I am fucking furious. Julia Hartley-Brewer is an idiot typically ill informed.

This afternoon I saw on twitter that LBC were doing a bit of cycling bashing. So I thought I would listen in, at no point would I have thought that I would get this angry about the presenter, callers or even the cyclist that phoned in.

When they started by stating numerous times (the ill-informed Julia Hartley Brewer and callers alike) that car drivers pay to use the roads so should have exclusive use of them, I was hoping for ANYONE to point out that Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) does not pay for the roads, but roads are paid for by regular taxation, so I do pay for the roads, even if I don’t have a car or a bike. Check ipayroadtax.com for more details on that, but safe to say they are wrong. I did call in but unfortunately LBC didn’t call me back.

And MOTs, licenses and registration plates for cyclists is a useless suggestion, considering the police struggle and pretty much fight a losing battle against motorists who drive without insurance, how the hell do you expect this to be enforced. If anyone has any ideas I’d love to know.  Before anyone mentions insurance, I have third party insurance on my bike, although I would never expect to use it.

Next, callers were virtually threatening cyclists. I don’t remember his name but the driver that said of cyclists “I’ve hit one before and would do it again. If they’re in my way I’ll run them down.” WHAT THE FUCK. I guess it says something that the caller drives a BMW but I wish he had given his number plate so I can avoid him altogether. And report him to the police if he tries to use his car as a weapon.

Cyclists that “wear lycra and think they’re professional cyclists” should dismount and use a footbridge (as suggested by a caller) is bollocks. We have a right to use the road and when we are traveling at a fair speed, why should we sacrifice journey time by minutes when we would only hold up cars for a few seconds, most of the time.

To the cyclist who is the only one who doesn’t break the highway code and thinks other cyclists (and I think he included the LCC in the statement) are arrogant scum is living in his own little world, I see hundreds of cyclists every year that are fine cyclists and don’t jump lights and so on.

And as for the presenter I don’t remember the complete build up, but saying that if you kill a cyclist you should be the one people feel for is pathetic, you come across as a selfish cow. You have no more right to use the road than a cyclist, and while I can’t remember the incident as you described it, I do remember thinking you did not have right of way, so it would have been your fault. Maybe you can email me at matt@mattbee.co.uk to explain it again, because I now simply believe you to be a danger to myself and other cyclists for not even knowing the highway code.

I am very sorry that LBC couldn’t call me back so that I could defend cyclists and point out their errors, ask why they think the aggressive behaviour of some motorists is acceptable and why a 4 year old case has brought the fact that a cyclist could kill a pedestrian into the media spotlight when hundreds (or thousands) of cyclists AND pedestrians are seriously injured by motor vehicles all the time (no pedestrian deaths in the last 4 years involving a cyclist hitting a pedestrian, there have been 3 people killed by cars or lorries in the past 2 weeks!).

And don’t get me started on Advanced Stop Lines (ASLs)… when will drivers/motorcyclists get punished for entering those I wonder.

When a friend is taken hostage, it puts things into perspective

Today the “Road to Hope” convoy bound to deliver aid to Gaza, Palestine has been taken hostage by a Greek ship owner, who was due to transport them from the Lybia/Egypt border following the Egyptian government denying access by land. Among the group being held hostage are 3 Libyans, 6 UK nationals, 2 Irish, 1 Morrocan and 1 Algerian. Interestingly 2 of the Lybians are Port Officials. Among the UK nationals is my friend Kieran, someone I have respected and admired for many many years.

Having been paid $70,000 to carry out the transport the owner and captain apparently then held out for more. With no more funds being given over and the initial funds recovered, the hostage situation came about. Leaving the harbour by force and half closing the drive on ramp with a vehicle still on it I’m sure there might be more to the story than anyone but those aboard know about.

Bit worrying for Kieran, but I know he is well versed in the politics of wherever he goes and has 12 years experience in the aid convoy business, so hoping that everything works out.

Following quite a bit of pressure through social networks from Kieran’s friends on twitter and facebook, it seems we’ve got some action by the press and government agents with the BBC hopefully picking up the story (thank you @KirbyVictoria), earlier featured on CNN. I’ll await news from the media all evening and I expect for a short while yet.

Where’s Jack Bauer when you need him. Or the Expendables, remembering the first scene from that film.

More links on the story:

BBC News

The Independant
Waltham Forest Guardian
Salem News

Pyrenees training 2009

The past four days have been awesome, since I have been cycle/triathlon training with Richard from work, Gaunty who we swim with and his mate Nick.

The Pyrenees are beautiful and while we knew we were in for a tough time with a few big hills, no one really expected to be staying at the bottom of a hors catégorie climb in Col du Tourmalet. Round the corner was the Col d’Aspin too which has featuredin Le Tour de France 66 times. So the climbing was awesome, tough, beautiful, painful, challenging, sweaty and required a lot of determination. Continue reading “Pyrenees training 2009”

Thames Turbo Race 2

Monday 4th May: So the time came to beat my rather slow time of 1:14 for my first Thames Turbo Triathlon race in April. I was confident I was stronger in the water and on the bike, and it turns out I was, 2 minutes knocked off the bike and almost 1 minute off the swim. Very good. Problems occurred when I dismounted from the bike and found that my knee didn’t work very well. Hardly at all in fact.

The stumbling back into transition and subsequent struggle to get into my shoes prompted attention from the marshalls around me, and after careful consideration and advice I decided to not even try and start the run. A quick check to the paramedics to check I wouldn’t lose my leg or anything and I was sent on my way. Disappointing end to my race, but caught up with a few people I hadn’t seen for a while and made some progress in the parts I could do. Continue reading “Thames Turbo Race 2”

Tour de Kent

I completed my first real training ride this weekend, cycling from Raynes Park, London, SW20 to Deal, Kent, CT14.

Bugger was it hard.

Well, I say hard, up until Hythe (next to Folkestone) I was absolutely great and loving it! It was a hell of a lot more of a challenge than I thought it would be, and further, with 107 miles being the final distance. The main problems being the number of very steep hills, by the time I was riding along the coast with its hill after every town I was ready to give up! I was still easily making 20-30mph on the flat and even faster downhill, but I couldn’t face the hills. It really didn’t help that my new gears (badly adjusted by myself I must add) were slipping like mad!

But the final achievement and the struggling up hills wasn’t what the ride was about. It was training for my 3 capitals in 3 days cycle challenge for MAG (sponsors still welcome at www.challengebee.org) and it was just a test of my capabilities, but in the end it was far more enjoyable than I thought it would be. Cycling through tiny villages with truly quaint village shops and little coffeeshops where the same people must meet for cup of tea every Saturday morning was absolutely brilliant!

Earlier today I was thinking that the London marathon must be great to run, but as much as I like London, Deptford and Charlton are exactly my idea of scenic. Yes, The Mall but The beauty of the countryside (including the hills) was a refreshing change. The tree lined single track roads, the waving at fellow cyclists and the sun shining felt great. Mind you, When I got to Folkestone there was one fella I didn’t take kindly to, with him suggesting I “try harder”. Yeah mate, you too after about 80 miles.

But even though I did have to stop for a few more rests than I planned from Hythe onwards, I did manage to make it all the way to Deal. Although this is probably thanks to Chris Woollard (despite letting me down on actually completing the charity ride with me!) and Adrian H at Evans in Wandsworth for helping me (even if it cost a small fortune) ready to make the trip, and if I am honest make the trip easier. And I do have a new wheel for the June trip!

If I can do 107 miles through the hilly South East of England though, I think I can do flat Holland, although the way my legs felt back on the bike today, I better do a little bit more training, and when I get more time to myself, just ride for the hell of it.

Anyway, I suppose I better give you the unimpressive stats!

Cycling Time: 7:48:10
Trip distance: 107.3 miles
Average speed: 13.7 mph
Maximum speed: 34.5 mph