Pandemic diary 29: The lure of the open road

No bunny today. Trying out my new birthday trekking poles on the streets of Stirchley. All pics: Pete Ashton.

One of the things I have started doing is walking down the middle of the road. Empty roads, big gaps in traffic, an invitation to reclaim the highway from the automobile. The lure of the open road. It's very satisfying, although not relaxing as you still have to keep an eye and ear out. Slower, quieter streets are safer but bigger main roads feel more of a coup. Sometimes there is a central chevron path, sometimes a single white line.

Pete labelled this 'street walking' until I set him straight.

More coronavirus lockdown changes…

I go to press the button at three pedestrian crossings and then realise there is no need.

Never has speeding been so attractive to so many. Speed limits have become token. Those 20mph test zones – ha ha. The 'meringue' sound of the speedway from streets away.

Pedestrians criss-cross frequently to avoid meeting on the pavement. Movement outdoors has become one big do-si-do of scale.

Joggers and cyclists everywhere. It is the walkers who must move out of the way. Recently I read an article about the need to avoid their slipstream by up to 10m as they leave a much longer trail of potentially contagious droplets. No wonder thinking about this invisible thing is so mind-wrecking. The figure of 2m is burned into our brains but what if it is wrong?

Hiking Stirchley's rubble hills.

Thanks NHS!

Today I am thankful for the NHS (once again), this time for my elderly friend who has had to go into hospital for non-Covid-19 reasons. I hate that he is on his own but it should only be a quick visit hopefully. That is one of the worst things about this situation – no contact. But the emergency services have been fantastic and got to him so quickly. Get well soon, old friend.

Commission/hire me: fiona [at]

3 thoughts on “Pandemic diary 29: The lure of the open road”

  1. "Joggers and cyclists everywhere. It is the walkers who must move out of the way." This makes me really sad and cross. As a runner, I understand it to be my job to move out of people's way who are going slower than me. I endlessly cross and recross, and if I have to be ahead of someone, I do it on a diagonal, aware, too, of that image (although that is from a non-peer reviewed article AND is a picture of a cough. I have cleared my throat while running, but not coughed). Most people do say thank you and a few times both have tried to move. But I'm seriously pissed off with the runners who think it's their right to have that pavement.

  2. Hi Liz – I should have added that it's subjective. The joggers/cyclists I encounter are mostly on the Rea Route. And while cyclists 'ting' you to move off the path, the joggers would probably run around. A lot of this is about my own risk profile in that I'll get out of their way rather than be oblivious and they run around me.

  3. That makes sense and I'm always glad when a pedestrian makes it easy for me not to be too close to them. I am not going on the Rea as it's just too narrow.

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