Yesterday I had to do my weekly shop in two goes for Reasons, and as the second round (Lidl) was lighter and closer to home, I thought I’d take the opportunity to try a bike route I had been scared to so far – via Easton Way. Not much shorter than the quieter roads, but potentially much faster as more straightforward, which is my usual choice.
I have to say it wasn’t my favourite ride ever. Stapleton Road is narrow for the amount of traffic on it, it’s always busy, including buses, poor/inconsiderate driving and lots of more or less erratic pedestrians. I don’t even like driving along it. Easton Way, on the other hand, is lovely and simple, with a brand new surface and a clear, generous cycle lane, so although it’s a 40MPH road on which people drive very fast, it didn’t feel all that dangerous – except for the bit that turns left into Easton Road. There, I felt I could very easily be mowed down by an overconfident, patience-free driver turning without slowing. Then, there’s Lawrence Hill Roundabout – one of those uncertain bits before you rejoin a cycle lane once you exit.
The way back was worse – first of all, it pretty much starts with the unpleasant roundabout. I was the only cyclist there. Even as a regular on St James Barton*, I felt so out of place, like a little kid having accidentally wandered into the big kids’ playground, I actually wondered whether I was doing something illegal and looked for a way out, but there wasn’t one. So forward I went. Sure enough, there was a nice cycle lane on the other side of Easton Way as well, but I had to leave this one early to turn right – at least to go the way I know. There may have been a bike-specific way, but at that point I just wanted to go home the quickest possible way and as there weren’t too many cars, right I went. The bike advanced box at the right-turn light once more reassured me that I had not done anything unexpected or disallowed, but I might ask my Life Cycle instructor for an opinion when I have my next lesson.
How often I’ll cycle this journey remains to be seen (it seems rude not to, given it’s only 5-10 minutes). Some excuses I currently have to avoid shopping by bike are:
- the sorry state of my panniers (which I can’t currently afford to replace)
- still not feeling like I want to increase the risk of losing my balance by adding a lot of weight to my bike if I can avoid it.
*I looked for a picture to link to and rather alarmingly, the one I picked, which was the second Google image result, came from an article in the Times called Cyclists’ Horror stories. Odd really, as I don’t particularly mind it, as I mentioned yesterday. A similar thing happened yesterday when I looked for a photo of the Bristol to Bath Railway Path…. And then, while researching Strava issues as the app disagreed with Laura again on Couch to 5k Week 9 #2 (claiming I had spent 34.5 and 27 minutes moving when it was 40 both times), the third result, which caught my eye, was an article about antisocial cycling mentioning the above path. I believe this is what they call the “filter bubble”; me and Google are now on a break and I’m seeing other search engines.