Monday, January 17

abrupt halt

i haven't posted for a while. the reason is the blogger's free service will not let me do what i want. so i am going to try revert to one blog, but this time powered by typepad. some of the post from this blogs and links will be transferred. so, click here for amateur ramblings.

Wednesday, January 5

orange alert

this product could be useful to cyclists - safe turn is a small bicyle light that you clip to your wrist/glove, which acts as a direction indicator. it is activated when you raise your arm to signal your intention to turn. via treehugger.

Tuesday, January 4

profits well spent

passengers on transpennine express services will soon be enjoying scented headrests. i travelled to manchester by train yesterday, and can report that the money would be better spent on cleaning the toilets.

Sunday, January 2


here is a copy of an email i sent to first: hi, i actually have a query about your services over the christmas/new year period. why do you stop running buses at around 6pm on christmas/new year's eve, and do not operate at all on new year's day? in bristol (where I used to live) you seem to be able to manage to work a saturday service on 24th/31st december, and a sunday service on 1st january. i think it is terrible that first can get away with running such a none-service over the holiday period in a city the size of leeds. surely people do not scuttle back to their homes after dark on these days, not emerging until a few days later? what about everyone who celebrated the new year in millenium square?

Wednesday, December 29

why do three come at once?

find out here.

Monday, December 27

driving home for christmas

the beginning of my journey home on christmas eve involved actually getting from town to crossgates. i believe that i made the wrong decision in heading towards infirmary street to get the 64. i had considered catching a bus from york street, near the bus station, but it was raining at the traffic didn't seem too bad - it was only 2pm. the journey time from infirmary street to york street, which must be half a mile, is given as two minutes on the timetable. in fact it took 35 minutes, which was totally frustrating because i knew had i decided to walk passed all the traffic, i could have got probably caught the bus that left half an hour earlier. i think the problem was caused by traffic at the junction of boar lane / briggate - i suppose everyone just wanted to get home, but blocking the box junction doesn't seem like the most considerate way to go about it.

Friday, December 24

xmas eve

if you are staying in leeds tonight, and you need to use the bus to get around, then make sure that you are where you need to be by 7pm. how is it that the same company is able to operate a normal friday service in bristol? the trains in leeds stop around 8pm. i am driving to birmingham later on (where although a saturday service is running today, they are operating on boxing day); i am hoping that the predicted bad weather doesn't affect my journey.

Thursday, December 23

i can sing a rainbow...

this blog shares it's name with the branding applied to first leeds' showcase routes, those that generally have a frequency of at least one bus every 10 minutes along most of the route. each service appears to have been colour-coded, i guess to aid recognition amongst passengers (i suppose this is needed because buses tend not to arrive at stops when they are supposed to, and some of the dot-matrix destination boards seem pretty illegible). the trouble with this system is that there are seventeen routes, and i can imagine the desperate scrabbling for sufficiently different colours for each route. some of the more obscure ones are light pink, mauve, turquoise, indigo (that's my bus), beige, salmon, and the exquisitely monikered 'dark brown line'.

Tuesday, December 21

further grumblings

as it seems to be the time of the year for top ten list, i thought i would join in. so here is my top ten things that annoy me when i am cycling: 1) the awful state of the roads 2) when a vehicle does not allow enough room during overtaking 3) when other cyclists run red lights 4) general lack of segregated cycle routes 5) when vehicles stop in the section designated for cycles, at traffic lights 6) cars illegally entering yellow box junctions when the exit is not clear 7) that traffic signals controlling bus lanes are not activated by bikes 8) when pedestrians check for cars, but not bikes, before stepping into the road 9) cyclists travelling without lights, etc, at night 10) that no-one else seems to be cycling

dirty protest

i went for a lovely bike ride on sunday. one thing i have have been noticing over the last few weeks is just how filthy the surfaces are in leeds. if they become wet, you can see the dirty water on the pavements; and cycling the streets allows you to see close-up the mud and muck that seems to resist the cleansing effects of rain. if you want proof, this is what i looked like after the journey home yesterday: the mud-measles tasted of the salt used by the council during gritting.

Sunday, December 19

the journey home

i have had the continuation of my previous post in my head for a few days, while i was busy doing other things away from my computer. i caught the bus for the last three days of the week, due to various post-work social engagements, and the weather (yeah yeah, i'm such a committed cyclist). i can't decide whether journeys home are worse that journeys to work, during the rush. going to work, you are against the clock, and so long as you have caught a sufficiently early bus, you should get to work on time. coming home is a frustrating battle, as everyone leaves their offices at one second past five and rushes to board whatever mode of transport will convey them to the suburbs. my timetable reveals that the 64 leaves infirmary street at 5.05. to make it, i have to at least jog, not easy on narrow pavements through crowds heading for the train station. but what's this? an extra service, 65, leaves a minute later; this bus runs the exact same route as far as scholes, so wouldn't it be better to have it leave a few minutes later, quarter past for example? and so it is that i fail to make it, and have to walk to boar lane to try my luck on the 40. no worries, as one of first's flagship routes, during the day buses run every 10 minutes. but does rush hour count as daytime or evening? neither, or both; we all queued patiently for 20 minutes. i arrive home at 6.10, more than twice the time it takes me to cycle.

Thursday, December 16


i caught the bus to work today. i found myself running a bit late, because i only had a tenner in my pocket, and my girlfriend gemma had taken all of my 50p collection for bus fares last week (it wasn't a large collection). i had to go scott's bakery and buy an eccles cake in order to get some coins. i don't really understand why buses generally refuse to take accept notes; i suppose firms would say it isn't feasible for drivers to carry lots of heavy coins in order to make change, and carrying notes would put drivers at greater risk. i usually try to have the exact fare ready, a habit that comes from living in birmingham where the drivers do not even give change. there are lots of buses from crossgates into town, in reality i have a choice of five. numbers 5 and 88 are ruled out because they take rather convoluted routes, the 56 goes via the headrow, which is the wrong side of town for me, so i am left with the two options. the 40 is more frequent, but the 64 is more direct. decisions decisions. as it was raining this morning, i opted for the first bus to arrive, which was the 40. my next dilemma was where to sit. downstairs was pretty crowded, so i made for the top deck, where i played seat roulette. there was an unoccupied double seat towards the back, but it was surrounded by school-children. but should i risk sitting next to a stranger, potentially mad, drunk, smelly, or worse, a talker? i picked the latter option, and i feel i made a wise choice (this time). i am glad that i do not have to catch the bus every day. cycling is actually quicker, as well as being cheaper, healthier, and less crowded.

Tuesday, December 14

two careful owners

for just £2000, you could buy this piece of transport history.

Monday, December 13

the usual

in bristol, my journey to work was only two miles, which took 10 minutes by bike, and half an hour walking or by bus. the discounted time taken cycling or walking is made possible by making use of the gaol ferry bridge. the distance i now need to travel to get to work is five miles, so has taken a bit of getting used to. my route follows the a64 york road from crossgates to the centre, then round the loop to my office near the train station, where i have use of shower facilities. there are more hills than my previous route, and new and exciting dangers such as big roundabouts and bus lanes that are literally wide enough for a bus. i can sense that the quality of air is not as good, i imagine because the road i use is much busier. this journey takes around 25 minutes; i rarely see another cyclist - maybe two or three each way. bristol has more.

Sunday, December 12

back to the future

guardian online reports that there are hopes that advances in hydrogen power mean a return to 'steam trains' within 10 years.

not technically a strike

midland mainline are unable to run any trains today, due to a pay dispute with their drivers. however, staff are not actually on strike; due to a loophole in their contracts, sunday working is classed as overtime, so staff merely opted not to work today.

Thursday, December 9


so, a bit about me and my blog. i recently moved to leeds, from bristol. i spent the first 19 years of my life in halesowen (near birmingham), then enjoyed three years at derby university. in 1998 i moved to leeds; four years ago decided to give bristol a try. having a girlfriend from leeds has now brought me back to yorkshire. living in crossgates allows me to cycle to work (in town), although i occasionally get the bus. i have a car, of which i make average use i guess. i cycle and walk for pleasure, and use buses and trains fairly regularly. we normally take at least one holiday per year that involves flying, usually with the cheap carriers. crossgates seems to offer fairly good options for public transport; there are a number of bus routes to a variety of destinations, and a train station with equal array of places served. my flat is five miles from town, yet five minutes walk from the countryside, allowing for pleasant walks and cycle-rides. i have had a vague interest in public transport, and i suppose this blog will be about my experiences and observations towards this subject, as i stumble towards my 30's (thankfully not until 2006). hope you enjoy my blog, feel free to comment on what you read.