Wednesday, 8 July 2009

British tales of cycling

Liverpool cycling history:

Certainly the concept of people and vehicles sharing the road, and thus rendering it safer and more efficient, is counter-intuitive, because vehicles are regarded as inanimate thugs that do more damage than bicycles and pedestrians. But vehicles are driven by people with eyes, who only become dangerous when treated as automatons. That is why shared space has saved thousands of lives across Europe in the past decade. It also saves pollution, time, money and policing costs. It is a no-brainer.
Read about civilised streets here:

"Why Cyclists Don’t Like Stopping" or, put another way, "There’s more to Kinetic Energy than meets the eye!"

When one rides a bike, one soon learns that stop-go cycling is whole lot harder work than to keep on rolling at a steady speed. However it's clear that the people who design British cycling facilities do not share this tacit knowledge (of course, here in Australia, this is merely an academic discussion... the facilities for cycling in Toowoomba and beyond are "world class", so long as one doesn't notice that most of "the world" has poverty as its defining feature) – unlike in other countries! So I thought it might help if I investigated the engineering principles that discourage us from using the brakes and explained the wasted energy in simple terms of extra distance ridden.
More here:

Since arriving in the UK he's sampled Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the latter a car passenger threw a beer can, which lodged between his front wheel and a pannier bag. Fortunately he braked in time without mishap. He's also experienced verbal abuse and spitting from car passengers. For a short time he cycled with a fellow Dutchman, who he later learned had had to cut his holiday short after sustaining a broken collar bone from being hit by a car:

Ah, so Toowoomba is not unique after all. Having cans hurled at you is not an 'Australian value' after all!

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