After a long winter of dark, damp and cold commutes in to work I have looked forward to the longer days and more pleasurable summer cycle commute. The though of warm rides in the sunshine have been my motivation throughout the winter months.
The winter commute has its dangers on urban roads with cyclists fighting to be seen in a see of headlights and drizzle. Cold weather combined with poor visibility make winter commuting a real challenge but an enjoyable one with a goal of making the summer cycle commute.
It now June and the long days are upon us and it is a joy to ride in to work in my shorts and tshirt. But the summer cycle commute is not all fun in the sun on your iron horse. Comparing the winter to the summer commute at first glance you presume that the dark days of winter would be the most challenging but I have to disagree.
The summer cycle commute especially on hot days like today bring new challenges that are extremely dangerous for cyclists and sometimes extremely frustrating and annoying. My trip back from work this evening was especially dangerous and this is why.
After a weekend of partying in the sunshine the streets of Manchester are awash with broken glass. From Withington to Manchester City Centre the paths and cycle lanes are covered in broken bottles and glasses. This is especially dangerous for cyclist because a fall on to broken glass would be nasty and there is also the known added risk of a puncture.
Another danger of the summer cycle commute is the added traffic, there is something about a nice sunny evening that brings out the worst in drivers. Many drivers are more concerned about how they look and how loud their music is than worry about hitting a cyclist. I have had two near misses over the last week and several close calls from drivers who were not paying attention. These instances have increased as the days have warmed and lightened.
As a cyclist I find that other cyclists are another danger either to themselves or to other cyclists. The warm weather has seen a massive increase in cyclists and I alone have witnessed a number of very close calls. Cyclist jumping red lights at high speeds nearly missing pedestrians is very common. I witnessed today a lady with flip flops and a helmet not even fastened which to me is an accident waiting to happen!
In all there are many dangers on the summer cycle commute and all I can say is stay safe, keep your wits about you and enjoy cycling.