Tuesday 2 September 2014


....well, actually, it wasn't quite as much ouch as it could have been.

Yes, after nine years riding my bike in Glasgow, having had a few close calls and having witnessed some very poor  driving (and yes, having fallen off occasionally of my own accord...), I have been knocked off my bike.

Fear not (or sorry to disappoint, depending on what your view of Magnatom is), I came away from the incident with very minor scratches. The bike....well, it wasn't so lucky. I'm waiting to hear about the damage.

Here is the video

It could have been a lot worse of course, and I was fortunate that the driver accepted his mistake.

What is interesting though, is how some people react to this. Most folk are sympathetic and hope that 'you are ok'. Some though, really really don't like me, and can still find fault in what I do. I should have been 'cycling on the divider lines' for instance (not a chance!), was one suggestion. However, another suggestion that I've had thrown at me is more substantial.....

Why do you take that route at all? There is an alternative route so you must be looking for trouble.

Well, I decided to answer that question in the place it was asked (doesn't matter where it is). However, I've also decided to copy the answer here, so that I could refer to it in the future. My answer also covers some of the criticism of some who don't either think campaigning for better infrastructure is worth it, or are actually scared by what they see as 'segregationism'.

Anyway, here is my answer.

I think I have seen you indirectly asking me quite a few times why I don't use the canal. You've not asked me directly, but I'll assume you actually want an answer.

I need to be at work for 9am. Actually, I ideally need to be at work before 9am. Unfortunately (actually I think it's fortunate, but hey ho) I have 3 kids, and as I work, and my wife works that means that we need to get the kids to the child-minders. Now for reasons that I don't feel the need to share, it works out better if I take the kids to the child minder. Unfortunately, the child minders only starts at 8am. Therefore, as much as I would love to leave earlier, I can't. The roads are far, far quicker than the canal, especially if you ride taking other canal users into account. In fact I rode on the canal the other day and, to be honest with you, it's in a poor state in many places. That was on a dry day. I'd have to buy a different bike to ride on it.

Interestingly though, despite suggestions that I look for trouble, the vast majority of my commutes to work are not along Balmore Road. If you look at my videos you will see quite a few where I take a quiet route via Baldernock. This does take a little longer, but is still quicker, and far more pleasant than the canal. Some days though, I am running late and that isn't an option.

Coming home, I must admit I only rarely take my Baldernock route. I am often later than I would like and, crazy I know, I want to get home to see my kids before it is time to get them ready for bed.

Then of course is the fact that, having kids, and not having a lot of spare time (I'm busy writing a blog, seeing the rest of my family, working out of hours trying to spin out a biotech company, talking to my wife etc....), I don't have time to go to the gym. My commute is also my exercise. My father died at 51 from a heart attack, and I am determined not to do the same, so by cycling on the roads, and yes the hilly back roads especially, I keep fit. I am nowhere near the fittest cyclist....far from it....but in relation to the general population my cycling keeps me very fit.

So you see, whilst it might fit some people's world view that I cycle down road X because I must be looking for trouble, it just isn't the case, no matter how much you want it to be.

As for changes to the roads and needing to build cycle ways in the sky....Have a look at at an aerial view of Canniesburn roundabout. There is a huge amount of wasted space that could be put to good use. There are many options to make that roundabout safe. For those who suggest we should just leave it as it is, and that the roads are fine, let me ask you this....how many children have you seen riding that roundabout, or in that area in general? In my years of riding it I have seen none. Not one. So, if you think the roads are fine, you are excluding children, along with the many other people who do not feel safe from riding there. Yes, you might feel safe and generally I do, but we are a small percentage of people who are willing to put up with current conditions.

I'm sorry, but I do not think that cycling should be the reserve of a brave and fortunate few. I think everyone should have the opportunity and I will continue to to fight for that, not in your name of course, but in my own name, and in the name of the many others that have signed petitions, come to demonstrations and will do so in the future. Of course, I do not assume that my views are shared by all, but I know they are shared by many.

As for change never coming, well, change is already coming..... http://www.eastdunbarton.gov.uk/content/council_and_government/consultations,_complaints_and/consultation_and_engagement/current_consultation_activity/bears_way.aspx

They do have future plans for Canniesburn Toll as well......


  1. Sorry to hear about your off, David, glad you're ok.

  2. Glad you're ok Dave.

  3. Typical that you nearly get yourself killed and you get some half wit advising you to take another route,probably someone who commutes alone in his 4-door saloon and has never been on a cycle in his life.His understanding of the world stops at his windscreen.
    Very glad to hear you're ok,keep up the good work-the video shows how important it is to wear a helmet,and the advisibility of getting a camera attached to it.

  4. I've been commuting by bike for almost 15 years and have done so with little in the way of incident. Last November I was hit by a car (that didn't see me) and shattered my wrist. It took months until I was able to get back on the bike again. Last Thursday a pedestrian stepped out in front of me wrecking my bike and causing me to break my collarbone. I'm having surgery on Friday.

  5. Good it's just few scratches. 9 years, lucky you! It was about 6 months after I started commuting daily when a taxi hit me. I fell off the bike, my head collided with the cab and I lost consciousness. Recovering 6 months. Now, after an accident not involving a car, the recovery is expected to be up to 2 years (extensive soft tissue injury in the knee) with the prospect of osteoarthrosis later in life.