We've sent in our feedback "happy with 20 mph", which raises a question with some of our acquaintances, the question being "but you have a fast car"
For the record: in the Important Car for Important People, it is no harder to drive at 20 mph than 30. Petrol consumption is the same at ~20 mpg; as the engine switches off when idle the stationary bits are free.
We've repeatedly claimed that we are important, yet people have accused us of being arrogant self-entitled car hating-wanker cyclists. Not so: the Important Car for Important People is not fictional, it's a BMW 3-series estate with a 2L twin-turbo engine hooked up to the rear wheels via an 8 speed automatic gearbox.
That said, the difference between the two is quite subtle:
|Think they own the roads||Y||Y|
|Park where they want||Y||Y|
|Ignore Highway code||Y||Y|
The Important Car for Important People is actually speed limited to 250 km/h; 156 mph. That's a mostly abstract value, visible only in the cost of manufacturer approved W-rated homogulated run-flat tyres you need to buy on the off-chance you take a wrong turn from Cribbs Causeway, get on the M5, and, after a few missed turns, end up on the A8 autobahn between München and Stuttgart. But it is there: the speed you could drive at if you weren't held back by speed limits and slow-moving cars.
Look at the difference between that theoretical maximum speed and those of Bristol urban roads
See that? Noise.
It may matter to Ford Fiesta drivers who get upset being stuck behind someone cycling 20 mph in the 20 mph zone, but from the perspective of a BMW owner, you are crawling along at either speed. And so: you may as well embrace that crawling along, in order to have a city better to live, walk and cycle in.
Having fiesta drivers tailgate you flashing their lights for you driving at 20 mph is then quaintly amusing, given that it's Fiesta drivers who can't go above 85 mph which hold you back on the M4. For that is where trying to stay close to the limit is hard. Not enough cues around you, you need to keep an eye on the speedo, tell the car itself to beep above 85, waze to chime at 80, and, with attention, you can drive vaguely close to the limit when heading up and down the motorways.
In town: much, much easier
- Get in car
- Turn Waze on to beep at speed + 5.
- Set off, gently tapping the accelerator.
- Look at speed of car, compare with speedo, get to 20 mph, or, if too high, coast down.
- Carry on at this speed so you get familiar with how it feels.
- Keep driving round town, do whatever you intended to do.
- If waze beeps, it means you are going too fast, or you think you are driving in a 30 zone where it is really 20. Most useful when coming off a faster road (M32) into town.
Make the bus routes 30 mph, and all that calibration goes away. You'll end up driving at 35 in a 20 zone, and that's how you earn speeding points. And let's be honest: there's nothing impressive about those kind of speeding tickets. Try showing off to other BMW drivers about getting a ticket at 33 mph —you'll only get laughed at.
Twenty mph works great in Bristol, because it is everywhere. You can calibrate driving at that speed with ease, and you don't have to worry about whether you are on a 20 road while doing 30.
Save your speeding for the M4! Get your response in today!