Just another average bicycle commute!

This morning: a group of drunken foreigners breathing a beery "hello love, you all right?" in my face under Wellington Arch; a protest involving a double-decker bus, a crane and loads of police opposite Parliament; and a massive traffic jam on Westminster Bridge that I pedalled past with a grin on my face because at least I wasn’t stuck in a hunk of metal going nowhere!

This evening: a motorcyclist waving at me and shouting an apology for not letting me into his lane; a bendy-bus crunching the front of a silver hatchback as it rounded Parliament Square; a black sedan nearly skittling eight cyclists trying to jump a red light at Hyde Park Corner; and a brief but very HEAVY rain shower blinding my view up Rotten Row.

Yep. Just another average bicycle commute for Yours Truly.

Can’t wait to see what other exciting things happen on tomorrow’s ride!

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Cycling through a cloud of pollen

Tonight I rode through a windstorm of downy tufts that had fallen from all the London plane trees that line my cycle route.

The air was awash with pollen and discarded flowers. It looked like a cloud of giant, yellow insects, swirling and gusting all around me.

The stuff went up my nose, in my eyes and down my throat. When I stopped at the traffic lights at Hyde Park Corner I saw that all the pedestrians were wearing the ‘tufts’ in their hair like weird decorations that had been caught there, unable to escape.

And here I was thinking that the only hazard I had to watch out for when riding my bicycle was busy London traffic – and the odd rogue duck!

The pros and cons of cycling at this time of year

It’s perfect weather for cycling at the moment: bright, sunny and warm.

But to every upside there’s also a downside:

  • Insects – must remember to cycle with my mouth closed!
  • Fair weather cyclists – people who have hibernated for the winter now clog the already-congested cycle lanes. My pet peeves are the ones who go really, really slowly, wear headphones/iPods, don’t use handsignals, undertake, speak on their mobile phones (yes, really!), wander all over the road so you can’t get past them, and run red lights. No wonder cyclists have such a bad name!
  • Pollution – it’s more difficult to breathe on the ride home after a day’s traffic fumes have built-up in the warm air. Must remember to try my face mask, a Christmas present from T, which, until now, I’ve not really needed to use.
  • Pedestrians/tourists – the ones who wander all over the cycle lanes oblivious to the cyclists trying to get past. The ones wearing headphones/iPods are the worst, because you can ring your bell or ask them to get out of the way and they just don’t hear you!

Bluebells at Kew

Bluebellsbythefence

Every May I think, I must go see the bluebells in Kew, then promptly find an excuse not to get off my fat, lazy backside.

But this morning I donned my cycling gear, got on the bike and pedalled my way towards the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew. The five-mile trip along the tree-lined Thames Tow Path was easy riding, muddy and stony in parts, crowded with pedestrians in others. The only real hazard, apart from the odd rogue dog bounding off his lead, were the green flying aphids that clung to my sweaty face or flew into my mouth and down my throat! (That was my lunch sorted, then!)

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