So, school is out. And we are going on holiday. And we are having a big family reunion - my parents from Peru, my sister from Spain, all of us converging on my sister who lives in deepest and darkest Sweden. And who turned 40 recently. And I have to buy her a present. Things busy at work, time is short, all that.
So, reluctantly, I decide to use the bike, in full civvy clothes, for a lunchtime dash to the Arts n' Crafts place - sorry, the Craft and Design Centre, I'll have you know!. This is the ideal place if you want to tell someone, with a pressie, just how much you care (ie more than the usual £10) but don't want to get something big or heavy because it's going in the suitcase (so, no set of crockery from Ikea then).
I then discover how soiled one's clothes can get when one doesn't keep the bike spotless - and when said bike isn't designed to protect one's clothes. I mean, how is a chap to keep his trousers clean in the sodding rain anyway?Anyway, getting there was easy - just followed Whitworth St, then towards Picc. Gardens, then Northen Quarter and presto!. But getting back - and I should know better, but getting back just showed me why some cyclists in the city centre just give up on the rules. It's not just that the one-way system is messy, but it makes no provision for cyclists at all. It's the same reason why once I cycle past the Cathedral into Deansgate my average speeds drops to that of a snail on medication. Too many traffic lights but no alternate route for the bikes.
It's just wrong. There are enough back streets that are no good to cars but could support bicycle traffic.