Categories
Bike Uncategorized

last ‘bike’ post for a while…

screen-capture-3
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.

Categories
Bike Uncategorized

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)

Categories
Bike Uncategorized

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)

screen-capture-2

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 !

 

Categories
Bike Uncategorized

Bad boy, dirty boy, in your bed!

Without a full rear mudguard…

muck

With a full rear mud guard…

guard

’nuff said?

Categories
Bike Uncategorized

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.

Categories
Bike Uncategorized

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 ***

Categories
Bike Uncategorized

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.
Categories
Uncategorized

Another way?

So we have found a possible alternative… not so pleasant but I guess it does the job… for now.

Two commute routes

Cycle commutes.

http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/qzq6ypfydSY

I guess the cars (& vans) win?!  I have been forced (for the sake of the children) to look for an alternative to the best route via road.

So a different route in to work, as an inebriated foolish crow might fly.
It’s half a mile (a few minutes) longer. The jury is still out, there are some obstacles to get the knack of and no school children at present – it’ll be a different matter when the oh so well mannered and respectful students are on the prowl.

I’ll miss the morning skys and sunsets etc as the view from up on Barkby Thorpe is often vitalising.
I guess I’ll also miss the inclines that get the blood pumping.

The new route has poor, fractured, token cycle lanes from syston to Round Hill School but then a good bit of new cycle way (sans kids) to Thurmaston Citycycles junction. We then weave through the golfing estate. Then it’s back on familiar ground over Troon Way and via Gleneagles onto Catherine St.. Cycling in the city is still ‘on road’ – I don’t find city drivers too bad on secondary roads (the primary artery roads can be different!).

After nearly 2 years of cycling, the reason I’ve left the ‘country route’ as the crow flies through Barkby (+Thorpe) etc  is that “the automobile traffic rules!”. It’s not worth the risk!
In my humble experience/opinion, probably:
80% of the traffic – most traffic observes cyclists, reduces speed and gives room when passing.
15 % of the traffic – it’s hard to tell wether they see you. They do not reduce speed, but luckily they do not hit you. The manoeuvres vary from revving engines and inappropriate gears, giving space too late when overtaking (they give plenty of space to the invisible cyclist in front of me), and the all too often “let me past ‘cos I need to copulate with the car in front!” speeding past you up the tail of the car in front just to brake late! I’m not going to mention mobile phones, make-up mirrors and nose picking.
It’s the 5% that are the worry – these fall into two camps:
1. “The Aggressive”: Not slowing, indeed, often accelerating faster (than the limit?) to pass you. Not giving any extra room ‘cos I guess they don’t care? (God knows if they see the cyclist). The impatient contemptuous ignorant dickwit attitude that cyclists are a pain in the front bumper and must not be tollerated and must be passed, blocked or bullied.
2. The “Ooops Sorry I Didn’t See You”: this is possibly the more worrying, “sorry. I misjudged it”, or “I didn’t see you”, is not going to help scrape you off the floor or put your head back on your torso. It’s people that are just not aware (anymore) of their responsibility when driving a vehicle – I guess they are “new drivers”, “infrequent drivers”, “careless drivers”, “distracted drivers”, “over confident drivers?”, “ill prepared drivers”… I don’t know, but there are too many of them on the roads.

If you don’t agree that these types of driver/people exist, try and share the roads with them from the position of a cyclist.
When you cycle, all your senses are engaged in the activity; you are “cycling”, not thinking about the radio, the windows, the make-up, the phone, the back seat, the glove box…  “you are cycling”, and you are intently engaged with where you are – you can’t miss the careless perilous incidents and obstacles when they’re encountered.

So the Queniborough-Barkby-Leicester road is too dangerous – it will only take one incident to put me in hospital.
Jury’s still out but for now, 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.
New route many many low speed hazards and manoeuvres. Old route occasional high-speed potential killers.

Should cyclists freely share space on the road?
Should cyclists be given road quality cycling space else where?
Should cyclists be happy with 3rd rate white-lined gutters?
Should cyclists just shut up and get on or off their bikes?

Forgive me I know not what I do.

Categories
Uncategorized

Zzzzzombie like tendencies?

Triggered by an article I read recently in ‘Australia’s most widely-read bike magazine’ Ride On, about cycling with earphones… I just had to comment!
Ride On states that they find that “ear-bud earphones set at a reasonable volume still allow riders to clearly hear the warning sounds of other riders.”
I just had to comment. What a ridiculous article! As one comment put: “Safety when riding is paramount and the only person who loses in bike/car accidents is the cyclist. Music covers up sound and distracts…” I agree.
Sorry but I am a cyclist and did previously use earphones daily… since Feb this year I have not and will not wear them while cycling.
Ride On’s claim that when using earphones you can still hear other sounds is a probable fact, but in doing this they are foolishly promoting the activity of earphone use while cycling.


I purport that the act of journeying is or should be an interactive activity. The addition of audio-entertainment to such activity is dangerous or at least restrictive. Whether in a car, on a bike or by foot the use of earphones inhibits the potential for interaction with the world. Yes, indeed, this could lead to potential incident with other road users but more importantly it leads to an insular, individualistic culture and the AA’s zombie like tendencies. It leads to an “us and them” attitude and not “humanity”…
The AA has has urged cyclists and pedestrians – and drivers – to pay attention to the road  [the journey] rather than be distracted by music. Edmund King, president of the AA, also commented on the Injury Prevention study, saying:
“We can’t stop the march of technology but we need to halt the iPod pedestrian, cycle and driver zombies.  Whether on two feet, two wheels or four, too many people are suffering from iPod oblivion.
“When on the move our brains have much to take in and using technological gadgets means that our brains can’t always concentrate on so many things at once This is when we walk into traffic; don’t hear the truck or drive cocooned from the outside world.
“The US research suggests that this problem may be growing so we all need to use common sense to ensure that technological cocooning doesn’t endanger our lives or the lives of others.

I have commented before about our attitude as road-users and indeed a general social attitude. Unless I’m mistaken, an ignorance is a key trait here. Ignorance is bliss?
Considering our use of cultural opiates (in the sense of anything that causes dullness or inaction or that soothes the feelings). We all imbibe stuff that will colour our perception, some more than others.  The radio, a podcast, music, TV, food, art, knowledge, and other stimulants/sedatives (as well as coffee and cheese) can all be stimulating and creative, however they can also act as a distracting eclipse and induce ignorance.


When journeying with or past others, i think it’s best to aim for an open mind and a considerate perception.
We all too readily ignore that which is beyond our perception or conception. We all enjoy a moment of bliss? But not while we are journeying with and past others!
Music can be a distracting eclipse and induce ignorance. The ignorant might excuse themselves with the notion of innocence?
Ignorant? innocent? bliss? contentment? enchantment? joy? beatitude? well-being…
Heaven help us all!?

Categories
Uncategorized

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 FixMyStreet.com] 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!

But…


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.

20120830-213332.jpg

20120830-213359.jpg

20120830-213410.jpg

20120830-213420.jpg