Moving On

The original purpose behind The Fourteen Percent Ride has long since been fulfilled. So, I've decided that Mighty Proud will be the last posting. It just seems right.

But, don't worry. Or maybe you should. In any event, I plan to continue. I'll keep riding. And writing. Click here to come along in my new blog ~ The Long White Line. <-- check it out!


As I've ridden for the last two years, I've picked up on the fact that Shirley, my darling wife, has been more worried about my safety than impressed with my "accomplishments." How do I know this? Well, when I'd come back and tell her, for example, that I'd hit 53.6 mph going down FO, she'd reply, "I don't want to hear it." Being the sensitive sort I figured out, after many such comments, that just maybe we were not on the same page here. But last week, she told me that she would "greatly reduce her focus on the 'fear for my safety' issue." We talked about the tour, looked at some maps, researched nutrition suggestions on the internet, and so on, just enjoying the idea of the ride. How nice is that? Thank you, Shirley!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A London Tale

On the list of the ten shortest books ever written is Fashion for Engineers. So I guess that qualifies me as much as anyone to provide fashion commentaries. With that pre-disclaimer, let’s get on with it.

Walking around London this afternoon, I noticed quite a few bikes, more so, I think, than in previous visits to this rather amazing city. A few years ago, a Congestion Charge was instituted for any car driving in central London. One benefit of this is that us foreigners now know precisely when we are passing into central London since EVERY street is marked with a sign having a distinctive white C on a red background at the point where it crosses this heretofore invisible boundary. The standard daily charge is 8 Pounds or about $16. That’s EVERY DAY. Right there you have 80 good reasons per week to ride your bike here. There are, of course, the million or so other reasons to not ride here: all of the cars, taxis and buses that pack the streets.

Another thing I've noticed in my travels around town is that the concept of London fashion is clearly an oxymoron*. It looks like grab-your-clothes-in-the-dark is the rule of the day. Casual doesn’t begin to describe it. This spills over to bikers. They wear everything. T-shirts, baggy shorts, flip-flops. But not helmets. My non-scientific study puts the number of helmet wearers at less than 10%.

As for the bikes, there is quite the variety of these, too. Mostly sturdy ones as befits the rough roads around town. And there are a few road bikes, some of the small city cycles and even a track bike or two. See the slide show at the end of this post for pictures of just a few of the bikes and bikers.

I know I’d never ride around here. It is bad enough as a pedestrian from the keep-to-the-right school, trying to avoid being run down from behind by the keep-lefters. As you might guess, there has been no riding at all since last Tuesday. And there will be none between now and next Tuesday, either. There will be a lot to catch up on when the traveling is done.


* Don't think that I am down on London. Shirley and I were here on THE September 11 and spent an extra 5 days waiting for our flight back home. We were treated wonderfully and have nothing but good memories of the people we have met here, before, during and after our September 11 experience. This September 11 was no exception.

Bikes in London...


Anonymous said...

Did that red bike have a bent wheel or was that an optical illusion????

Jack said...

Bent. Square. It was there the entire week. No sign of the rider.

Anonymous said...

Scary thought of how it happened.