On a New Year

Well, once again I have not blogged for ages. I’m struggling to find a good time to do it.

Something my niece said to me has stuck, though. She got a new bike for her 7th birthday. “Our new bikes are too big for the pavement and too small for the road,” she said. It is true, too. The pavements round where she lives are quite narrow. It isn’t an old estate, 1960s or 70s I guess, they just didn’t build big pavements. And if I was an elderly person or a mother with a buggy I wouldn’t be happy about being buzzed by a boisterous 7-year-old. But the roads are not very wide either, and even though the houses have garages and spaces to park cars off the road, there are still cars parked on the road. I mean, I would cycle on that road quite happily, but I’m an adult and I can make myself nice and big if I have to. When you get to the bottom of the road, there’s a road with much older houses with no car parking, so cars get parked along both sides of that. Even as an adult, you have to peer out carefully to check that nothing is coming. So the bikes don’t get used much.

The house I grew up in is on the main road into the town where we lived. It allegedly has a 30mph speed limit. The “allegedly” will tell you what actually happens… When we were children we had to walk our bicycles along the pavement to the corner where you could get into an estate where we could cycle round and round, and play with our friends who lived round there.* Later we were allowed to go further afield – but you always had to walk along the main road! It is funny how far things seem to a child – I recently ran one of our favourite long routes as a training run and it is only about 8 miles! I still feel a bit guilty when I cycle on the main road… You do actually get quite a lot of cyclists (by British standards) on that road at the weekend as club groups come out from the nearest city.

I don’t think there’s anywhere like our safe little estate for my niece to cycle, though. And I wonder if that safe place is so safe now – there are more parked cars, of course, and parked cars hide children on bikes very well. I did buy the family a track pump for Christmas, so next time I go to visit we might get to go for a cycle.

(*Even when we were learning to drive, whichever parent was sitting with us would bring the car out of the drive and then pull over so the learner could swap – you knew your parents were comfortable with your driving when you were allowed to reverse out yourself… The Highway Code suggests that you reverse into a driveway and drive out – I’m not sure why my parents didn’t do this, although I suspect that driving in and reversing out feels as though it isn’t holding up the traffic so much…)

P.S. I decided I fancied a new “Theme” for the blog – with a photo. It isn’t a particularly WiSoB-ish photo, though. Maybe I’ll get a better one sometime…


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