Tag Archives: Christmas

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!


That’s a nice new bike!

So yesterday morning was strange! Very early for a Saturday I had cycled to Braunstone Park (see The hazards of supporting running) and was hanging out with a bunch of weird people ie runners. Anyway one of them came up to me and said “That’s a nice new bike!”.

I was of course on my Bike for Life, the Shand Stoater Plus. Pictured here after it’s wash 10 days ago:

I was struck by the “new” part of the comment, after all it is very obvious to everyone that it is a “nice” bike 🙂 Was it the result of being washed 10 days ago? Was it an assumption that the only reason you would be out on a bike at a silly time on the Saturday after Christmas because the bike was new?

Whatever, it is a nice complement to the quality of the workmanship of Steve and Russ at Shand Cycles that after 3,500 miles in 1 year of daily use in all weathers the bike still gets mistaken for new.

A little while later someone else also commented on the bike, noticing some of the features, like the belt drive, which normally only bike geeks notice. I do still like the way the bike appears understated to most people, unlike a carbon road bike which should “look at me, I’m expensive” the Shand is discrete and many of the wonderful features are only noticed by real bike geeks.

Also worth noting is that in the Uk where cycling is not at all normal you find a much higher percentage of people who ride bikes are “bike geeks” compared to the Netherlands where bikes are just bikes for most people who ride them. That is a clear indicator of the amount of work to be done in the UK to get non bike geeks on bikes (work that I believe should be nearly all focused on safe and convenient infrastructure).


Bike challenges for 2011

So the start of a really cool year (well at least as far as dates are concerned anyway. eg 1/1/11, 11/1/11, 9/10/11, & 11/11/11). What about bike challenges for 2011.

I have made two cycling related New Year resolutions.

The first, as mentioned in I’m Bike posting every day in 2011! is obviously to write something for this blog everyday. At least at the moment I plan to be a bit organised and may even write some posts ahead of time. Anyone who knows me will recognise that plan won’t last long 🙂

The second, is supported by planning to continue the combination of my daily cycling habit and wherever possible cycling rather than driving for work. More specifically it is to lose a lot more weight.  Since a horrifying peak in the summer as we moved house I have lost about 5 kg (despite gaining over 2kg during Christmas). My plan now is to lose another 15kg by the end of July. It sounds like a huge amount but in fact works out at 0.5 kg per week which is 1.1 lbs. That fits with what seems to be generally agreed i.e. a healthy and sustainable weight loss should be between 1 and 2 lbs per week.

Experience shows that for me a daily cycling habit and avoiding driving for work are great helps in losing weight (and feeling a lot more healthy). However, I will need to up the miles I do. I don’t think I am going to set daily targets for miles although I will try to make the daily minimum about 5 miles (that won’t actually change many days). I fitted a new simple bike computer to the Bullitt on 9th Nov 2010 and have left it on non stop. It now read 316 miles over 52 days i.e. just over 6 miles a day. Bear in mind that I have used other bikes as well in that time (I guess for about 100 miles).  So I am riding at something over 50 miles per week at the moment. I would like to see that increase quite a lot during the next year.

So far I have pretty much kept to the plan to not cycle for work with the local Methodist Circuit where I am based (Leicester North Circuit). The only exception was on Christmas Eve when I had a service at Rothley at 4pm and another at Syston at 5pm, so I drove to Rothley. All other drives for work have been longer (Loughborough twice, Swanick once, Northampton three times).

What I will do is try to fit in more longer rides. I find that rides that last several hours have a really helpful and significant impact on my weight. I mostly do these as low to medium intensity as I am not trying to train for high speed races but to burn fat and enjoy myself. The ride last week in the New Forest was a good example (I could actually see that some of the Christmas weight gain had disappeared). I don’t think very many of the rides will be off road in that style. Partly that is because of convenience in getting to the rides (generally I don’t like driving somewhere to cycle), but it also reflects my feeling that off road rides are costly in terms of bike maintenance, equipment and time without my finding them hugely more enjoyable. I plan to write about that in the next day or so.

With the daily cycling habit to keep going, the riding for work and the longer rides I hope that I will be able to burn off enough calories that simply by eating reasonably sensibly (yeah I know I am not very good at that) I will be able to achieve the target weight loss of 15kg by end of July (which seems incredibly daunting at the moment). At the same time I hope to achieve a personal best in terms of miles cycled during the year although that is a a by product rather than a specific target.

As I am already feeling many benefits of having cycled more in the last 4 months than ever before (much fitter, far fewer colds, happier) I am very much looking forward to 2011.


The Bullitt Sleigh

As described in Creating a Bullitt Sleigh I now have a working Bullitt Sleigh:


This is the side painted by the younger members of Syston Girls Brigade


Riding it is pretty easy, getting the stand down is the most tricky bit as getting your foot in place t0 push the leg down is tricky. It does creak a bit so next year I’ll put some rubber padding where it touches the bike.


This is the side painted by the older members of Syston Girls Brigade, sadly they ran out of time to complete their ambitious plans (not helped by the paint taking forever to dry).

I have got some battery powered LED Christmas lights and tinsel to add.

I’ll be using it at the Syston Methodist Church Carol Service tomorrow, plus at the Wreake Community College carol services on Monday. Then I’ll see how many other things I take it to in the coming week (definitely at the Christingle Service at Syston Methodist Church).

It only needs a few screws removing and I will be able to store it flat until next year. By then I will try to get the inside painted to match. Maybe we should add Reindeer sides to Jane’s biks so that she can ride in front of me 🙂

The good thing is that it is still fully functional as a cargobike (although I would need to add some lights as the normal ones are a bit blocked by the Sleigh. I should really have some bells as well.


Creating a Bullitt Sleigh

I have set myself a bit of a creative challenge, as usually not fully thought through 🙂

The idea is to create a Bullitt Sleigh by turning my Bullitt Clockwork cargobike into Santa’s Sleigh.

The problem is that the Syston Girls Brigade are going to be doing the painting tomorrow evening and I am out all day. So not a lot of preparation time.

I have got some hardboard and red exterior paint and plenty of scrap wood for framing.

So the Bullitt looks like this:


and the Sleigh I am think of looks like this:

Only scaled down a lot 🙂

I figure the 2nd opening will be where the pedals are for me to get in and out. The front opening will only go as low as the top of the box side. For colour co-ordination (which I know is important to some people 🙂 ) I will try to hide all the orange of the bike or the orange and red combination will look hideous.

I want to have it made so that I can ride it around in it’s costume.

I’ll let you know how we get on.


Santa’s Sleigh cargobike

This morning my Bullitt cargobike doubled as Santa’s Sleigh bringing chocolate to the Make and Play Christmas Nativity Service.


Christmas decorations are not really my forte so I am sure others can do much better.

I used a chocolate telling of the Christmas story (“Mary heard a WISPA from an Angel …). Whenever chocolate is mentioned and that happens a lot :-), it comes out of Santa’s cargobike to be passed around.

Anyway Santa’s cargobike got a big cheer when it was revealed 🙂

It is one of those lovely zen moments when the cargobike has transported everything needed for the service and becomes part of the service itself.

Maybe I will get some creative people to make a better sleigh disguise that I can ride around with.


Traidcraft collection

In Reduced stress Christmas Shopping I referred to making life less stressful and better by buying stuff from organisations such as Traidcraft. So last night, on my way home from the evening service,  I collected a box of stuff . Lucky I was on my Bullitt 🙂 So here are a few pictures:



Note that I had turned the front lights off for the photos 🙂

It was only 3/4 of a mile home so I just dropped the box on top of everything else. So quick and easy 😉


Reduced stress Christmas Shopping

Today we went for reduced stress Christmas Shopping. So here are our top tips for getting the Christmas Shopping done with less stress:

  • Order lots online 🙂 We use a variety of fair trade organisations such as Traidcraft and charities for many of the presents we buy. Much reduced stress from not having to fight through crowds of shoppers and from the good feeling that comes from buying good that have been fairly traded and where our money helps others.
  • IMAG0250When you go shopping make a nice day of it by cycling into the main shopping centre (for us Leicester City Centre is only about 6 miles). We didn’t check the temperature this morning (our only thermometer is part of the car dashboard). But it was quite cold (below freezing anyway) Although nothing like Copenhagen 🙂
  • Gloves are critical, a nice hat helps. But elsewhere we both ended up removing a layer after a while.
  • Having bikes with cargo capacity is helpful. I think the ultimate would be a Bullitt with the lockable aluminium box. You could just move from shop to shop locking the shopping in it as you go to save you having to carry it all.
  • The money you save on car parks and fuel can be used for nice fair trade coffee 🙂
  • As you are not dictated to by traffic jams or availability of car parking you can be more flexible. Zipping across town for a specific shop is easy.
  • You can also enjoy  a nice cake with your coffee as you will burn off the calories as you beat the cars home 🙂

The only downside is the attempt by car drivers to pass their stress onto you with crazy overtaking, usually combined with a sudden stop. How come so few car drivers look ahead of the bike they are dying to overtake in order to see that there is a stationary car 20 metres ahead. Or a long queue of cars unable to overtake a bus, in which case why overtake the bike that is already in the queue. Coming back through Thurmaston this was particularly noticeable, makes you wonder just how many car drivers have had their brains destroyed by some mystery virus. Maybe it is particularly triggered by darkness outside.


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