Monthly Archives: December 2014

A typical utility cycling day

This is where I cycled yesterday (Thursday):


That is just over 13 miles. Yet the longest ride was only 2.6 miles.

Like most of my “normal” days it was made up of lots of small separate journeys.

  1. To someone’s home to plan Sunday’s worship
  2. To someone else’s home to plan a funeral
  3. To St Peter and St Paul primary school for an assembly
  4. To Queniborough Methodist Chapel to support an after school club
  5. To Wreake Valley Academy for a parents evening
  6. To Syston Methodist Church to open up and sort out recording for a choir
  7. A quick trip home to collect my headphones for the recording.

Note that

  • Car parking is not available close to all these destinations
  • Cycling avoids the busiest part of Syston (The Melton Rd especially the junction with High St and Barkby Rd)
  • My car engine would have never warmed up on any of these journeys. So it would have been both much less fuel efficient, much more polluting and cold inside)
  • I was able to park right outside (and sometimes inside) every destination

For the community, my employer and myself cycling is less damaging and cheaper than driving (much less likely to kill or injure someone else, no air pollution, no noise pollution, less damage to the roads, no congestion) with obvious health benefits and savings (I’m less likely to be obese, will take less time off work and won’t have damaged anyone else’s health).

Yet doing these short journeys around a small town involves significant levels of determination to ignore perceived danger and actual inconvenience created by planners. In a small town, where nobody lives more than a mile from the centre or from school we have developed an infrastructure that prioritises getting around this small area by car. This is crazy! It helps nobody and harms us all (road deaths, air pollution, congestion, noise pollution etc).

Drastic action is needed to improve the quality of life for everyone. Here are a few examples:

  • an enforced 20mph limit for the whole town.
  • Narrowing the Melton Road and adding segregated cycle tracks on both sides
  • Closing the Melton Road as a thru route for all but buses and cycles
  • Fixing the railway bridges on the High St and Fosse Way so HGV’s don’t need to go through the town centre.
  • Closing Upper Church St to all vehicles except for access to the houses.
  • Closing off Brookside at the east of St Peter Street.
  • Massive street calming on Parkstone Rd to stop parents using it to drive kids to/from school. Create a car park/waiting area alongside the Melton Rd in the sports field (reducing the size of the school car park to compensate)
  • double the width of the path along the brook between Fosse Lane and Brook St
  • traffic calming in the Hobby Horse estate (only buses to have through access)

Another Bivy Test

Going to do another Bivy test in the garden tonight as it is a cold night (currently about zero degrees according to my Garmin).

This time I am making it a bit more realistic by starting outside with everything packed as if I have just taken it off my bike. In the morning I’ll pack it all away again before coming inside.


So these are the bags I intend to use for off road Bike packing (ie The Winter Event and The Welsh Ride Thing). They all fit on my Bike for Life without needing any racks. They will also be used for my Sabbatical tours but with added panniers for extra clothing as you can’t turn up for a residential week with just one cycling specific outfit and nothing else 😉

The top yellow bag (20 litre Alpkit Airlok XTra Dual drybag) will be under my handlebars held in a WildcatGear Mountain Lion harness. It contains my Tarp (Alpkit Rig 7), Sleeping Pag (Exped SynMat UL 7 LW), Exped Pillow/Pump, Bivy Bag (Borah Gear Snowyside) and thermal top and bottom for sleeping in. The bag isn’t full.

The bottom yellow bag (an Alpkit XTra Tapered drybag) will be carried behind the saddle in a WildcatGear Tiger. It contains my Sestrals Sleeping Quilt.

The bottom black bag is my WildcatGear Ocelot frame bag. At the moment it is not very full containing a 2 tarp pole set, pegs, cord for guys, lamp and headlamp.

The right hand bag is a WildcatGear Lioness with phone, wallet, kindle, phone recharging battery, usb cable and Nexus 7 tablet.

When riding I’ll also have an Alpkit Stem Cell for stove and pot plus a Medium Fuel Pod for snacks.

You can see my Garmin which is just checking the temperature (off the ground as it sits on the Lioness Bag). At the moment is says 1 degree Celsius. Based on previous nights I expect to be ok with this to a few degrees below zero, by adding a jacket I expect to be ok to at least -5.

My current expectation is the the most tricky part of the whole process will be deflating and putting away the Exped Sleeping mat. It took me a while to get it packed last time and that was in the house.


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