Cyclist safety: What’s with the speed Motorists?

cyclist safety, cycling claims

The cycling boom is great, but what’s with the speed motorists?

Did you know that the Highway Code considers cyclists, along with motorcyclists, pedestrians and horse riders, as vulnerable road users? The Code even has a special section of rules setting out how other road users, i.e., the four wheeled motorist type, should ‘be aware’ of vulnerable road users and ‘give them plenty of room’. Perhaps, somewhat surprisingly, whilst there is mention of driving slowly when passing animals, and of slowing down near pedestrians, there is no reference to the need for motorists to reduce speed when they see cyclists nearby. Have you become more aware of cyclist safety this pandemic?

Are motorists driving faster in lock down?

I mention this, because is it me or have you too noticed the trend during the pandemic lock downs of motorists driving much faster than they normally would? Well, we are not alone. A news report on the RAC website in November 2020, confirmed that as traffic volumes dropped off a cliff during the first lock down in March/April 2020, the proportion of motorists driving over the speed limit on single carriageways and on 30 mph roads rose considerably.  From what I have been experiencing, it seems to be a similar tale in the lock down of the early weeks of the New Year. That isn’t good news for cyclists or indeed other vulnerable road users.

A cycling boom

One of the few good things to come out of the pandemic has been the extent to which more people have taken to cycling. The quieter roads have undoubtedly played a part in enticing new or lapsed
cyclists to jump onto a saddle and start pedalling! However, once on the roads, new cycling buddies could be forgiven for feeling that the roads aren’t quite as welcoming as they expected them to be.  Country roads in particular should be where the joy of cycling is felt most and whilst there may be less traffic on the roads, what vehicles there are seem to be driving twice as fast as they ought to be. That’s worrying, as speeding motor vehicles aren’t compatible with safe cycling.

The need to kill speed

Whilst the Highway Code is right to alert other road users of the need to be aware of cyclists in blind spots and to give them plenty of room when overtaking, the number one key to navigating a
vehicle to ensure cyclist safety is for drivers to reduce their speed. Without doing that, they don’t have the time to mentally adjust their speed accordingly thus enabling them to either pass cyclists safely (giving at least 1.5 metres wiggle room, please) or to slow right down until it is safe to pass. I

What often happens instead, is that by going too quickly, the motorist can’t react quickly enough to allow them to make a reasoned judgement and to act upon it. This tends to result in the driver simply continuing on at speed and overtaking the cyclist. Whether in doing that, the driver gives the cyclist a wide enough berth, is often a matter of luck. Cycling two abreast is not poor cycling – sometimes it’s a must! Time and again, cyclists receive bad press for riding two abreast. However, on the bends of country lanes or on narrow roads, if two cyclists don’t ride side by side, drivers, particularly speeding ones, are tempted to overtake single file riders when it’s simply too dangerous for them to do so. That is why Ordinary Cycling Girl supports the implementation of the proposed new Highway Code Rule 66 to support cyclist safety, which reads:

“[Cyclists should] ride in single file when drivers wish to overtake, and it is safe to let them do so. When riding in larger groups on narrow lanes, it is sometimes safer to ride two abreast.”

Road Safety Campaigns do work for cyclist safety, albeit slowly!

Speed has been identified as a major risk factor in causing road traffic accident injuries by the World Health Organisation. Last year’s Road Safety Week campaign, organised by the road safety charity Brake, had as its theme “No Need to Speed”.  It emphasised some fairly obvious, but often overlooked and even more often, ignored facts, such as:

  •  The faster a vehicle is travelling, the longer it takes to stop
  • At higher speeds, a driver has less time to react and stop in an emergency
  • Narrow, bendy roads often lack pavements or cycle paths and are unsuited to high speeds
  • Where traffic is slow, more people choose to walk or cycle. 20mph is an appropriate speed in places where people live.

Campaigns like the annual Road Safety Week and others, are important. It sometimes feels that no one is listening to the messages they carry, but they do have an effect, even if it is a ‘drip, drip’ one.

Looking after number one

All we can do to ensure cyclist safety, is be aware of the fact that some drivers will always speed and will not give us the care and attention that the Highway Code says we should be afforded. We should also be
aware of the of the way to ride on particular stretches of road that carry potentially more dangers than others (e.g., riding two abreast where safety dictates it would be wise to do so). In essence, it’s incumbent on us look after ourselves and make sure that we aren’t going to be searching the internet for cycling accident solicitors to help us with a personal injury claim!

The Best Home Workouts for Cyclists

Best home workouts for cyclistsIt may not seem like there’s been many benefits to the Covid pandemic of 2020, but there’s certainly no denying that this period has made 2020 a year for cyclists to really enjoy their time on the bike. The restrictions placed on gyms has resulted in us reconsidering our exercise and fitness options and resorting to either online Zoom classes or finding our own best home workouts for cyclists to compliment our fitness.

Instagram has been awash with people sharing their best home workouts with so many options out there. So many people have converted their garage spaces and spare rooms into home gyms or fitness studios and I’m no exception! As a yoga teacher who usually teaches in studios and community halls, I’ve turned my spare bedroom into a Yoga studio for my online yoga teaching and my own home practice.

I think we’ve all learned how important exercise and fitness is to us, not only to our physical body but in terms of our mental health too. Having a space at home where we can devise our own best home workouts kind of seems like an essential requirement now rather than a luxury. Having said that, you certainly don’t need to devote a whole room to your fitness if you don’t have the space. Just a corner is plenty enough; provided you have sufficient space around you to move your arms and legs freely and safely. (more…)

Exploring on Your Bike From Home


Cycling the world with VR

One of the things that’s easiest to appreciate about a cycling habit is that it can get you out into the world. Most of the time that means biking the roads and trails in close proximity to your home, but avid cyclists sometimes take it several steps further, and ultimately use the hobby to see some of the most beautiful and adventurous places on Earth. There aren’t very many places you can’t see without cycling. But from the winding roads of Britain’s Cotswolds region, to the coast of Zanzibar, to the China-Pakistan Karakoram Highway, there are places all over the world that are best seen on the back of a bike. That sort of thinking can get you daydreaming quite quickly, even if you don’t habitually ride a bike. Indeed, it’s a nice thought, to pedal along beautiful roads in far-flung places without a care in the world. Realistically though, is this something you’re likely to do in the near future if you’re not already in the habit? Is the Karakoram Highway, for example. really accessible to you? 

Those questions aren’t meant to dissuade you from planning trips like these. If you’re interested and have the ability to do it, even one cycling excursion like these can be almost life-changing in how thoroughly it awes you. The idea I’m getting at here though is whether or not you get the chance to actually take adventurous cycling trips in the future, you might just appreciate a more convenient way of making it happen, or at least of simulating the experience. Virtual reality is beginning to turn this exact idea into a reality.

It’s not an application that’s particularly visible in the VR market just yet, but we can take a hint, so to speak, from VR’s growing capacity to step aside from fantasy and instead help us to visualise real places and situations. In a gaming-adjacent capacity, it’s helping to do this in casino entertainment, where it’s been written fairly recently that VR is adding a new dimension to the whole concept. In part this is through virtual reality bringing artificial gaming environments, such as digital slot animations, to life, which is more in the fantasy vein. However, VR is also showing the potential to put online casino players in ‘real’ casinos via simulated reality. 


Managing Back Pain with Yoga

Managing back pain with STRETCH

Those of you who have been regular visitors to OCG will know that I came to cycling because I was no longer able to run or do high impact exercise activity because of spinal issues. Cycling was a way of being active whilst managing back pain. I have degenerative disc disease resulting in three lots of surgery to date and the insertion of spinal rods and plates in my lumbar spine.

More back pain

In 2016, I had yet another disc prolapse. When I visited my surgeon, he advised that surgery was not a feasible option due to scar tissue from previous surgeries. Instead, as a means of managing back pain without going down the road of surgery, he offered me spinal blocks and facet joint injections, and advised me to look at doing yoga to strengthen the deep paraspinal muscles. At this point, I was 32 with two children. The quality of my life was not great. I was in a lot of pain daily. I couldn’t bend, I had nerve pain in my left leg and I wasn’t sleeping. The thought of more surgery, which may or may not be successful, was absolutely the last thing I wanted. So, I happily took the offer of the injections and made a pact with him to do yoga. (more…)

10 Reasons Why Women Should Cycle

reasons why women should cycle

If you’re contemplating getting your first bike, maybe these ten reasons as to why women should cycle will be all the encouragement that you need.

According to statistics from the Department for Transport last year, men cycle almost three times as many trips and almost four times further than women. But, with so many reasons why women should cycle, cycling enthusiasts are hoping to see an increase. From taking care of your body and mind to building your confidence and self-esteem, there is an abundance of reasons why women should cycle too.

Fawkes Cycles, run by Nigel and Mandy Bishop, a former cycling World Champion and an ambassador for this year’s World Championships in Yorkshire, thinks more people should be hopping on their bikes to get active. If you want to be convinced, here are 10 reasons why women should cycle. (more…)

Why Bike Security is Essential

Bike security

Bike thieves exist anywhere there are bikes. And if you don’t get your bike security sorted, it’s
highly likely that you’ll become one of their victims. Around 400,000 bikes are stolen every year in the UK – that’s around one every 90 seconds.You don’t need to have a high-end bike to be at risk either. According to Cyclist, the most stolen bike in the country is the Specialized Sirrus. This is a hybrid bike that sells in high street stores
for less than £400 in its basic model.

This means that bike security, in the form of good locks and an awareness of how to keep your
bike safe, is a must for every cyclist. (more…)

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Goal This Winter

winter cycling goals
For many, winter is like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it. It’s cold, wet and dark; which aren’t exactly the most ideal weather conditions for anyone, let alone cyclists. So it should come as no surprise that you may find a considerably less amount of cyclists out on the road throughout the winter months, than you would in say spring or summer. However, poor conditions shouldn’t be the sole deterrent that prevents you from hopping on your bike, especially for those that have been regularly training all-year round. As such, here’s a few reasons why you shouldn’t lose sight of your goal and why you should continue to refine your winter cycling training plan – rather than abandon it altogether.

Train hard, ride harder

If you’re working to a training plan that’s working for you, then why stop just because it’s winter? Providing that you’re well equipped for the changes in temperature, weather and lighting, then you shouldn’t be put off from winter cycling. In fact, it will likely help you to prepare better for the subsequent spring and summer months, since you’ll be training in harsher conditions. As such, if your current training regime is a little too taxing for winter, then you should look to refine your plan rather than postpone it altogether until spring. Ultimately, if you stop cycling for winter, it’ll make it much harder to get back to the performance levels you’re used to, so it’s best to stay active throughout this period.

Layer up for winter cycling!

If being cold is one of the main reasons that you’re reluctant to get out on the road, then a quick fix is to simply layer up! Cycling clothes such as jerseys, gilets, gloves, baselayers, and neck/arm/leg warmers are sure to maintain your core body temperature and make you feel more comfortable in the saddle too. Moreover, when cycling in the rain, you should look to equip yourself with waterproof and windproof clothing to prevent your clothes getting wet and making it a much tougher ride. To keep yourself dry, you should look to wear waterproof clothing items such as overshoes, trousers, socks,

Be safe, be seen

As possibly the most common warning issued to bikers before the introduction of the darker days of winter, being as highly visible as possible to motorists can literally reduce the risk of accidents. When riding in low light conditions, though, you should always ensure that you’re wearing High-Viz or brightly coloured clothing to heighten your visibility to other motorists no matter the season. In addition, a good set of bike lights and reflectors are essential to increasing your visibility out on the road, while a set of mudguards or cycling glasses are a good idea to prevent water flicking up into your face in wet conditions.


In short, the winter months shouldn’t put you off continuing training and reaching your goals. Whether it’s a PB on your regular route or preparation for a competition in the new year that you’re aiming for, there are a myriad of products that are designed to alleviate the burden of winter cycling and training in poor weather conditions. Consequently, equipping yourself with the right items to do this will ensure that you won’t lose sight of your goal this winter. Good luck everyone!


*This post is in collaboration with Aqua Blue Sport Clothing

The Tour de France – Are you Ready?

Tour De France - Are You Ready?It’s that time of year when you have a very good reason to draw the curtains to block the sun, and sit and watch television: the Tour de France. Whilst other sporting events may tempt you too, the Tour is the only sporting event that can provide you with the best part of a month’s worth of entertainment as you join the riders through different countries and landscapes.

Broadcast to a television audience across 190 countries, and with live spectators that reach up to 12 million in number, the Tour de France is a global phenomenon, The Watch Gallery have created an infographic to demonstrate how the numbers involved in its support and staging are equally impressive. From the speedy time trials that follow the River Rhine, and allow the favourites to consider their rivals, to the brutal gradients of the Alps that separate the men from the boys; the Tour de France is an emotional journey of strength, endurance and of course, competition.

In 1989, Greg LeMond and Laurent Fignon were separated by the narrowest margin yet of 8 seconds between coming first and second. In this race, and it is easy to forget that it is a race rather than a display of endurance, every second counts.

To celebrate all that the Tour encompasses, The Watch Gallery have compiled an infographic to show the variety of considerations that the Tour provokes – 60km of cabling that has to be laid daily to enable the broadcast to the near half a million saucissons that were distributed to the spectators along the roadside.


5 Reasons to Love the Vitamix S30 Blender

5 Reasons to Love the Vitamix S30

5 Reasons Why I Love the Vitamix S30 – and you will too!

I have been eyeing up one of the Vitamix blenders for around a year, so when Vitamix contacted me a couple of months ago and asked me to try out their Vitamix S30 I was super quick to bite their hand off! Trying to consciously improve my diet so that I can feel better on the inside and look better on the outside, the Vitamix range had been my radar as some of the best blenders on the market.

Despite its pretty hefty RRP at around £299, the S-series is the baby of the Vitamix models; for a kitchen blender I can’t deny that’s a lot of money to pay. But the Vitamix is special and I can see why they have the reputation they have. For anyone into their healthy eating and their cooking, the Vitamix S30 is an investment worth adding to your kitchen.  Here’s the top five reasons why I love it: (more…)

Yoga Teacher Training – new beginnings and exciting times ahead!

Yoga Teacher TrainingYou will have noticed that it’s been rather quiet on Ordinary Cycling Girl these past few weeks. There is a very good reason, I promise. Life, as ever, has been busy, but aside from that, I recently made an exciting decision to start my yoga teacher training!

Regular readers will know that I have a number of back issues which all started when I was a teenager. At fifteen I had my first surgery to my lumbar spine. I have had numerous other surgeries since for degenerative disc disease including an artificial disc replacement, which had to be removed a few year later. I now have metal rods and plates in my lower back to stabilise and straighten a lumbar scoliosis. (more…)