Autumn Commute 2017

It’s been a while since I posted a bike video – but with the clocks going back I thought I’d capture the ride home  – next week it’ll be dark. 😦

Not that the dark’s a problem really. It’s currently pitch dark on my inbound journey at 7am anyway. I find that in the dark you can often see other traffic and they can see you, sometimes better than in the daytime. In the dark, vehicles are lit up (hopefully), and people on bikes, of course, should be lit up too! With lights, you can see vehicle’s lights approaching from behind, as well as hear them.

But for now here’s record of an Autumn 10mile commute out of Leicester. 3 x 10min films.

Autumn Commute 2017


…and below is a reminder of the old commute and weather from other seasons. Potentially weather to come – the thought of it is worse than the reality – Happy daze!


Wet and Dark:



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A bike’s for life, not just for Christmas…

And so with a Christmas break coming up – I had it in mind to put the bike in for a good rub-down and refurb.

As the Starwars droid said “Thank the maker! This oil bath is going to feel so good…” C-3PO, A New Hope

It’s well overdue, the bike sees 18 miles a day of varying city-cycleway; on & off kerbs; over potholes; through grit, glass and other variable detritus – it takes a good deal of flack! Especially at this time of year. I will not get into the politics of Leicester Council’s celebrated soundbites about cycling but lack of commitment and support for everyday bike riding and solid quality planning. This is my 5th winter. I am now doing 360 miles a month.

spokeAlas, a forced pit stop came a few days early due to:
(i) the Council’s neglect to keep the cycle/footway in good condition and appropriately lit
(ii) me not seeing the rabid branch!

On my way back from work, 300 yards from the LBS, a fallen branch in my path went straight through the rear derailleur, ripping off the hanger and pulling spokes from the rim of the wheel! I wish I had taken a picture of the rear mech!
A short roll to the LBS – and Carl and the lads at Thurmo City Cycles took the bike in for some TLC.
I had planned for new break pads, and disc rotors – the rotors were paper thin, the only original item left on the 5-year-old Specialized Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc 2011. I had planned for a tune up and a clean. But due to the branch I had to add a new rear mechanism, hanger, and wheel! Hey ho, still cheaper than a car’s MOT and service!

City Cycles Thurmo did a great job again- the bike’s now solid as a rock – like a new bike, a joy to ride.



Fountain of…



As pavement seated gargoyles fear the cave of need; a place of want and sloth; a fountain is where people gather.

People meet, sit and soak up the sun, and curse, sleep and dream. At a simple piano a young lady sits and plays a most beautiful sound, delicate yet aged with the weight of memories.

Dragons, griffins, turrets with portholes, oversee cartwheels and daisies, beer and baguettes; and children throw coins in the fountain, while scarred stricken adults ask “a little change please sir?”.  And the sun burns my skin as it did in Mount’s Bay, another, and another, most significant day…



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Cycle way provision ? Leicester

There’s a variety of provision between East Goscote and Leicester City:

The good:

The bad:

and other stuff.

Compare the above with typical Dutch provision, thanks Dave Warnock:


Just for the record – random commute

Just for the record here’s a quick low-resolution post of my commute in and out of Leicester.

It’s enjoyable even on a damp morning –  the vid does not capture the experience really.

The fresh air, the people you meet, the things you see, the space to think, the openness and freedom…


Not much in it?

We drove into Leicester today due to a family trip to the ‘ospital.

We left at 7.40 ahead of the usual rush hour (10mins can make all the difference with the school traffic).
The car journey didn’t encounter excessive congestion (it would have 30mins later), but took us 24minutes.
My usual cycle in takes me between 30 and 40 minutes depending on wind/weather.

There’s not much in it, less than 10minutes different over 7+ miles.
Cycling cost me a banana for fuel.
The car cost about £1.18 for the single trip – that’s £2.36 return.

Some might say as a mature adult, “I can afford £3 a day for the sensible option of driving the car”.
Of course there’s the cost* of the car too.

Why ride a bike – it’s not Ho Chi Minh City!


*But it’s that ‘cost’ that’s the issue. The obvious personal financial cost. But it’s the other costs…
Social, psychological, spiritual congestion? What effect has the current form of personal car ownership and use had on us individually and as a society… Our outlook, our attitude… ?

There’s not much in it?

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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:

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.


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


Well done, Leicester City Council…

Well done Leicester City Council: Close [thanks!]… but no cigar!

On 17 April 2012, I reported to Leicester City Council [via] a seriously dangerous pothole, a serious danger to commuting cyclists.

By the 15 May the hole had been neatly filled with tarmac.

Well done Leicester City Council!


Also on 17 April 2012 I reported some eroded road surface around manhole cover LE4 9LG. Another nearby manhole was tidied-up [thanks LCC], but the worst culprit within 50 yards was left untouched.
I reported this again on the 23rd May, eroding road around a manhole which is causing danger to cyclists. It’s getting worse by the week, now [21st June] a hole 2 inch deep is a seriously dangerous hazard to cyclists.

Also 17 April 2012 I reported to Leicester City Council a serious multiple pothole situation.
There were half a dozen potholes and crumbling road surface. It was [and still is] a hazard to cyclists. It’s likely to either bring a bike down or cause a swerve into traffic. On the 15th May, these dangerous holes and broken road surface had not been fixed and is still a hazard to cyclists.
On the 23rd May I again reported to Leicester City Council, this Eroding Road surface on junction. This eroded road surface is just getting worse. It’s a danger to cyclists. To avoid this you need to swerve into overtaking traffic.

As of 21st June 2012, both of the above situations continue to get worse. I will approach them again.

30th July 2012: Cyclists take care, 3 months it’s still there:

30th August 2012: yeah! Eh? Think it’s being fixed.