If yesterday the excuse was that it was too hot to cycle then today we return to the far more common excuse. It’s too wet to cycle!
Except this too is generally a load of rubbish.
I cycle nearly every day, I get wet far less often than people imagine.
When it is raining hard yes I do generally carry a change of clothing. But with full mudguards and a small amount of flexibility in when I travel it is not often an issue.
There are days when I will ride all day in the rain (eg 60 miles a couple of weeks ago), it is not a big deal even in winter. All you need is the right clothing. The right clothing might not be cheap but it lasts for years. For example Jane has a Cambridge Raincoat which is fantastic, if she couples it with a pair of trendy but waterproof boots she has stayed completely dry in 45 minutes of heavy rain.
Another part of the problem is that so few bikes are sold with good mudguards. With really long mudguards and mudflaps I can cycle through water several inches deep without getting wet at all.
I do agree that it is easy in countries that try to encourage cycling. Separated infrastructure means that people can cycle with umbrellas, it means you are much less likely to be sprayed by inconsiderate motorists.
It is too hot to ride a bike is not a particularly common excuse in England, but one that gets trotted out whenever we get any nice weather. Usually it is accompanied with comments about the lack of showers at work.
So today I rode into Leicester from Syston, straight in along the Melton Road just after midday. Over 29 degrees and humid by British standards.
I wasn’t wearing any special cycling clothes (although I was wearing normal shorts).
I didn’t go particularly slowly (an average speed of over 13mph on my fully equipped Bike for Life).
I didn’t get particularly sweaty (less than from a few minutes walking in the City Centre). I was able to do plenty of errands and then cycle home again when it was still very hot, a total of about 12 miles, without changing any clothes or having a shower.
Ordinary people can ride ordinary bikes in ordinary clothes even when it is hot, all that is needed is to do it at a comfortable speed for you. Over time that speed will increase but even at the beginning you can still get there.
Feeling pleased with myself this evening.
I have finished the year 9 rebuild of our youngest son’s bike (used to be the middle son’s and before that it was Jane’s). It is a Ridgeback Storm ands has done excellent service over those 9 years so it was time for a little TLC.
So I stripped it almost back to the frame, after a thorough clean I fitted lots of new parts (well just consumable items really):
- brake cables (inner and outer)
- brake blocks
- gear cables (inner and outer)
- rear sprockets
- handlebar grips
Beyond that the headset was probably the worst but a good clean and it is much improved. Another year or two and it will probably be time to replace the headset bearings and by then the bottom bracket too but after cleaning and new grease both are fine for the moment.
Good quality bikes are good value! 🙂
Two very different uses for my new cargobox today.
This morning 4.5 miles each way to lead a morning service at Harrison Road Methodist Church. I could have taken everything in panniers:
- 25m extension cable
- 4 way extension cable
- change of clothes (it was so hot I didn’t ride in my clerical shirt)
However, if I had done that then I wouldn’t have been able to stop for lunch on the way home and leave everything securely locked in the box while eating with Jane (in a very nicely cooled M&S).
This afternoon was a Cream Tea followed by a Songs of Praise in a local garden. With my special side opening lid I was able to carry 8 outdoor chairs very easily.
With no parking at the home it is very handly to be able to ride your bike, complete with load, straight into the garden 🙂
My fixie has come back from a year at University and it needs a bit of TLC! Take a look:
and in close up:
The wheels are pretty much toast so I have new ones from v-sprint, obviously I need a new chain and a lot of elbow grease to get the frame clean.
Once done I plan to make this my least practical bike so no mudguards, no rack, lightweight tyres etc so just for fun fast rides 🙂
I now have a new cargobox on my Bullitt cargobike. Photos on Flickr.
It is from Convoy cargobikes and is made of Aluminium with a waterproof lid and good lock.
Mine is the first from them with a side opening lid. The key advantage is that in 5 seconds, with no tools, I can undo the gas strut. Then the box lid can open all the way and hang alongside the box. This means that if I happen to buy too much shopping for the lid to close it is no problem, it can just stick out of the open top.
Obviously I need something to stop the fully open lid banging around. I am wondering if old inner tubes might be the best for this.
I also plan to line the inside with either foam or rubber so that things I am carrying don’t bang around – just using a rug at the moment.
I am very pleased with this!