Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

They DRIVE… They WALK… And… They even CYCLE

What are they?

Smartphone Zombies!

Walk the streets and you have to play dodgems as you get out their way. Fixated on their phones. they’ve no idea where they’re going until they end up on YouTube, walking into poles, tripping over stuff, falling down stairs, or into fountains.

Get on a bus and look down into passing cars, and you’ll see that regardless of the law and reports of fines, people drive with smartphones in their laps, in their hands, propped up in the centre of their steering wheels, and grabbed at every set of traffic lights when they stop.

Try watching for how often you hear horns blaring as drivers behind have to alert the car at the front that the light has changed from red to green (or even more sneakily, is a filter lane that’s gone green), and they’d like to get through the junction before the lights go back to red.

Seems you can add cycling to that list.

I almost had a head on crash with one of these morons (or smartphone zombies) on the cycle path along Berkley Street.

You would think this was relatively safe, with a two-way path segregated from the general road traffic.

This is just about the scene I saw as I looked along the road recently, complete with a cyclist in the same place too.

Berkley Street Cycle Path

Berkley Street Cycle Path

There’s only one small difference – that cyclist is travelling in the same direction as me, on the left of the path.

Turns out the one I saw was travelling AGAINST me, on the WRONG side of the path.

And has his face buried in his smartphone, which he was holding in his hand, and had forgotten he was on a bike.

When I looked again and realised I was on the same piece of road as an utter moron, it was too late to do much – the speeds may be slower than cars, but closing speeds are still TWICE that of a single bike’s speed.

Things happen surprisingly fast…

I thought of veering onto the ‘wrong’ side of the path – but if the moron looked up and realised he was on the wrong side, he’d probably instinctively correct, head over the correct lane, and then wonder why there was in idiot there, in front of him.

I could stay where I was, shout and try ringing the silly little bell bikes have nowadays – but then what? If that even broke his focus on his phone, what will he do when he wakes up? Panic? Carry straight on? Change lanes? Or not even notice?

As it was, there wasn’t really time for any of that.

I did get his attention with the bell, but he just ploughed straight on.

I veered off to the right, and although I didn’t look back, kind of hoped he rode into the kerb and fell off – maybe that would teach him to look where he’s going as he cycles amidst other people, rather than stick his face in his phone.

So, it’s true:

Smartphone Zombies

This sign needs to be updated!

There are a lot of riders with phones in Glasgow, but most of them have them in weatherproof mounts on their bikes, and are delivery cyclists who may have questionable ‘Red Light’ ethics, but at least seem to care enough not to endanger themselves.

Then there’s…

Cyclist and phone

Cyclist and phone

I’m NOT having a poke at this guy, who I just happened to spot a little later in the day (and is completely unrelated to the events described above)..

I just wondered how the law might see this, given that it is an offence for a driver to pick up their mobile phone while stationary at traffic lights, as it was here. He may not be in a car, but I’ve found some sheriffs/courts can be worryingly imaginative in their interpretation of the words used in the intent of some laws.

And finally…

Let’s be careful out there, because there are:

Zombies Everywhere

And, perhaps not quite on topic, but I have to add this – those last few seconds  🙂

26/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Would you believe I was assaulted twice while cycling last week?

I’m slightly glad the weather deteriorated last week (unless you were a fish that like to go for a walk), since it meant I didn’t have to wonder if it was safe to go out cycling.

While my encounter with (yet another) angry old bike hating man of Glasgow didn’t constitute assault, two other incidents unfortunately did.

While the old geezer did shout at me, he didn’t make any sort of threat, or physical move towards me, so didn’t satisfy the general definition of assault, which does not actually require any contact to be made:

Assault is a relatively common charge in Scotland, arising from attack against another person with intent to cause harm or injury, or which puts the victim in a state of fear for their physical safety.

But the two others did.

The first was while waiting for the cycle path lights to change near Kelvingrove Park, when a male youth from a nearby school approached me and raised his hand towards the handle bars of my bike. When I stopped him, I was offered the option of being stabbed (by a schoolkid!).

As we exchanged words, he suddenly ran off – I was puzzled by this until I thought about what was happening when he took off.

I had reached down to adjust the bottom of my trousers while I was speaking and commenting on his stabbing offer, but it could have looked as if I was reaching into the edge of my boots (yes, I wear substantial boots when I cycle), and if we’ve watched enough TV, we all know what violent people carry stuck down the side of their boots.

The second was only a day later, as I headed home and had just entered Tollcross Park, as I’ve done on dozens, if not hundreds of times.

There was a group of youths on bikes coming the other way.

As I passed the group, the one at the front shouted “QUICK, SOMEBODY PUNCH HIM AFF THAT BIKE AN’ GRAB IT!”

I’ve no idea if this was a serious call or not, but I was past the group when it was made, and just carried on – and noted I wasn’t being chased or followed.

While there was another incident, it didn’t involve me, but did feature a piece of road/location I regularly use, AND at a time I’d be likely to be there.

Fortunately, the following happened on a day during which I wasn’t out and about.

Attempted murder in Shettleston – 33-year-old hit by car in broad daylight ‘targeted’ attack

Time for pic.

Lovely Pettigrew Street disappearing off to the left, with Amulree Street and the rear of Kingco (supermarket) on the right.

Even made the BBC: Car driven at man in Shettleston ‘attempted murder’

Pettigrew Street

Pettigrew Street

12/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Alive and well – angry old bike hating man of Glasgow

Very angry old man

These guys aren’t a joke – and really do exist.

Last night’s was a real foul-mouthed boozer I was unfortunate enough to pass, propped up against the railings outside the Fiveways Inn at Parkhead Cross.

At close to 11 pm and with apparently deserted streets I thought I was safe enough to slip off the road at the lights outside the pub since I was about to turn left into Duke Street. Regular travellers passing through those lights will know there’s time to boil a kettle and have some tea while waiting for them to change, as it’s a 5-way junction with awkward alignment that almost allow only one road at a time to flow.

I amble along the footpath when I am on it (for whatever reason – bearing in mind when a cyclist arrives at their destination they can’t teleport their bike and make it disappear), as opposed to whizzing along at 15-20 mph like some, yet as I passed (probably boozed up) angry old bike hating man I got a volley of abuse as regards being on the pavement.

Pity it was just about dark – I’ve decided to honour them with a pic. All their efforts in the name of pedestrian safety deserve to be rewarded.

It’s amazing, as I’d done a 16-mile round trip to Partick, on the road, and yes, on the pavement in that area, which like Parkhead has a number of shared cycle/pedestrian areas, all with no problems. In fact, in the west end, as opposed to the east end’s abuse, it’s almost embarrassing as people apologise and get out of the way of cyclists. Unlike the east end, the west end is full of cyclists, and despite the higher numbers and greater density, cyclists and pedestrians seem to be able to coexist without confrontation.

Parkhead Fiveways Inn

Parkhead Fiveways Inn

Coincidentally…

This writer may be on to something:

I blame the lurid Lycra itself. Cyclists become ‘other’ once they don garish, overly-tight costumes

The anger directed towards cyclists is ridiculous when so many of us ride bicycles

For what it’s worth, I DON’T wear Lycra (and never will), and actually see those who do as ‘other’, and avoid them.

However, I’d also suggest we (ordinary cyclists) need to start getting our own house in order, and do something about the self-appointed cycling activists and campaigners who are becoming far too aggressive.

Many of them are probably well-meaning, but the mouthy and impatient few are beginning to become more of a liability that a benefit, and causing reasonable people to take an anti-cycling stance, instead of being supportive.

08/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Electric bikes – do they qualify as enigmas?

Another item I almost missed last week, the arrival of electric bikes for hire.

This is just a bit of thought, as opposed to being negative (or positive) about them, but I do find them to be something of an enigma.

Probably the first (and this IS a negative) is their crazy price, significantly more than a non-electric, and has to be heavier (carrying batteries, motor, and control gear).

The electric part is limited to 15 mph, so if you’re in a hurry, you’re still going to be the power source, AND be heavier.

But they are clever now, and don’t work like electric motorbikes, so they assist, on demand, rather than removing the need to pedal.

Looking at the reviews dropped into the media, I just feel myself asking ‘Why?’.

I cycle mainly for the exercise, but have now started to travel by bike (as long as it’s dry) thanks to the growing network of routes around and through Glasgow.

I’m no kid, but can travel at 20 mph, and cover around 30 miles (my round trip to anywhere interesting) with no after effects.

That makes me wonder why (other than the technical side of modern electrics) I’d even be interested in an electric bike, as the cheapest decent one seems to be about the five times the price of my current rides, and if I press my nose against the windows of any of the cycle shops in Glasgow, I can change that five to a ten.

Think about that – I could buy nearly TEN bikes for the cost of one electric. And my bike is NOT a ÂŁ99 Internet special, but an alloy framed MTB with road bike gear.

As I said from the start, I’m not pro or anti electrics, but I do find them to be something of an enigma.

See more thoughts here, based on hiring rather than buying, The capital cost is so high, it may be a better way to go:

Scotland’s largest electric bike hire scheme launched

Test ride: Glasgow’s first electric hire bike unveiled

Nextbike e-bike

Nextbike e-bike

 

Coincidentally, I’ve now seen quite a few electrics on my travels, and was surprised to see one just sitting on its stand when I passed through Pacific Quay recently.

I recognised the model (it has no security features), and was impressed by the owner’s faith in others as it wasn’t secured to anything, and he was on the other side of the fence along the river. Even without the electrics powered, the bike can still be ridden, and could have been heading off into the distance by the time he dropped his rod and climbed over the fence, then started running after it.

Quite unlike this one I saw recently, which DOES have inbuilt security, and could only be nicked by picking it up and running off with it – not a good idea if the owner is a few metres away, as they’re not cheap (think around three grand – they really are premium priced).

Do note, however, it’s just sitting there, not locked to anything. The owner’s in the shop, and can’t even see it.

A few seconds could see it in the back of a van, and they wouldn’t know until they came out and said “SH..

VanMoof electric bike

VanMoof electric bike

Update

I had to add this news item on to this post, after appeared the day after it posted.

I actually know this shop, although I haven’t been in it – a look at the prices was enough to make me jump back on my own pedal bike and speed of back along Dumbarton Road to Kelvingrove!

Not sure of the story title here. It may be the only DEDICATED electric bike shop in Glasgow, but there are plenty of other bike shops selling electric bikes, so it could be a little misleading to those new to the subject.

But, this is a feature advert for the place.

And it is interesting to note that business must be going well to justify the expansion.

As I’ve said before, the whining activists and campaigners are not really helping promote cycling with all their endless moaning and complaining.

They certainly put me off riding in and around Glasgow’s roads, including the city centre.

I don’t even bother looking at any of their info now, as it’s all so negative and depressing.

So forget them, and get onto more positive stuff:

The only electric bike shop in the west of Scotland is expanding this week, after completing work on a new extension.

Love E-Bikes, which is located in Partick in the west end of Glasgow, first opened in 2018 and is now able to expand its premises.

In respect of the expansion of the premises and the increased demand for their unique product, Scott Davidson of Love E-Bikes told Glasgow Live: “We have doubled the size of the shop to include a new showroom and an open plan workshop. With the bigger shop we have doubled our stock to around 70 bikes, the biggest electric bike stockist in Scotland.

“We have also increased our number of brands to eight meaning we have the biggest and we think the best selection of ebikes under one roof in the country – all hand picked by ourselves too offer the best value for money as well as something a bit special.”

Glasgow’s only electric bike shop expands as demand for two wheels grows in city

08/07/2019 Posted by | Blogroll, Transport | , | Leave a comment

What’s with the angry old bike hating men of Glasgow?

Very angry old man

Last year, I learned to keep away from ‘Lycra Louts’ on road bikes. Get in front of them, and you’ll soon find out they think they own the road (and everything else) as a little spot of verbal abuse makes you aware of your trespass into their territory.

Moving off routes where I met the former introduced me to some new ‘friends’, angry old men who hate cyclists, and there seems to be more of them around this year, possibly down to the recent (reported) growth of cycling popularity in the city.

I don’t want to digress into the subject known as ‘Cycling n the pavement’, a real issue for some incontinent intolerant people, and not really as simple as some (such as the old men) think it is.

Nor am I speaking in defence of those who speed through pedestrians at 15 mph or more. They’re doing nobody any good.

We have, for example, assigned shared routes, there are also pavements/footpaths running alongside many fast A/B/unclassified roads where people are seldom seen let alone walk, and when a cyclist arrives at their destination, are they expected to use a Star Trek transporter and make it disappear.

I find it interesting that regardless of the type of pavement or footpath I may be cycling on, specifically allowed or because I’m close to my destination (and I only do so at walking pace), young people and adults don’t seem to have a problem. I stay as far away from them as I can, and am sometimes embarrassed as they still move over and apologise for getting in my way! Possibly this is an after effect of our ’15 mph’ friends barging past them.

But there seems to be a problem whenever I approach a certain type of white haired old man.

They not only seem to object strongly to seeing a bike on the pavement, but will even move to step in front and block them.

The most recent was a few evenings ago (I specify evening just to point out this was not during the busier and more crowded morning or afternoon working day), after I had followed the usual cycle route into the city centre, and arrived in Hope Street, where I was making my way along the pavement, sitting on my bike, but only moving a few metres at a time as I was slowly working my way along the street examining the buildings on the west side for some statues I was looking to get pictures of.

As this blog probably shows, I do this quite a lot, and never (usually) have any problems as I (slowly) navigate the city’s pavements.

I saw the old guy, white haired, in a pretty smart suit, at the edge of the pavement – turn to cross the pavement and step in front of me and forced me into the wall. Didn’t happen of course, as I only move at walking pace.

Interesting remark came from him – bearing in mind he had been walking along the road side of the pavement, and deliberately made his way across it to step in front of, and force me into the wall…

“DID YOU EXPECT ME TO MOVE?”

Angry old man in suit

Not really much you can say in response to deliberate provocation (and stupid), I was probably supposed to take on the role of an angry cyclist, as seen in popular YouTube videos.

I just pointed out the amount of space available, and that we could easily have passed one another, had one of us not moved. I didn’t even get as far as asking him why he’d made the detour from the edge of the pavement over to the wall to step in from of me.

That didn’t go down to well, and I got a mouthful of four letter abuse in return.

I really was taken by surprise by this one, he looked so smart, well-dressed and well presented – maybe he was already well tanked up for a good night out.

The last such notable meeting had been in a pedestrian precinct – same format as he deliberately stepped in front of me as I entered the precinct, but he didn’t bother with any niceties, and just started shouting at me to “Get off the pavement!”.

I wonder how they cope with their peers, such as this ‘tearaway’ in his chromed and customised mobility scooter?

I see him fairly often while waiting for the bus.

I don’t have any pics of him and his scooter from the front (which is similarly customised) as he travels so fast – he’s always passed by the time the camera wakes up.

I’d rather like to see one if my city centre white haired pavement defenders make a detour and step in front of him 🙂

Customised mobility scooter

Customised mobility scooter

19/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

New east end cycle route – I put my foot in it!

It’s remarkable – all I have to do is make a statement about something…

And I’ll be given the equivalent of ‘A poke in the eye with a sharp stick’.

Yesterday, while considering the ambitious plans for new parks and other goodies running from the river to Kelvingrove Park, I mentioned that plans for a cycle route along London Road seemed to have sunk without trace, after being expected to see a start as early as the second quarter of 2019.

I’m thinking of one project local to me, which I was following, and looked as if it would be underway by now (middle of 2019), but has seen no activity, or apparently any update info regarding its progress, or not.

Sooner, rather than later please (I’m looking at backers as I say that, NOT the council).

Of course, as soon as I committed my thoughts to print, in less that 24 hours I was proved wrong.

Construction on phase one of new sections of the East City Way is due to start at Mount Vernon, in January 2020 and be completed by June 2020. Applications for funding to progress phase two and three designs have been made to active travel organisation Sustrans.

The plan is for East City Way to stretch for seven kilometres from Bridgeton to Mount Vernon, with work carried out over the next three to five years.

NEW 2.2-Kilometre Segregated Cycle Route Proposed For Glasgow’s South Side

Ah well, I may have been a day early with my negative thoughts, but at least the East City Way looks as if it is going to arrive, if a year later than expected. And anything up to another six years for the rest!

Guess I’ll just have to wait that little bit longer before this view becomes a reality.

Proposed Layout London Road

Proposed Layout London Road

 

13/06/2019 Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Sorry for mentioning cycling again

I feel I have to apologise for some fairly frequent mentions of cycling, which I almost don’t even want to do for fear of sounding like a fan, or worse, a damned activist!

But there just seems to be a lot happening all of a sudden, and this year seems to be very busy already.

Maybe it’s just our ‘heatwaves’ bringing more people out of doors.

My usual routes are already busier than last year – I think I’ve already passed more other cyclists this year than I did last year.

Also notable is the number of Nextbikes (the hired ones), which I hardly saw in use last year, this year already seem to be all over the place.

But what I really wanted to mention was the response to the impending completion of reorganising Sauchiehall Street, to encourage pedestrians and cyclists, and discourage motor vehicles.

For the past couple of years, there was a disappointing level of negativity and adverse comment about the proposals and the work, with some suggesting it wouldn’t work for various reasons, and that it would be the death of many shops in Sauchiehall Street as people deserted it because of the changes.

Seems the naysayers (dare I say “As usual”) were wrong, and it seems that actual traders there are relatively happy.

A number of Glasgow businesses have spoken out about the ongoing Sauchiehall Street Avenues project, praising the impact it has had.

The ÂŁ115 million Avenues programme, piloted in Sauchiehall Street, will upgrade at least 17 key streets across the city centre over the next six years until 2025.

Work in this area, which extends pavements and cycle lanes and reduces space for vehicles, is expected to be completed by the end of May.

Now, some of Sauchiehall Street’s main business people have praised the project, claiming it will transform the area.

Brian Fulton, co-director and co-owner of the Garage nightclub and chair of the Sauchiehall Street Avenue Project, said: “I think it’s really going to make a big difference to how we use the street going forward.

“Back before the bid started people were really negative about the streetscape in the public realm so we spoke to businesses about what they would want from a street and public realm improvements was the main, overriding thing.

“With the set up of the bid, it put us in a good position to lobby to have this as the first pilot project of the Avenues project and you can see here today the difference it’s made to the streetscape compared to how it was four, five years ago.”

The scheme, which will introduce green infrastructure, extend pedestrian walkways and reduce space for vehicles, have been separated into three blocks – A, B and C.

Block A includes the Sauchiehall Street development but will also oversee the transformation of Argyle Street, Dixson Street and St Enoch’s Centre into a pedestrian and cycle friendly city.

The Underline, which will connect the West End to the city centre via St George’s Place, Phoenix Road and New City Road, will promote similar routes.

Businesses speak out on Sauchiehall Street’s ongoing Avenues project

Why wouldn’t anyone want what this is delivering?

Sauchiehall Street was an ancient mish-mash of outdated layouts and systems until this came along – I didn’t even bother walking along there just for a look. Seeing traffic trying to use the old layout made me glad I wasn’t trying to drive there.

More

The current changes seem set to become still further enhances, with almost ÂŁ300 k set to be released for more improvements.

Glasgow councillors are expected to support a plan to pump almost £300,000 into footpath improvements on one of the city’s main streets.

City chiefs can approve the use of the money on Sauchiehall Street , as part of the ongoing Avenues programme, when they meet on Thursday.

It has been generated from developer contributions, where private companies behind city centre projects commit funds to public realm schemes.

The £290,000 of funding, from a private development at Buchanan Street/Bath Street, will go towards footway works on the northern side of Sauchiehall Street, between Charing Cross and Rose Street.

Councillors set to back ÂŁ300,000 plan for Sauchiehall Street footpaths

I was there last week, just for a look, and there’s still quite a bit of work to be completed, but most of the changes have been made and it’s possible to see what the finished street will look like.

My only gripe remains the same – that black tarmac laid for the cycle path is terrible.

The contractor should be sent back in to smooth it off, at THEIR cost.

The surface ripples make it shooglier than the block paving around it!

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

Sauchiehall Street Avenue

19/05/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Pathetic driver of hulking great Mercedes SUV hit all the stereotype buttons

I’m fairly easy-going on the road, but a old guy in a huge Mercedes SUV managed to press all the wrong buttons today.

Location: Entrance into Kelvingrove Park at the junction of Claremont Street, Royal Terrace, and La Belle Place.

I’m coming along the cycle path along Claremont Street, about to cross Royal Terrace and enter the park as I do on most days.

There’s a big Mercedes SUV coming from the right so I adjust my pace to pass behind.

NOPE!

The driver looks over at me – and then just comes to a dead stop directly in front of me (good job I was already slowing).

Then, he gets out, blocking Royal Terrace (and the park entrance) to traffic approaching from Claremont Street and La Belle Place.

Since I had to come to a dead stop while still in higher gears I have to struggle around the front of his road block, and suggest he try harder to block the whole road.

This brings a stream of abuse as he opened both front doors and the rear hatch, as if I was the one that did something wrong.

He could have lied, and claimed he was collecting his sick little pup that had taken ill in the park, which would have been reasonable.

When I made it into the park, got moving and was able to change gears, when I looked back he was carrying his dog back to the car.

Who CARRIES their dog out of a park?

Well, it LOOKED as if that was what he was doing, and put in the back of the car.

Maybe he was a dognapper, and that was why he was upset about having attention drawn to him, as he collected his next pet blackmail subject.

Unfortunately, by the time I could stop and pull my camera, he was all done, so all I got was a pic of the car before he sped off, and his number plate was blocked too. I’ve blurred the face if the guy walking behind, he was just a chance catch in the pic, completely unrelated.

Abusive Mercedes SUV driver

Abusive Mercedes SUV driver

Wonder if his female partner approved of what he said?

Passenger

Passenger

Probably, since she opened her door to make sure the road was indeed completely blocked as well as the park entrance.

Context shot of the entrance and road.

Kelvingrove Park Royal Terrace gate

Kelvingrove Park Royal Terrace gate

One large SUV, doors open, and this junction is all blocked until it moves.

A handy van turning from Claremont Street shows how the road is only one vehicle wide, also the National Cycle Route marker on a pole.

Kelvingrove Park from Claremont Street

Kelvingrove Park from Claremont Street

Footnote

Lest you make the mistake of thinking I wrote this post because I was ticked off by this motoring retard, you’d be wrong. If he carries on like that, karma will deal with him one day, doesn’t need any help from me.

I am ticked off, and did indeed write it to work off some steam, but…

The reason for that is how long it takes for even a ‘quick’ compact camera to ‘wake up’ and be ready to start working and take pics – a delay extended by the controls, including the zoom, all being administered via buttons.

It’s one of the major reasons I still favour the bulkier dSLR and semi-manual lens when I can carry it.

It has no ‘wake up’ delays.

Raise it and you can press the shutter immediately at any time, and the manual zoom works as fast your hand can slide the barrel.

17/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Some cycle fun, and some serious stuff

I try not to mention cycling too often, lest I be mistaken for a loony cycling ‘activist’, most of whom probably do more to harm to cycling than advance it, thanks to their endless whining.

On a serious note, I see a number of mentions for a police campaign to enforce spacing between drivers and cyclists.

Plain-clothes police cyclists are taking to Scotland’s roads to target drivers who get too close.

The officers will use bike-mounted cameras to catch motorists, who will then be pulled over.

Drivers will be spoken to and could face being fined and getting points on their licence.

Cycle police will target risky drivers who get too close

The majority of motorists are not aware that driving too close to cyclists can result in three penalty points, a survey suggests.

The poll of more than 1,000 Scots found 73% did not know the potential consequence of failing to leave at least a car’s width when passing a bike.

Cycling Scotland , which commissioned the YouGov research, is raising awareness of the risks to cyclists in a new nationwide campaign.

It has received the backing of Police Scotland , which underlined that driving too close – classed as careless driving – is punishable with a minimum penalty of three penalty points and ÂŁ100 fine.

Campaign to cut risk to cyclists on Scotland’s roads

Police Scotland has meanwhile launched Operation Close Pass to make roads safer for cyclists.

The initiative sees plain-clothes police officers cycling with a camera on their handlebars and the back of their bike.

When they are passed too closely by a car, the police cyclist radios details to colleagues further up the road, who pull over the motorist and talk to them about their driving.

While I’m certainly not going to disagree with the campaign, I’m also going to speak up for Glasgow’s drivers (and add that I’m not one of them now, having been priced off the road some years ago).

Over the past year or two, having taken to the road by bike (around 1,500 miles per annum), I was expecting to have the paint scraped off my bike by passing drivers, after listening to the damned cycling activists.

In fact, very few come close, and most stay so far away it’s almost as if they’re afraid of me.

It’s also worthy of note to watch Glasgow’s bus drivers (from inside the bus), who demonstrate remarkable restraint when their large vehicles are baulked by some very bad and very slow cyclists (and drivers).

Recent fun

I was brought up in the days when we were actually taught to drive, rather than how to pass the driving test.

Think about that, there IS a difference.

One aspect which seems to have been forgotten is ‘Defensive Driving’ – to look ahead and act early to avoid getting into a problem scenario before it even arises. I cycle the same way.

A couple of evening ago I was cruising along Tollcross Road, about to arrive at a junction (street on the left) at about 20 mph when an SUV pulled out in front of me.

While ‘Angry Scottish Cyclist’ would have seen this as an excuse to stop, and start banging on the car and shouting abuse at the driver, I had been watching it, and intended just to slide over the left and pass behind it.

NOPE!

When the nice lady driver did spot me (and my lights) she decided to PANIC, slamming on her brakes, and coming to a dead stop right in my path.

I had to stop and shove the bike around the back of her – I wasn’t really looking, but notice she was still having some sort of panic attack inside her SUV, with arms waving, and a little face that looked as if it was about to burst into tears.

I was off as fast as I could 🙂

I find pedestrians on cycle paths are more of a problem, as some of them seem to hate cyclists.

I was on the cycle route through Kelvingrove Park yesterday, when I met one.

I’d spotted a couple walking ahead of me, spaced side-by-side and taking up almost the who width of the 3 metre wide path.

Walking towards them was ‘Mr Denim’.

I like to give people a wide berth, so altered my speed so I’d arrive as ‘Mr Denim’ passed them, and I could slip through the space they’d made for him to walk past.

NOPE!

While I arrived as planned, ‘Mr Denim’ slowed down and almost stopped, deliberately blocking the space I had been aiming to slip through.

While it wasn’t an issue since I’d been cycling at walking pace by that point, the noise of my brakes did startle the person I had arrived behind, which I didn’t like to do, but had to thank to the actions of ‘Mr Denim’. To the couple, unaware of my presence until then, it could have looked as if I was just about to run into them from behind, rather than already coming almost to a stop.

People like him are a real pain – I was almost surprised he didn’t shout something like ‘GET OFF THE PATH’ as he almost stood in front of me.

It’s a shame people like that are allowed out on their own.

Normal people are usually quite accommodating on shared paths like Kelvingrove Park – almost TOO accommodating at times, and it’s almost embarrassing how many of them move out of the way when they don’t have to and say “Sorry” even if I’m 2 metres away from them. But then again, they may have met the types that speed through people at 20 mph+, and shout at them for getting in ‘their’ way.

However, the many good folk make up for the few ‘Mr Denim’ types, and the other various ‘Grumpies’ that occasionally make a point of being awkward.

Kelvingrove Park CCTV twins at big bin

Kelvingrove Park

14/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | | Leave a comment

Don’t see many ÂŁ3,198 bikes in the east end

It took me a while to track down a bike I spotted in the west end yesterday, and longer to recover after I saw the price!

Probably the most surprising thing was the casual way the owner just left it standing free in Dumbarton Road, not secured to a bike stand, or anything.

Although there was a folding lock around the back wheel and frame, and this make of bike has built-in security, that’s not going to stop the average moronic bike thief from just lifting a free-standing bike left outside a shop, not secured any sort of fixed support.

They’ll steal it first, then bin/strip/scrap it if they can’t ride it, or break anything that locks it.

Anyway…

I grabbed a very quick pic due to the unusual appearance, then, while my back was turned, the owner came out of the shop and released it, and rode away before I could spot the name, or get a decent pic.

Fortunately, I was able to enhance the pic, and get enough of the letters of the name to track it down.

Would you believe VanMoof?

Click on the name to go to the English language version of the maker’s web site.

I’m not going to repeat all the claims and specs, you’ll find them there complete with prices.

I should add it’s an electric bike, not immediately obvious, but betrayed by the front hub (assuming I spotted the correct style).

Currently, ÂŁ3,198 but with a limited time offer of ÂŁ800 off for early birds, making it an absolute ‘bargain’ for a mere ÂŁ2,398 🙂

There is a non-electric version, around a grand or so, depending on options.

No wonder the owner was shopping in a charity shop!

With max discount on my bike, I could have a fleet of TEN for that.

To put the VanMoof (and much more expensive pedal bikes into perspective) consider the price of a new motorbike, and what you’re getting for your money in each case.

VanMoof

VanMoof

Levity aside, interesting to see something different.

 

 

VAnMoof

12/05/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Nextbike stations slowly creep into the east end

As someone who walks from the east end into Glasgow city centre, and wanders around the west end, until recently I always thought Nextbike failed miserably.

Once in the city, or in the west end, I could (if I wanted to) have got onto a Nextbike offering.

But, had I wanted to use that facility to get from home, or even anywhere near home by Nextbike, I’d have walked so far to reach the nearest station it wouldn’t have been worth it.

While it still wasn’t much use to me, still too far away from home, I was pleased to see the system eventually made it as far as Dennistoun, and the end of (populated) Duke Street (at the corner of the former meat market.

It even made an appearance of sorts at the other end of (populated) Duke Street (along from Bellgrove), although that is just a Nextbike dumped on the new bike racks there, rather than an actual Nextbike station.

Duke Street Bike Racks

Duke Street Bike Racks

However, the latest news brings things a little closer, with a new Nextbike station planned for The Forge – so that’s only an hour I’d have to walk for before I could jump on a Nextbike. Or get the bus. And can wait until September.

New Nextbike stations for 2019 are:

Possil Health Centre (Saracen Street)

Maryhill Tesco (Maryhill Road)

Queen Margaret Drive/Maryhill Road

Hyndland Railway Station

Maxwell Park Railway Station

Glasgow Forge (Gallowgate)

Expected installation of the new sites is September.

This came with news of their e-bike arrival.

But that’s not coming as close as their ordinary bikes, so won’t even be as close as them for another year or two.

A fleet of 63 e-bikes will be stationed at the following 21 locations:

Cessnock Subway Station

Queen’s Park Railway Station

Langside Halls

Shawlands

Battlefield

Woodside (North)

Possil Health Centre

Firhill Road

Botanic Gardens

University of Glasgow (East)

Maryhill Tesco

Hyndland Railway Station

Bellgrove Railway Station (North)

Dalmarnock Railway Station

Alexandra Parade West

George Square

St Enoch Square

Merchant Square, pictured

Glasgow Green (Saltmarket/Clyde Place)

Sauchiehall Street

Broomielaw

LOCATIONS Revealed For Glasgow’s E-Bike Fleet Plus New Cycle Hire Stations

So, any Nextbike seen around my area is STILL going to be an abandoned one, not at an actual station.

I can’t help but feel that the upmarket west end is getting preferential treatment, while the peasants of the east end, who presumably need bikes as they live in poverty and can’t afford cars, are left wanting.

I see a lot of tourists seem to like jumping on these hire bikes, something else there wouldn’t be much of in the east end (to generate revenue).

01/05/2019 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

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