Night rides

Apart from some minor annoyances, I love riding at night. The light slowly fades, it’s quiet and you get to see more wildlife that normally hides away.

I’ve ridden behind owls flying, I’ve seen badgers and weasels, and of course too many rabbits to count.

If I could change one thing though, it’ll be other cyclists and their headlights. I’ve got a powerful front light as some of my local routes are pitch black with no lighting. However, when I see another cyclist, pedestrian or jogger, I put it down to the low setting. No one else seems too, making it hard to judge seperation on very narrow cycle paths.

Drive like a dick day

I’ve no idea what was up with people today, but the driving standards and dangerous aggression was all to evident on today’s ride.

First off, I was tailgated along a narrow road, and keeping well out of the door zone, and he finally overtook, blasting his horn as he went. Sorry mate, I’ll ride anywhere I like in the damn road. He then aggressively tailgated the car in front having to break hard several times.

Next up, a delivery van completely blocking the cycle path, as I went round him in order to continue, I noticed his reversing lights as he whacked it into reverse along the path.

Didn’t even look around, almost taking another cyclist out.

Then, on a roundabout a taxi pulled out right in front of me, causing me to brake hard. Then came the close passes. Not just a few, but almost every car, and a close pass on a tight downhill bend.

I give up. The driving standards are dropping like a lead balloon. We all have to get somewhere, we all have to learn to share. Motor vehicles do not, and have never had a greater priority than anything else.

The whole mentality of the car needs to change. We, as a society cannot allow the car to dictate our city plans. Our whole outlook on town planning needs a shift away from cars, and to sustainable methods of transport. I’m all for scrapping the VED, and increasing the cost of petrol to compensate. That way, you pay less if you use your car less, more for all those pointless journeys taking little Esmeralda and Sebastian to school in a massive 4×4, where they could easy walk it.

It is possible to live without a car, or at least use it less.

Sunday Funday

Went out for a quick spin on the bike, not to far as I was time limited. On the cycle path down to ripley, there was the normal glut of dog walkers, joggers and families out enjoying the traffic free route for a day out.

Kids where veering all over the path, going different directions from what their parents told them too, randomly stopping. Did this annoy me? Nope. It’s great to see the cycle way being used how it should be, smiles on people’s faces, happy kids trundling along. I’d rather deal with that, than some of the certified nut jobs behind the wheel of two tonnes of potential death.

And too think, the county council want to run a bypass right through the middle of it.

Spammy Estate Agents

Not content with shoving endless leaflets through my door, estate agents have started to list properties on google maps.

By far the worst offender of this was Alexander Gibson Estate Agents. There where a few others with the odd for sale property, and non of the big estate agents had any listings on Google, that I could find.

There certainly are some dodgy practices employed by some estate agents, these are some of the more common;

1 – Putting boards up on properties they haven’t been asked to sell or let, or leaving boards up longer than needed;

2 – Advising clients on offers from fictional buyers (yes they always fall through);

3 – Not revealing to a seller that a deal has fallen through, while they scramble to find another buyer before they lose the instruction;

4 – Dreaming up fictional offers from non-existent viewings to push buyers into raising their offer;

5 – Refusing to hand over the keys to rival firms when a property is being marketed by more than one agent;

6 – Refusing to pass on an acceptable offer to the vendor knowing the buyer will go higher and boost their commission;

7 – Deleting applicants and their offers from the firm’s database so buyers registered with colleagues are out of the running;

8 – Gazumping their own buyers with a better offer from another customer;

9 – Under-valuing a property in order to sell or let it to a developer or friend;

10 – Recommending offers from buyers just because they are signed up to their solicitors and brokers.

I’m rather hoping estate agents have cleaned up their act since I last had dealings with them, but it’s always a good idea to list a property with multiple agencies, and remember, the only thing they want is their commission on a sale. And there’s little they wouldn’t do to achieve it.

Here’s a quick list of things to look for;

1) Only deal with agents supervised by the property ombudsman. These agents must follow the ombudsman’s code of practice and you can get up to £25,000 compensation if they break the code. Find participating agents from The Property Ombudsman.

2) Get recommendations from friends who have both bought and sold in the area. If you are selling up you will want to know the agent is polite to would-be buyers and turns up on time for appointments, as he or she will be representing you.

3) Value the property yourself. You can do this online for free at Zoopla.co.ukor pay Hometrack.co.uk £19.95 for a detailed property valuation report based on the same database used by mortgage lenders.

4) Deal directly with sellers and buyers using Tepilo. The property search engine, set up by Channel 4 TV presenter Sarah Beeny, allows homeowners to advertise directly to sellers, avoiding the need for estate agents completely. The site is free with no commission fees to pay. Alternatively, try fee-charging sites like emoov.co.uk or House Simple.

5) Contact potential sellers in person. Visit your chosen area and contact the sellers of properties you like directly, perhaps by popping a card through the door. Tell them you are interested in buying their home and give your contact number. They may be considering selling up and be glad to bypass agency fees.

6) Look at how the agent markets other properties. If the descriptions on its website tend towards the jocular, and you seek seriousness, or the pictures look like they were taken through a dirty window, you might want to steer clear – even if the agent is charging the lowest commission.

7) Check any agent you hire is a member of the National Association of Estate Agents. They must undergo professional development training each year and follow a voluntary code of conduct. There is a disciplinary process which includes penalties up to £5,000 for each rule broken. Search the directory of members at NAEA.co.uk.

Cold

You know it’s bloody cold when you notice icicles hanging on your walk home from work.

The wind was lethal. It was cutting right through. I only hope we have seen the last of the cold eastern weather, as it’s stopping a lot of riding..

Mobiles

I regularly see people using mobiles while driving on my short walk to work.

But to use it in the weather we’re currently having, is just absolute madness. But what’s worse, is a local news website, publishing photos on their twitter account, taken while driving.

I got blocked by them after pointing out, how stupid it was to be using a mobile while driving in these conditions, so they appear to be quite happy to promote illegal behaviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of those photos, are taken while driving.

Distracted driving is dangerous at the best of times, but in these conditions it is downright idiotic, and for a website to publish them is a bad choice, you cannot and should not normalise this behaviour.