I didn’t start cycling to grass on people; I started it to get fit whilst enjoying myself. However I also didn’t start it to get hit by an idiot in a car who thinks passing me at less than 30cm is an acceptable overtake.
Police now run a system called operation snap where people can upload videos of such things for assessment and possible prosecution, and a few weeks ago I submitted my first one. It was on a cycle ride just outside Normanton – I’d taken the bike on the van and had a little ride at work during my lunch break.
The car in question – strangely enough an electric vehicle – a mini – put the pinch on me and forced me to swerve towards the kerb as they did a MGIF (must get in front). We stopped at lights not 100 yards later and I went up the cycle lane on the inside.
Well I submitted the video to West Yorkshire Police operation snap and I received a notification yesterday that the driver had been sent a notice of intended prosecution and had been offered a driver improvement course at their own expense.
Driver improvement courses are an alternative to 3 penalty points; although they stay on your driving record for 3 years and you can’t do another until the previous one has expired – so if you commit another offence you’ll not be offered one and will be dealt with in the appropriate manner. They cost more than the fixed penalty fine (£140 versus £100) but you don’t have to tell your insurers.
Sadly, South Yorkshire Police have yet to roll out operation snap – I had one close pass yesterday which I would certainly have reported – but I’ve sent an email to them asking when the scheme is to roll out and attaching my close pass video for their consideration.
I’ll not be publishing the videos provided both are resolved successfully. Whilst cyclingmikey on YouTube does post them with the result; I have a belief that if you report someone off the back of a dashcam or cycle cam video and they are successfully prosecuted then they should not be embarrassed any further for their mistake and hopefully they have learnt their lesson.
Since getting into biking I’ve discovered what I actually like. I love the DaHon but it’s not easy to ride; so I thought I’d try a 20″ wheel folder and I absolutely fell in love with it.
It’s a Raleigh Stowaway 2021 model. A really nice solid feeling bike with none of the flex associated with my DaHon 16 (which to be honest is a wobbly little thing).
The first ride today was over 10 miles! I can’t believe we almost made it all the way to crossing the M1! Perhaps next ride we’ll achieve that goal.
We set off just after a rain storm; believing the weather forecast that there should be no more rain. Riding up the Wombwell TPT and then forking up to Worsborough; we passed under the railway viaduct.
Eventually we reached the entrance to Worsborough Dam on the A61. A whole 5.25 miles away.
Of course the heavens then opened; and despite waiting 20 minutes for it to abate we were left facing the prospect of cycling back in the rain. Thankfully I’d taken my old Stormforce 10 waterproof poncho from Drayton Manor Park! How lucky that was.
The ride back was soaking for the most part – we both arrived at the unit wetter than an otter’s pocket!
Thoughts about the bike…
Well it’s an unknown quantity from the bike community point of view – there are very few reviews out there for the Raleigh Stowaway 2021 model as it’s not been out very long.
From my point of view it feels great to ride. Very steady and yet with the small wheels it’s agile and easy to steer. The Shimano 7 speed gears are a nice range and I coped with all the hills thrown at me without even thinking about it. They charge cleanly and quickly with no crunch or clunkyness.
I can’t believe how my stamina and fitness are improving. This little 8 mile ride would have killed me at one point but now I can do it on the DaHon without much concern.
I’ve even got myself a new bag for it – it’s meant to go under the saddle on the seat post, but for the DaHon it works well on the stiffener bar too.
I’ve also now got some decent lights. Only a cheap set from Amazon, but I’ve started venturing onto roads and even though it’s only for short periods I’m very aware how I can get totally missed when in the van, so I thought I’d make myself as visible as possible even in daylight. A bright flashing light is much less likely to get ignored as I’m approaching a junction, although I’m sure some of you cycling friends will tell me stories otherwise.
On a fitness note though, I’ve also noticed on my watch that my activity curve is shifting down – most of my riding is now in the aerobic section of my heart rate. Apparently this is good as it’s less dangerous as you get older – you shouldn’t push your body too far when you’re not at the peak of fitness. I’ve joined Strava to see if mutual exercise is for me – and I’m liking how it works because it just sends the stuff from my galaxy watch 3 to Strava. I can’t be faffed with extra apps.
The fitness kick continues. I’m now over 5 miles on a ride and unlike previous rides I’m now no longer finishing exhausted. It’s amazing how quick your fitness starts to return when you make the demand of your body.
My waist hasn’t shrunk much, but I’ve noticed that the wobbly leftover of my old fat days is no longer as wobbly and my flab on my thighs, similar. I can feel muscles developing all the time and the tone of my calves and thighs improving beyond belief.
Even my weighing scales agree…
A physical week at work also helped though… I’m on three installs at the moment!
So this was week’s Saturday jaunt. A 5 mile run along the Trans Pennine Trail. Not too challenging, however, the thing that can be observed is that my times spent in each exercise area are changing. I’m no longer seeing much in Maximum but I’m getting a nice balance of aerobic and anaerobicwhich is apparently as it should be for someone of my fitness level and age. Too much in anaerobic and maximum without developing your fitness first can stress the heart and lead to cardiac problems.
As you’ll see though, I’m looking a lot more svelte! These are a 36″ waist trousers and the top is an XL. I’m definitely out of the XXL and 40″ waist now.