As you know if you read my last blog post, there was a lot of excitement about my GoPro Session arriving, and the prospect of being able to take you on a tour of Edinburgh in the lockdown. All those nice empty streets and traffic free routes…well, it didn’t quite work out like out.
Firstly, I couldn’t get the GoPro to see my phone, then it wouldn’t not see my phone. Once that was sorted out and it could see my computer, I got it charged up and ready to go. The next thing was where to attach it to the Brompton, or me. In the end I went for me, stuck the thing on my helmet, and out I went. There was a lot of faffing about whilst I got my Garmin to download the route, again, from Kamoot, since it was there then it wasn’t as well. Finally, I got going, but by this time I had managed to get the GoPro to shoot on Time-lapse not normal recording and I didn’t know it.
There I was heading down the main road and past Edinburgh Zoo, almost to Murrayfield before the Garmin caught up with the map rendering and told me I had gone off the planned route. Great. My commentary for the camera was also pointless as it wasn’t recording video, just tens of thousands of still shots at a rate of one every three seconds.
Back on track I went around the back of Edinburgh Castle, got close passed by an idiot in a VW estate who couldn’t wait ten seconds for me to clear the narrowed road and roadworks, and I was happy to have the camera capture the moment, even in stills form.
You can see me steering into the curb as I’m drafted by the idiot. Not very friendly and I’m sure his mission wasn’t so time critical that he couldn’t have waited.
So although the roads were much quieter than normal, the pinch points and the lack of common decency remained.
No matter how brightly coloured and visible you are, some still refuse to ‘see’ you. Take this incident approaching a roundabout, where I indicated my intention clearly and in plenty of time, only to have a BMW that couldn’t wait nearly take me out as I was moving into my correct lane.
The routes were quieter, but I felt no safer than I did normally, because when it’s congested they go so much slower. I have to be honest and say that I also wouldn’t have tried a few of these roads under normal conditions having witnesses the standard of driver behaviour when I’m in my own car.
The police were about, mainly on the busier routes, and they, the buses, and the lorries all gave me a wide birth. Why cars can’t is therefore beyond me!
Why did I use the roads and not the cycle ways?
Two reasons; firstly, the cycle paths are shared use and not wide enough for social distancing, so I wanted to leave those to the pedestrians and those who really needed them, and secondly, we have been lead to believe the roads were quieter and so I thought the journey would be pleasant on the roads. Largely, in the city centre itself, this was true enough, but some of the arterial routes were just as unpleasant as normal, with cars moving much faster than usual (I would say above the speed limit way too often).
Yes, sometimes I am not occupying the primary position, I was trying to be reasonable and maybe I should not have been, but I felt I took it when necessary. I certainly wasn’t hugging the gutter unless I felt forced into it. Aggressive drivers are usually men, although not always, and I’m a 5ft 2″, 49 year old, woman who doesn’t want an altercation I know I cannot win.
As for creating a film of my trip, from my badly shot footage, well I did. It’s crap, and my current WordPress plan doesn’t allow posting video (I just found out) so I can’t show you.
Although you can see it on the @girlonabrompton Facebook page if you really want to.