Saturday, 9 July 2011

British Summer and cycling!

Despite the poor weather recently I've managed to bike in to work every day this week again. In fact I only got wet coming home on Friday night, getting caught in a sharp shower for a few minutes. Unfortunately for Cath, she got caught in a rather sharper shower as she was heading home!

It's surprising just how few times it seems to rain during commuting hours even here on the Pennines. It makes excuses for not cycling in to work even feebler than they already are (and I include myself in that group). Of course it helps to have flexi-time (actually we have core hours so it isn't true flexi-time) so you can try and time your ride to happen between showers but even this isn't truly necessary.

One thing I have noticed is that biking to and from work is becoming much easier and I'm getting home in quick times but don't feel like I've bust a gut at the end of it - it's two miles of uphill to get home so never easy.

As you may have noticed, it's the Tour de France time and fortunately we have a lot of TVs at work so we can get to watch the live coverage - you have to have some perks! There are quite a few keen cyclists at work so we can assert some control :-) It was a bit of a shock to see the Wiggins crash and there's some discussion going on on various feeds about head injuries - there have been three so far in this year's Tour - despite the mandatory use of helmets.

I think most cyclists have conflicting thoughts about helmets with many lauding their use and some jurisdictions mandating their use while others, especially older riders it seems, avoid them. I suppose in the case of the older riders it's what you get used to. The studies on cycling helmets with regards to injuries, both head and elsewhere appear confusing with little robust evidence to support either side of the argument. There's a lot of anecdotal evidence supporting their use - the "I crashed and would have cracked my skull" type of thing - indeed I've had a crash myself where the helmet took the brunt of any impact my skull would have taken though in that case it was the rest of me that took the (big) hit.

Against this is the fact that most cyclists travel at relatively low speeds, < 12MPH, so simply falling off your bike isn't going to be all that traumatic and the main injuries are likely to be gravel rash and possibly lower arm/hand damage. Once you introduce another vehicle, invariably a car, then injuries are going to be similar to those of pedestrians and there is no call for pedestrians to wear helmets. Not an easy choice. For the record I do wear a helmet.

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