This morning’s schoolrun was slightly on the nippy side. Gloves were deployed, “look mummy, I breathe fire like a dragon jokes” inevitable. However, it was dry and crisp and ideal cycling weather.
Now winter is well and truly on the way, we have to be even more aware, as cyclists. The conditions can become treacherous and danger can lay around the corner. Especially here in Haringay, were cycle paths are not common ground and we have to cycle either on the road, or even on the pavement if the road is too dangerous.
So, what do we need to look out for now the weather is changing?
- Potholes: Because of the changing weather and gritting, the tarmac takes a proper beating. Potholes are an inevitable but dangerous effect. Cyclists can actually die if a pothole is not taken care of. Last week a fellow cyclist lost her life, because of an unfixed pothole. As cyclists, we have a much better view of our surroundings and roads and I feel it is our duty to report potholes as soon as we spot one. Most councils have a pothole hotline, or an online form. You can find Haringey’s form here. Please do report any problem on the road surface. It can save a life!
- Drain covers: I have noticed recently drain covers over here are very often smooth surfaced. No idea which bright star thought this was a good idea, as it is incredibly dangerous when the weather turns frosty. A bit of dew (not even rain) and zero temps and a drain cover becomes a slippery slide. Drain covers which are rough surfaced, but which are old (rough surface been worn out by cars) are a problem too. So, if you have to cycle over one, do take heed!
- Speed bumps: I cycle to school via a so called “quiet way”. Tfl’s solution to not have to build actual cycle infrastructure. Take a street, put a 20mph speed limit in and enforce via speed bumps. Don’t take care of speed bumps and see them become dangerous (chipped off and slippery) in winter. Be careful of those as well.
- Car drivers: Become even more aware of car drivers. Many of them don’t find it necessary to scrape the frost off their windows, so they drive with tunnel vision. A “Sorry Mate I didn’t See You” aka SMIDSY is very common in the winter. The Highway Code is very clear on the matter, so drivers have no excuse:
Cycling in winter is indeed slighty more tricky than in summer, but definitely not less enjoyable. I love the change of seasons and the connection I get with nature. Going inside after a nice cold ride, ears ringing with cold and warming up with a nice cup of tea. I also love the connection you get with fellow cyclists. I had a police community support officer cycle up to me this morning, commending me on my “bravery for cycling my son to school in this weather with my ferrari”. He really made my day! After a high five, we merrily went on our way. Let winter come, we are ready!