Being only 5 foot nothing and touching 19 stone in weight my BMI was through the roof. It was a reality check for sure and was given a warning by the firm "shape up or go back to supermarket contracts" seems harsh? Not really, my firm takes our health very seriously, hauling petrol, explosives and various other very dangerous loads it would be negligent to allow an unfit driver behind the wheel, just wish other firms would follow this example. Every start and finish of shift we are breathalysed for alcohol and have to be below a very low level before starting, eyesight tested twice a year and two full medicals including blood screening every 6 months...
So I got a bike.
Cycling in Northampton for the most part is made easier by the vast network of cycle paths. A lot of which actually as a birder holds some little gems. Take the image below from the cycle path opposite Clifford Hill gravel pit. So until I started to venture out into more rural areas there was never a need to really go onto public roads.
The final thing in the
cycling/motorist debate is the worse offenders are other cyclists, fact. But it's a "type" of cyclist. Clad head to toe in garish lycra trying their best to shave a few tenths off their personal best times "to work" commute, which they record on mobile phone apps (yeah I have one too). If I was to get in my car and time my commute then race around trying to beat it I'd be arrested. A dangerous mix of competivness coupled with the adrenalin from the exercising leads to some pretty ugly arrogance and blatant rudeness. You add three like minded friends cycling and you get a bunch of well...cunts. Sorry but these cyclists are the ones who seem to get into confrontations with other road users. A lot if time from my saddle they bring it on themselves, cutting through red lights, not stopping at zebra/pedestrian crossing, listening to music through headphones and even making/taking phone calls. But I will pity you if you come across these Bradley Wiggin wannabes on a cycle path, good luck. That's THEIR turf I was cycling past three who refused to move into single file, hogging the path, wrong bloke this time lads I now have a name for it "cyclist bowling" straight through the group shoulders out and see how many you can knock over. The numbers of these I have had the misfortune to meet out numbers bad motorists. So if you're thinking about cycling the worst person you'll come across will probably be a "die hard" lycra clad twat.
Use of the bike was supposed to be just for work and back but something odd happened, I actually started to enjoy it. In terms of birding I didn't think I would get much in terms of both birds and images but didn't do too bad. I found my own Ring Ouzel in the spring whilst walking along a public footpath and whilst using the cycle path that is the Lamport railway found my own Common Redstart in late summer both might have gone un-recorded and got a big bogey bird off "yet to get a decent image of" list.
|COMMON REDSTART, LAMPORT RAILWAY|
|RING OUZEL, MOULTON|
|GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER, LAMPORT RAILWAY|
Would I recommend trying to bird by bike, yes. Would I do it again? Yes. Try it at first it's hard going on the body but eventually I found even a smoker like me could go for some distance and lunatic cyclist aside enjoyed it. So the bike isn't retiring to the shed quite yet, no room now it's a hide lol.