riding through the smog

Went for a road ride last night over to Macclesfield to meet Deb. The weather was grim so I decided against going the long way round (via Hayfield) and instead went straight through Manchester and through Cheadle. It’s a good route this, there’s plenty of mad drivers in the City Centre to shout at, loads of traffic lights to race against and plenty of ups and downs to provide a bit of a challenge.
The traffic in some places was a nightmare. Normally no problem on a bicycle, but everyone seemed to be crawling along in their cars as close to the kerb as possible. I was on the pavement a few times just to get safely to the front of the queue. The fumes were pretty bad too – there was no wind last night so I was riding slowly through a thick mist of carbon monoxide. That can’t have done me much good.
The parts without traffic jams though were pretty good. Ride as fast as possible, sprinting through each green traffic light until legs and lungs are saved by a red light. As soon as it goes green, sprint, sprint, sprint to the next set. Once in Cheadle, there are less traffic lights, less cars and less mongy looking people, so it’s a bit more relaxed. Then I hit the road to Prestbury that hasn’t got any street lighting. I’d fitted an LED cluster to my Lumicycle lamp last week and this was the first time I’d used it. It’s fine in well-lit areas but on this road it’s utter pants. I could hardly see anything at all and predictably hit a small pothole. A bit further on my front tyre burst with a loud POP and HISSSSSS.

Luckily, I was only a quarter mile from Deb’s mum’s place so just walked. I wouldn’t have been happy about that happening earlier on though – fixing a tyre at the side of the road in Burnage isn’t my idea of a good ride.