As you may have guessed from the sparser-than-usual blog posts, I’ve been busy in recent weeks. In fact, my busyness has gone from being acute to becoming chronic: it seems as if for months now, I’ve been thinking that I just have to get through this week and then I will have time to do all the other things I need/like/want to do, only for the next week to arrive with fresh urgent priorities, and the sunlit uplands of the time when I will be able to garden again, or knit something, or even read more than the first few pages of the paper recedes further into that mythical future.
I’m not complaining (okay, I am complaining, but only a bit) – it’s all useful stuff, whether in terms of earning money, or cycle campaigning, and it’s not as if I’ve been too busy to ride my bike (it does help when it’s your main means of transport) – but it does mean that the ‘important but not urgent’ stuff gets endlessly postponed. And that includes not just the enjoyable things that recharge my batteries, like the garden, but also the really really important things, like writing, that were supposed to be why we downshifted (insert hollow laughter here) and moved to the country to enjoy the slower pace of life.
So something had to give, and that something has been the Cycling Embassy blog roundup. This, for those of you who don’t read it religiously every week, has gradually become a bit of a monster. It was started as a way of keeping in touch with what the various campaigning cycle bloggers were writing about, back when that seemed to be where it was at with cycle campaigning. At the time, there was still a big argument going on about whether we should even be asking for Dutch-style infrastructure, with plenty of mainstream campaigner still thinking that as long as cyclists just put on their big girl or boy pants, and drivers learned to behave, then we could all merrily take the lane and cycle everywhere as if it were still 1934 and there were about three motorcars in the whole country. A few die hards excepted, that battle seems to have been fought and won. Now the battle is actually getting the Dutch-style infrastructure and that takes more than blogging, frankly, as you’ll have probably gathered from my own activities.
So I have decided that I can no longer justify spending my Sunday evenings and Monday mornings scanning, choosing, summarising, categorising and linking together in something resembling prose up to a hundred different blog posts (from a total of over 600 a week). Instead, I will put some of that time towards chipping away at the ever-growing list of ‘things I really ought to do once things calm down and I have time to think about it’, preferably before they too become urgent or simply missed opportunities that might actually have made a difference.
I will also miss it. I have learned a lot from bike bloggers over the years, from how good cycling infrastructure works to brilliant campaigning ideas, and I’ve had my own prejudices and assumptions challenged. It’s also been my calling card with other campaigners in the UK and beyond, who have enjoyed reading the round up, or at least enjoyed the effect on their stats when they were included in it. But it is no longer worth eight hours a week of my time, in spite of all the lovely tweets from readers about how much they’ve enjoyed and valued it. Perhaps someone else will take up the baton – or perhaps we’ll find another, even more useful and less onerous way of keeping track of what’s going on.
Whatever it is, it won’t be me doing it.
Well, probably not, anyway.