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She lives…

…alas after a winter’s commute through snow ice and things not nice, it was time to give her a thorough going over.
The team at LBS City Cycles Thurmo, City Cycles Leicester have done a good job. She lives:
BikeX

May 2011 – Purchased Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc 2011 Hybrid Bike (from a shop near a big lake).

7 months – Dec 2011 – New CHAIN and CASSETTE, from the shop that I bought the bike from – poor after-sales service from a bike store near a big lake! Lack of attention, explanation and interest.

14 months – July 2012 – TYRES:
replaced Specialized Borough Xc Sport Tyre 700×45 with 700x32mm Schwalbe Durano Plus.

15 months – August 2012 – CHAINSET:
LBS City Cycles Thurmo, replaced the considerably worn SunTour/SRAM chain set (ring, chain and cassette); with a Shimano megarange CS HG41.

1 year 7 mths – Dec 2012 – REAR WHEEL:
LBS City Cycles Thurmo, New back wheel, as stock one rim cracked and freewheel worn. Mavic A119 rim and .

1 year 11mths – April 2012 SPRING CLEAN:
Full service from LBS City Cycles Thurmo – It get’s quite a pelting from 15 miles around daily commute through all weathers, and very poor road surface. It picks up a lot of crud off the road, especially in winter. Despite this, last August’s chainset etc is still up for another 6 months+ hopefully.

Onward!

(Note to self: Shorts worn throughout this winter – Gold star for me)

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The shard!!

I have Schwalbe Durano Plus tyres on my bike.

They say they’ve “a Kevlar SmartGuard belt for extremely effective protection against penetration punctures… …a level of unparalleled protection…”  

Looking at the tyres they’re peppered with cuts and slashes and amazingly they’ve still maintained protection, since last July (7 months)… until now…

They’ve done extremely well considering what they have to ride over and through, but alas nothing could have combated “the shard”!

This section of shared cycle/walkway has always been a hazard as it’s often strewn with debris, glass, trimmings, grit, sh*t etc.  I will endeavor to see what can be done.

Map

New inner-tube and onwards!

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Cycle Paths

The commute on bicycle from East Goscote to Leicester could be better (especially in the city-burbs!) but in parts it’s arguable not bad

If you travel from East Goscote to Leicester you have two good sections of ‘traffic-free’ shared walk/cycleway.

The first is 1 mile from Goscote to Wreake Valley School. A good width of quality surface that, even with school kids at 8.15, has plenty of room for cyclist
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You could follow the cycle way through the back of Syston and up St Peter’s Street etc. but the direct route through Syston is not so bad going West. Coming back at night, and if the traffic’s bad, then Broad Street etc is a more pleasant option back to Wreake.

After negotiating Syston, you meet another half a mile of designated shared cycle/walkway.
This goes past Roundhill School the path is thinner in parts here with various obstructions, posts and drive-ways that need caution, but generally OK.
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After the ASDA roundabout, and the pedestrian crossings with badly designed timing settings, yup have another 0.7 mile of good quality/width shared path. It has to be said that this section along with the Syston-Goscote mile is very good. Well done whom? County Council? Parish Council? Sustrans? It takes you along Wayside Drive to the Thurummy crossroads.

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It’s then “on the roads” you might snake through Rushey Mead estates, Gleneagles Avenue and Catherine Street (another story) into Dysart Way and the City.
Melton Road is just a joke – try it at rush hour, try it anytime! The cycle-way past Rushey Mead is broken, hazardous and badly maintained/cleaned.
Just to mention the marked(?) section of green surface that might be relevant to bike users but needs repainting if it is… along the later section of Dysart way – what’s this for?
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As mentioned, if you travel from East Goscote to Leicester you have two good sections of ‘traffic-free’ shared walk/cycleway.
This route has nearly two and a half of the seven+ miles off road. A good start?

The busiest section of on-road cycling is Catherine Street. At rush-hour this is usually backed up for half a mile with a slow-moving queue of traffic to Dysart Way.
This is a wide road with a section of hatching in the middle and wide pavements on both sides. I wonder why segregated cycle-way could not be employed here? More cycles into the city. Less traffic on this route? I guess it’s just impossible and never worth the hassel. After all who wants to promote less traffic and alternative healthier options?

Well done so far on the segments mentioned, and well done generally on cleaning these shared paths!
But what about riding bikes “into the City from Thrummy”?

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last ‘bike’ post for a while…

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I’m a tad tired of banging on about ‘riding my bike’ – and I expect u r too.
And so, last ‘bike’ post for a while (perhaps).

I use the phrase ‘riding my bike’ because the term ‘cycling’ has accumulated so much baggage over the last year.  I do not see myself as a cyclist any more than you consider yourself a driver. I simply ride my bike to work and back. And go for the occasional spin round the block.

As mentioned before, I have made the transition from a road-based cycle commute to a person-based cycle commute.  It’s an ongoing work-in-progress, it’s taken a year so far, to reform my mindset from a driver’s road-based travel to a more contented alternative.

Driving habits are too dangerous for most roads to accommodate pedal bikes.
The drivers’ mindset/habit is not healthy (indeed often unhealthy), whether driving, riding, walking or just waiting in a queue.
It’s hard to remove oneself from the ingrained mentality of gotta be, gotta have, gotta be in front, gotta move on, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna, I wanna really really, really wanna zigazig, I need to be somewhere else, I need other… It’s linked with the ‘idea’ of success, achievement and ambition. But is it wholesome, necessary or truly successful?

There is an alternative which requires two things:
(i) to realise a renewed perspective on the act of travelling and being.
(ii) implementation of travel facilities (new ways) that accommodate modes other than motor vehicles.

I ended a previous post: I’ll have to risk the possible prang at 10mph on an estate road rather than the potential ‘prang’ at 30mph on the best road. This is misjudged and perhaps should be: I now seek to travel in a more amiable way.

I also ended a previous post: A new route with many low speed hazards and manoeuvres. Old route occasional high-speed potential killers. This is misjudged also and perhaps should be:  While there are hazards to be aware of one now seeks to negotiate rather than manoeuvre.

I ended a previous post with 4 questions:
Should cyclists freely share space on the road?
Current answer: yes, but equality is currently rarely achievable.
Should cyclists be given road-quality cycling space elsewhere?
Current answer: I think it’s possibly a workable healthy alternative.
Should cyclists be happy with 3rd rate white-lined gutters?
Current answer: no, where possible they should be implemented, but note; road users frequently don’t observe ‘white lines’.
Should cyclists just shut up and get on or off their bike?
Current answer: perhaps cyclists might pipe down, but that’s a subjective anti-lycra opinion – More importantly people who are so inclined should where possible get on and off their bikes and discover new ways.

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A frosty cycle commute.

A frosty cycle commute – Goscote to Leicester.

I’ve doubled the speed and split it into two parts to fit it on youtube.  (Filmed Wed 16th Jan 2013)

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Kill cyclist’s enthusiasm? First weekend round of year…

Out for the first round trip of the year. (last weekend was just a trolly ride to the leisure Centre)

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Such a different ride to the daily commute – out in the country, on roads (actual roads!), letting your body drive the bike and ride!

In comparison, “the daily commute” is a dodge-fest, a series of trolly rides between and around numerous obstacles, detritus, and  incompatible structures and traditions.

It’s been a while since I rode out on the ‘open’ roads. I used to ride them on the commute but considered them too dangerous and so in September switched to the ‘cycle-path’ jungle.

Riding today brought me to entertain the old road again.

The problem with the cycle-path v mechanical-pedestrian v automobile route is that it seems a series of compromises:

  • It seems to say as a cyclist you  should be on the road not the pavement but you are not a motor so you need your own painted-line cycle-path to be in.
  • Then they advise to “claim your road” you are a road user, and you should ride in the road like the other traffic.
  • Some ‘authorities’ even advise caution about cycle-paths: “If there’s a cycle lane on the left, Owen advises caution: make sure before using it that the lane is sufficiently separate from the traffic?” 
  • Most routes are a combination of shared pedestrian path, cycle path, road and other. If it’s an unfamiliar route it’s near impossible!
  • When you ride the pedestrian path you pass numerous people cycling on the road.
  • On the Shared path you get daily comments and gestures to “get on the road!”.
  • When on the road you get regular comments to “get out of the way”.
  • When on the road you have to decide, am I compatible with the traffic or should I cut my losses and not risk death.
  • Two or more driver’s vehicles in collision = insurance claim.
  • Cyclist and driver’s vehicle in collision = serious injury or death.

As I say sometimes it’s near impossible – other road users do not have to constantly decide where do/should i fit in here?

#keepcycling ?

Anyway the ride on the relatively open country roads of Leicestershire was again a joy.

#keepcycling !

 

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Bad boy, dirty boy, in your bed!

Without a full rear mudguard…

muck

With a full rear mud guard…

guard

’nuff said?

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The Bike needed Tender Loving £s

guard You may have noticed my tweet last week that “the bike” needed some TLC (and some TL£).

Alas the wheels (rims and hubs) that came with the  specialized crosstrail sport disc 2011 were ‘average’ quality and arguably not up to the job.

It’s been 2 years since I bought the bike. It’s done its best to combat the conditions experienced but the rear wheel – the one that takes the most pounding – gave up last week. The front forks are sprung so that takes a bit of impact out for the front wheel.

The rear wheel’s rim was cracked in 3 places where the spokes enter it and the freehub’s splines were considerably worn – an ex-wheel!
This week’s tally: an ex wheel, the car’s rear ex-tyre and an ex-washingmachine! Arggh!  All this week!

In Oct 2011 my initial foray to the suggested “cycle-route” was shocking!
In August 2012, I moved off the death ride route (normal roads) to the shared “cycle facilities”.
The bike now has to deal with a lot more grit, debris, crap, tree roots, curbs, potholes, etc. I’m learning to accept it. I now concede the new route is arguably the wiser option.
The winter obviously sees a lot more debris and wet crud. So although I survived last winter I’ve now opted for the full guard on the rear, I just had a splash guard before. This might protect the mech and chain set a tad. More dedication to cleaning is needed too! Hufff!

I am no bike expert, so I rely on people’s advice and the LBS – City Cycles Thurmo
After two years it’s now got:
A new back wheel: Mavic A119 rim and Shimano FH-M525A hub.
In the summer we had to replace the considerably worn SunTour/SRAM chain set (ring, chain and cassette); with a Shimano megarange CS HG41.

So yes, annually the £ has to be spilt somewhere, but just remember there’s no Tax, MOT and insurance and the previous ~£54 a month fuel costs are now zero.

I bought off the shelf, but on retrospect- if you’re buying a new bike, spend more than you can afford (invest) for a bike that will be used daily – in the long term, the bike is the sum of it’s parts!

#keepcycling

As mentioned, I concede that the cycle facility route is the wiser option – I guess I’ll report again on that in due course.

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We cycle to know we are not alone…

As you know I cycle. However (bear with me),  cycling as a sport is not my thing. I don’t find the spin and whirl of the latest chrome or carbon gadgets specifically exciting, I don’t find the latest audacious audax or spritely sportif of interest, “different chevaux for different courses” I guess.

Cycling for me is a way of travelling, getting from a to b, but also it can be a catalyst to seeing the world and your place in it in a new way. Not easy to summarise, it’s essentially an ongoing experience, but over the last year or so I have discovered a few notable (and readable) cycling related reads.


One of my first finds was “The Bicycle Book” by Bella Bathurst.

It’s a great read on the essence of the bike and bicycling. I’d suggest an essential starter.

“What is it about the bicycle that so enchants us? And why do its devotees become so obsessed with it?
A journey through cycling’s best stories and strangest incarnations. A brilliantly engaging portrait of cycling’s past, present and…”

 

It’s all about the bike” by Rob Penn was another good read.

A great enthusiastic study and search for the best in cycling without overdoing the technical.
“the bike’s story, from its cultural history to its technical innovation to the fascinating colourful stories of the people who ride it…. with humor, humility, and authoritative intelligence… a rare and precious portal to the heart and soul of bike culture and its surprising footprint on all of culture”
.

Recently found, and I’m still reading, a lighthearted but enlightening read “The Enlightened Cyclist“.

TEC

Making me smile and think…
“Discussing the trials and triumphs of bike commuting with snark, humor, and enthusiasm: If we become better commuters, will that make us better people?”

It’s great when you find the reading of books build on each other. Indeed, when unrelated books enforce each other and start to agree and colour a picture in your mind, then life can seem more real.
In “Shadowlands” we imagine C S Lewis “we read to know we are not alone”.
I suggest we also can cycle to know we are not alone.

Onwards!

Incidentally, TBB borrowed from the local library, IAATB and TEC via KoboBooks.
I guess the drawback to readers of the ebook paradigm shift is that I can’t lend you the book to read…! ?
*** Incidentally, 5 years on and I read real books, the e-reader needs charging ***

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Consider the birds of the air?

Yes, I’m occasionally guilty of unhealthy attitude, impaired perspective and disappointing reaction, aren’t we all?

Consider the person in front and the one behind?

Reconsidering one’s perspective can be a slow process. Perception can be blurred and clarity can be lost for a while. Perhaps that’s why sometimes it might be hard, seem not possible, or even not an option.

Is deference compatible with difference?  Is love compatible with life?

I’m starting to consider if riding a bike is incompatible with modern road attitudes. It’s compatible with the written rule of the road but all too often that (common sense) is forgotten in the heat of the moment.

Having moved from road-cycling to commuting on the cycle-path/back-road route, I find you encounter more of people and more real-life. The previous route was a traffic route, even though it was part rural and mainly b-roads etc it was flowing traffic, and in retrospect the mindset was ‘driverly’ – arguably it had to be, to join with the flow. After a year, I came to realise that someone cycling might not survive with the current general dominant attitude of ‘drivers’ (on this route) and to be safer, I moved to the new route.

On the new route I now interact more; I ride a “5 lollypop-lady route”, I say ‘morning’ etc to 4 of them. I pass children who exchange smiles and ‘youff speak’. I meet dog-walkers with various salutations. I exchange gestures of acknowledgment with drivers at numerous junctions. Generally people are glad to be alive when given the opportunity. However, on the new route, I also see all sorts of all sorts, yes there’s still the problematic driverly attitude, but also there are still crazy cyclists, unobservant pedestrians, dizzy kids, and unconsidered attitudes.

It seems obvious to say that the challenge is not drivers, it’s not cyclists, it’s not pedestrians, it’s not young people, the affluent, arty, sporty or any other group, stereotype or sub-culture…  The challenge is perspective and attitude – both mine and yours.

It’s not one’s mode of transport, one’s choice of attire, one’s hairstyle, age or preferred drug – it’s one’s perspective, attitude and reaction.
It’s the not just my attitudes that need discipline (love?), it’s also the attitudes one encounters… it takes two to tango. Yes, some attitudes are just hard to believe. It often seems difference has usurped deference and survival of the fittest, brightest, shiniest, richest is often perceived king (or queen).

Yes, I’m occasionally guilty of unhealthy attitude, impaired perspective and disappointing reaction. Even with good intentions, in the heat of interaction, reactions can be inconsiderate. I guess the key is aiming to stay warm but minimise the heat?

Thoughts;
In the heat of interaction “I AM” - Images cause Assumption which causes Motivation (and reaction).
Alas, you will always find some attitudes and characters that are intolerable.
The interaction between things is what makes them fecund.