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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Given that you're a raping scumbag one tick shy of a murderer. I can't recall, do you take sugar?"
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June 12 2008

Dollhouse star reveals her favourite cycle route. Olivia Williams tells The Guardian why Cambridge is a cyclist's dream.

This makes me so strangely happy. I'm lucky enough to be at Cambridge University at the moment, and the thought of one of the many cyclists around here being Olivia Williams is just so odd -- maybe I should keep an eye out now (or would tha tbe strange?). Not to mention that I know all the places she mentions too (though I only know Kettle's Yard for its Jazz nights rather than its art exhibitions).

She's right about cycling in any case, it's really quite pleasant, excepting the time when lectures finish and there're about fifty bikes on the road at once. It's quite a contrast for me, because in Wales there are literally hills everywhere (my house sits atop an annoyingly steep one), and cycling is something of a living hell, whilst here everything is just incredibly flat.
Same with Notts, hills everywhere (though not on the same scale as Wales obviously ;). They do OK with cycle routes but even then, most of them coincide with main roads fairly regularly (been thinking about buying another bike given the recent nice weather - previous one got nicked from my own back-yard. Bastards ;).

Didn't they have some scheme/convention in Cambridge such that bikes were left unlocked for common use, where the user just left it wherever they were going for the next person to use ? Or is that my imagination ? If not, do they still do it ? Always liked that idea, prone to abuse as it may be.

Cover some ground and head out to the Queen's Head at Newton for a pint of Adnams served at the right temperature with a slab of stilton and a hunk of brown bread.

And in this way, Olivia Williams acquires a Fan For Life (OK, OK, her being extremely talented helps too ;).

She's right about the Dutch too, they love their bikes there (again, very flat country) to the extent that it's actually bloody dangerous if you're used to road traffic on the left.
I have nothing to add except 'awesome' and I love a good ride, lately on this.
Very swish. Why 'Electra' ? Is that just the make or does it have like an onboard AI or something ? ;)
It sounds very idyllic. Much better than Santa Monica.
Its just the make. Imagine the hi-jinks if it did have an onboard AI? ;)
You could ride around avenging injustice like some kind of ... hawk but on the street, y'know ? ;)
:D Indeed, I do.
There's no on-board AI, but every time zeitgeist is done with a ride, the bike forgets all about it and returns to a state of childbike-like innocence.
It's a good thing that I wasn't drinking anything when I read that ;).
Huh. I've been living in Cambridge for about 9 months now, as a sort of stop-over in between moving from Edinburgh back to London. Cambridge is a cyclist's paradise indeed, but that makes it far from a paradise for pedestrians.

(I'd like to point out that I have nothing against cyclists in general, in fact I think for both personal health and environmental reasons cycling is a laudable thing, and when the weather is nice I love a nice long cycle ride in the countryside.)

Cyclists in Cambridge seem to behave in an incredibly anti-social fashion: few seem to bother putting lights on their bikes, they mount the pavement whenever they want, jump red lights and completely ignore all traffic signals, etc. There is a narrow walkway leading from near where I live to the local supermarket. Despite the fact that every five metres or so there is a sign saying "NO CYCLING" I regularly have to literally leap out of the way of cyclists when I am walking on it laden down with shopping.

It's really weird. It's just a sort of convention here, but one that doesn't exist anywhere else I've lived in the UK. All the cyclists I've mentioned this to absolutely deny it, and yet I know I am not hallucinating on a daily basis; the police seem to just turn a blind eye to it. I have lost count of the number of times I have narrowly avoided being mown down by a cyclist riding at top speed without lights in the dark on the pavement. If they notice the fact that they nearly ran me over at all they seem to behave as if I'm the one at fault.

Cyclists in Cambridge really really piss me off.
MattK - which college are you at as I'm currently at Queens'. I agree about Cambridge being a great place to cycle as long as it's not the end of lectures or bank holiday weekends (tourists - yuk).
DreamDancer - I'm at Jesus, a first-year NatSci. It's nice to hear from someone else from Cambridge. :)

dzr - To be honest, I think it's just that with so many cyclists here there are going to be some who don't follow the rules. Most cyclists are fine, I think.
MattK - Jesus is really lovely to wander around. It's nice to know there are a few other Whedon-lovers around. I mostly get odd looks from people.

Back on topic - I think the reason Cambridge cyclists tend to break all the rules is because there are so many of them. They tend to take over the streets, which leads to a vicious cycle as pedestrians start walking all over the place to get out of their way, so the cyclists do weird things to avoid ploughing into them etc etc.
DreamDancer - yeah, my friends are somewhat oblivious too. They're only even vaguely aware of Buffy! I always wonder if there are secret Whedonites around. There should be a secret sign we could use or something. What year/subject are you? (Sorry to go off topic here again.)

[ edited by MattK on 2008-06-13 00:03 ]
vicious cycle


Wah, wah, waaaaah...!
MattK said:

I always wonder if there are secret Whedonites around. There should be a secret sign we could use or something. What year/subject are you? (Sorry to go off topic here again.)


I vote for the 3rd Rock From The Sun greeting.
MattK - I'm a 3rd year medic. I'm staying around in Cambridge for the next three years as well. Currently getting things sorted for graduation (really scary - feels like I've been here for 3 months not 3 years).

Zeitgeist - hadn't actually noticed the cycle thing. It's rather sad that it wasn't a deliberate choice of words - or maybe it would be worse if I had done it on purpose hmmmm.

[ edited by DreamDancer on 2008-06-12 23:13 ]
(Last time I'll go off-topic, sorry everyone.)

"Currently getting things sorted for graduation (really scary - feels like I've been here for 3 months not 3 years)."

I know what you mean with this. The first year's gone by so fast. It doesn't help that terms are only 8 weeks, and this last term's especially has gone by in a blink of an eye, what with exams and all (which only ended yesterday for me, so yay!). I'm probably doing a 4-year course, but I'm looking to spend my third year on a student exchange to MIT. Thing is though, I like Cambridge so much, that to lose a year here and not see all my friends.. but on the other hand the opportunity to go to MIT sounds too good to miss. In any case, I get the impression the next few years will go by all too fast.

ETA: Technically on Facebook, but I haven't used it in ages. My CRSID is mkh37 though.

[ edited by MattK on 2008-06-12 23:33 ]
MattK - are you on Facebook? Not sure how much off-topic stuff the mods let pass. Alternatively my email address is on my profile page so feel free to add to your MSN contacts.

[ edited by DreamDancer on 2008-06-12 23:37 ]
Was just going to suggest taking it to email or something similar :)
[...] the police seem to just turn a blind eye to it.


'Cause we're so hard to pull over. No license plates, even (least in the US).

"Base, I need an APB on a guy on a red... bike, he's wearing a... hat... shit, he's gone."

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