Earlier this evening I copied a load of helmetcam video on to the laptop from the Drift HD Ghost.
I’ve just had a quick flick through it.
There are two ‘commutes’ (one trip to work, one trip back home again), and a load of footage from yesterday’s marathon trip down to that London (and all the footage through the centre of London to Buckingham Palace Road, then to Borough Market, then out through north London to the M1).
What’s very interesting to note is how my riding style changed once I began to hit the lunacy that is London’s traffic problem.
Normally, even on my commutes, I’m in a well-balanced mental place. Even though I do like to push on, there are times when I’m prepared to wait back, give people space. I’m always anticipatory; always calculating what might happen next, always thinking about possibilities and idiocies.
But I’m bold, I don’t fanny about (because dithering is as dangerous as recklessness). The DSA set great emphasis on ‘making progress’, and yes, they are absolutely right to do this, because ditherers (moreso on a motorbike) will get eaten alive by aggressive vehicle drivers.
The difference I noticed was that as soon as I hit the stupidity of London, I notched up a mental gear. I shifted from ‘bold but calculating’ to ‘assertive with a touch of aggressive’.
Watching the footage back, it is as if I was working to make space between me and the other traffic; to create a bubble, a safety barrier, between them and me.
I’ve ridden bikes in a lot of cities – and not just cities in the UK.
Berlin, Paris, Cardiff, Brussels (shudder), New York, LA, Madrid, Rome, Manchester, and many, many more.
But only London’s ‘Death Race 2000’ traffic seems to push me to a mental place where my riding becomes so assertive.
Why is that?
Are there more lunatics per Sq Ft on the roads of London than any of the other cities?
That may, on closer consideration, have more value than you’d consider, at first.
Certainly NY and LA both have equally crammed, but less chaotic road systems.
So too does Rome. And Paris.
So what’s the problem with London?
What is it with being on the road in London that pushes us to be so assertive/aggressive?
And when I say ‘us’ I don’t believe I’m making a grand assumption, because whenever I looked about me, I saw other people driving cars, buses, lorries, riding motorbikes, bicycles in much more aggressive styles than other cities I’ve ridden in.
And I’m not even counting the idiot-controlled ‘Boris Bikes’, ridden by people who clearly have no grasp of British traffic law, let alone any degree of understanding about which side of the road we use in this country!
But why, London, why is your traffic so bad?
And why do those who drive/ride/cycle in it push their mood to a near mind-altering level of aggression?
Answers on a postcard.
Oh yes, and there’s a very short excerpt of Friday’s trip to work just here: