As I find writing a bit of a chore and it being only too easy to busy myself with some other activity, I have come up with an idea that I hope will get me tapping on the keyboard more often. As I am sure, even with your good self, there is many a time you would like to put someone, some thing or some activity into Room 101, as on the television programme. Working on the basis that it is easier to Moan and Whinge than it is to write or make positive comments, I hope that my blog count increases and I simply become more used to expressing my thoughts in words. I promise not to take advantage of this licence to M & W and will try to find some positive element in my desired additions to the dark recesses of that room.
CYCLISTS - There, I've said it.
I didn't wake up one morning with a sudden hatred of those of my fellow citizens who like to balance on a couple of spoked wheels as they make their way around the universe. Hatred is probably too strong a word, but I do find that on far too many occasions, I am possessed of an fearsome anger at the antics and some time dangerous activities that cyclist seem to think they have every right to perform. I am well aware that motorist (the subjects of a future rant) are no innocents but I am sick of the constant underdog tag that cyclists like to cling to, when I have for many years witnessed selfish, rude and sometime dangerous behaviour, in exercising their right to cycle where they wish. No one is forced to ride a bike, it is a decision that should be made, taking in to account all the factors. If the road is too dangerous, then that does not infer a right to cycle on the pavement instead.
Most Cyclists here in Edinburgh (and I assume elsewhere), seem to fall into one of two types. The first is kitted up with all the gear and while they are to be commended for taking such care, it does seem to grant them a position of superiority, they are always right and the rest of humanity is wrong. The second type ignores the special clothing, helmets etc. but does carry something else on their bike, namely, a big chip on the shoulder, probably because they would rather be in a car. As a pedestrian, I have been the victim of verbal abuse and threats of violence from both types. It makes me wonder at the health claims for cycling if the state of their nerves are stretched to such an extent that such automatic outbursts seem justified to them, even when they are completely in the wrong. It would appear that traffic lights etc. don't apply to cyclist. I should add that all of my experiences and observations of the above were collected while being a pedestrian or a bus passenger. As a driver, I fear cyclists and give them as wide a berth as possible, which is not always easy.
However, while I try to make allowances for the failings of my fellow man (it's usually male cyclists that cause the abuse), there is one area in which I can not forgive our cycling friends and it is the canal. Edinburgh is lucky to have a restored canal on which a pleasant and relaxed walk should be enjoyed along it's towpath. The Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal does not actually reach Glasgow but instead connects with the Forth and Clyde Canal at Falkirk. The connection was made in times past, by a staircase of locks but now the magnificent Falkirk Wheel, which is well worth a visit, does that duty. The canal starts (or finishes) at the Tollcross area of central Edinburgh and meanders through the countryside to the west of the city, following the contours of the land requiring no locks until it reaches Falkirk. This lack of locks gave the Union Canal the nickname of 'The Mathematical River'. The canal should afford a pleasant walk, enjoying the wildlife, plants and the lack of traffic fumes but I seldom take advantage of this linear haven as it has become a cycle expressway and the lack of respect for any other user of this quiet byway makes me very angry. I do not object to cyclists using the towpath but please respect others and do not treat this ancient thoroughfare as your own.
Now that is off my chest, may I close with this observation. When I had the day job, I walked home most evenings and my route took me along the former Corstorphine Branch railway line. This is used by cyclist and I am proud to say that I was on friendly nodding terms with most of them. Why this stretch of path should be different I do not know but I hope it shows that I do not hate cyclist as such but just wished that they gave some respect to others as they obviously expect themselves.
In closing, todays photographs are of photographs or they would be if I could get the system to do what it has done often before. How I love computers!
Until the next time, best wishes.