The Ride Stuff

The adventures of a couple of happy bikers


For those that don’t know, I live in Norwich but work in West London. It’s too far for a daily commute, so I flat-share with a work colleague during the week and travel home at weekends. We knock-off at 12.00pm on Friday’s and I can do the trip in about 2 1/2 hours on a good day, so I’m usually home at a reasonable time.

It’s the Sunday evening or Monday morning trip back to London that is the conundrum. If I leave home on Sunday evening (usually at about 7.00pm) I get a reasonably traffic-free journey and I get a good night’s sleep before starting work on the Monday morning. (I start work at 7.00am and the flat is a 10 minute walk away) The down side to this is that I get to spend one less night at home and it usually spoils my Sunday a bit as we tend not to venture too far from home knowing that I’ll be travelling again later.

However, if I travel on Monday morning, Sunday is mine to do as I please. There are downsides to this, though; I tend not to sleep very well on the Sunday night as I know that I have to get up at 5.00am to get on the road early. It also means that I get in to work later than normal and then spend the rest of the week working late catching up the time. I’m also fairly whacked come Monday evening.

The real downer, however, is travelling in Monday morning traffic. It’s usually pretty good until I get onto the A1 where there is generally a bottle-neck in the Stevenage area but I can filter through that without too much trouble. The real problems come once I’m inside the M25 and onto the North Circular. The motorists are just downright nasty!

These are a few of my pet gripes (mostly to do with dual carriageways):

  • Lane discipline: Choose a lane and stick to it until it is safe to change. Especially don’t change lanes whilst exiting a roundabout!
  • Overtaking (Part I): Plan ahead. Don’t wait until I am nearly upon you before you suddenly pull out in front of me to overtake.
  • Overtaking (Part II): Overtake at a reasonable speed. If the car ahead is doing 68 mph, don’t overtake at 69 mph until you are past – it’s takes for ever!
  • Overtaking (Part III):  Make progress. Don’t overtake me and then pull back in front of me only to slow down again so that I then have to overtake you. Aargh!
  • Filtering:  Don’t try to block me off when I’m filtering between cars in slow-moving traffic. I’ll just end up clipping your mirror. And then who’ll be sorry? I’m going to get there before you anyway. Don’t fight it.

For those car drivers reading this that don’t do any of the annoying things above – thank-you! And if you are one of the courteous ones who move over slightly to give me room – an even bigger thanks! I’ll nod or shake a leg to acknowledge you if I can.


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