Back on the bike again yesterday for Stage 2 of my cycle training, this time on the road.
Starting in the busier part of Valentine's Park, we quickly progressed onto the quieter streets of Ilford, practising U-turns and approaching junctions.
On a Friday afternoon in the back streets there wasn't much traffic, but what there was was enough. Cyclists need to approach the road with an attitude that differs from drivers. Being relatively small makes being seen absolutely vital and the lack of any protection means that you always need to consider and anticipate the actions of other vehicles.
Most of the drivers we met were considerate road users, but some were not and even some pedestrians demonstrated little thought for others. Bikes are quiet and people can easily step into the road without realising you are there. Space always needs to be left in case someone opens their car door directly in your path.
And there are buses in side roads too, huge intimidating things that leave little room for anyone else. Typically, we encountered none in a couple of hours, then two came along at once! Luckily they were the 'small' single deckers and we stayed well away from the route of the number 25, the only bendy in Ilford.
Thanks to the help of Redbridge Cycling Campaign, I now feel a lot more confident on the road and I'm considering getting a bike, if only because it seems a much better way of exercising than going to the gym. The big event is on June 6th at Hog Hill, where all the newcomers to cycling - and some veterans - will meet for a few circuits of the track. It should be fun...