Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Cycling in Croydon, London

As a keen cyclist, I am asked cycling related questions on a regular basis, so thought I should write up an FAQ. The answers (some obvious, others not so) are aimed at those who want to use cycle for commuting to/from work or shopping or just leisure rides. Following is Croydon specific, but also applies to elsewhere in the UK.
Q -Is parking free?
A - Cycle parking is free everywhere. Massive free 2 tier cycle parking facilities at East Croydon station. Loads as well in the city centre and high street.
Many shops (Sainsbury’s, Waitrose) will allow you to keep the bike inside if you forget the lock (like I have smile emoticon
Q - Is theft an issue?
A - Cycle theft is a problem, especially in Croydon. Park in visible spots, lock both wheels, use locks with gold/silver rating. Cyclists leave their stronger locks where they park frequently, so they don’t have to carry the heavy locks back and forth (I do at East Croydon station).
Q - Are helmets compulsory?
A - No, but strongly recommended, especially for kids.
Q - Are lights compulsory?
A - Yes, in the dark. Front white and rear red.https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/…/izn20130902-Buying-bike…
Q - Is it dangerous?
A - Cycling has become safer over the years in spite of rise in the number of cycle journeys .
In Croydon, there are loads of cycle and bus lanes so even on busy roads, you are surprisingly safe. However, you have to be careful along tram lines.
Q - But the weather is bad – cold and rainy always!
A - As they say, there is nothing like bad weather, only bad gear (clothes). Anyway, for short journeys, the gear doesn’t matter much. 5 minutes intocycling will banish all the cold and you will actually enjoy the rain. However, most days of the year, you will need gloves.
Q - Can you carry kids on a cycle?
A - Yes, you can carry kids from toddlers to older ones as long as the cycle is “built or adapted” to carry “a passenger.”
I carry my 8 year old daughter around on a normal cycle with a strong rear rack, a seat mounted on the rack, and footrest.
Q - Is riding on footpath illegal?
A - To quote - "...new legislation came into force to allow a fixed penalty notice to be served on anyone who is guilty of cycling on a footway (legal term for footpath, pavement). However ...FPNs should only be used where a cyclist is riding in a manner that may endanger others".
Q - I haven't ridden a bike since I was a kid?
A - Start slow, on quieter roads, build confidence. Ride regularly. Become a kid

Nationalism and Religion - Opium to fool the masses

There is no dearth of bigoted people in politics, but they flourish because they are smart enough to give credence to the thoughts of a sizeable populace who are themselves bigoted and ignorant. These politicians are using the weapon of nationalism to distract citizens from talking about fundamental issues (poverty, pollution, drought, economy) and brand those who don't tow the line as anti-nationals. Forcing people to say, "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" is one such instance. 

BJP General Secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya and Baba Ramdev (brother of Baba Kamdev) are two such specimens of Reptilia Bigota.

Can these two please clarify the following
1. How frequently should we say "Bharat Mata ki Jai"? Can we just say once (say in the bathroom)
2. Who will record that we have said "Bharat Mata ki Jai"? Does it have to be in front of BJP/Sangh/RSS Office. Is a selfie video ok.
3. If there is a foreign born person who is now resident in India, does he have to say it?
4. What if someone says "Bharat Mata ki Jai", in a sarcastic tone (say when India loses in a game, when they see huge mounds of garbage, when they are bribing a government babu in a hospital to allow carry out life-saving operation on their loved ones). How will you know the difference and who will judge that the statement was heartful or sarcastic?
5. What about the Indians who don't want to say anything positive about India but have no other passports. How do you plan to deport them?
Mr Vijayvargiya you are general secretary of the ruling party and Babaji, you are the 'owner' of the fastest growing FMCG brand in India, so would expect your statements to be logical and actionable. Don't see that being the case. EVER. Any party for that matter.