Monthly Archives: January 2010

Toxic London: Cyclists, pregnancy and miscarriages

I was reading in this week’s Take-a-Break magazine on Page 19, “Polluted Pregnancy”.

The article was about new research ‘that suggests high levels of pollution caused by toxic traffic fumes could greatly increase the risk of miscarriage by two and a half times’.

“That’s why experts are advising women to avoid getting pregnant when there are high levels of pollution in the air.

The article goes on to say that experiments in mice studying the effects of air pollution in pregnancy have shown that exhaust particles stops embryos developing properly in the womb and this can trigger a miscarriage.

“The study from Brazil found that miscarriage rates in Brazil were 20 to 30 per cent in winter months compared with 10 to 15 per cent at other times of the year.

Britain is already facing prosecution in the European Court for failing to meet legal limits. By 2012 the UK may also face prosecution for nitrogen dioxide pollution which is higher in London than in any other capital city in Europe.

Levels are rising as more and more people are driving cars running on diesel not petrol.

The Miscarriage Association wants more studies.

However, as is often the case, a foreign study will say it is dangerous but a UK one will say it is safe, and nothing to worry about, we only have to remember the studies about CJD and mobile phones.

I wonder when the CTC and LCC will discuss pollution and pregnancy and how cyclists are affected.

To Freewheeler/Crap Waltham Forest

Nope, I’m back!

I confess I have not cycling in London a) snow buggering up the trains b) well, just logistics really ie engineering works also buggering things up.

However, as far as I know (touch wood), I will be back on the bike on Wednesday, and God help all the bad drivers.

Wot no bike?!

Believe it or not, I didn’t take my bike up to London the other day. I used my feet.

The trains had a bus service for part of the way and you know how ‘it is up to the discretion of the driver’ to allow you to take a bike. As I was working, there was no way I would take that risk. My fold up isn’t tiny enough to take with me by my seat. (I am still yearning for a Brompton:-).

Maybe at weekends. when I have to work, I won’t take the bike, as I don’t trust National Rail Enquiries – they are wrong about 70% of the time. I asked for Liverpool Street Station and they kept on rabbiting on about Liverpool, that was just one of the stupid things they did!

But luckily they were correct about Liverpool Street Station to Stratford actually running well, otherwise, I would have definitely missed an early start at work. With all the enginneering works, my normal journey, taking an hour or so, took two.

I love weekends.

New Year New Bike

Due to complications ‘beyond my control’ I have a brand new ladies bike. It even comes complete with a rack and mudguards. I can actually wear a skirt with it. It also comes with a basket. (BEAM).

Already motorists are slowing down behind me – I look like a ‘vulnerable girly cyclist’ . Well, I may as well make the most of it.

It has only recently been out for a short spin, a little difficult because of the snow and ice recently. But at last I took it to London again, after several weeks away from the City.

It was odd to be back in London. It was almost like ‘foreign soil’ as I hadn’t been to London for about four weeks. But it was good to be back.

Things must have happened though in the meantime, I saw more and more motorists actually stop on the Advanced Stop Lines. Is it because there are more cyclists on the road that ‘we are finally making a presence’ or is the media giving us some better publicity for once, helped by the Evening Standard.

Unfortunately on one of these virgin trips round London I managed to lose my lock. I had put it on the back of my bike and I think it wasn’t locked properly. It’s probably is somewhere along Holborn. Luckily I had a D lock.

However, in London I don’t think one lock is secure enough. I ended up trying to buy another Abus cable lock but the bike shop suggested I buy some bolts for my quick release wheels instead which was a cheaper and apparently better option. It cost me £27 to get one of my wheels secured can you imagine? (and they’re not made of gold:-). It comes with a special card and ‘key’ which looks like a bolt. We shall give it ago then and see if anyone tries to nick it.

I have also engraved most of my components, including the wheels in case some scumbag tries to pinch it. I’m ‘not going to take no chances’.

Latest stuff

Well, I never managed to get to Manchester:-) I got as far as getting in the coach then I had a call from the people picking me up that they can’t because of the weather. Even getting a taxi was a nightmare. So I ended up getting off the National Express coach in London and spending the rest of the day there, and well, so my holiday ‘up north’ was well and truly bu**ered.

The people I was meeting were Northerners and even they said it was to cr*p to continue, so there was nothing ‘southern softy’ about it.

2009 Stats for this Blog

Does this beat Cycling Weekly?

Total views: 22,813

As this blog has been closed for most of year, that was pretty impressive.

Happy New Year

I cycled to work on New Year’s Day. There were no cyclists about probably because no one, with any sense, would be working so early. I was very nearly knocked over yesterday, it was amazing I was here at all.

The roads were really clear though there was plenty of ice around. No lorries about – good. I saw a little bit of snow but nothing that would stop me from cycling at all.

Wasn’t it bad over Christmas? I don’t think I will ever forget the Winter of 2009 and the lack of gritting. There were apparently some ‘council cock ups’.

I will be away for a few days… sadly without the bike. I am visiting my boyfriend’s mother. She will be picking me up from Manchester by car.. but luckily she is an advanced driver – what a bonus. I am still not looking forward to the drive with all the nutters on the road.

I will get getting there by coach, not something I like much, as I ‘like to be in control’.

I think J’s mother will be taking us to places so I don’t expect she will be wanting me to take photos of Advanced Stop Lines over there!