‘After flooding and fatberg, motorists face misery again,’ runs the doom-and-gloom headline.
But seriously – how much sympathy are we supposed to have?
Way too many people drive into this cramped city day in day out. Traffic edges from queue to queue around the city, stop-start, its polluting cocktail of emissions seeping into the city like cyanide running through veins.
Some, presumably, “have to”. But what about the vast majority who don’t? Wedded to their cars, they continue to drive, hopelessly, without apparently ever considering the alternatives. What goes on inside their heads?
I had a meeting recently with someone who drives in to work in Headington every day on the same route. He arrived 45 minutes late for our 9am appointment with a “Sorry. Dreadful traffic” ‘ I smiled, not unaccustomed myself to occasional tardiness – always my own dilly-dallying fault. However, I thought: “But you ARE the traffic and you make this trip every single day. The park-and-ride bus stops less than 100 metres from your office. And what about cycling?”
But it wasn’t that kind of a meeting. Sad though to see a perfectly able commuter fail to grasp the nettle.
Back on Cowley Road I was musing on people’s poor decision-making. Now don’t get me wrong – I am not anti-car. Far from it! I love my car and enjoy using it, but not in the city.
My reverie was broken by a rather beautiful sight: a guy in his 50s with a short grey goatee on a long, low Bullitt cargo bike.
He was stuck in traffic the same as all the cars and buses, but he stood apart, a solution, not a part of the problem. His face grimaced against the fumes, but when I caught up with him making a delivery to BeeLine Bikes, I realised what a happy and lucky man he is.
Steve Reynolds formed mercurycyclemessengers.co.uk after seeing the glut of small vans delivering single-packages to city-centre destinations. Our medieval city wasn’t designed to cope with 1,000+ couriers per day on top of regular traffic – and this is where Mercury Messengers step in. Steve does fast, green deliveries in the city for a fraction of the price of a van courier.
The day I saw him he was delivering 100 kilos of coffee from Witney to cafes in Oxford. There are some great photos of his laden Bullitt cargo bike on his Facebook page. These beasts can carry a washing machine and even small sofas. In Holland, Germany and Denmark, DHL uses Bullitts to deliver in cities similar to Oxford, using a cargo hub near the edge of the city and cargo bikes to deliver within.
Oxford will no doubt need to do the same very soon.
What a great business idea.
Jealous? Not half!
Our top stories:
12:00pm Thursday 11th February 2016
AN INSPIRATIONAL teenager who laughed his way through life has died after doctors met his wish by switching off the machine keeping him alive.
7:00am Thursday 11th February 2016
A NEW free school with a Christian ethos could open in Headington to help relieve pressure on existing schools.
7:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
SUNKEN boat owner John Simmonds was stunned into silence yesterday when he was handed hundreds of pounds worth of donations from Oxford Mail readers.
6:30am Wednesday 10th February 2016
In a special report, the Oxford Mail exclusively reveals how the owners of Oxford Stadium were still making a profit before closure despite claims it wasn't "viable"
8:00am Wednesday 10th February 2016
FANS could soon be buying Oxford United toothpicks, pet clothing and even lingerie after the club registered its name as a trademark.
6:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
THE mother and aunt of Prime Minister David Cameron have backed the campaign to save the county’s children’s centres.
5:10pm Tuesday 9th February 2016
HE'S the underdog with the overbite who has been described as the world's ugliest dog.
7:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A TEACHER recruitment crisis affecting the ability of schools to improve standards and create stability for pupils is “worse than ever,” it is claimed.
6:30am Tuesday 9th February 2016
CONCERNS have been raised for low-income people in Oxford’s five towers who bought their homes under right to buy and may have to shell out £50,000 for repairs.
6:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
A COLLEGE and developer have been accused of “naked greed” after slashing a cash contribution towards social housing for a controversial student development by more than £1m.
9:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
JAMES WALL was one of more than 10,000 Oxford United fans who let themselves go as the final whistle sounded against Millwall and their team reached Wembley.
8:00am Tuesday 9th February 2016
LIFE is slowly getting back to normal for a pair of pals dubbed heroes after they foiled a knife-wielding man at a supermarket in Rose Hill.
10:58am Saturday 6th February 2016
Police are hunting a white van following a hit and run in Wallingford.
8:00am Saturday 6th February 2016
SAINSBURY’S is set to open a new store in central Oxford, it has emerged.