King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Thursday, June 19

Cycling and hills don't mix

With the ever increasing price of fuel, I think the average Joe of this country is starting to realise that driving isn't so cheap any more. For 50 years oil companies have been telling us the oil will run out, and yet all we seemed to have done is looked at ways of reducing our consumption, not stop it all together. Suddenly oil has become prohibitively expensive, with predictions of $200 a barrel likely before the end of the year. Meanwhile I still get emails saying that signing a petition against the fuel prices will lower it, whereas I have to agree that prices aren't going to drop. The old Volvo's 2 litre engine is now starting to look overpriced, and where it is nice that I can do 0 - 60 in 6.5 seconds, the need really isn't there and the fact that 6.5 seconds costs me £12.73 isn't good either.
So, the solution? Well, obviously greener solutions are on the cards. I've been using the 50cc hairdryer a lot and this will be why it's been raining here a lot as well. I have to admit I haven't yet transported a full PC in the backbox of the bee in a jamjar, mainly because I would need a backbox reminiscent of a Pizza delivery box. When in Belgium 10 years ago, I rented another 50cc pocket rocket. The law is very different in Belgium, and a moped is classed as a bicycle. No helmet or licence is required, insurance is voluntary, and most surprisingly cycles have right of way over cars down one way streets, leading to scenes of sheer suicide as I headed at 30 mph towards the 7.5ton truck that was now trying to get out of my way.
The other more widely utilised solution would be to get out the old bike. Mine was recently delivered gratis to my father, who I assured would be able to get it working cheaply enough. He, in his infinite wisdom, took it to Halfords, who set about selling him a new bike for less price then that one would cost to repair. This has two flaws. First of all, Halfords' 'Bike Shack' is what's known in industry as fucking expensive, and secondly the bike they sell him will fall apart within a week. I know this because it happened to John's Christmas present. I meanwhile would get another bike, if it weren't for the fact I live at a 1000ft. This means any cycling starts off easy, with a riproaring 50mph descent down the 1:3 hill to the valley bottom. Then when I have to return home, I reach the bottom of the same hill and look up it. At this point the great Lance Armstrong would also look up this Hors Cat├ęgorie, swear, and get off and push. I have cycled up this hill. Once. Even remembering it is putting me in danger of a coronary.
And so, with the onset of green Britain, the powers that be have decided to make some cities cycling cities. The obvious choice would be a nice, flat, uncongested city. Somewhere like Norwich maybe. And which city do they pick?
Bristol. The UK's equivalent of Rome. Not built on 7 hills, but 3,402. I know Bristol well, having worked there for a year doing call outs all over the city. Whilst it isn't suitable to cycle here, it's because I live in the mountains. We don't need to lower congestion here, where the local traffic jam is rush hour as the farmer takes his sheep back to the shearing shed. Bristol, however, is a really bad idea for a cycling city. I can see the Bristol Royal Infirmary being overwhelmed by middle-aged, overweight business men being admitted for at least exhaustion, at worst complete and utter cardiac collapse. Mind you, at least the congestion will be sorted out.

No bugger will want to go to work.