I have never dreamt of being on the radio and now its happened twice in about a month! Once again those nice people in our local BBC Three Counties Radio station got in touch with me to comment on a local cycling issue. As the days are becoming shorter, more cyclists have been seen riding without lights. Understandably this causes concern amongst other road users and the story goes from there….
Cycling there, through the streets and along the Bus Way cycle track I was nervously excited about being on the radio once again. I am not a ‘natural’ at speaking in public but I need to push myself and get it cracked once and for all. Besides there was no way I was going to be late for my slot in the breakfast show!
As I mentioned the background this time is the issue of some local cyclists riding around without lights. This gets people angry, cross and brings out the anti-cyclist element. Three Counties were looking to air this matter and wanted to have me there, early on, to put across my point of view. My point of view? Predictably you have to use lights when cycling at night; you must, no if, buts or maybes. You use lights at night. Period.
We chatted both on-air and off-air. We chatted about the steps people need to take to be legal at night. I mentioned you could buy a cheap set of lights for about £20 to keep you legal on the road. I mentioned you could get far more expensive lights allowing you to be more adventurous. The question of cyclists having a word with other road users came up, it’s not easy or always appropriate to rebuke other cyclists (you never know what the reaction will be) and so I suggested checking someone is okay might be an option. We talked about the positive benefits of cycling and then I was on a roll – staying in good shape, good for commuting and so on.
My big regret is that I didn’t say anything controversial, or perhaps even another on-air challenge (before I challenged local Councillors to try cycling along the Bus Way with me!). Hey ho, perhaps another time I can get a grip! All in all I was on-air for about 10 minutes – I loved it! Seems such a weird thing sitting in a darkened room and simply chatting to someone, surrounded by all of the studio equipment. Although there was a huge microphone inches from my face, I wasn’t really aware of it. I think what made it easier was the friendliness of the staff there: Kelly who welcomed me in and Iain the presenter of the programme. And yet that easy-going conversation is then broadcast out there – who’d listening? A few people driving to work? A few thousand people over their breakfast? Perhaps even more – I have no idea!
And then on my way to Stevenage….
Just as I was getting towards the edge of Luton (and still dark at this point) another cyclist appeared out of nowhere. I heard a voice say “go straight over the roundabout Doug and follow me”. It was Barry! What a welcome face that was! This is a story of huffing, puffing and two flat tyres but I’ll blog about that really soon….