Thursday 30 June 2011

Googling the Haters

Yes, I have had the odd death threat, the odd bit of abuse and the odd road tax argument thrown at me on Youtube. The death threats tend to come from internet hard men (or woman) who hide behind a cloak of anonymity......or do they?

From time to time, I pick a hater and I do a bit of googling. That is I do a quick search using their user name to see if it brings up any leads to who they may be. It is often surprising that someone who has just threatened to knock me off my bike next time they see me, is quite easily traceable.

Take for instance my latest google. It's not his real (or his user name), but for the purposes of this blog, we'll call him supermuppet.

I get a post on one of my my videos suggesting that (and I am paraphrasing so you can't google search it!), 'if that was me I would have ran right over you with my car'.


So I do a google search on suppermuppet. It doesn't lead straight to him, but it provides information on some other forums he uses, and importantly a different user name he uses on them, hypermuppet. From here it is simple to find some photos that he has posted.

Shock horror, he is a bit of a petrol head and loves nothing better than modding his Saxo. Oh, and one of the pictures of his Saxo has a lovely close up picture of..... his registration! :-)

So I post a reply to his message, asking (again in paraphrase), 'so you will run me over. Will it be with the car bearing registration plate.....'

Late last night I received a direct message on Youtube. It is exactly as follows:


I would appreciate it if you would remove my Number plate from your post.

I was just being a silly e-warrior, i shouldnt comment ive been knocked off off my bike before...

So take away their anonymity and the macho bravado just slips away. As he has, sort of apologised I'll remove his and my post, and won't inform the police.

Interestingly, whilst I've been writing this I received a new piece of abuse. I can't be bothered chasing this one up, but of your bored Patryk1632 is in dire need of being googled!


Wednesday 29 June 2011

DogCam Bullet HD Wide

Having finished the Ultimate(ish) helmet camera review (see the tabs above), I was fortunate enough to be trusted with another camera to test. Docamsports felt that their new addition, the DogCam Bullet HD Wide (DCBW) was enough of an improvement on the standard DogCam Bullet HD that it required testing. So a DCBW was dispatched my way for testing.

My thoughts on the standard bullet are here, and you can see I was a little disappointed with it. Yes, it was cheap, but it's button was fiddly, the field of view was very poor and it was difficult to tell if it was on or not. You just couldn't see the LED lights!

So is the DCBW any better?

Well, it certainly looks different. It's a wee bit longer and it has a clear section on the front. It's longer to accommodate the a wider (and yes more expensive) wide angled lens. This lens 'laughs in the face' of its standard wee brother widening the filming angle from a paltry 63 degrees to a much more respectable 135 degrees. That's a good start.

The clear front also serves a purpose, it makes it much easier to see the operation LED lights. That doesn't mean to say it is perfect. In bright light it can still be a struggle to see the lights (green for power on or charged, flashing blue to indicate recording, and red to indicate that the camera is charging). However, it is an improvement and with a bit of squinting it is fairly straight forward to see the lights.

The button also seems a lot better. On the standard bullet I had, the button was very, VERY sensitive. This meant that I would be cycling along and the camera would be switching itself on an off. Very annoying. I may of course have had a faulty unit. However, the DCBW's button has a definite click to it when switching on and off. So I haven't had issues with the power cycling. Mind you, beeps to indicate what state it was in would have been a useful addition as well.

It comes with a 2Gb card (enough for just under an hour of filming) as standard, but can be upgraded to 32Gb. Of course how much you can record in one go will be limited by the battery. Something that is fitted into the camera and thus can't be swapped or changed. The claimed battery life is 1.5 hours. From my testing this seem just about right. At least in reasonable temperatures. It is likely to be shorter in winter. With 1.5 hours filming time you'll have to keep juicing it regularly, and long filming sessions won't be possible. Charging takes about 1 hour from flat.

I have also been reliably informed that the battery is rated for at least 1000 charge cycles. So if you cycle 5 days a week (45 weeks a year), and need to charge for each leg of the commute it'll take 2 years to approach that number of charges.

The camera comes with a number of mounts, that is sticky velcro things, fabric holders, and rubber holders, head bands  etc. Quality is ok, but not amazing. Of course you do get what you pay for, so this is probably to be expected, and due to it's size and weight it isn't too difficult to bodge a reasonable fit to whatever you need to fit it to. I'm not sure I'd trust the sticky velcro holders to remain sticky through a Glasgow winter though...

It also comes with two screw on backs that protect the memory card slot, USB connector, and microphone.

Anyway, that's enough of that. How good is it? What is the all important video like?

Here are a few videos of it in use. The first is a comparison with my Contour GPS (before it had a final firmware tweek to improve the video).

Please note. In these three videos the waterproof back cover is on. This muffles the sound recording. There is a second cover for use when dry which will greatly improve the sound. I will test this shortly and post the video as a separate blog which I will link here.

The second is a wee run in I had with a 'young gentleman'.

And the third is a different perspective on traffic filtering.

You'll see from the rear footage that the video does suffer from a wave effect (due to the rolling shutter). However, this is partially my fault. Once I bodge together a firmer fix onto my bike frame most of the wave effect should disappear. It is certainly no worse than many cameras in this price range. But, it is something to take into account.

Overall though I think the footage is good considering the cost of £145. (Actually £130.50 if you use the code 'magnatom' at checkout!).

In fact, I've gone and bought one myself and it is now permanently on rear view duty (no not video of my bottom!).

Would I recommend this camera? Yes I would if you can't stretch to a more expensive model.

Monday 27 June 2011

Celebration Stations

What can we do to entice drivers out of their cars and onto their bikes?

I've been thinking about this for a while and with your help (special thanks to AlexWarrior!) I have an idea, that will at least act as an enticement.

In Vancouver Canada, during bike week they set up something called Celebration Stations. That is mobile 'stations' where cyclists can stop off during their commute to and from work, grab some snacks, other goodies, maybe have a mechanic have a look at their bike, enter a competition etc. It's generally a little station set up to celebrate cycle commuters and to say thank you to them.

The new trend for fireworks on bikes to aid visibility meant every commute in Sydney was a celebration

So how would that help to get drivers out of their cars? Surely that is just preaching to the converted!!?

Location, location, location!! You place these stations on the main commuter routes. Routes where cars are typically tailed back.

Imagine you are a driver stuck in a queue. A queue you get stuck in day in, day out. You're fed up of being stuck in that queue, but what can you do? You can't afford to move house closer to work, public transport would take even longer. You just have to put up and shut up.

Now imagine that whilst sitting there the driver notices more cyclists than normal filtering past the queue. Pesky cyclists. Who do they think they are!!? 20 minutes later and 100m further down the road, the driver spies what looks like a marquee at the side of the road. Peering over he notices a big sign....'Celebration Station'.
Eh? What's there to celebrate?

On closer inspection (easy to do at snails pace) he notices that the celebration is for cyclists. In fact the celebration is (and this is written in a poster nearby) a way of saying thank you to the cyclists for being one less car in the queue.

The driver looks at all the happy cyclists, notices that despite the fact that they have stopped off and had a bun (one which they will work off cycling to work), had a chat and a laugh, that they are still disappearing off into the distance whilst he/she is still stuck in that same damn queue....

Mmmm. Maybe I should look into this bike thing......

So what do you think? Let's make Bike Week next year a showcase for cycling, not just a quiet pat on the back for the already converted. Let's shout from the rooftops that cycling is FUNCTIONAL, FUN and FAST!

Who's up for celebrating?

An idiot, a cretin, and a stain on society.

What follows is a conversation I have had recently on youtube. The 'chap' has written this in a public place and so is obviously happy to have his views published for all to see, so I see no issue in republishing them here.
I have, however, anonymised the comments (he isn't called 'youtuber', although they remain on the video if you care to search for them) as I don't want a flame war. I am genuinely interested in why what I do can inflame such hatred and scorn, and this 'chap' obviously hates me. However, unusually he didn't start off with the name calling and wishes for me to get injured and suffer pain. That kinda developed. Whilst I was a wee bit naughty in tricking him with his own logic, I think I was reasonable in my responses.

My blog is from the mind of a Helmet Camera Cyclist. This conversation is from the Mind of a Helmet Camera Cyclist hater.....

The cycle lane was fine. You could easily have a) been further over to the left, with no complaint about the pass (he was to the right of the lane), or b) taken primary, since you knew there was a road hazard/traffic controls ahead. This was totally avoidable. Stop looking for videos and use your head for once. Did he hit you? No. Could you have acted differently to have avoided this? Yes
I ride as much as (if not more than) you, but have less issues on the road. Nuff said? I think so
youtuber 1 week ago

PS. Why do you feel it so important to always say "I've got a camera". What difference does that make? Does it make you more self-righteous than everyone else?

Grow a pair

youtuber 1 week ago

@youtuber No it wasn't. Well below minimum requirements on width, randomly stops and starts, and has numerous potholes in it. Also varies in width as it goes along. Oh and there is plenty of room to pass if the driver is competent enough. Mind you he did get to the queue a few seconds early......As for did he hit me? So you are suggesting that if a driver doesn't actually hit a cyclist, then it's ok? As you say in your other reply.. grow a pair...a pair of brain cells....
magnatom 1 week ago

@magnatom No- I'm suggesting if you are clipped, you'll have grounds for complaint.
If you've got problems with that particular lane, then DON'T USE IT! Sure as hell don't move in and out of it- a prominent primary here would have avoided the pass- you've said it yourself a thousand times. Stop being hypocritical and looking for a fight.
One day you'll shout your mouth off at the wrong guy and you'll get a knife through the heart. You'll be wishing you grew those brain cells then!
youtuber 6 days ago

@youtuber Yes I'd have ground for complaint, but I could also be seriously hurt. I'd rather avoid that thank you.
I don't go in and out of this lane. I stay out of it on this section. In fact it is the presence of this lane that makes it difficult to take a proper primary. It removes your negotiating power. Google 'Get in The Bloody Cycle Lane!!' I explain this in detail here.
I can assure you I don't look for fights, nor do I need to. Come up to Glasgow and try cycling here for a while.
magnatom 6 days ago

@youtuber I am also in the process of building a case up for the council from previous videos for significant changes to the road layout in that area. It seems that I might be putting those brain cells to good use. How about you?
magnatom 6 days ago

@magnatom I've had a pothole repaired that caused me to crash, receive stitches in both legs and left me immobile for 2 weeks in Feb; as well as helping my local council change the traffic controls at a junction where a car pulled out in front of me, wrote off my bike, cracked my helmet, and left me with nasty, permanent facial scarring last May.
I've used my other brain cells to ride safely and sensibly, and not like a total jerk- something you struggle to do it would seem. You should try it.
youtuber 5 days ago

@magnatom If you'd rather avoid it, learn to ride properly.

Plus, I never said you look for fights- I said you'll shout your mouth off at the wrong guy and end up paying for it. I live in Paisley, so I know to keep my mouth shut if something happens on the road. I have cycled all around Glasgow and the surrounding area, and have never had the trouble you seem to have. Funny that...
From the video, you're neither clearly in nor out of the lane (cycle or other) so you're encouraging passes.
youtuber 5 days ago

@youtuber Perception is a funny thing. In this case the perception is that I have lots of incidents. Lets look at that a little more closely. I now have 170 videos. Of those 76 are actual incidents where another road user has increased my risk. Now consider that is over 5 years (how long I have videoed my commutes). Over that time I have probably commuted 45 weeks a year at an average of 4.5 days a week. So I have commuted on about 1012 days. Therefore, I have an day incident rate.....
magnatom 4 days ago

@youtuber ...of about 7.5%. Now that is actually two commutes a day, so in fact it is about 3.7% of commute. Now consider that the vast majorit of them are not serious in nature, i.e. my life was not in danger, but my risk was unnecessarily increased. Out of the 76 videos there are perhaps 2 or 3 videos which were very serious in nature. Had I not videoed the less serious incidents I would have forgot about them. So serious incidents occur at a rate of 0.2% per commute or 0.4% per day.
magnatom 4 days ago

@youtuber I can understand that looking at my videos it can seem I am involved in a lot of incidents, in fact I have not. I actually think my rate is quite low considering the number of interactions I have on the road each day. Don't you?
magnatom 4 days ago

It's also interesting. I've not had any serious incidents needing medical attention or had any crashes with cars in that time. You have. Funny that.......
magnatom 4 days ago

@magnatom Was gonna give you the benefit of the doubt- until you proved everyone who has ever said anything negative about you as a person 100% right. Don't you ever dare think you're better than me because you've never had a bad crash. You really one sad individual if you think that's clever.
When you do crash (and you will) you'll realise you're an idiot- as you bleed from every part of your body. And I hope you feel pain. You deserve it after that retort.
More important.. LEARN YOUR LESSON!
youtuber 4 days ago

 @youtuber Oops! I don't think you saw what I did there! You said, 'I have cycled all around Glasgow and the surrounding area, and have never had the trouble you seem to have. Funny that...'. The logic in this statement is a bit daft, so I thought I would demonstrate this with a little word play, i.e. I reversed the statement back to you. So I wrote 'I've not had any serious incidents needing medical attention or had any crashes with cars in that time. You have. Funny that.......
magnatom 4 days ago

@youtuber Do you see what I did there? I used YOUR logic back at you to show you how flawed your logic was. You didn't get that. Instead you revealed the workings of your own mind by suggesting that such a statement suggests a feeling of superiority, thus revealing that you feel superior to me. Your statement about 'giving me the benefit of doubt' also suggest this.  You now resort to wishing me pain. That is stooping pretty low. You obviously feel superior to me, and disagree with...
magnatom 4 days ago

@youtuber ...what I do and write, but I would never stoop so low to with you pain.

I receive threats of death etc daily. What for? For showing what happens to me on the roads. I actually entered this debate with you as you seemed reasonable in your initial discussion. However you have dropped to the level of the abusers which is shame.
magnatom 4 days ago

@magnatom You're right- I do feel superior. But not why YOU think I do. I know I'm not perfect, whereas you seem to think you're whiter than white. I'm not self-righteous and up myself, as you seem to be. Also, because you ride like an idiot, are a cretin, and a stain on society.

You think you're serving and doing good by people on bikes. But what you fail to realise is that the only thing you're achieving is fuelling your own massive ego. Which is just a little bit sad. You're a sad little man
youtuber 11 hours ago

@youtuber OK, so where have I said I am perfect? Please feel free to search everywhere I have written anything on the net over the last 6 years or so. In fact, if you bother to actually read anything I have written (my blog is a good place to start), I go out my way to stress that I am not. I have made and still make mistakes. In fact I go out my way to post videos of them on here. Do you publicise your mistakes willingly?

As for serving people on bikes? I do my best. I at least try...
magnatom 6 minutes ago

@youtuber ..and you'll find a lot of cyclists do actually thank me for what I do. Just today I have read two comments (one on my blog and one on a forum) that have thanked me for these videos. Not for being perfect, but for just showing people what happens on the roads to cyclists, what to look out for, and to learn from my experiences.

Of course some will not agree with what I do, or how I do it. There is nothing wrong with that. Through debate we make progress. Just recently I have....
magnatom 4 minutes ago

@youtuber ...had a big change of mind. I am a vehicular cyclist and have pushed for more vehicular cyclists. However, I have come to realise that to gain mass cycling, most will never 'mix' with traffic, so we need good quality cycle infrastructure. Something that I feel can be divisive (read my blog) if not done properly.

Good for you for feeling superior. If that makes you happy, great. However, I am far from sad. Have a look at my blog's about me page. You'll see I very much have a life!
magnatom 10 seconds ago

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Cars often disappear into the distance....

I find that cars often disappear into the distance. As my five year old son is often heard saying, 'it's just not fair!!'.

If only the journey to work could be a little smoother and a good deal quicker the world would be just that little bit better.

But what can be done?How could I possibly stop hundreds of cars disappearing off into the horizon ever day?

I suppose......I could cycle a bit slower......

EDIT: I've just noticed. I passed my wife driving the car in that queue. Brilliant! :-)

Wednesday 15 June 2011

Would I Want My Wife to Cycle?

Looking at statistics, cycling is safe.

Looking at my videos might appear to tell a different story, but statistically cycling is safer than walking (per unit distance) in the UK. However, statistics are a dangerous beast, and can often hide horrors under the surface. So is cycling really safe?

Humans are often very poor at perceiving risk. We often overestimate it. I know from previous work I have done how scared of small doses of radiation people can often be, with little or no basis in reality. This is often the case with cycling. Often when I mention to people that I cycle commute I get replies like, 'oh, isn't that dangerous', 'surprised you're still here', and 'you must have a deathwish'.

Yes, things could go wrong, but then then things can go wrong gardening and I no-one bats an eyelid when I take the lawn mower out.

However, recently during a conversation with my wife I realised something. First, I realised that I had a wife, which is something that many Youtube pundits suggest would never happen. More importantly though I realised that whilst I would love my wife to cycle to her work, I would actually be concerned for her if she did it.

So I am happy to cycle to work myself, but don't want my wife to? Double standards?!

This is not a picture of my wife.

The difference is that I have been cycling in the urban environment for nearly six years now. I started off quite timid (using the odd pavement!) and over time have grown more confident, and capable of mixing safely (fingers crossed that continues) with heavy traffic. I enjoy mixing with traffic. Not as some might suggest for the conflict that occasionally occurs, but for the days when you glide with, through and around the traffic seamlessly. I find it immensely enjoyable when it all works.

My risk of incident over the years has probably remained the same. When I started and my skill set was smaller and rode more timidly. As I got better and started mixing with the traffic my risk remained fairly steady as I had developed the skills through practice. Thus my cycling is probably as safe now as when I cycled on the odd path.

However, if someone was to start out now, and try and cycle as I do, they would be at significantly increased risk. There is no way I could expect my wife to filter through two lanes of slow moving traffic safely. I have become this 'vehicular cyclist' because I enjoy challenges, and I don't mind taking the leap into the unknown. Not everyone is built like that. Not everyone would enjoy what I do, day in day out. In fact I can understand why some might be completely terrified to do it. So whilst I was able to mix more with traffic whilst keeping my risk the same, others might not be able or even want to do that.

So expecting a majority of people to become 'vehicular cyclists' from day one will never happen. Yet, cycling on the paths is not the answer either.

So that is why I wouldn't want my wife to cycle the way I do.

She doesn't have the same attitude to risk as I do, and most importantly she shouldn't need to.

Riding a bike, should be as easy as....well, as easy as riding a bike. As things currently stand, it isn't.

So, this is why I am changing my attitude to the building of and campaigning for separate cycle facilities and changes in the law to protect cyclists. People like my wife should not have to build up a new skill set over a number of years. They should not have to be concerned with the principles of traffic herding, lane control or SMIDSY avoidance techniques. Everyone should be able to cycle with the minimum of preparation.That can be achieved through infrastructure and new legislation that is designed both to ease the passage ot the cyclist, and to encourage drivers to drive mores responsibly.

Yes, it will take time, and texts like Cyclecraft, are certainly relevant now and will always have some relevance in the future where the lanes come to an end. It's a book I'd highly recommend. However, how many people in Copenhagen or Amsterdam have read Cyclecraft? They don't have to.

However I hope, soon, a day will come where my wife can just ride her bike without having to becoming an expert in urban cycling techniques.

Edit: Please note, the fact that my wife is a woman (I'm quite pleased she is) has nothing to do with my fear of her cycling. She is a better driver than me, and a MUCH better horse rider than me, so I don't doubt for a second that she could be a safer cyclist than me. Its the fact that she would be new to cycling, and any new cyclist if trying to cycle on busy urban roads (and they can be very busy in Glasgow) has a steep learning curve. There shouldn't need to be a steep learning curve. If my wife was a man (personally I'm quite pleased she isn't) I'd feel exactly the same.  

Phew! Glad that's clear up! :-)

Monday 13 June 2011

A Tail of Two Passes - The Letter

What follows is the letter I have just sent to Allma Construction. It's a thank you to the driver for his textbook pass discussed here.

Don't forget to reward good driving, either by a thank you at the time (if it is safe to do so) or where appropriate with a letter to the drivers company.

Dear xxx,

I was very disappointed not to receive a reply to my last e-mail to you which I sent to you on the 4th of April. I would still be interested in your reply to my questions so I have forwarded the e-mail below.

However, last week 8th June at approximately 8:15am I was passed by another of your lorries. The video is here. (registration number SK11GYE).

I felt compelled to write to you to say thank you to the driver of that lorry. I think it is obvious from the video how different the two passes were. This new pass was textbook in every way. Therefore, I would ask that you pass my thanks on to the driver. I would also like to say thank you to you. On the face of it it would appear that any action you have taken was successful. Of course it is also possible that this driver just drives to a better standard.

Please feel free to use this video for driver training purposes. In fact, if you did, and did so publicly it would provide some excellent PR for your company. Not only would it show improving driving standards, but that the company took those driving standards seriously.

Best regards

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Separate Cycle facilities: What to do in the meantime.

One of the easiest things in the world is to list what is wrong. Specifically, what is wrong with the situation on the UK's road that makes cycling less popular than it should be.

Bad driving, bad cycling, lack of facilities, risk of accident, lack of momentum, the weather, etc. The list goes on. It's an easy list to compile. What is significantly more difficult is to list the answers, and yet, this is the holy grail. Remove the barriers, whilst at the same time showing people the benefits, and people will cycle. The more that cycle, the safer the roads become for everyone.

Is this safety in numbers?

So, what could be done to get more people cycling?

There are two completely different views on the overall approach to getting more people cycling. I'll call them intergrationists and separatists.  The integrationists want cyclists to be accepted on the roads as they are. They see no need for cycle lanes, in fact they often see them as decisive. Cyclists should be accepted as traffic.
Then there are the separatists. They look to the continent and see Copenhagen and Amsterdam as shining examples of how money well spent (lots of money) can lead to well designed and well used separate cycling facilities. Cyclists are generally taken off the road and out the way of cars.

For those that read my blog regularly (thanks for reading!) you will probably see me slotting into the integrationists. You'd be right, certainly in the way I practice my cycling. However, I concede that in an ideal world separate cycling facilities if done correctly it would be.....well....ideal! So perhaps separatistism is the way for he future, but what about today? I am at heart, a pragmatist, and I realise that utopia is a long way off.

So what can we do now that can get more cyclists on the streets now which would not only make the roads safer, but perhaps give us a louder voice to help bring utopia about?

As I mentioned in a previous blog

1) We need to get drivers to realise that the more cyclists on the roads the better it is for them, and everyone else.

2)We need to get more drivers out of their cars and on to bikes.

So it's all about marketing. Marketing cyclists, showing that we are not the baddies and we don't go about in marauding hordes knocking down old grannies. At the same time we need to market cycling itself, as a viable, and surprisingly fun way of getting about our urban landscapes.

So, do I have any ideas on how to get there?

What about a campaign along the lines of 'Cyclist = Q-1'. That is each cyclist equals one less car in the queue. Thus the more cyclists there are, the less congestion there would be and the faster everyone would get to work. Yes, with more cyclists on the road maximum speeds might be reduced, but what would the effect on average speed be? Certainly in busy urban areas you might be surprised.

The suggestion of Bike Celebration Stations made by Alexwarrior is, I think, and excellent one. On busy commutes Celebration stations are set up when cyclists can pull into and get free breakfast, other goodies, vouchers etc, all in view of the drivers stuck in queues. This could become an annual or even more regular event, possibly moving around the city during the summer months.

These are just two ideas. What do you think? We need more ideas of course, so if you have any.....

Friday 3 June 2011

Delay in Part 3 Review

I was planning on publishing the final part of the Helmet camera review today. However, for two reasons I'm delaying it.

The first and most trivial reason is I've been busy! That's what having 3 kids and a full time job do for you!

However, the real reason is that I bought one of the cameras, the Contour GPS. At first things were great, but now I'm not so sure.The camera has been very temperamental, especially since the last firmware upgrade (1.15). It keeps hanging and crashing, and doesn't always charge the battery correctly. This issue may be solved in the next firmware upgrade soon, however until then I'd suggest that you don't buy the Contour GPS.

Contour are renowned for their customer support, so I am hopeful. However, it does seem that they release products and firmware far too quickly and don't do enough beta testing. Perhaps the Contour GPS was a beta test for the Contour+ that has just been released in the US and will be released here in the UK shortly.

On a happier note, DogCamsport have sent me a DogCam HD Wide to test. I'm still testing it at the moment, but I think it is a better option than the DogCam HD that I tested previously. Watch this space for a full review.

This morning I was glad to be testing the DogCam HD wide. My Contour just would'nt switch on, so having the DogCam meant I managed to catch some interesting footage. you might even hear me sing...... :-o

More soon......

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Has this blog got it wrong?

I'm sure there are those that read this blog and think I talk a load of rubbish. But, leaving modesty aside, most that read this blog agree with 'most' of the points I make. I get my fair share of virtual head nodding. When that happens it makes me feel good.

That is exactly what is wrong with this blog. Like I suggested in my previous blog about bike week, I too am most often preaching to the converted. I've never researched it, but I can safely say that the vast majority of the demographic that reads this blog are cyclists.

That's great. Together we can formulate ideas, agree on the risks and benefits, and generally pat each others backs. But in the grand scheme of things, what does that achieve?

Absolutely nothing. It's a bit like a tree falling in a forest hundreds of miles from anyone. It will have made a lot of noise, but no-one who can clear up the mess will ever hear it.  

Unless of course, we go out and spread the good news to those that don't cycle, and have never even considered it as an option.

This is where the thinking for my last few posts has come from. To make cycling safe, we need to do two simple things:

1) Convert more drivers to cyclists. The more cyclists there are the safer we all are.

2) Ensure that those drivers who don't cycle or who never want to cycle, like us. If drivers like us, i.e. realise that one more cyclist is one less car holding them up, then maybe they would treat us better.

So what do we need to do to achieve these goals? I'll be exploring that over the next few blog posts, hopefully with your help. Converting drivers to cyclists is probably the easiest to achieve. Perhaps my Critical Pass idea is one way of converting a few drivers, although knowing that some drivers don't like cyclists filtering, and are inexplicably fearful of it, that could backfire. I don't think it would enamour us to many drivers.  

Another idea that has been suggested in the comments of my previous post is setting up Celebration Stations on bike/car commuter routes. These stations would provide goodies, food and vouchers etc for the cyclists using the route, all in clear view of the drivers stuck in the queue next to the station. That is a very interesting idea and might help with conversion. Would they like us more though?

Maybe to get them to like us we need to..... yes we need to keep to the rules, but more than that, we need to show them that more cyclists on the road is a good thing for them. One less car in the queue. How do we do that?

I'm also trying to think of ways of getting leaflets or something similar to drivers stuck in the jams? How do you do that without annoying the drivers or getting on the wrong side of the law? What would the leaflets say? It is suggested that safety is the number 1 concern stopping people taking up cycling. Perhaps it would provide detail on the risks of not cycling!

So, go on my cycling readers (and any non-cycling readers!), what do you think of these ideas, and do you have any of your own?