City cycling clinic

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  • Why headphones are for headcases

    For all the things I love about cycling to work, there’s something that the bus ride has that two wheels doesn’t. On the days when rain drives me on to public transport, the 45-minute time capsule in which I can listen to music or read a book is an oasis. It’s technically possible to listen to music or even a podcast book while cycling but it’s anything but wise.Cycling along Highbury Corner on to Liverpool Road on my way to Camden recently, I noticed tell-tale twin wires hanging from the ears of a fellow cyclist – and the accompanying glazed look of one who has plugged into their own private soundtrack and unplugged themselves from the reality of their immediate surrounds. A decent tune may enliven the commute but any sort of diversion on a bike is far more dangerous than it is for other types of road users. A cyclist’s hearing is a crucial sense, second only to sight. Out on the road, you hear the engine behind you long before you turn and see it. You can tell from the nuance of its rumble and chug whether a Mini or a bus is about to outflank you – and thus what your next move should be.A cyclist who is giving less than their full attention to the road is a danger to all those around them, not just themselves. Personal stereos give you the means to opt out of the space you’re in, but to do so in the middle of a road is the pinnacle of dangerous stupidity and selfishness.Fiona McAuslan

    Route rating

    Miles 2 miles (Highbury Corner to Camden Rd)Average cycle time 25 minsCalories burned Around 200 Playlists scorned while sitting on public transport Two

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