Friday, September 2, 2011

Proud Dad

Having been a passenger on my bike for 15 months, MMVII has finally started pedalling!

If anything, I reckon this bike is a bit small for her, but it only cost a few quid on eBay and it is at least from a proper bike manufacturer (Specialized). It even has a back-pedal brake! My plan is to get her confident on this.. hopefully remove the stabilisers before too long.. by dangling a brand new bike from the shop as a bribe.

We won't be cycling to Waterloo any time soon but that doesn't matter because before long she'll be going to the local primary school .. and she could cycle there! It even has a bike shed.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bicycle Ambulance

It was interesting and pleasing yesterday morning to see a bicycle ambulance belting along with blue lights flashing.

Less pleasing, on the way home, to see another one - clearly NOT on emergency business - busting through a red traffic light..

Friday, July 8, 2011


The Quadrabyke converts from 4-wheeled pedal toy, to trike, to bicycle

Genius! Just what we need.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Nothing for the practical cyclist

I got this strange catalogue from Evans.

There was a whole section at the back about the Ride2Work scheme - a benefit-in-kind tax wheeze where the government subsidises commuting bikes. However not one bike in the entire catalogue was an ordinary comfortable road bike of the sort I would consider commuting on. Every single one of them would give me a crick in the neck; most had no mudguards, no lights, and no way to carry anything. These bikes are.. incomplete.

There was a piece about riding in hot weather. All tight fitting clothes made from 'performance' fabrics; not a single linen shirt! :-)

I understand that this sort of thing works for many of Evans' customers, but they're preaching to the converted. Buy a mountain bike or a racer for commuting if you're already into that sort of riding. But if we're going to get more ordinary people using a bike just to trundle around or go to work - which I think would be fantastic - we need to not put them off with this focus on high-performance machines and special clothing.

The last thing the non-cyclist needs is a bike with a razor-edge seat, skinny tyres and no bloody mudguards.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Health and Fitness Update

When I started this lark, one of my main aims was to improve my health and fitness. I've been properly overweight for nigh on twenty years now. So is it working?

Well I wouldn't say I'm back to the 1980s. I haven't even really lost weight - although that is slowly starting to happen. But I am definitely much fitter. I did nearly 15 miles yesterday with no ill effects. And even since last autumn I'm noticeably faster on the road: I'm using 2nd or 3rd gear on the steepest uphill bits of my commute, where originally I would walk or use 1st gear. And I quite regularly hit top (8th) gear, which used to be a rare event. So although far from the fastest, I am definitely not the slowest person on the roads any more.

At the beginning I was a bit worried about the effect of cycling on my creaky knees, and they did ache at first. I even consulted my GP. But the Doc was right: now my legs are much stronger it's really not an issue. I do still have to restrain myself from using the full force of my leg muscles, for fear of hurting my knees.. but 'mind your knees' speed is now considerably faster than it used to be.

So there seems to be no downside. If you're dithering, just do it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Delivery Boy

Today I are mostly been impersonating G-G-G-Granville from Open All Hours..

Thursday, June 9, 2011


On Tuesday I went to the launch of a new book "Cyclebabble", which is a digest of the best bits from the Guardian bike blog. The launch event was at Look Mum No Hands, a bike shop cum cafe-bar on Old St EC1.

Look Mum is a bit painfully trendy for my taste, but it was nice to meet a couple of the people behind the book, including Sara from the Guardian's tiny publishing department, and the very enthusiastic Peter Walker. I also chatted with a nice lass who turned out to be the girl behind the wonderful 101 Wankers project. Dawn was lovely and her blog is a laugh, as well as highlighting a serious and mystifying issue: why does riding a bicycle somehow make a girl fair game for witless comments and sexual harassment? Are the low-forehead fraternity somehow threatened by her.. I dunno.. freedom of movement? If so, god forbid they ever spot a girl in a sports car.

I was invited because I occasionally comment on the Guardian blog, but I don't know if any of my comments made it into print as I didn't have time to flick through all of it. They were selling copies for £6 instead of the cover price of £7.99 but I didn't buy one for two reasons:

- Everything in it is already available on the Guardian site

- Even if I did want a hard copy (perhaps for the loo) I thought it would probably be cheaper on Amazon (and it is!)

Anyway, it was interesting to attend and I enjoyed a couple of refreshing Slags. Thanks guys, and good luck with the book.