Today the Prestwich Critical Commute rode for Bike Week. Despite the rain (which I think was the first to fall on me over the 15 or so commutes I’ve done) we had a record turn out. Angela, who works at Manchester University, had promoted the ride amongst her colleagues and this had swelled our number to hit double digits for the first time. It was certainly harder to manage a group of 10 riders, a couple of whom had not tried riding to work before. At junctions I think we should have split into at least 2 discrete groups rather than keeping one contiuous chain along the cycle lane.
You take for granted the ability you develop to vary your pace, quickly accelerating out of potential danger, how you know the sequences of the lights and have a general awareness of everything around you and what might happen at any moment. It’s hard to look at the traffic through inexperienced and naive eyes and forget all the cyclecraft you have developed, so I felt that one of the new riders was not prepared for travelling along one of the busiest routes into one of the largest cities in the country. I hope she wasn’t put off by the experience but I suggested that it would be worthwhile her finding a longer but quieter route if she was not prepared to cycle at the same speed as the crawling rush hour traffic.
We all arrived safely at the Peace Garden in St Peter’s square where we enjoyed a free cyclist’s breakfast and I had a security tracker device fitted for free by a local PCSO. Angela lead off a group going o the University and hopefully some of the new riders will return for the regular last friday ride, next week.