Alongside 35 other cyclists I’m riding from London to Paris in July. We’ll be covering 280 miles over 3 days and arriving the evening before a group of slightly quicker cyclists finish the Tour De France! It seems one or two cycling groups have had a similar idea – we struggled to book Dover – Calais ferries as they have all been booked up by cyclists!
A combination of poor weather and apathy means training hasn’t started but I’m now desperate to get out on my bike again. Especially as last year was a wash out when my first ride of the year led to an off, a fracture of the hand and my knuckles secured with K-wire. My first ever century ride was the Birmingham Velo at the end of the Summer and I had only been able to get on my bike again about 2 weeks before on a holiday in France!
Attitudes to cyclists in France
The difference in cycling in France and the UK is startling. Drivers appreciate you have a right to be on the road in France and will often stop on roundabouts to allow you to proceed. I have never had abused hurled at me in France nor had to worry about car dooring or cars allowing only millimetres of a gap when overtaking, usually while blasting their horn! When you do have cycle lanes in the UK you often find that they are used as a parking area for local residents or an area to stockpile broken glass and gravel.
Accident claims by cyclists
Sadly, we are seeing many more accident claims from cyclists. More often than not accidents are caused by motorists simply not seeing them, which is a problem for motorcyclists too. However, an increasing number appear to have been caused by reckless driving – drivers simply not being prepared to make any allowance for cyclists on the road.
Cycling to work – everyone wins!
Hopefully as a nation we continue to enjoy this hobby and we can increase the use of it as a method of commuting. It’s not only environmentally friendly and healthy but also a great way to reduce congestion – a recent Guardian report advised that protected cycle lanes carry up to five times as many people per hour as a main road.