Monday, March 26, 2007

cold hands and much wobbling

This was the first line introduction to an item on Today about the new cycling proficiency test (not proficient cycling tests, but Bikeability, something much more 21st century). So hardly a great introduction when we're trying to encourage more people to cycle, rather than highlight that occassionally you may get cold hands. (I'll come back to gloves...)
As someone who took the CP test over 20 years ago, the new version sounds far more relevant: getting riders to experience actual roads. My test was in a school carpark on a saturday morning, so not a car in sight. It did involve basic bike handling - turning, braking, balance and a simple understanding of common road signs - give way etc.
Birmingham offers some fantastic traffic free routes: national route 5 could take me from home to the council house. But I could also choose to ride on some of the busiest roads (bar the Aston Expressway which is a motorway!). I've got more than enough confidence in my riding style to make my journeys as safe as possible, but it doesn't stop the nutter in a white van from overtaking you when you've indicated to go right and pulled into the middle of a quiet residential road. Unfortunately I didn't get the whole of his number plate NY54...
No one should ever suffer from having cold hands while cycling. I strongly suggest wearing an appropriate pair of gloves whatever the weather. When I've come off, gloves have saved me from the worst of the accident as you instinctively stick your hands out to break any fall.
Its a shame the govt couldn't find an additional £10m to train the other half of 10yr olds. But clearly £5bn on the war in Iraq is far more important than the safety of our kids on the roads.

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