The Waitrose Girl

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
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danfoto
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The Waitrose Girl

Postby danfoto » 17 Jul 2013, 1:34pm

As I rode into town this morning, I spied a cyclist ahead of me, going my way. As I got nearer, it became apparent that it was a young woman dressed in Waitrose shirt, black skirt and black tights, on her way to work. She was on a cheapo ladies' mountain bike, which she was riding slowly along here ...

Image

She was very close to where that bloke on the left is, heading away from the camera, weather was perfect and there were only a couple of cars parked on the right. And in case you're wondering if something nasty lay ahead of her round that bend in the distance, the answer's no. Just a mini-roundabout at the junction of two streets. Traffic was very light, and the road is not one on which I need to take any particular care on my daily ride along it.

Waitrose Girl was riding on the pavement, and it would not surprise me in the least to learn that this is where she normally rides her bike.

Presumably Waitrose only employs persons of a reasonable level of intelligence, so my question is this. If we assume that this young woman (17/18 years old?) is not thick, and that she is not the sort of person who would otherwise break the law or engage in anti-social behaviour, how on earth might she, and similar-minded young people, be persuaded to cycle on the road?
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Mark1978
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Mark1978 » 17 Jul 2013, 1:39pm

I doubt they can. Such a person is using their bicycle as a means to travel to work, not because they want to cycle because they enjoy it or want to get fit or save the planet or anything else; none of which are a requirement for cycling. She wanted to ensure her own safety as much as possible so chose to cycle on the pavement. I don't really blame her tbh, traffic isn't something non-cyclists are prepared to put up with.

Can you persuade her to ride on the road? Unlikely, if she was told it was riding on the road or nothing, then she'd likely stop cycling. We have to think about how to accommodate such people rather than calling them thick or anti-social.

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Si
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Si » 17 Jul 2013, 2:04pm

The answer? Proper training that explains to her why it is often better to use the road, improves her skills such that she has the confidence to ride in the road, and gives her a feeling of achievement - that by riding in the road she is demonstrating her superiority compared to those on the pavement.

Well, that's what we try to do with our adult groups - explain why we tell them to ride like we do and then give them the know-how to do it, and the encouragement and praise once they do. And we have had results...people who previously didn't cycle or just stuck to the paths are now using roads in a confident and safe manner.

Of course there are down sides....it costs money (luckily we got a local sustainable transport funding).
Plus as you allude to, she probably doesn't see her self as a cyclist, just someone who uses a bike to get around, thus it's a harder nut to crack, however, we have started to crack that one too - work place initiatives with some of the area's larger employers (I'm sure Waitrose could fall under this grouping in some places) to get more of the work force cycling by showing them how much fun they can have on a bike, how they can save time and money, the health benefits and the social benefits. We give them free bikes, free training, organise rides for them, and do commuter routes. Attacking it with the help of the employer is a great way to do things as it's not just you encouraging an individual in their cycling, it's their workplace and their colleagues as well, so it becomes a social thing.
Not saying that we are perfect, far from it, but I think we do demonstrate that it is better to improve things.

...or you could just turn the pavement into a shared use path :wink: .

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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Mark1978 » 17 Jul 2013, 2:09pm

Si wrote:...or you could just turn the pavement into a shared use path :wink: .


While in general shared use can be a good thing - it's best used alongside fast, busy roads, out of town. In this situation it wouldn't help of course.

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danfoto
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby danfoto » 17 Jul 2013, 2:14pm

Si wrote: ... she probably doesn't see her self as a cyclist, just someone who uses a bike to get around

I don't see myself as one either, Si, but nevertheless that's an interesting answer.

Si wrote:We give them free bikes, free training, organise rides for them, and do commuter routes. Attacking it with the help of the employer is a great way to do things as it's not just you encouraging an individual in their cycling, it's their workplace and their colleagues as well, so it becomes a social thing.

Forgive me, but who or what exactly is "we"?
A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

Edwards
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Edwards » 17 Jul 2013, 2:29pm

Given that she was riding slowly minding her own business and not stressed by any other traffic, not in any rush just relaxing. Also presumably not giving pedestrians a hard time with plenty of space.

Then for me the question would be how can we show her a benefit of cycling on the road?
I assume that she would only change to the road if she was getting a big benefit for her style of cycling.
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Geriatrix » 17 Jul 2013, 2:37pm

I think some of it may be a reflection on her parents as well. They aren't cyclists so they haven't taught her. I bet her dad has told her "stay on the pavement, its safest".

My daughter probably conforms to the Waitrose girl description in the context of what she uses a bike for, but not how she uses it. I taught her how to use it so she cycles on the road.
For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for nature cannot be fooled - Richard Feynman

Mark1978
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Mark1978 » 17 Jul 2013, 2:41pm

That's a difficult one isn't it. I cycle on the road of course, I'm a road cyclist ;). However what advice would I give my daughter (she's only 2 ;)), that's much more difficult.

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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Audax67 » 17 Jul 2013, 2:46pm

Forget about it. Whether she rides on the pavement or not is between her and the law. No point in getting all hissy.

FWIW, I find it an excellent way of going the wrong way up a one-way street. :wink:
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Mark1978 » 17 Jul 2013, 2:49pm

Audax67 wrote:Forget about it. Whether she rides on the pavement or not is between her and the law. No point in getting all hissy.

FWIW, I find it an excellent way of going the wrong way up a one-way street. :wink:


I have cycled on the pavement on occasion, one case recently where cycle route signage dumped me onto a dual carriageway so I used a bit of pavement to get to the next bit of shared use path. The pavement I used was wider and of better quality than the shared use paths either side of it.

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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Si » 17 Jul 2013, 2:54pm

danfoto wrote:Forgive me, but who or what exactly is "we"?


Sorry, should have said..... Bike North Birmingham: http://bikenorth.birmingham.gov.uk/

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Si
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Si » 17 Jul 2013, 3:01pm

Like others, I've nothing against pavement cyclists if they are careful and considerate. Thing is though, even the ones that pootle along slowly and give way to every pedestrian can sometimes be putting themselves in danger, for instance at junctions where they are going to have to interact with vehicles and the vehicle drivers may well not be expecting them to be coming from that direction. As a ride leader I find that one of the biggest pains in keeping people in the ride safe is when the (legitimate shared use) path is bisected by a road....people have a tendency to switch off, thinking that they are safe because they are on a path or pavement, and then suddenly find themselves in the middle of the road with a truck bearing down on them.

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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby Audax67 » 17 Jul 2013, 4:41pm

A few years ago here, towns could win government subsidies according to the length of cycle track they put in. A lot of them simply bought two cans of paint and outlined the gutters; and where the road was too narrow they swapped out a couple of kerbstones for ramps and painted the lines on the pavement. I have seen places where a compulsory track went up onto a barely wide enough pavement and under branches a metre off the ground. Such idiocies were so obviously committed without regard for cyclist or pedestrian safety that anyone could be forgiven for thinking that pavements were open to both, white lines or no. I have never yet seen a flic take any notice of a cyclist in any kind of pedestrian area - though I have been quite reasonably bawled at by SNCF personnel for riding along a very long, empty platform.

The cyclist who does get my goat, though, is the one who cycles across a road via the pedestrian crossing and expects to be treated as a pedestrian. I have a specially roughened edge on my tongue for them. :twisted:
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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby MarkF » 17 Jul 2013, 4:49pm

My kids (12- 14, 18) have always been told that cycling is safe, not only healthy. They ride on the road, they have never worn a helmet but are free to use one if they so wish to. I don't think any of their friends, the few that actually cycle, ever cycle on anything but the pavement. I think they are conditioned now, by parents, schools & H&S, IMO it'll be very hard to pursuade them that cycling on the road is anything other than foolhardy and dangerous.

Shame about the Waitrose girl but I'd prefer her cycling on the pavement than not at all.

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Re: The Waitrose Girl

Postby kwackers » 17 Jul 2013, 4:50pm

Audax67 wrote:The cyclist who does get my goat, though, is the one who cycles across a road via the pedestrian crossing and expects to be treated as a pedestrian. I have a specially roughened edge on my tongue for them. :twisted:

Why?

I've seen toucans join up bits of pavement that as far as I can tell weren't cycle paths, I also know of pedestrian crossings that do join cycle paths (as well as both that work correctly).
Then of course there are zebra crossings - although they seem roundly ignored by everyone so people may as well just walk out into the road.

Personally apart from letting out brief sigh when I see an adult male on a pavement I can't say I have any issue with anyone using pavements / crossings with the proviso they're well behaved (and in my experience they're generally a lot better behaved than shared path cyclists - probably due to the usual 'entitlement' nonsense)

If I was on a cycle path and needed to cross the road to the other side I must admit I wouldn't bother getting off my bike regardless of the crossing type.