I haven’t noticed anyone wearing a mask this trip. Sometimes you see bicyclists in cities wearing white masks, which certainly makes sense given the air quality on London streets. I never did, myself, when I cycled here. There are many cyclists in London and especially in Oxford, which is great. The physical benefits of cycling and walking outweigh the effects of breathing car exhaust – and in fact people in cars breathe air that is just as polluted. But I talked to a taxi driver last night who said he counted between 5 and 7pm 57 cyclists riding without lights. Drivers hate this, and it’s amazing to me that cyclists would take such a risk, given the, well, forceful way people drive in Britain! Cycle paths and lanes would be a help, but cyclists won’t help their case by being careless about safety (or by being “knocked off their bikes” as the taxi driver put it).

karen christensen's corona typewriter on t s eliot's desk

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