last updated August 25, 2013



I have to say I've found an increase in awareness of cyclists by motorists in the past few years. It's still not universal but then cyclists aren't that perfect either. You could argue that with the amount of bikes on the road these days that it's in your interest to be more aware. Manslaughter is a nasty charge for being lazy with your mirror usage.

In any case, cars are very different to bikes. Notably they go a lot faster, are capable of causing great damage and motorists are surrounded by all manners of protection. It's a safe, sealed environment which adds to issues faced by those on the other side of the windscreen. Ignorance works both ways and just as non-cycling motorists may not understand how exposed you are on two wheels, non-driving cyclists may not understand how many blind spots a motorist has. Empathy and good etiquette are key.

Here are a few things I've noticed, being a driver and a cyclist, that might help us all......

1. MOTORISTS - YOU KNOW WHEN you're overtaking a massive lorry and it's very intimidating and you just want to get past it, and some times it get's a bit too close? That's what it's like having a car go past you too close. So leave a bit more room if you can. In fact - if there is a clear road - just go onto the other side of the road - it's no more expensive.

2. CYCLISTS - YOU KNOW WHEN you're at the traffic lights in your own little box and you sit in the middle of the road? Well, the box is both for lots of cyclists to occupy if it is busy but more so it is a device to keep cars back. This doesn't mean to say that you have to sit in the middle of it if you are alone and hold up traffic. Hold your own and take your space but don't give other road users good reason to get pissed off at you - lot's of us have to share it!

3. MOTORISTS - YOU KNOW WHEN you peep your horn and it doesn't sound THAT loud? Well, for everyone outside your car; pedestrians, cyclists, priests, plumbers, it sounds really loud to the point that it can unsteady you. It certainly fazes you and there's always a chance of a freak out. That's why, you know when the whole street turns around when you peep? That's because you have made a lot of people jump. So shut the fuck up unless its an emergency. Or become a taxi driver. none of these rules apply to them.

4. CYCLISTS - It's not just down to motorists - in order to greet the dawning of the all new shiny Utopia we all need to be a bit nicer to each other. Let cars out, tell them if the road is clear, acknowledge if they wait to pass at a safe place, It's not that hard.

5. MOTORISTS - BE MORE CONFIDENT - If you are going to overtake, OVERTAKE. If you do not have the confidence to make a decision or commit, get Smooth FM on and chill out until you are ready. A nervous driver makes cyclists nervous. And half committing could kill someone.

6. CYCLISTS - If a motorist endangers your life make sure you have a carbohydrate solution in your bottle. When you spray this on the interior of a car it is very hard to remove.

7. MOTORISTS - MOMENTUM, BASIC PHYSICS - Cycling is a healthy way to travel. Some sections of the scientific community are even suggesting that it may be a greener mode of transport to motor cars. Mumbo Jumbo aside, cycling takes a lot of effort. Every pause in the journey means the rider has to push on the pedals and exert great effort to reach the speed at which they was going previously. So when a cyclist is approaching a set of red lights for example, and they are freewheeling, there is a good chance they are doing what's called 'conserving energy'. Instead of trying to get past them at any cost why don't you try to conserve energy in your car? it means you won't burn as much fuel and you will also be able to get in to bed at night knowing you aren't, what's known in the cycling community, an arsehole.

8. CYCLISTS - shut it.

9. MOTORISTS - calm down.

Posted by stupot at 04:46 PM Sunday 25 Aug

That's a wrap!

If you're from Yorkshire or Scotland, are wrapping a present and are so tight that you don't cut quite enough length to get a full coverage, turn the object at 45° and try again. You should now achieve over-lap. This was taught to me not in Japan, but by an old family friend who has a very practical brain. The photo shows a recent student milliseconds before enlightenment.

Posted by stupot at 10:38 PM Friday 23 Aug

The best July. ever.

July has always been a special month for me - the obvious childhood links of being on your summer holidays probably laid the foundations but the realities of adult working life means that by far, the Tour de France is what makes the month. At worst, a Eurosport pop-out window sits in the corner of my monitor most days. On top of that, this year has seen an unusually beautiful summer of high pressure, lots of travelling, two large jobs coming to an end and business generally on the up.

I started the month busy, working in London for a few days before a week of moving about to Fife for a partial install and then off to Barcelona for the 4th Urban Sketchers Symposium. It was then back to Scotland before heading to the Isle of Man, on to Edinburgh to meet a new client and then straight to Dunoon for a weekend of old friends, another weekend away in Newcastle and ending up with a final site visit to Douglas. You will forgive me for being a bit tired. I could easily not have gone to Barcelona but work has been so constant and I have found (valid) excuses not to make the other conferences that it felt almost necessary to kickstart my involvement in USK.

The highlight was inevitably Barcelona - what an utterly great city. The experience of meeting some of my drawing heros and managing to draw with them and find out about what makes them tick was fascinating.
The city was hot, busy but also welcoming, diverse, creatively inspiring. And there was a beach! I need to move over there! It almost made Ryanair palatable.

Posted by stupot at 05:57 PM Friday 2 Aug