Wednesday, 9 March 2016

#Errandonnee Challenge 2016: Rides 4 & 5 (Urban Night Riding)

Errandonnee #4
Date: Monday, 7 March 2016
Errand:  Evening Commute from Office to Train Station
Category: Work (1)
Destination:  St Pancras International, London
Distance: 2.3km (each way)
What I learned/observations:

I often wish I had my camera to hand when I'm commuting. From time to time, I do stop to photograph things that catch my eye, but these have tended to be on my morning commute and therefore in daylight.

Tonight saw my first attempts at taking photos in central London from a moving bicycle. In the dark. With gloves on. Of course there were 3 bad shots for every half-decent one. Good thing I took quite a few!

I quite like the area I work in (Fitzrovia). It's a buzzy mix of old and new, not at all 'sterile' like the City. 

Liberated from her usual bike stand (just out of sight to the left).
I intended to take a photo of Lorelei at the stand, with the glorious Charlotte Street Hotel behind,
but a couple was standing there having a rather heated debate (in another language)
so I unlocked in a hurry and moved a few yards away.

on the segregated cycle route along Torrington Place approaching Gordon Square

on Tavistock Place approaching the lights where I turn left into Marchmont Street

Errandonnee #5
Date: Tuesday, 8 March 2016
Errand:  Psychologist 
Category: Personal Care
Destination:  Putney, London SW15
Distance: 12.6km (11km from my office to my therapist's house, then 1.6km to the train station)
What I learned/observations:

This is the second time I have made this journey. The first time was on a Thursday evening, an hour later than last night's. Traffic was much lighter than it was the first time, which seems odd. I expected to be dealing with residual peak/rush levels of traffic and congestion but it was fairly clear sailing.

I know the route visually now so did not need to stop to check the (digital) map on my phone.

My route follows main roads but the only danger (both trips) I found difficult both to anticipate and to respond to was oncoming motorists wishing to turn right across my path. I position myself correctly and ride assertively (taking primary when appropriate), have two bright lights on the front of the bike and last night (based on the previous experience) I even wore a hi-viz vest. But it was as if I was invisible. The "closest call" of all was the Addison Lee driver wanting to turn off into Hans Road alongside Harrods, who then stopped dead, blocking the entire westbound lane of Brompton Road (which is actually the A4), when he realised Hans Road was so full of parked cars that he couldn't actually enter it! He was completely oblivious to the emergency braking and shouting of myself and the cyclist alongside me.

Ah well, that's cycling in London. Expect the unexpected.

Knightsbridge Road (A4), as the cycle lane exits Hyde Park at Albert Gate next to the French Embassy

Harrods - Knightsbridge Road

Lucy the Brompton at the top of Brompton Road.
The Brompton Oratory (from which the Brompton folding bicycle gets its name)
was over my right shoulder but the lighting was too poor to attempt a photo. 

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