Protests at the Olympic torch run in London

Rachel and I went down to Russell Square to see the Olympic Torch march and associated protests. Hundreds of protesters turned up to make their voices heard.

The police line near Russell Square

Naturally the police were out in force to make sure the torch reached it’s goal and to stop any trouble.

Large numbers of police surrounded the torch at every stage of the run

What really surprised me was the large number of pro-Chinese people there.

China had loads of supporters too

Many of the China supporters were very vocal and more than happy to argue their case. Their arguments came down to a few main points:

  • Sport and politics should be separate
  • Tibetans kill Chinese people you can see it on Youtube
  • You haven’t been to China so you can’t have an opinion

These seriously were the points made by many seemingly educated young Chinese men and women as a justification for the recent violent actions of the Chinese government. The irony of engaging in vigorous debate to support a regime that violently suppresses all dissenting views was lost on them.

Personally I think we are all lucky to be living in a country where people can have a vigorous and heated debate on the side of the road.

This is my favourite photo of the day. It makes me wonder if the huge number of police present are part of the Chinese dream.

Share the dream indeed

It’s going to be an interesting year for all involved and sadly I don’t think we have seen the end of the blood.

Hi mum I’m on TV!!!

Mark Sainsbury and random Kiwis outside Buckingham Palace

Today I made and appearance on Close Up (click this to see the video while it is up) an evening current affairs show in NZ.

Yesterday Cam sent around an email asking if anyone was willing to get up at 6am to head down to Buckingham Palace to participate in a news show about Sir Edmund Hillary. I was the only one dumb enough to do it and was dutifully up at 6am and on my bike 5 minutes later. When we go there it turned out to be a piece about an English guy and a Kiwi girl who dated 27 years ago and are now getting back together. It was kinda sweet and at the same time kinda weird and I got the feeling they were a bit nuts.

My guess is that Mark Sainsbury (the TV presenter with the pink tie and huge soup strainer in the middle) got permission to head to London for the Sir Edmund Hillary memorial yesterday and they decided to make the most of the air fares by getting him to do some Kiwi interest stories for the rest of the week.

If this is Wednesday’s story I think it is going to be a slow news week indeed.

That being said though we met some nice people (of course they were nice they were Kiwis!) and had a few laughs.

Two of the nicest people we met were an English girl and a Kiwi guy who are married couple with two children together who have been together for 5 years. They recently applied for the husband to get a UK visa and UK Home Office said they were faking their marriage to get him a visa and the kids were just part of their elaborate plan. They have no right to appeal. That should have been the news story!

My flatmate found a wallet

My flatmate manages a Hotel Chocolat on Kensington High Street and today one of his staff found a wallet. Before he could have a look at it the store radio that links all of the other stores in the high street and the police that another wallet had been found. And another. And another …

The wallets had been deliberately dropped by guerrilla marketers promoting a new TV programme Dirty Sexy Money. An interesting idea but probably not too successful unless loads of idiots blog about it.

Wallet found in Kensington

Protest outside the Chinese embassy in London

Twice a day I ride past the Chinese embassy in London. It isn’t well marked so you would never know it was there if it weren’t for the permanent peaceful protest by supporters of Falun Gong. They are ticked off that their government imprisons them and sells their internal organs before they have finished using them. The other give away is the cop with a machine gun across the road.

Tonight the usual one or two man protest was slightly larger as about a hundred people turned up to protest the deaths of a number of protesters in Tibet. Naturally there was a much larger number of police with automatic weapons. The good news is that we live in a democracy where civil rights are protected by the law and the police don’t gun people down in the street who disagree with the government.

Protest outside Chinese Embassy London

Cyclists not seeing car door opened = Ouch!

When I ride through the city I give parked cars a wide berth because you never know when someone will open a door or someone will walk out. This morning I saw a stark reminder of why caution is the best policy.

While I was riding to work around Regents Park I saw a cyclist on the other side of the side of the road passing a parked car when the driver of the parked car opened the door without looking and knock the cyclist off his bike. From where I was it looked like the rider hit the door with his thigh and not his hand/handle bars. Luckily he wasn’t riding too fast but it still looked very painful.

I also found out today that the Transport for London website suggests that cyclists should look out for car doors being opened into your path. They should also suggest that cyclist should have reflexes of a cobra and the ability to read minds of other road users who don’t think looking is important.

  • Black cabs swerving to the kerb to pick up/drop off passengers
  • Pedestrians stepping out into the road without looking (and most of us do it on occasion)
  • Passengers hopping off or on Routemaster buses without looking
  • Vehicles turning left across you – even more serious if it is a bus or truck
  • Car doors being opened into your path
  • Vehicle creepage at junctions
  • Delivery vehicles parked in cycle lanes
  • Drivers failing to indicate properly leaving everyone guessing
  • Vehicles doing impromptu U-turns.

A worthy cause for a good friend

My mate Cameron is running the London marathon to raise money for a prostate cancer charity and has asked me to post his donations email on my blog. Here goes …

As some of you may be aware already I am running the London Marathon on the 13th of April in aid of The Prostate Cancer Charity.

The Prostate Cancer Charity was set up in 1996. In its relatively short life, the Charity has played a key role in raising both public awareness of the disease and political debate about services and support. Over recent years they have invested nearly ?5 million in vital medical research and supported thousands of men and their families.

Prostate Cancer is the most prominent cancer among men and the UK survival rate is only 44.3%. Every year in the UK nearly 35,000 cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed.

On April 11th 1998 my Grandad passed away after a long battle with Prostate Cancer. It is almost 10 years to the day that I will run the Flora London Marathon.

On January 21st 2008 my Uncle passed away in Bristol after suffering from Prostate Cancer as well.

It is in memory of both of them that I am running the London Marathon. Hopefully, with your help I can raise some much needed funds for research and at the same time raise awareness for a disease that most men just don’t want to talk about.

I have made a pledge to The Prostate Cancer Charity to raise ?2000 to help them out. In return for this they have awarded me a Golden Bond place in the London Marathon. I will be running 26 miles/42 km on Sunday 13th April 2008.

It does not matter how much you donate, just that you do because every pound will be put to good use.

http://www.justgiving.com/cameronpadfieldsrunningthemarathon

Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor me: The Prostate Cancer Charity will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you.

So please sponsor me now.

Please feel free to forward this on to anyone you want to! The more that know about this the better.

Thank you so much for your support, it really does mean a lot to me.

Cam tries to put a wristband on his huge head

Cam is hard working, honest and funny as f*ck so he will do almost anything for a donation to this worthy cause. Feel free to let your evil side run amok and really test his commitment.

My brand new cycle lane idea

My regular route to work is being dug up again and it made me realise that it has been roadwork free for a number of months now. This got me wondering if more roadworks are done in the summer when it is warn and nice to work outdoors. Maybe roadworkers are harder to find in the winter.

If this is the case then it is a real bummer because it is likely that more roadworks will be done in the summer when there are more cyclist on the road creating dangerous situations like the one in this photo.

More blocked cycle lanes

This made me think of my great new idea for cycle safety. What if roadworkers were only allowed to dig up cycle lanes in the winter when they are significantly less busy? And during the summer they can dig up the regular roads. This way there would be less intrusion during the busy cycle months and therefore statistically the roads should be safer for cycles.

They (you know the they people who control everything) already do other common sense things (no seriously) like fix the tube at night when no one is using it. Why not only dig up cycle lanes in the winter when all the softer riders bikes are collecting dust?

Isn’t Socialism Great

The socialist who run the unions that work on the London underground went on a 72 hour strike this week. In the end the union called off the strike slightly early after accepting the EXACT package that the Tube bosses offered them in the first place.

Why did they strike then? I have no idea. Maybe just to flex their socialist muscles.

One crazy spin off of the tube strike is that London’s buses and roads became way more congested. One Tuesday and Wednesday on my rides to work I saw some crazy stuff. The significant increase in traffic caused loads of extra pressure and I saw several vehicles do crazy things that you would normally never see. The worst of which was a car that cut across in front of an oncoming car when they both got green lights to go straight ahead. Crazy.

There were also loads of extra cyclists who were riding for two days. All those people who bought bikes and have rarely or never used them were able to dust them off and ride to work. The finniest part was that a lot of the “strike riders” rode in ways that regular riders wouldn’t, like all over the footpath.

There were reports in the news that the queues for the buses were so bad that fights broke out.

I wonder how many people got hurt or ended up in hospital so the unions could flew their socialist muscle.

Live Earth Consumption Orgy

Wembly Live Earth

Went up to Wembley Stadium to see Live Earth. I cannot think of to many things more inappropriate to bring attention to the state of the planet than an alcohol and rock fueled orgy of consumption.

The bands ranged from good to great but the highlights for me was seeing Wembley Stadium itself. It was awesome. It’s just a pity they don’t play rugby there.

My humour highlight was Thandie Newton’s small piece to air. She started by saying:

“Someone once said -“

At this stage I was thinking I bet she was too lazy to even bother to find out and credit the author of the quote she is stealing. She finished:

“- with power comes responsibility.”

Then I didn’t know when to laugh or cry. Not only did she steal someone else’s quote but she also butchered it. Everyone knows that the line “With great power comes great responsibility”? is by Spiderman’s uncle Ben. So I started yelling “Uncle Ben said it! Uncle Ben said it!” But it was still early in the day and people hadn’t drunk very much so everyone just edged away from me and looked nervous.