20 November 2010

European style city cycling, attempt 1

I had an event to go to yesterday - something at Salford University.  Options were to fight the traffic and probable shortage of parking spaces, take the tram to Victoria then walk a mile, or do what would take me door to door most easily: to cycle.

I settled for the latter.  I thought I'd try to be more European - do away with the lycra and wear civy clothes, so as to arrive ready for the event.

The experiment was a qualified success.  I settled for a hybrid combination of casual cords, cycling shoes and tops, with a fleece to put on top on arrival so as not to get cold.  Mostly it worked fine, and I achieved the overall goal.  I found however that to cycle so slowly that I would not break a sweat was just not practical, so I picked up the pace and sweat I did, profusely.  Despite refreshing myself on arrival in the university gents, once in the meeting room I realised the idea of wearing a fleece was not good, at least at first, since I was still overheated and needed to cool down.

After the meeting and some lunch kindly provided by the friend through whom I heard of the event, I cycled to Prestwich on another errand.  My friend suggested I followed NCN Route 6 instead of going on the road.  I did try, but gave up after a couple of miles.  It wasn't that it was so lonely as such, but the errand was important, time was tight and, should I had had, say, a flat tyre, I would have needed a plan B, eg. access to public transport (leaving the bike behind).  On the isolated bike trail I would have had no such alternative.  And although in theory the path follows the river so getting lost should be impossible, in practice it crosses the rivers and briefly detours in and out of estates, and there I found the limited signposting the route required to be incomplete or confusing.

Will I try again?  Sure, yes.  But you will not see me cycling to a job interview wearing a suit.

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