Halloween Friday this week, technically the 1st of November but it still ascribes to my definition of Freaky Friday (and Friday that has a month end on or right before it; with a change in the weather - its been sunny, stormy, rainy and cold all in the space of a few days - like all four seasons in one week; falls on a bank or school holiday - its been half term for a lot of schools and colleges around here)...
...I got into work on Friday morning thanking the Great Spaghetti Monster that I'd made it through a hellish week. Everything that can go wrong has - we've been short-staffed, machinery is constantly breaking down, two customers have threatened staff with one having to be escorted away by security. I've probably lost my shit on two occasions as a result of someone else's inability to do the job they're paid for.
So it was some light relief when the guy I work with asked of me "..was that you I saw riding on the pavement toward's Ikea?" We've known each other for about 3-4 years. He knows my views on pavement riding - that I understand when you're dealing with urban motorways how people can be frightened from the road. He also knows that I don't appreciate seeing adults riding on pavements when the road is quiet and safe, and that I would far rather people fight for change than commit to minor law breaking.
I can be dogmatic in my views at times, seeing the world in black and white where others see shades of grey. Something is either moral or it isn't. It is either legal or it isn't.
I had to think for a second. The only path I ride on in that general area is outside the Novatel (just a large hotel chain in Southampton). As it turned out this is where he and his Brother, who had been driving at the time, had seen me. When you look at the route it is pretty unclear to others that this is also a cycle route - there is no colour delineation, no physical segregation from pedestrians, the signs are small and unobtrusive.
It is a fact that I've rung the bell when approaching pedestrians and had them turn around and say "..there's the road, mate!" How can anyone possibly know that bikes are to be expected or allowed if standards of design are so low and varied? This is probably why CTC have in the past criticised removing cyclists from the road, but now it appears even they are being won around to other countries' standards of approach to cycling and how it can grow.