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.