Category Archives: Video

Compare and contrast a US Safer Route to School with the Netherlands

I have just seen this post: Bike Lane SUCCESS! A Safer Route to Middle School | One woman. Many bicycles.

Go and read it, then come back and watch this 5 year old video of cycling to school in the Netherlands by David Hembrow

Note that it was -2 degrees Celsius when this video was recorded.

So which would you prefer your child to use as a “Safer route to School”?

David has written a long and detailed post critiquing rubbish design such as the “sharrows” praised in the first link which is well worth reading: A view from the cycle path: Ontario Traffic Manual “Bicycle Facilities” draft edition. How not to design for cycling.


Best Bike for early life!

LikeaBike Mini

This year we will become grandparents which is a very scary thought. It does give me an excuse to look at some first bikes though 🙂 I have seen plenty of Like a Bikes and am sure they are the best bike for early life! So maybe in 2 years we will be buying one of these for someone’s Christmas present.

I have included the wonderful video from the UK Like a Bike website below.

Sadly, we missed out on these for our children but won’t for the grandchildren. Although if any grandchild starts doing the stunts I for one am going to be absolutely terrified!


Brief half term holiday in Derbyshire

So we have just had 3 nights camping in Derbyshire which was a little damp 😉

We were at Ballidon Moor Farm Caravan Park which was excellent (although no phone signal using 3 mobile), a great position and good facilities.

Although only away for 3 nights we achieved a number of firsts for us.

  • As there were only 3 of us we put the 3 bikes in the car. This worked really well!
    • The bikes stayed much cleaner and dryer
    • It was much quicker and easier than putting on the roof carriers
    • Obviously they were more secure than putting them on any external bike carrier
  • On Wednesday it included our first day ride with Jane on her new bike.
    • We did 19.2 miles together (see the route on Strava). We started at the campsite and after a short steep road climb joined the High Peak Trail and then the Tissington Trail to finish at Tissington. After lunch I left Jane and Stephen there and rode on to collect the car to bring them back to the site.
    • I have uploaded three videos of the ride.
    • We really enjoyed the ride 🙂
    • We joined the High Peak trail at Longcliffe heading for Parsley Hay. It was very quiet until we joined the Tissington Trail but it did have quite a few farm gates and was pretty narrow in places.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
    • The Tissington Trail was (for gravel) a good surface from a mile or so south of Parsley Hay. But it was busy and for quite long stretches much too narrow for the amount of traffic it was carrying. In the direction we were going it was almost entirely downhill (10 miles of downhill is amazing!).
    • The views were wonderful and thanks to Victorian Railway engineering the gradients were fantastic.
    • Tissington was a great place for us to finish. Fortunately we beat both the rush and the rain to get lunch at  Old Coach House Tea Rooms. While I went for the car Jane and Stephen went to the Candle Workshop, Vintage Sweet Shop and Methodist Chapel.Parked for lunch at Tissington
  • On the Tuesday after we had visited Bakewell I tested the route starting just north of Parsley Hay at Sparklow thru Tissington and back to the campsite (see it on Strava) that was 15.7 miles after heavy rain for many hours.
    • It rained pretty constantly during the ride so there were lots of big puddles. I was riding my Stoater for the first time in these sorts of conditions since I fitted the mudflaps on the bottom of the mudguards. They worked brilliantly. I could watch water gushing down the front mudguard and not hitting me. When I went through deeper puddles the bottom of the mudflap hit the solid water and knocked it away from me. I was amazed at how dry I stayed and how clean the bike stayed despite hammering through the puddles at high speed.
    • My Bike for Life is incredibly comfortable and sure footed on these surfaces whatever the weather thanks to the combination of
    • At the same time I love that the combination of Gates Belt Drive, Rohloff Hub Gears, full mudguards and mudflaps keep bith me clean and the bike clean while needing no maintenance after such a wet sticky gravel ride.
  • On the Monday after we had setup camp. I rode to Matlock where Jne and Stephen joined me for dinner.
    • The 12 mile ride is on Strava (and included a fair bit of climbing, although never down to 1st gear)
    • I have uploaded a video of the first part of the ride (to Cromford) 

Anyway a good break with some great riding.



Leicestershire the anti cyclist county

If you live or travel in Leicestershire you have probably realised that this is a county that is resolutely anti cycling and cyclists. Let me give you some examples.

1. The County Council hold a Cycling Consultation meeting. Sounds good but it is scheduled for twice a year and this year one of the 2 meetings was cancelled and the other was scheduled for 1:30pm so that people would have to miss work to attend. It was allocated 1 hour. A County Council that believes 1 hour a year is an appropriate amount of time to invest in meeting cyclists to discuss the whole county makes the total lack of priority obvious. (to be fair the meeting ended up lasting 4 hours but still had to massively cut the agenda and has not agreed to increase the frequency or length of the meetings).

2. The County Council routinely ignore maintenance needs and reports about cycle facilities. At the above meeting CTC Right to Ride campaigners were struggling with problems that have been reported multiple times over 2 or 3 years and yet which have been ignored. I have twice reported a bad bit of cycle path alongside the busy A6 at a field entrance that floods every time it rains, no response yet.


3. Tonight there are resurfacing works on the A46 between Syston and Rothley. The County Council ignore cyclists so have not even noticed that there is a two way cycle path alongside the A46 where they are working. They put up road blocks and diversions for drivers but cyclists don’t matter. I was stopped by a supervisor who was concerned when he saw me riding on the separated cycle path – he hadn’t even known it existed and didn’t know where it went. For my part I had not known of the road works when I joined the cycle path because there was not a single sign or lorry or anything.

Of course there are no plans to resurface the cycle path or make it meet minimum standards or make if feel safe. At the moment an Officer from the County Council, who designs cycle infrastructure, has told me he would not use it because it does not feel safe –  that is a big problem as during the recent floods it was the only crossing of the River Soar available to Cyclists between Leicester City and Loughborough. Here it is on video:

4. Then there is our MP Stephen Dorrell he generally ignores any letters relating to cycling and so far as I can tell has not signed any pro cycling (not The Times campaign nor any Early Day Motions) while our MP. That is very worrying in an MP who has a Health Service role at a time when the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence say that Cycling and walking should be the norm for all short journeys

5. Then there is the appalling quality of cycle infrastructure that Leicestershire County Council are still installing even this year. A reminder of my video of a “Safe Route to School” in Syston (taken at 10am because it is too dangerous to ride it when children are about).

I could go on and on about the low design standards (and have done so in quite a few other blog posts), yet the Council are determined to defend their designs as both good and cost effective, while doing their best to use as an excuse that Cyclists don’t all want the same thing (yet we were unanimous at the meeting that this particular infrastructure was dangerous and should never have been implemented).

6. This one is quite hard to believe. Cyclists are being told how wonderful it is that Leicestershire County Council were successful in a LSTF (Local Sustainable Transport Fyund) bid. Yet the very first tried and tested scheme of this SUSTAINABLE transport bid that they write about on their website is:

The expansion of ‘Wheels to Work’ – where young people are loaned scooters to go to work or training

Duh! I am sure that The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence will think that is an excellent idea.

Note that the whole of the LSTF bid is being spent in just a few areas (Coalville, Loughborough, Shepshed) and so the rest of the county have been promised that nothing will be spent on them for several years.



Bad infrastructure does not get used (example in Syston, Leicestershire)

Consider this:


My bike parked in the new bike stand at St Peter and St Paul School Syston, Leicester when I was there to take an assembly this morning (so at 10am everyone was in school, no more bikes to arrive).

Notice how popular cycling to school is (not!. 3 bikes and a scooter plus mine. That is less than 1 cyclist for every 2 classes). The reason is obvious in my video of the so called “Safe Route to School”.

So the route is terrible. Bad infrastructure such as Leicestershire County Council have installed here in Syston is a waste of money because:

  • it fails to encourage people to take up cycling because it still does not look or feel safe or convenient (see the picture at the top for proof)
  • it is not used by existing cyclists because
    • it is not safe,
    • it puts them in conflict with pedestrians
    • it makes their journeys much slower

In addition bad infrastructure like this creates conflict:

  • between drivers who think cyclists should be on the cycle infrastructure (or even on the pavement) even though it is dangerous (or illegal)
  • between pedestrians who feel less safe on the pavement because cyclists are allowed to ride on shared paths
  • between pedestrians and cyclists who do not feel safe on the road and so always ride on the pavement even when illegal (using the excuse that the places where it is legal are actually no different from the other pavements)
  • between children who want to cycle and their parents who do not feel it is safe
  • between drivers and parents wanting to get their children to/from school safely but who are frighted by the large number of cars around the school entrance

Surprised by popularity of videos

Well surprised is a bit weak for how I feel.

Over the last week I have uploaded 9 videos to YouTube and I have had way more hits than I expected. Now at 377 views which is amazing.

I have been really enjoying this new form of play, I’ve only once before used any form of video editing. Looks like I have added another time bandit to my portfolio 😉


Illustrating bad infrastructure

So now I have a new toy. A Contour+2 camera. Somewhat unimpressed with the Windows software, fortunately I have found OpenShot on Ubuntu which works beautifully. The only missing thing is the nice combo video on the contour website that shows the map and speed graphs in the corner using the GPS data.

Anyway, I now have my first four videos on YouTube and even have my own YouTube channel.

I have been playing with the YouTube annotations so I now have three rides that document problems with the local infrastructure.

I quite like these annotations as ways of drawing attention to the problems of bad infrastructure. What do you think?


First video an exciting trip to Stabucks for lunch

Fairly self explanatory. This is riding from Syston, starting just by the railway station, to the Starbucks at Thurmaston. Most of the way I was following Jane.

Notice the stupid overtaking manoeuvres on the railway bridge and the inconsiderate way the people working on the junction at Thurmaston have parked. Also notice how poor the shared route past Roundhill School is.

So Syston Doors please ask the driver of your van FX03LSK to give cyclists more space in the future.

As for the Silver Renault Clio NX06VLH that was a completely stupid and dangerous way to overtake.


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