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England

Sunday, 23 November 2014
Winter descent of Ide Hill

Due to the wet road and mist, I had to take it easy.

Posted by bigblue on 23/11/2014 at 08:04 AM
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Saturday, 22 November 2014
Chiddingstone

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I went roaming in the gloaming this afternoon. Stopping at this lake, I was reminded of the WB Yeats poem:

The trees are in their autumn beauty,
The woodland paths are dry,
Under the October twilight the water
Mirrors a still sky;

The poem is about 59 swans. I didn’t see any swans, but just before I took this photo a large fish leapt out of the water and splashed back into the lake. You can see the ripples forming in the bottom left of the photograph.

Posted by bigblue on 22/11/2014 at 08:25 PM
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Friday, 21 November 2014
Winter cycling is not yet bleak

Winter retains some of autumn’s charms, in the daylight.  I haven’t had much time to edit the annoying “bits” into a video, so here are some of my best bits (from this afternoon).

Posted by bigblue on 21/11/2014 at 10:21 PM
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Sunday, 09 November 2014
St Paul’s at night

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Here are two different perspectives of the London cathedral, that I took last week.

Posted by bigblue on 09/11/2014 at 09:21 PM
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Friday, 07 November 2014
Useless cycling facility of the week

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Stay classy Cooperative Supermarket,  Oxted. 

Posted by bigblue on 07/11/2014 at 04:58 PM
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Tuesday, 04 November 2014
Construction and deconstruction

Not long ago I posted the above video which purports to illustrate that a driver of a Surrey Police vehicle was tailgating another vehicle on 11 October 2014 in Godstone on the A25.  I don’t think it was a very serious incident, but tailgating is something that is disconcerting to other road users, such as the driver of the car in front, and any cyclist who is overtaken by tailgating cars.

The reason that tailgating disturbs me, as a cyclist, is that the tailgating car is “masked” (in sound) by the car in front, and because I am aware that tailgaters have reduced visibility. When they overtake a cyclist they see him/her later than the car in front, they generally give less space to cyclists, and they can get into conflict with oncoming vehicles by following the vehicle in front regardless of whether it is safe for them to overtake.  As I said, I didn’t regard the incident as very serious because although it was disconcerting at the time, the driver did give me plenty of room and didn’t put me or any other road user into danger.  Therefore, when Surrey Police replied to me (via Twitter) that:

I decided not to lay a complaint.

However I didn’t let things lie there… The other day the (famous) TrafficDroid tweeted a link to some government advice about tailgating, and I replied with a link to my video and saying that I didn’t think that Surrey Police took tailgating seriously:

This time they replied in more detail with the following information:

and then:

and:

and:

I am interested that they appear to have checked their in car video footage. But more strange are the seemingly contradictory statements that “nobody would consider this tailgating” and then saying that the driver was following at “(only) 1.75 seconds” (which is technically tailgating). Ignoring those details, I decided to revisit my video which is filmed in 30 frames per second.

Here are the 30 frames (representing 1 second) as the police car approaches me to overtake:
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Here are the 30 frames (representing 1 second) as the police car overtakes me:
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You can click on each picture to see a larger version.

As you can see in both cases, measuring a point (e.g. white paint) on the road, the driver of the police vehicle is travelling less than 1 second behind the car in front.  Here’s a reminder about how to tell if you are tailgating (from TrafficDroid’s link):

As the car in front passes a fixed point, such as a sign or a bridge, start to say ‘only a fool breaks the 2-second rule’ at a normal rate.

The phrase takes about 2 seconds to say, so if you pass the same fixed point before you’ve finished saying it, you’re too close and should leave more room.

In wet conditions, this gap should be at least doubled. In icy conditions, it needs to be increased even further.

I hope that this helps Surrey Police to “recalibrate” their equipment and to be able to identify tailgating in future!  (Their own, and that of other people).

Posted by bigblue on 04/11/2014 at 04:04 PM
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Sunday, 02 November 2014
Critical Mass - Halloween Ride

Some excerpts from Friday night’s cycle ride in London.

Posted by bigblue on 02/11/2014 at 08:15 AM
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Wednesday, 29 October 2014
St Crispin’s Day Night Ride

On Saturday night I rode 103 miles, through the night, back in time* on the St Crispin’s Day Night Ride from Richmond, into London and then out to Twyford and back. I didn’t even need a Delorean because at 2 am the clocks went back to 1 am again to mark the end of British Summer Time.

The video just covers the part of the ride into London and then out again in the direction of Chertsey and Sheperton.  As it was so dark in the country roads outside of London I didn’t film anything.  My ride back into London on the Sunday morning was a lot less interesting and I haven’t included any snippets of that in the edited video above.

Here are two tweets that I sent during the night:

Would I do it again? Yes, although the stories about the rain last year put me off a bit. The ride raised funds for the Honeypot Childrens’ Charity.

Posted by bigblue on 29/10/2014 at 07:04 AM
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