Tag Archives: bike

Sabbatical preparation Comfort Camping

As I have demonstrated before I like comfort when camping. So my Sabbatical preparation includes comfort camping issues. I’m going to be camping for about 5 weeks in total so comfort is important. On the other hand for 4 of those weeks I am going to be cycling up to 65 miles each day, so lightweight and small volume are also important.

I have one new toy since I went cargobike camping. A fantastic lightweight chair. The Helinox Chair One which we bought in Cotswold Outdoor. At 960 grams it is tiny and yet also very comfortable. Ideal for the comfort loving cycle tourer seeking a refreshing sabbatical 🙂

helinox-chair-one-bag helinox-chair-one

I need more sponsors or I’ll be embarrassed. Please help

At the moment I am doing better at recruiting extra riders for our Epworth pilgrimage than I am at getting sponsors for me! We are up to 8 riders, 1 walker and 1 runner so far.

Now I want some more sponsors! We are raising money for two great causes:

Youth Cafe in Syston. We want to convert part of the Methodist Church Centre into a self contained, youth friendly venue. The first target is to get the work completed (new entrance created by reconfiguring the toilets) so that we can open as many evenings each week as possible. Later we want to be able to open during the day too as a Community Hub. Syston is really lacking places for young people to go.

The Development Work at Epworth Old Rectory. This great museum has been having lots of work done to make restore it and making it a better place to visit. The place where John and Charles Wesley grew up is an important piece of heritage, not just for Methodists but for us all as the Wesleys had a profound impact on the whole country, indeed the much of the world.

The total I raise will get split 50% to each of these causes.

You can sponsor me here.

Please do so because it is starting to get embarrassing as all the others leave me behind 😉

Beautiful Syston Syclers club ride

So today I was leading a small group (3 of us) on the “yellow” Syston Syclers Club Ride. We started at the same time as the “slow” 45 mile Red group (which included some new riders as well as some progressing to the longer distance).

We had an absolutely glorious ride to Newtown Lynford, and this time we all returned on the road rather than through Bradgate Park.

My Whyte Suffolk was fantastic and I was pretty pleased to discover that I had broken 9 personal records on the ride. Seems like it must be a pretty quick bike 🙂

Britain has all the wrong sorts of bikes

In my earlier post “So many beautiful road bikes but” I was commenting on the number of “proper” road bikes I saw while driving to Rothley and back. Earlier this evening I cycled towards Leicester (Harrison Road Methodist Church) on my new road bike.

Suffolk

 

This time I saw several families cycling together, probably on their way back from Watermead or Abbey Park.

Sadly, the day’s experiences reinforced my view that one of the biggest problems facing the growth of riding bikes as transport in the UK.

We are riding the wrong bikes!

Road Bikes are the Wrong Bikes

Yesterday, I was a good example of that. I rode 3.5 miles to an evening service on my new road bike. It was completely unnecessary and not at all suitable (my excuse was that I just wanted to ride my new bike). It meant I needed to change from cycling shoes with clips when I got there, it meant that when I was too warm cycling there I had nowhere to put my jacket, it was too fast a bike to feel appropriate on footways shared (legally) with pedestrians, it’s speed means that British cycling infrastructure feels too slow (tempting you towards a dual network where fast cyclists use the road and the rest use the crap provided at as little cost as possible), it meant I had to watch for debris including glass and the lower handlebars make it harder to watch for bad drivers. Oh and despite the much higher riding speed by the time you have swapped your shoes four times (each end of each ride) you have used up all the time you saved (and if I hadn’t ridden in my “work” clothes including clerical shirt it would have taken even longer).

The more people we see on fast road bikes the harder it is to campaign for a safe, convenient segregated infrastructure. The addition to speed that makes car drivers so dangerous also infects cyclists. So we read of commuter cyclists who thrive on adrenaline and who use their commutes for race training. We see the barely disguised race bikes sold as being ideal for commuters. We breed cyclists who are unhappy with a gentle pace in your work clothes sharing a segregated infrastructure with school children riding to school.

This high speed view of “commuter” cyclists fostered by the “sport” image of bike that they ride is actually a false picture of speed. Look at this article (inc video) of a 5 km commute by bike in ’s-Hertogenbosch. Or the video in this post showing longer routes between towns. The Dutch make commuting using a bike fast by making it direct and non-stop not by making people ride super fast sports bikes in lycra. Then the commuters don’t need special clothing, they don’t need to shower or change when they get to work and they can use the same routes as school children, elderly people going shopping, students going clubbing etc.

For cycling in Britain our obsession with using sports bike for transport is holding us back from demanding the infrastructure to make cycling a safe, convenient, pleasant choice for all people.

Mountain Bikes are the wrong bikes

On the other hand, when you see people riding bikes to the shops or out with the children they are also generally riding the wrong sorts of bikes. We frequently see people riding from the supermarket on a full suspension mountain bike with plastic bags hanging from the handlebars. Or out for a short ride in the park with their children also while riding a full suspension mountain bike. A Dutch style bike (maybe with 8 gears instead of 3 for the hillier parts of the UK) would be so much more convenient, comfortable, faster and lower maintenance. When you are struggling with shopping on a bike with no rack, no basket, nowhere to carry things it is no wonder you ride on the pavement.

Mountain bikes as generally sold are useless for general transport:

  • no way to carry things
  • no mudguards to keep you dry and clean
  • no chainguard to keep your clothes clean
  • knobbly tyres to slow you down
  • no lights
  • full suspension makes them very heavy (and difficult to fit racks to)

We need modern, clean, low maintenance practical bikes in the UK for commuters and for everyone else. Bikes like this Workcycles GR8

WorkCycles GR8

When commuters, shoppers etc ride bikes like this, then maybe we will be encouraged to ask for real Dutch cycle infrastructure that is safe, convenient and segregated. Then we will be able to see cycling as transport return to normality.

Oh and as well as that our bike rides to work, the shops etc will all become a lot nicer!

From showroom to road

Having just bought a new bike (see Bike for Life plus one) it was time to get it ready. There is always stuff to do so you can take a bike from showroom to road.

For me that has included the following:

  • Fitting two bottle cages (I used 2 black Specialized Rib Cages as reasonably light, work well even with insulated coffee cups).
  • Fitting a cheapish Zefal pump to the down tube bottle cage
  • Fitting the RaceWare Garmin Bar Mount for my Edge 800 (puts it in front of the handlebar so works much better than the default Garmin mount). That meant moving the front reflector upside down to be out of the way.
  • Fitting a handlebar mounting for either one of our Exposure front lights (Strada or Joystick)
  • Fitting the mounting point for a Bridge Street saddlebag. I expect to normally use a small saddleback for u lock, cable, multi-tool, inner tube, tyre levers, waterproof, wallet. This meant moving the reflector out of the way.
  • Fitting a red Fibre Flare Shorty Side Light to the right seat stay (this way not blocked by the saddlebag).
  • Swapping the pedals from the basic OEM’s to my Speedplay Frogs that I used for LEJoG.

Then I ignored Jane and went for a very short test ride (2 miles). Absolutely delightful!

I am waiting for a very nice bell as a replacement for the cheap, useless bell included with the bike. It was a kickstarter project that is currently on it’s way across the Atlantic.

How do people manage without bikes?

I mean it as a serious question. “How do people manage without bikes?” Take yesterday as a pretty typical day.

In the morning I went to a local primary school to take an assembly. The School car park is always overflowing and the nearby road always full. I wasn’t ready in time for a 15 minute fast walk there. I didn’t have time for a 15 minute walk home after. They have undercover bike parking just inside the gate. So a 3/4 mile ride each way is faster and more convenient than anything else.

Late morning I had a funeral followed by a thanksgiving service. I needed to do some preparation at the Church, where there is no parking. So a 1/2 mile cycle there carrying the stuff I needed is by far the most convenient. I left my bike in the back of the building while I got everything ready and then walked 100m down the road to get a lift with the local funeral director. At the end it had started to rain so my bike got me home faster than anything else (by car takes much longer due to traffic in the centre of town as you avoid the one way system. Oh plus I am home by bike by the time I would have walked to where I could have parked the car).

In the evening I had several errands. Delivering some paper to three locations, sorting out some cables for Sunday at Church, going shopping for some little bits and pieces. It was only 1.2 miles in total. But I could stop right outside each place which I could not have done by car. No hassles caused by traffic or parked up streets.

So a grand total of 3.5 miles which was around 20 minutes, faster and cheaper than a car. Much faster and less tiring than walking.

So I ask again. “How do people manage without bikes?”

January 100 mile ride route. Syston to Launde Abbey

Unsurprising I have had to change some of the details of my Cycling Goals for 2014. So my 100 mile ride for January won’t be on Friday 24th (I have a funeral to take), instead I am going to take a roundabout route to Launde Abbey on Monday 27th.

I need to be there by 4pm ready for a retreat that I organise for Ministers in the Northampton Methodist District.

So an early start for a loaded (stuff for 3 nights away) ride.

I have updated the route from previous years to include plenty of coffee shop locations. For anyone interested the route is available on Strava.

A winter, loaded ride of 101.9 miles with 5,421 feet of climbing sounds like the sort of thing my Bike for Life was created for 🙂 A route that passes independent coffee shops in Melton, Long Clawson, Bottesford, Oakham and Stamford sounds like it was created for  me 🙂

New bike accessory needed. A kickstarter project for someone?

We have a good friend with one of these lifeline devices and are happy to be on the contact list for them.

However, it does highlight my need for a new bike accessory that I haven’t seen anywhere.

What I need is a set of blue flashing lights for when I am on an “emergency call out”. I could zoom down the road blue lights flashing and get to our friend so much quicker.

I haven’t seen blue flashing lights for bikes for sale anywhere, so I am looking for a volunteer to start a Kickstarter project to produce some (preferably in the UK).

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!

Bullitt Cargobike Photo Gallery

All the photos of my Bullitt Cargobike in one place.

Responsive Flickr Gallery Error - Photoset not found

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