Cycling to exams in the heat

It is 30 degrees plus here in Oxford. It is also exam season with many students making their way to exams on the High Street. Some cycle in sub-fusc to save a few minutes for extra revision. I always remember cycling to exams. Walking from LMH was too far.

texting on bike

Last minute revision or getting a good luck text?


Good to see Oxford Professor’s on their bicycles, but I don’t know what Drag2Zero would make of those cycling clothes.

oxford studentyoung, old and students.

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At the top of White Horse Hill


Yesterday, there was a strong southerly wind, so I headed towards Lambourne.


There is a long 3% drag from Lambourne towards Wantage; it is the kind of climb which is good when there is a strong tailwind. Looking for a new way to get to Lambourne, I tried the technique for taking unknown roads and hoping it would take me into the next valley. From Bishopstone, there was a nice deserted climb. At the top, I found the road was deserted for good reason. It petered out by a pig farm on the top of the Ridgeway. There was nothing to do but go back down and take the main road from Ashbury.


Unfortunately, by the time I got to the top of this climb from Ashbury, it was raining quite hard, and for some reason, my rain jacket wasn’t in my saddle bag. I hid under an old tree for a few minutes and ate an energy bar.

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Dealing with the cold (photos)

My never-ending cold has come to an end. Rather appropriately the weather is now really cold (by UK standards) so another potential excuse to give training a miss. Still, I’ve been cycling into town quite a bit. Ten miles is better than nothing.


Wrapping up against the cold


When it’s minus two degrees and everyone is wrapped up in innumerable layers, you always get one person who rocks up in shorts, t-shirts, and no gloves. It really messes with my mind. I didn’t get a photo this morning, but, it was even colder and I overtook a bloke in shorts (0 degrees) You also often see people cycling along trying to put on gloves whilst on the move, but really struggling.


Standing out from grey morning.

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Different types of cyclists


Different cyclists  share the road- The family vehicle, the lone range Brompton and the bike for doing tricks.

The properly dressed cyclists


Ladies from Wantage, Oxfordshire in the Nineteenth Century.



Black and white cyclists and spectators in the road.


Off to exam

The not properly dressed

strippy-top-dick-morris-500x383Cycling off to play rugby.

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Cycling to exams in subfusc



It’s not all CdA and lightweight components at Cycling Uphill. I do get a lot of joy seeing students in sub-fusc riding to their exams. Perhaps because:

A) It reminds me of the stress of doing my own exams, but now I have the luxury of being an old man who can sit by the side of the road knowing that exam results don’t really matter than much. (Not for my career path anyway…)

B) Riding in sub-fusc at 8mph down Oxford High Street is about as far removed as you can get from timetrialling along a dual carriageway at 30mph. It’s all very sedate. And that’s cycling

riders exams
Cyclists off to exams by Weston Library (old New Bodleian)


You’re not allowed to wear you hat until you’ve passed your exams, but you have to carry it in. Brilliant It’s like in the old days, you used to have to have a bell on your bicycle to start RTTC events, but you could ditch it after the first mile (like John Woodburn used to)

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Cyclists and red lights

Mention cycling and red lights and many people will immediately see ‘red’ for want of a better expression. In 2013, over 4,000 cyclists were issued with fixed note penalties for jumping red lights.

Red light jumping is also prevalent amongst motorists. In 2006 the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, said 43,500 fines were issued for drivers caught jumping red lights (

Given the emotive nature of the issue, some may be surprised to learn that red light jumping is less prevalent than people’s perceptions (like the people who tell you ‘all cyclists never stop at a red light’). This is partly because ‘bad behaviour’ sticks in the mind much more than following the rules.

According to TFL between 1998 to 2007, 4% of pedestrian injuries were the result of red light jumping by cyclists.  Whereas 71% occur when a car driver jumps a red light and 13% when a motorcyclist does. (CTC) Which shows that cycling through red lights does put others in danger, at the same time highlights the fact most road casualties are the result of motorised vehicles.


Waiting at the lights


On your marks!

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A birds eye view of traffic

Last year I was teaching in a building from St Clements – it gave a birds eye view of traffic down below. The funny thing is that everything seemed so calm and relaxed viewed from above. A very different perspective to ground level!


The amazing thing about this set of photos is that in nearly every case, cars, taxis and buses were respecting the advanced stop boxes. I’m sure this never happens when I’m at ground level.


Advanced stop signs make it easier for cyclists turning in different directions.

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Commuting in the wet

Commuting in the wet.


When its raining and wet, the congestion in Oxford always seems to be 10-20% worse. I’m not sure why this is. But, with several serious traffic works, that extra 10% seemed to tip the city into near gridlock.

It does make you feel grateful for being able to cycle into town and avoid a near 30-40 minute journey which can take 15 minutes on the bike.

Though on the other hand, why do people drive when it takes twice as long?


I used to think one reason for the perceived increase in traffic congestion is that when it’s wet, perhaps people use their cars rather than cycle. But it seems just as many people are cycling in the wet. If you have a reasonably waterproof jacket and waterproof trousers you can’t get too wet in a 15 minute commute. Your hands and socks may be a bit damp. (thick socks are as good as anything for keeping your feet dry)


This picture is good for showing the amount of cyclists who were able to squeeze down the narrow cycle lane – still a narrow lane here is probably better than nothing. What the picture doesn’t show is how stationary the traffic is – nor does it show the rising tempers which come from inching along a congested road at 3mph.


It is a little grim cycling in the wet, but I don’t mind. It’s kind of fun in a way, at least undertaking 100 stationary cars does make you glad you aren’t wasting too much time.


The smiling E-On add in the bus stop where I was taking a few photos.


Commuters in the usual mixture of clothes. Wet jeans are a bit of a pain though.



On the high street.  grim-down-south

Reflection in the puddle.


The camera exaggerates the effect, but when it is grim and grey, bright jackets do stand out. Look how the third cyclist blends into the road.

I’m glad Chris Boardman did his BBC piece wearing normal clothes. But, there are times when you need to be seen.


The middle cyclist really stands out compared to the black clad cyclists.


Patiently edging forwards


I went shopping at Lidl and all I got was this pair of wellingtons.

Not sure about that duffle coat it does seem to block sideways view, which you ant need. A good old fashioned cycling cap can keep the worst of the rain off and fits under a helmet.