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Pedestrian ack!

There are two or three points along my route at which pedestrians take almost no notice of the stop/go man on the crossing. One is coming out of a tunnel toward Vauxhall station, where pedestrians cross to and from it, and cyclists / buses go on past, to cross to the bridge.

this morning was no different. The lights are green for me, ie: red for them. There doesn't appear to be anyone on the crossing at that moment and I'm clearly visible (no longer in the tunnel) so I don't slow down. A medium-older thin chap wanders in to the road at the same time a girl does (not even on the crossing! FFS!) so I ring my bell loudly and holler "Oi, watch it!". Girl steps back out of the way. Man (and I'm very close now) looks around in confusion in all directions, sees me and stays rooted to the spot with a nervous grin on his face - he actually does that thing where he takes a step back after I have already shifted (directly in to my path), so I shift again and he steps back forward, all of which leads to me hammering my breaks but going straight in to him. He hit the floor, poor bloke.

I have a bit of a quick temper sometimes, it's not something I'm proud of particularly but it makes dealing with a situation such as this sympathetically very difficult. I looked pained and said, whilst pulling my bike back, "Why did you cross on the red?" I didn't even help him up. He stood and said "You were going very fast, Madam". Affronted, I retorted "I was breaking, for God's sake!" Luckily I didn't say "So?" or anything as grumpy as that.

Sigh. What pedestrians don't get is that you *both* come away from an incident like that feeling a bit shaken and freaked out. But the cyclist involved still has to cycle on the road, in traffic and have a clear head.

So I'm sorry, Mr Pedestrian chap, that you didn't look before you crossed, that you crossed on a red light, that you stopped directly in my path, you ignored my bell ringing and so forth. I am sorry that I didn't appear more sympathetic, or help you up, but I'm definitely not apologising for cycling at an appropriate speed, on the road, when the lights were green.

...and how dare you call me "Madam"!

Hey, 12 muscateers-

You know who you are.

Guess what. The average daily view for Moolies is now 15!

Blimey. Who are these other three people? And is it always so constant, such that the same fifteen people doggedly come along every day? Or could it be that for some perverse reason, these inane blatherings seem to have gathered a bunch of Google juice? If the search results that turn up in the stats are to believed, then I could give you a masterclass in how to focus and target your blog posts in order to become a successful, mediocre web presence! Or there again, I could just tell you that apparently, 'lists' get good search results.

Quick! New list posts! Hurry, I have to acquire more PI's for no logical reason other than external validation!

A screwed up view of 'gayness'

The sub-editors chose a wonderful headline for this: "The day I decided to stop being gay". Which if it is a representation of the article is a miserable statement to make, falling right in to the hands of the religious right. Y'see, it's abnormal! See? Even gay men want to not be gay!

Sigh. When asked, I will wax vitriolic about the lack of understanding  - or rather, public acceptance by all 'communities' involved that sexual behaviour seems to be represented in terms of a continuum with two extremes, which are entirely heterosexual, and entirely homosexual - with most people milling about in the middle, moving up and down the line depending on times in their lives, or the people that they meet.

So this article in fact describes a man who:

-Made the mistake of labeling himself, as if he was only 'allowed' to fancy one sex, thus precluding the possibility that he might in fact fancy people rather than sexes

-Suddenly one day had a moment of lucid realisation that he missed, and desired the unconditional and uncomplicated love between a parent and their child

...neither of which add up to anyone 'stopping' being gay. The only reason I mention this article at all is because I remain sad that there are barely any visible role models who are confidently bi-sexual. Indeed, anyone who genuinely is bi-sexual tends to talk it down, given that the word is generally associated with a louche, sexualised "screw anything that moves" lifestyle. Robert Downey Junior seems to be the only 'mainstream' personality who seems relatively happy to talk about it.

Understanding that you don't fancy an individual gender but that you fancy 'People' is horrifically confusing as a child/young adult. I remember genuinely being in love with friends who were girls, without realising what was going on, whilst still pursuing teenage shags with appropriate blokes. I wish the mainstream media would approach things in less black and white terms. Love anyone, love everyone! Although, my advice would be not to attempt the latter all at once.

"Home access" scheme for cycling is needed

Ed balls and Gordon Brown are happy that they can re-publicise a scheme first discussed in 2008, in which 270k low-income families are going to get a laptop and broadband, and the whole thing is going to cost in the region of £300 million.

I was thinking about the various low-income families who have kids at my children's school, and thinking about all the free facilities there are nearby for parents to access the internet (big free computers section in the library) and obviously the kids (ICT classes etc in school). There needs to be more at school - the more cheap laptops there are, the less likely they are to be nicked. I thought about the home environment, and that it is extremely rare to see any of the children from the big housing estate close to school, in the purpose built playground and big playing field right next to it. You see *our* two kids in there. But we're not the ones who vandalise it either.

Childhood obesity is a problem, and although it's leveling off of late, a recent study concluded, surprise surprise, that low income families will not be benefiting from the level off. Obesity is still set to rise amongst the poor.

I'm left wondering whether a scheme giving free 'starter level' bikes and a Cycling Proficiency test might not be a better idea, with another chunk of that £300 million used to provide extra support in libraries for form filling etc, which is the kind of thing that adults need internet access for. As it is, here is a scheme giving a laptop (which can be sold to provide a low income family with food), which is probably not going to be a super-cheap one, and broadband (for how long?) which is an ongoing cost. A one off cost of a bicycle, maybe a helmet and a pump, a quick one off lesson on basic maintenance, and in order to qualify, the road safety test... surely that would be cheaper? Bikes are shockingly cheap (expensive ones are not, but that's a different story).

The benefits of the bike scheme are obvious: fitter children, more cyclists / less drivers, less money spent on public transport, more opportunity for permanent bike shops ie: skills training and jobs needed... it's all good.

I was musing about this after seeing a documentary featuring a desperately poor Bristol housing estate. What if everyone was given the opportunity to purchase a bike through their dole money? A heavily subsidised starter package, plus the opportunity for a training scheme, all for 50p a week taken from your dole. So what if people just sold them on? They wouldn't be able to get much money for them anyway, and well - the bike's still there, just being used by someone else.

There needs to be more notice taken of unfitness. Sticking laptops in the flats of poor people is useful, and good, and I'm not suggesting stopping that, as such. And something like a bike is such an un-sexy govt sponsored scheme to try to get going - what on earth is eye catching about every kid in the country having a starter level bike?

But it would be...


Mexican children tortured and killed by traffickers

If there was ever an argument for the legalisation of drugs it would be this one. To take drugs,  excessive, obscene 'underground' wealth and weaponry out of the hands of psychopaths.

Mexico's missing children - Exclusive report

The abduction, rape and murder of women and girls in gang towns in Mexico has been going on for years, as has trafficking in children but here's one brave girl who managed to escape and wants to testify to what she has seen.

It's an incredible story, and I don't mean that positively. It's incredible because after the nausea, you're left thinking only single word questions. It's unimaginable that something like this should be happening. It is unbearable.

Read this please to help this girl to bear witness, and passing it on. The children involved deserve nothing less.

If it leaves you wanting to empty your pockets to try and help, frustratingly I can't really find an organisation that will help directly, with the exception of Unicef, who are amazing but who knows who can stop this other than drastic measures. If anyone knows of a pertinent organisation, please do pass it on below.

Very interesting infographic - no wait, come back

Here, have a look at this:

 image from

None of this is shocking or extraordinary necessarily. Women communicate verbally a large amount. It's not a big surprise that once the interweb had been dragged far enough from its coder roots, everyday women would find the communication tools extraordinarily useful.

What surprises me a little is the stat for "Digg". It makes me smile wryly because I *never* use Digg. It would never even occur to me to use it, and it's hard to put a finger on exactly why. I've always rationalised it (in as much as I have spent any more than about three minutes in total rationalising the decision "shall I use Digg? No) as being because it's just too er... much. All I want to do is keep bookmarks and share them. I can't be bothered with all this extra faff. People always lump Digg in with Delicious and, as someone with enormous brand loyalty to Delicious (purely through longevity really) I get a bit annoyed when people lump them together. So why is it such a masculine tool? Could it be that the points system angle is not one that appeals to women, who more often would like to positively share information? I'm unwittingly part of a visible demographic trend! How could I be this predictable?

I'd love to talk to the Digg guys and ask them - why is Digg masculine where Delicious is not? I'm not suggesting Delicious is feminine, by the way - there's room for a third way behind the A not A Dichotomy ;). Bebo meanwhile is, I think it would be ok to argue, fairly feminine. It is very cute - cute almost to the point of being Korean.

All very intriguing.

This came via a Read Write Web piece, by the way: "25 Mind blowing Social Media Infographics" which has a bunch of other useful stuff for industry folk to... er bookmark on Delicious for future ref.

Me and my Dext and a muse about Android

Hello. I am going to write about a mobile phone. Hopefully for the first time, and probably for the last for a while.

I am writing in defence of the Dext, which is a phone that inexplicably, Motorola has made exclusively available purely through Orange (disclosure: I work for Orange). So, I'll tell you now, this is biased, but the reason it is is because I'm rather fond of it. It also includes the usual pondering and waffle around the subject. this time waffling about Apple and iPhones, as you'd imagine.

I haven't got an iPhone, although my company now supplies them. One of the reasons is because it's closed, which I don't like at all. I don't enjoy the ubiquity it has in the market place, and the jealousy I feel when my friends rave about the latest game etc is somewhat tempered by the knowledge that I don't really have the time to enjoy the games anyway - I usually commute by bike, and I don't go out much, so location based games are pointless, as are flight games or wh'ever. Yawn. So there are practical reasons but mostly it's just the closedness/ubiquity thing. Here's my 10p. I think Apple has made a mistake, and it reminds me of their old 'keeping hold of the production of the computers AND the OS' market positioning, which led them to be a perfectly happy company, but not a BIG MOTHER of a company in the way that Microsoft did. Was that what they wanted? Anyway. They left things gently soft around the edges for iPods, which has meant that you can drag MP3's from other sources and you can drag them from your iTunes library to play on other things - it's not ideal, but it's less restrictive. With the iPhone, they revolutionised the market, again, and have built a Wall round the hardware and the software again. It just seems a bit daft to make the same mistake twice. Surely, surely they will have to open up? I mean they must see that, right?

In the meantime, the entirety of the rest of the phone market with the exception of Nokia (oh dear) are signing up to Android like nobody's business, and applying it to phones left right and centre. Super phat phones and later on this year, I would guess it'll start drifting on to every level of phone going. Why not? It's basically free. Talk about driving down your costs of production - there are app makers a-go-go out there. You can keep bare bones of developers internally, and RFP for every app you need to build for your customers. Which means that the next phone my Mother may be getting for free in some deal or other may be an Android phone. Which almost makes my head explode. Before Christmas, the UK was full of Apple, Nokia, HTC and Sony Eric ads all extolling the virtues of their Apps ("Appy Christmas" said Nokia about Ovi). I was left wondering, as I watched Londoners trudging down the road past the bus stops where these ads were shiny and waiting, what does that mean to these people? Fuck all! What the hell is an app? With the exception of iphone customers, barely anyone would actually know what an app is. One of my favourite places to phone watch is on the top of the bus from Streatham to Brixton. Sometimes every single person gets out their phone and starts twiddling with one thing or another. Very few of those phones are app phones. For the most part people are listening to music without headphones (argh), or sms'ing or even - perish the thought, just phoning their friends. The tube, meanwhile, offers a different view. Those with high end phones proudly have them on display, playing games and twiddling, reading and so forth, because of course there is no signal on the tube. How many phones? Two or three per carriage.

So a big change will waft its way across the land in the next couple of years, as more and more customers of every network going get their hands on Android phones. And a few more than have done maybe get iPhones. But Google's software packages for Android are going to be *everywhere*, and again, Apple will have helped them to their increased ubiquity. forget the phone manufacturer. That stuff will be the 'delight' factor that helps everyone to get to the OS. and yes, Apple has a very high 'delight' quotient, but then, increasingly, so will other manufacturers. And cheaper.

So. My Android phone. It's actually Motorola's total social integration package that wraps over it that I love. I can't imagine for a moment the thought of ever getting hold of a Motorola phone before now. Why the hell would I have done? But there are two things this phone does well enough to make it absolutely perfect for me. First, it completely integrates my social networks, email, contact lists and messaging. This doesn't sound as revolutionary as it feels. I'm sure the iPhone does something similar, but it's such a delight to have my Twitter updater there on the homescreen, the latest messages from people, SMS's, emails... if I go in to my Contact lists, it has absorbed everyone from all my different life streams already, and is telling me what all of them said last (needless to say, I have confidently asserted my right to not totally integrate Facebook, or the whole slew of burble soup would be totally overwhelming). It is a phone for embedded people. If you are not embedded, then you may well hate the bloody thing. It forces you to create a motoblur account before you can use the phone, which sounds awful, and it is bloody annoying but believe me, it's fine, and easy, and intensely useful.

Second... and dear God you have no idea how wonderful it is, it has a qwerty keyboard. I *hate* touch screen phones. Believe me, I test every phone Orange takes to market to see if my products work on it, and touch screen phones are usually the ones I would gladly put a screwdriver through by the end of a test session. The simple joy of being able to type actual words, quickly is for someone who lives an 'embedded' lifestyle, a boon and a half. By embedded, I mean that there is always a part of me that consciously or unconsciously, is feeling the ripples from the wave of communication coming offuv the interweb. for my part too, most of those waves tend to be textual, which brings me to my third point - and it's a bad one. If you use the phone on 3G, like many of its other friends in the ring, it eats electricity like some kind of 'Iron Man' type monster. It hoovers it from its battery to the extent that you can watch the bar go down. However, if you keep it on 2G, which is all you need for the most part, it can even last up to 2 days (which is still unbelievably shocking in comparison to any other phone I've owned in recent times). I also reduced the amount of constant updating to only the essential services - Gmail, and those covered by Motorola's "Motoblur" service. A 2G signal occasionally updating is enough to keep things ticking over such that you can experience the enormous pleasure of being able to get on the tube, get your phone out of your pocket, and read the last N hours worth of burble, without having to worry about signal. It reminds me of the old Palm V days, when you had to sync up before leaving the office, but could then read Wired, Salon and The Guardian on my way home on the train. How often do I switch on 3G? Rarely, to be honest, but then, I don't want to watch TV on my phone unless it's just in playing around with it. And I really don't like music on the move for some reason. I'm a phone and textual communications kind of gal, me. Oh, yes,  with web access, obviously (and then, remembering to switch on 3G is a bloody nuisance to be fair. I often find myself dolefully watching a browser loading bar drag its arse across the page like a snail.

There are several things wrong with this phone. Occasionally if you do things too fast for Motoblur services a wee "Wait" box pings up whilst it sorts itself out. No skin off my nose. The UI could do with some tweaking. I have yet to find a decent Android directory of decent apps, because trying to find decent ones in the market place is a ridiculous waste of time. The apps are all voted for by coders, meaning, for example, a search for a decent alarm clock with a good snooze function leads one to highly rated alarm clocks that make you do maths problems before you can hit snooze. A huh huh. Very funny. Not. BUT, but, it's so much more than just a start, and the people I know who have an iPhone who have grabbed it off me and twiddled have been pleasantly surprised (ha!).

I like it. So there.

I'd be very interested to hear from any Droid users. It sells well in the US and it is obviously covering remarkably similar territory (I think that also uses the Blur service), but it looks a little more glossy and dare I say, blingy than the Dext.

(I promise to write about children and things shortly).

Ten years. It's a long time.

I started my first 'blog' (diary, as I argued vociferously at the time) in May 1998 and had a hiatus between, er, I don't know. Some point or other and when this one started, originally hosted elsewhere and written using Movable Type, but still called Moolies. After naming the blog (obviously after Kenneth William's traditional cry, which was of course slang for 'bollocks') I found the word has all sorts of weird and not altogether desired for connotations. Ah well.

So you would have thought that it would make sense to refer directly to the blog for alot of references, but no! I will leave you to join the dots, if you really want to, that is. So, a brief review of ten years covers a hell of alot of ground very quickly. Looks like I'll be writing a rollercoaster before I've even begun:


McK and I went to the cottage in Waterville, Kerry to spend New Years with ex-flatmate Emma and her then bloke, Fitz (whose parents lived just up the road). The cottage in Waterville is about five miles up the road that runs alongside the Corrane, a gorgeous slightly brackish lake. Kerry is one of the most astonishingly beautiful places, wildly under appreciated by the type of people who will happily stomp around the Lake District, following in the footsteps of thousands before them. I'd go back in a flash given the opportunity. The night was great - we trudged in to town (did we? Or did we get a lift? Trivial detail...) and joined the entire village in the bar of the local hotel, equipped with a large screen TV showing a delightful array of millennial fireworks. The local TV offering, to take us through was an awesome show, shot similarly in a hotel, "Live! From killarney!". Hosted by a man in a white suit that reminded me of an Elvis impersonator I saw once in Dublin with Arthur Matthews. I love Ireland ;)

Needless to say it was better to be outside, the whipping wind singing off the sea, a daft back of a van band playing and much, much Guinness and champagne being drunk.

The lift back to the cottage was achieved at very low miles per hour.

I started my MBA in 2000, thus ensuring two years of near solitude whilst all my mates were out enjoying themselves and their disposable incomes. I am therefore an idiot. But the MBA did two things for me. Showed me that thinking you are somehow morally superior because you read, and are intellectually outward looking is quite nauseatingly snobbish, and secondly, it did a good job of making me love Economics. Well, John Glenn and Sean Rickard did. Sean's raised eyebrows whenever I shot my hand up to argue some spurious point makes me smile now. I had more sympathy with John's position, and he introduced me to Paul Krugman's great written economics explanations, and I spent two years absorbing Lexus Nexus and country profiles doing analysis of the effects of globalisation, the IMF and the Washington consensus, with Joseph Stiglitz as my guiding hero (and then he won the Nobel Prize. Dude!). I vowed I would continue further higher education. Ahem.

Part way through year 2 I had a miscarriage, which was delightful. I did get that obsession with becoming pregnant again, but only after I'd spent 6 months depressed and drinking nearly every night.

...and then I passed, and became pregnant almost immediately! Which was er, great for my social life. And Nora grew inside me and then everything changed forever.

Nora's birth is one of the most traumatising thing that I've ever been through, which is weird for her, I'm sure. It wasn't her fault though. It was my body's inability to expand enough for her to come out, which would have been fine if it had been diagnosed. But it wasn't. So it was a struggle. Those around at the time will remember, so I won't go through it all blow by blow. Nora became sick with jaundice partly as a result of her delivery, and also because we weren't visited by a midwife  to check on her for several days because of NHS cockups. I didn't sleep for 8 days, for various reasons, and by the time we were re-admitted I was uncontrollably crying without provocation through total exhaustion. Poor Nor. She had a crap time for the first week, frankly. But then - everything was lovely! And amazing!

What they don't tell you about having children is the stuff that just sounds like so much blah blah blah... Oh hang on, they do tell it to you, it's just that you don't really listen, until it happens. It entirely changes the focus of your thinking; it is very rare that you will think entirely selfishly only of yourself from thereon in; the unadulterated love of small children, and the opportunity for a pure, honest tactile relationship with this incredible, growing, learning ball of possibilities fills your life with utter joy. If you think of shopping, you almost automatically think of it because you want to get them a special book or interesting thing. If you think of social activities, you think about days out with them. 

Have I taken my eye off the ball in my career? Yes. Am I entirely satisfied with my job? No. Do I go home and all of that dissatisfaction is obliterated from my brain within 2 seconds of getting in the house? Why yes, I do believe that is the correct answer. It's a two edged sword - one edge planted with gorgeous flowers that bloom in front of your eyes hypnotising you with their incredible colour and scent... the other edge slowly but surely attempting to cut your legs off while you don't notice. Having Nora and James has been an amazing adventure, and I wouldn't change a moment of it (well, apart from that first week in December 2003). I'm not going to feel embittered about nights out I could have been having or  the conferences I could be going to, aargh! Well, I do feel a bit sad about that (the conferences bit at least), but I get the feeling it has been a temporary retirement. Things are moving now the kids are older. In 2003, I went to what was EtCon then for the first time. Met a whole bunch of people and talked (talking! To smart people about smart ideas! Christ I miss that, I can tell you) - and held within me my seven week old Nora bean. So I didn't go to the next one :)

2004 was absorbed by maternity leave and going back to work I felt disjointed and weird. A terrible boss at work didn't help. Barely a thing remains in my readily accessible memory other than while I was away for six months, work had totally squandered the opportunity it had with a piece of software I ran (that had 5 million members), because no one there really 'got' the whole social thing. Which was a bit soul destroying, but not unusual for our industry. So I won't waste my oxygen explaining all the could-have-beens.

More stress and frustration at work during 2005. I wasn't allowed to use the term "Social networking" because it would freak people out, it was too geeky. I think that's all you really need to know about that era. James appeared inside me about six months earlier than I'd planned, which was entertaining, and I ended up working until 1 in the morning up to the wire when I was about to leave work for the birth, given that we were about to be transformed in to a different company (again). Then Nora came in to hospital saying "Where baby brother?" so loud I could hear her from down the corridor. James had come out BIG, and with a shock of black hair. In a well managed, and understood way - same medical problems, handled  with care.

This is what having kids is like. now both of them are out in the world, I want to stop talking about myself and talk about how they grew up. Perhaps I'll do a second post about them. Meanwhile, here we are in 2006 and I'm taking another six months off work, after which as usual I come back feeling disoriented and really wanting to be back at home with my babies. this time around, James woke about two or three times a night, meaning for the first six months back at work, I came in having had three or four hours of sleep a night most nights. Incredible I even made it in to work.

That Christmas, as I was walking away from Paul A Young's Chocolates in Islington, my mobile rang and my Dad was calling. He said he had some news. He said he had cancer, but the specialist had said to him "But it won't kill you". I walked up and down the pavement, my face in a scrunch, listening to him trying to be breezy. He said his appetite had gone, and they weren't sure whether it was related. I wanted to know what I should do - should I go over and see him now? No, no everything's fine...

My Mum said, that eventually, the good memories begin to crowd out the horrible memories from the end of things. I think that it's possible that those lose the vivid importance they do have, close to the event, but they still haven't fled as much as I would like. John died March 9th 2007. Much of the time he was dying, I was plagued by a wracking cough and bronchitis which kept me away from him for fear he'd catch  an infection. He was having chemotherapy to prolong his life and his immune system was up the creek. My boss needed me to finish documents, and even though I took holiday days off to go see him, she pressured me in to staying at work instead. I will never forgive her for that.

Thinking about him now, what I'd like to do is tell him how much I love him.

2007 was a write off. I remember everything about the kids in clear detail. as if the numbness and misery were banished when they were around. As soon as they weren't, I drank every night, and couldn't sleep. I'm not sure I cried that often, but whereas now, three years later I do often think of John but he's not as ever present, at that point John crowded every thought from my head. I ballooned in weight, although I didn't notice. I couldn't concentrate on anything. None of this is particularly surprising. What was more surprising to me looking back was how my self confidence fell through the floor. I wonder whether having your parents there as emotional crutches is more important than you think, even as an adult. John was enormously important to me, as someone I wanted to be proud of the things I did. Then he wasn't there.

Although I'm definitely still in recovery, am currently on a (lower!) level of anti-depressants (which has its plus and minus points), I'm still struggling, realistically. The only time I don't struggle at all is when I'm with the kids. James has been flowering in the last few months. His level of comprehension and questioning is superb to see - one question he often asks is "Is Grandad John dead?". He doesn't remember him, unsurprisingly. We make sure that Nora does, by reminding her of incidents, things done together and the way his beard felt when he gave her a kiss. The struggling bit has had a big effect at work and that worries the hell out of me.

The years since then have been a little blurred, because of John's death, but also because they have been very children focused. nothing's really changed at work that much, I don't go out - we saw David Tennant playing Hamlet (yay!) but yes, it has been spent hibernating.

This Christmas, Shelagh, John's wife, came over to wake up on Christmas morning and join in the joy of the kids holding up things from their stockings with enormous smiles and talk of Father Christmas filling the air. Nanny and Grandad came and we shared a wonderful breakfast together of wild smoked salmon, scrambled eggs on sourdough toast. The children were entranced all day, and Shelagh went off to visit my brother and Kirsty. We talked later and they were grinningly pissed.

It was the best Christmas in years.

Hope. Change.

Cycling review of the year

This is one of those boring posts which is really for my benefit, so feel free to skip.

Looking at the amazing and quite frankly, entirely frivolous Cycling Record Google spreadsheet what I religiously, and - yes, some might say, weirdly, keep up to date with my biking to work and so forth, I cycled over 2000 miles last year. This total achieved in the final hour, via having to bike 8 miles a day over Christmas to feed my friend Dan's cat. 

2000 miles must sound like a monstrous amount to a non-cyclist. However, when you consider that in theory, I should be doing 90 miles a week, and only 11-ish of them make 1000 miles, you end your admiration with the thought "Hang on a minute, that's bugger all!You should be hitting 2000 miles by about July!". Indeed it is. I spent an inordinate amount of time on 2009 on the tube. In my defence, most of the time I had off bike was because of the bike not working, or because I had a stinking cold or something but still. it's a bit rubbish.

The good thing is it's a target to beat. I want to try for 2.5k if I can, which means I've re-arranged this year's spreadsheet to make it plain to me how much money I am spending if I do go on the tube/bus. ie: awful, huge, painful amounts. I want to analyse the ratio of spend to save to see how that works out at the end of this year - and thus, I have another target to beat.

What did I learn during my year of cycling? I had no trouble at all from drivers until December when in one ride home I was nearly killed three times. Which is a bit of a cheek, really. For the rest of the year, it was pedestrians that caused amazingly stupid incidents, such as the guy when I was cycling across Hyde Park corner roundabout. He and other pedestrians came on to the island, from the Constitution Hill end, and he in particular was distracted by looking at a cop car/possible accident on his left (nice!). Seeing he was going to walk right in to me, I stopped, rang my bell violently and started calling / shouting, "Hello, HELLO! WATCH WHERE YOU'RE GOING!". It was only when he literally fell over my bike that he looked around, ipod fucking headphones glued to his ears, in shock, and imagined that I'd deliberately cycled in to him!

Needless to say, I put him straight on that one.

Meanwhile, the 3 times in one night was a bit of a strain. It made me realise that cycling in the dark is more of a lottery than daytime cycling. I've upped my already somewhat Christmas tree-like lighting, and I already had reflectors glued all over the bike. I don't really think I can do anything else, and at that point you just have to hope and pray for drivers to have good sense. Unlike yesterday, when a fat jerk at the Victoria end of Vauxhall Bridge bulldozed me out of my lane in his van, without looking, only to then (classically) change lanes in a confused and ignorant fashion (there are always non-London drivers cocking up the lanes coming off Vauxhall Bridge. It's one of my least favourite journey parts). I do enjoy getting it off my chest though. Better than have it ulcerating pointlessly is to bellow to decent selection of swearing.

I've realised that my risk taking has increased, which is to be expected I guess. I would classify  all my risks as being on the 'acceptable' and even 'harmless' end of the spectrum. I'm a monstrously safe cyclist, I signal, I don't creep past lorries... but knowing the roads, the signal timings and so on like I do, I will indulge in a bit of nip and tuck to get back to my beloveds (in one piece).

My hopes for this year: not spending quite as much on the bike if possible. I'd like to start mending it more myself, but will have to research and ask for help where necessary. The salt on the roads right now is busy destroying my fairly old chain and there's rust on my cassette. I'll keep trudging on until spring then make an assessment. Will keeping it so lubed it's flying along do the trick, or will I actually have to purchase and fit a new one? And wow, me fitting a cassette doesn't exactly fill me with confidence (for non-cyclists - the cassette is the bit with loads of cogs on the back wheel that the chain fits on to, and supports the whole 'gears' mechanism). I really want to do at least one charity ride this year too. I want the opportunity to properly stretch my legs and do a full 50 miles instead of the same old 9 there/9 back. I'll definitely manage the Windsor one, but there are tons more (other than London/Brighton which sounds grim, it's so over-subscribed).

So.57 down, 2443 to go. Will report back in a year!