October 27, 2004

Wobbly Cyclists and Speedlimititus

OK, I've had my month and a half of driving round here now. I'm not going to complain about the traffic in the mornings, or the lack of parking on campus (NB: I haven't paid a penny in parking charges so far – go me). This rant is aimed at two things: Wobbly cyclists and drivers with that dire affliction – speedlimititus.

Firstly: There are a considerable number of cyclists in Leamington. Good on them I say. You're saving the environment and getting fit at the same time (mind you, that cold you're catching is gonna put paid to that). But you'll notice that Leamington to Campus is an 8 mile (via the A46 for the risktakers among you, Kenilworth for normal folk) or 10 mile (via Stoneleigh for those with a penchant for mild risk survival) trip. This is not a walk in the park (quite literally), and by mile 9, climbing the hill up towards campus, you're legs must tire. This tends to make you wobble ever so slightly, or in some cases, veer suicidally across to the middle of the road before sweeping back across and clattering into a bush (maybe this particular cyclist was just drunk, but it was 11am).

I've rambled – what I mean to say is this – stop and rest, and stop wobbling in front of me as I'm coming past, forcing evasive action half way across the road for me. Oh and there seem to be a lot of ageing cyclists who wobble out of practice rather than fault, just get off the road and into a bus, please.

Secondly is this curious epidemic of speedlimititus. It afflicts a wide range of drivers, particularly the elderly, recently passed drivers, or in Leamington, anyone who a) Has a car capable of seating more than 2 people; and b) Does not have a lecture, or anything for that matter, to get to. Symptoms include:

– Extremely slow acceleration. Presumably to prevent from accidentally tipping 31mph. – Extremely gradual braking. Afflicted persons often begin to brake some half mile before the junction which requires said decceleration. This is presumably to pre-empt every possible change in the speed limit. – And now the big one: a tendency to drive (or "peak", if you like) at a minimum of 10mph below the speed limit, though it seems 20mph is a requisite on national speed limit roads. – Finally, these people have a fetish for hanging/sticking things in the back window, with dramatic slogans such as "BACK OFF - baby on board" or, my personal favourite as it is often in 30 inch high letters, readable from the moon, "If you can read this, BACK OFF", presumably aimed at warding off alien invasion.

This is an epidemic that must be dealt with. I do not encourage the breaking of speed limits, merely that folk drive at the speed limits where possible. Please stop pulling out in front of me, travelling at 30mph, and proceeding for a full mile before getting up to my speed.

Finally: those who are suffering at the hands of these plagued persons, I plan to release a car sticker aimed at countering their dramatic slogans. These should be placed in the front windscreen, behind the rear-view mirror. In mirrored writing they shall read – "SPEED UP – I eat babies". (OK, its not quite so dramatic, but I felt "I'm a paedophile" pushed the bounds of good taste)

- 4 comments by 2 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Chris May

    Bikes do wobble when they're going up hill, whether being ridden by Alf Gitt or Lance Armstrong, and cars just have to deal with it. When you stomp on one pedal, the bike reacts by moving to that side. Generally though they don't move out more than a yard or so, but if you can't leave them at least that much space then you should sit back and wait until you can, rather than forcing past them. As a general rule*, if you're overtaking cyclists without crossing the white lines then you're not leaving enough space – after all, I have to cross the white lines when I overtake cars on Gibbet Hill.

    That said, it does sound as if in this particular case (going from the white lines to a bush) the fault was distributed rather more towards the cyclist :-)

    * and subject to all the usual exceptions and caveats

    27 Oct 2004, 12:55

  2. Hmm, how have you managed to completely avoid parking charges so far?

    I can sometimes do it, if a) I get there really early or b) Park near rather than on campus.

    I haven't bought a permit though, and think I'd be worse off if I did.

    27 Oct 2004, 13:05

  3. First Comment – I understand that but of late they're have been some severe "over wobblers". And the pensioner cyclists on any surface whatsoever.

    Second – Cryfields and University House. Or just being plain lucky in the Sports Centre. Oh and Car Park 6/Health Centre Road is good after 3pm (mass exodus of cleaners).

    27 Oct 2004, 14:17

  4. Thanks.

    Tesco is always an alternative for less than 3 hours.

    30 Oct 2004, 18:21

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