After yesterday’s sunshine, the weather in Manchester was back on form – looming grey clouds and an unhelpful wind that buffeted me unexpectedly when I rode out to work. Again, I’d failed to leave early for the fabled ‘long ride in the morning’, but I will get around to that very soon.
One of the things I noticed on my ride to work this morning is that there’s a road safety campaign in full swing. I’ve seen it on the back of buses, reminding drivers to check for cyclists and junctions. And on Sackville Street there’s a prominent poster suggesting cyclists ride central on narrow streets (“…like this one”, I thought in my head as I went past).
Riding in “the primary position“, or “taking the lane” is something I’d first learned about from this brilliant blog post from London Cyclist: 7 mistakes you’re making with your cycling and how to correct them. I actually first started commuting properly by bike in London back in 2010 when I was seconded to another department, shortly after I bought my first bike as an adult. Andreas’s post was a great way to avoid some basic mistales that I might’ve made, starting out commuting on London’s busy roads. I recommend even experienced cyclists take a look and check they’re not making any obvious errors out of habit.
But equally importantly in this campaign is educating drivers about why cyclists might not be riding in the gutter or using the marked bike lane. As anyone who rides regularly will tell you, there are a few drivers who still refuse to accept that anyone with fewer than four wheels is allowed to use the road. Hopefully, this government-backed intitiative will remind everyone to look out for one another and explain some sensible cycling techniques.
This evening, I cycled home more laden than when I arrived. I had to take home some components for a new PC that I’m building, including two hard drives and a motherboard.
You might think that delicate components like hard drives should probably be transported by courier or, at least, Royal Mail. I decided to wrap the two full-size drives in bubblewrap and shove them in a small parcel box I had spare from an eBay delivery. I’m happy to report they made it home fine, snugly fitting in my pannier alongside the motherboard box and my laptop. I suspect, to be honest, that they probably got the same amount of bouncing around as they would do in the back of a Royal Mail van, but they are designed to be transported and cycling is a perfectly acceptable way of doing so.
Of course, I haven’t yet needed to move an entire server by bike but I’m sure some bungee cords would be fine…