Saturday, 1 December 2012

Travel in the 5th dimension

Me waving a pump
 I’ve always tried to make my local journeys by bicycle where possible – partly for the exercise, partly to save on fuel but mainly because I hate sitting in traffic jams and wasting time looking for parking. Going by bike on journeys up to 6 miles is often quicker because I can go door to door without stopping. Over the last month I’ve been lucky that the weather has been good at the right times and I’ve been able to go most places by bike – though I did decide that it was better to arrive still alive and walked up the last part of Gas Hill when on a seed swopping trip to see my friend Jane.

Speedy Chris
So it came as a bit of a shock when we travelled to Southwold by car, for a walk on the beach and I was reminded just how many other people there are in this world. I was puzzled by this as some of my bike journeys have been right through the centre of Norwich and there are plenty of people there. I think that there are two reasons for the altered perception of the world that travel by bicycle brings about.

The first is simply that I try and use quiet roads with little traffic – even going through the city there are roads that are quicker to cycle than drive down. The main factor though, is that on a bike you are neither a driver nor a pedestrian and you follow a different set of rules. Unfortunately there are relatively few other cyclists sharing this dimension so you travel along in your own little world. Having cycled a lot recently I find that the wheels turn without much effort and I’m free to think about other things – unless the head wind is really strong! The whole effect is heightened because my journey into Norwich starts by crossing the A47 dual carriageway on foot and then using a disused section of road that is only accessible to a handful of cyclists and lots of rabbits.

Kerry as Superwoman
At a recent council meeting, that discussed funding for schemes to promote cycling, I was the only person to arrive by cycle and I was pleased when the local parish clerk remarked, when she saw me chaining my bike to the drainpipe, that they really ought to have a have a bicycle shed. I enjoy travelling in the 5th dimension but it can be lonely – I look forward to meeting you there.

The pics are some that have appeared in previous blogs about cycling


  1. Nice post John! Of course I am a bit biased, as a regular cyclist myself. You did well to unearth that pic of me there! By the way, I am not always dressed up like that.... although did on riding the Tour of Britain ride ahead of the pros in September - 127 miles of East Anglia in a mass of 950 riders ( not all together!).
    Don't know about you but as 2012 has been such a massive year for cycling and it's visibility in the press and in the public eye,I seem to see greater numbers of cyclists around Norwich....and possibly even a more forgiving set of motorists?

  2. Can't say that I've noticed an increase in cycle numbers out here in the sticks, Chris. But on the roads that I mainly cycle the numbers of both cars and cyclists are so infrequent that it would be hard to spot a trend. I've seen discussions about the NRP expansion that predict 1700 people commuting there by cycle - now, that I may just notice!