires Lomas was in breach of a suspended prison sentence imposed by the Crown Court in April 2010 following his conviction of a crime of violence, malicious wounding,  He was not referred back to the Crown Court for consideration of whether to activate that earlier sentence.

For the offence involving me, he was fined £250, a victim surcharge of £15 and prosecution costs of £300 (total £565).

It is sadly too much to hope that all mindless aggression and violence directed at cyclists will instantly cease but at least this conviction may help to discourage similar incidences of ‘roadrage’ against vulnerable road users.  I hope it may also serve to encourage police officers to treat complaints of this type of crime seriously.  I commend the CPS for having the moral fibre to reverse the Metropolitan Police Constable’s attempts to drop this case, notwithstanding the strength of the evidence due to my use of a helmet mounted camera.  

Regular readers will know that I am not slow to criticise public servants who fall down on the job, so it is only right that I emphasise that this case would have got nowhere if it had not eventually landed on the desk of a Crown Prosecutor highly endowed with both integrity and competence.  I am grateful to prosecuting counsel (a cyclist it transpires!) who dealt with the case today both efficiently and courteously.  Finally I am grateful too for the moral support I have received from the CTC, Roadpeace, The Road Danger Reduction Forum and the vast majority of cyclists who have contacted me.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Imperial Winter Series Race 7 Saturday 7th January 2012

I have had to miss a few over the Christmas season and shockingly we are now already on race 7 of 12.  It could have been an April evening rather than an early January afternoon.  The sunshine brought a large field out today.  Temperature was 12ºC though with a stiff north westerly breeze which gave a cross wind over most of the course.  (Nothing as bad as the wind on Waterloo Bridge last Thursday though which had me climbing off my Brompton for fear of being blown under a bus).
It seemed fast this week, interspersed with some very slow periods, but this perception may be because I have not been on a proper bike for 3 weeks.  There was an attempt to go straight off the start by 2, they did not seem to have their heart in it and were quickly reeled in with most of the work done by the lady Wycombe rider.  Two thirds of the way through the race 5 or 6 made a good effort to get free but there were enough fast riders in the bunch to bridge that gap stringing us out and in the process sending me gasping to (but thankfully not off) the back.
Thereafter things seemed to get more and more twitchy.  Shouts were going up chiding other riders and there were a few wobbles and near misses.  Then trouble started.  First at the tight bend, I was taking the inside when alongside me on the outside several riders went down.  Shortly afterwards at the turn before the clubhouse, there was trouble on the inside of the bend when I was on the outside.  7 casualties in total though I understand none severe (at least not to bodies, bikes may be a different matter).  The sprint as usual left me behind.
Stats: 1h 04m at an average of 25.0 mph.  Max 31.8.