“Look! A Bandwagon, I better jump on it!” says Sebastian Shakespeare

Shakespeare was an excellent author of fiction. I fear Sebastian Shakespeare of the Evening Standard columnist of the same name is following in his namesakes footsteps.

Following the introduction of a death by dangerous cycling bill, Julia Hartley-Brewer gave typically misinformed and biased bullshit on her sad excuse for a radio programme and now it seems everypone has to have a go at Cyclists.

Well done for jumping on the cyclist bashing bandwagon with your article “Cyclists have had an easy ride too long” Sebastian Shakespeare, however as commented on your article, here’s my response to your drivel:

You say that cyclists should have insurance (I do have third party insurance, FYI) but try having a look at the uninsured drivers stats first. When that problem is resolved try bringing in another rule for the contraptions that will do minimal damage (in most cases) to a person or other road user.

We haven’t had it easy, how you would call being hit (side swiped on a straight road) by a HGV and hospitalised easy (myself, July 2010) I don’t know.

A minority will flount the rules, and I try to tell the law breaking fellow cyclists of the reputation they give us. But you say we run red lights, in the eyes of the law I could give you hundreds of car (and motorcycle) registrations each week that are all positioned in the cyclists area at junctions, ignoring the ASL (Advanced Stop Line) making life much harder for cyclists to be safe.

How about the traffic wardens look at them too, or is that victimising the car drivers too much?

I could go on, and I’d like to have a conversation with Sebastian, but (as he pointed out in his article) he’d rather speak to someone who has poor English language skills than hear my northern twang. My money is actually on the fact that he has some form of regional accent. Or maybe he is too focused on writing shit that he never speaks.  Maybe I should give him a Glasgow kiss to justify his apparent lack of respect for anyone.

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.

I’m a Vitruvian!

Which mean I have successfully completed the Vitruvian Triathlon, a half IronMan distance triathlon (almost – the bike is 5km short!). That’s 1.9km swim, 85km bike and 21km run.

I was pretty pleased with the time, 5 hours 08 minutes and 35 seconds, with the following splits:

Swim 00:36:21
T1 00:03:05
Cycle 02:42:46
T2 00:01:33
Run 01:44:47
Total 05:08:35

The swim started bright and early at 6:20am, so I was up and out of the B&B, with Rich from GyroHSR who was also racing, at 5am. We arrived and got transition sorted, I rushed a bit by faffing far too much, but all went relatively smoothly.

Rutland Water, home of the Vitruvian Triathlon

Rutland Water, home of the Vitruvian Triathlon

The water was full of plant life which was a bit annoying to say the least, tangling around my arms a few times but after 2 laps of the 950m course, I emerged feeling quite good. So much so I probably could have taken another minute off the swim time, but it was also a rough swim, with other competitors around me all the way.  I took my time a bit in transition, getting the wetsuit off and making sure I had all the gels and bars I needed and set off on the 2 lap 42.5km course.

It was cold, very cold and a bit too windy on the bike, but the hills got my heart going when they came around. I aimed at keeping my heart rate at 140BPM on the bike, gauging that would be the level I thought I would need to post a sub 3 hours time, turns out it was a great time, as I got through the hills and the wind still feeling strong for the part I had trained most for recently, the half marathon.

Feeling pretty  strong I set the target heart rate of 157 all the way, which should post a 1:35 half marathon, not bad at all. However I expected to flag and while I felt strong most of the way round, the faster runners were a little demoralising.  I kept above 155BPM most of the way round, in the last 7km easing off a little and cruising home at 145BPM, with an average HR of 154BPM for the 21km. I even had a little in the tank for a 50m  sprint at the end!

Only down side to the day was finding Rich at the end, and hearing his race wasn’t ideal – I wish he’d felt as strong so we had a fair comparison of times. Still, I had quite a bit of time on him and better training in the build up may just have given me a sub 5 hour time, but that’s life!

And the day after,  following that monster challenge, I had my Choi Kwang Do yellow belt grading, so now I’m a Vitruvian and a a proper colour belt in martial arts. All in all a good weekend!

Milton Keynes race report

Milton Keynes race results:

Swim 1.5km 00:25:30
T1 00:01:52
Bike 40km 01:11:42
T2 00:01:08
Run 10km 00:42:25
Total 2:22:37

I have to admit, I’m pretty happy with that – despite getting a bit lost and disoriented on the swim, I made it round in closer to my original goal of 2hr 15 than my revised goal of 2hr 30. Full results are available on the Big Cow website. The winner, Adam Bowden, managed a pretty amazing 1hr 48min time.

To say I’ve also run my fastest ever 10km after an undulating bike ride also says quite a bit for the training from Jen at Optimum Velocity which has really pulled me back from running oblivion!

Then of course this morning I thought what better way to recover than a 5km run and a coached swim session. That was painful!

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