Here’s a experimental timelapse video shot on my new GoPro. It uses the default setting of a frame every half second and I then compiled the thousands of pictures using Microsoft Movie Maker. The result isn’t too bad.

Asda’s £70 bike

June 17, 2009

Asda has started selling what must be the UK’s cheapest adult bike at £70 and I’m amused that its press release says it “could save you literally thousands of pounds” by comparing it to the cost of a six-zone annual travel card (£1,904). I’d love to see someone commute all year into the West End from somewhere like Epsom, Uxbridge or Epping on this 18 kg (40 lbs) bike. In fact, that sort of daily commute on any bike would be a challenge. On this bike, with its budget components, I’d be surprised if it lasted a year doing that sort of mileage.

Cycling on ITV

May 8, 2009

RoadCyclingUK carried an announcement in mid-April that ITV will show highlights of a new Tour Series taking placing between 21 May and 25 June. Great news. I’d love to watch pro level domestic cycling on TV. Off I went to the ITV website to get more details. Wouldn’t you? After all, it has an entire section devoted to cycling. What I found there surprised me.

It has been difficult to not feel like you’re living in Lance Armstrong’s pocket lately if you follow his Twitter feed and read the cycling press. Every aspect of his comeback is being shared and we all know that if he crashes with that metal plate still screwed into his collar bone then he risks doing more damage and certainly writing off his chances of riding either the Giro or the Tour. The banner story on the ITV Cycling section is “Lance escapes injury in Leipheimer stage crash”. Not again. Didn’t that also happen during the Tour of California in February? Turns out it did. ITV’s cycling section has not been updated in months. Oops. I can see why the RoadCyclingUK piece included a link to the Tour of Britain site and not ITV.

Spring cycling

April 28, 2009

This time of year is when cycling is at its most fun in South East England. The countryside is rich with colour as the plants unclench from winter. Longer weekend rides become far more enjoyable, especially if you live in a city. Weekday urban riding can hardly be described as either relaxing or inspiring so weekend rides need to be fun. Fortunately, in my part of London, I can be out of the city and drifting past bluebells, not bus shelters, in under half an hour.

Photo by buzz.bishop used under license

From BikeRadar:

A new High Court judgment means cyclists who don’t wear helmets can be guilty of contributory negligence if they are injured in a road accident in the UK.

Considering a case where a cyclist and motorcyclist collided (Smith v Finch 2009), Mr Justice Griffith Williams ruled that the cyclist could have been found partly liable if wearing a helmet would have prevented or reduced his or her injuries.

In this particular case, it was accepted that a helmet would not have protected the cyclist, Robert Smith, because of the speed at which he hit the ground.

But Richard Brooks from law firm Withy King told BikeRadar that this ruling means that if you are injured and a cycle helmet could have reduced your injuries, you may not be able to recover full compensation.

Cyclists who “expose themselves to a greater degree of injury” by not wearing a helmet can now be found to be negligent, even though it is not a legal requirement in the UK to wear head protection when cycling. However, for this to happen it would have to be proved – using medical and other evidence – that a helmet would have prevented all of their injuries or made them a good deal less severe.

[Update 7 Feb]

The CTC is taking legal advice on challenging a court ruling which could leave cyclists liable to contributory negligence if not wearing a helmet when injured.

Roger Geffen, campaigns and policy manager for the CTC, called the High Court judgement in the case of Smith v Finch, “concerning,” and said the national cyclists’ association would be consulting its lawyers to prevent cyclists potentially losing out on compensation in the future.

Photo by gρtwıรtɛd used under license

We routinely hear how dangerous cyclists are to pedestrians. We’re constantly cycling recklessly along pavements, through parks and running red lights. Last week the government published figures showing that as a pedestrian you are 263 times more likely to be killed by a motor vehicle than by a bicycle.

In the last ten years, just over 7,600 pedestrian were killed by motor vehicles while 29 were killed by cyclists. Over the same period, 364,000 pedestrians were injured by motor vehicles, almost 76,000 (or 21%) of them seriously while cyclists injured just over 2,600 with roughly the same proportion (22%) being considered serious.

The big difference of course is that motor vehicles tend to be a little bigger and travelling a little faster than the average cyclist. When you look at the relationship between deaths and serious injuries you see that for every ten serious injures caused by motor vehicles there is one death whereas for every 19 serious injuries caused by cyclists there is one death.

So, unless you’ve still got your training wheels on, get off the pavement, obey the traffic laws and stop giving the public another (wrong) reason to hate us.

The London Fixed-Gear & Single-Speed forum is holding the first Tweed Run this Saturday, January 24th, describing it as a social ride with a bit of style.

Riders will be gathering for 2pm in Hanover Square and heading down to H Huntsman & Sons on Saville Row to begin the ride. The route will be a fairly leisurely ride through London. No need to pack Kendal Mint Cakes, the ride will include a stop at a tea shop at Tour de Ville for mid-ride fortitude, and will finish at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club for refreshments and cheer.

Proper attire will of course be expected, so dapper gents and elegant ladies, polish off your lugged steel beasts and prepare your best outfits. Suggested attire: woolen plus fours, harris tweed jackets, flat caps, fair isle jumpers, alpaca coats, merino wool team jerseys, cycling skirts and perhaps a jaunty cape for the ladies, cravats or ties for gentlemen, and of course a hip flask of brandy.

Be sure to dress with a bit of panache, there will be prizes awarded for:

Most dapper chap
Most dashing dame
Best moustache (open to both men and women, of course)
Most enviable period bicycle
The Doff of The Cap award for most civilised behaviour on the day

There will also be a spiffing tombola draw for some lovely prizes benefiting bikes4africa, an organisation that refurbishes bicycles and gives them to rural African schools so that students who live far away can get to school.

A big doff of the cap to those who have donated the marvelous prizes: Hudson’s Hats (The Bonk), What Goes Around Comes Around (JD), Ved, The Chap Magazine, Brooks Saddles, Hendrick’s Gin, Geo F. Trumper, David Saxby’s, Dashing Tweeds and Rapha.

Tally ho!

Motorbikes in bus lanes

January 6, 2009

Motorbikes can now legally do something that most have been doing regardless. For the next 18 months motorcycles can use London’s red route bus lanes despite more than 4,000 London Cycling Campaign members signing a petition asking the mayor to reconsider the measure.

The mayor says extension of the trial will depend on “motorcyclists using this privilege sensibly and [on the fact that motorcyclists] do not do anything that undermines the confidence or compromise the rights of cyclists”.

Let’s see if the trial does in fact improve safety and reduce congestion.

LCC chief executive Koy Thomson said: “Putting motorbikes in bus lanes will not reduce motor traffic and will likely undermine the Mayor’s targets for growth in cycling. The Mayor has set this up as a trial and it is vital that it is properly monitored and evaluated.”

LCC has set up a page where you can submit comments and report any incidents. There’s also a link to the TfL site to report comments there too.

I cycled 11,937 km (7,417 miles) in 2008, roughly the distance from Sydney to San Francisco.

Around half of my riding was through regular commuting and the rest was either training for or participating in sportives. Almost none was purely recreational cycling.

This year I’m expecting to do around the same distance and I’m planning to participate in at least nine organised events with the first in early February (Hell of Ashdown) and the last in early November (Exmoor Beast). The event I’m looking forward to most is the Tour of Flanders in April — amateur event on the Saturday and then watching the pros on the Sunday.

Good luck to you and to realising your goals this year.

Cycle like a supermodel

November 27, 2008

Take a leaf out of English model Agyness Deyn’s book and opt to cycle your way through town. The pixie-faced punk whose unique androgynous looks have scored her contracts with labels such as Burberry, Mulberry and Vivienne Westwood told Britain’s Sunday Mirror her transport of choice is “an old Pashley Princess Classic, an old-fashioned black-framed bike with a straw basket”.

“I ride everywhere and when I am on the bike and see a good shop I can jump off and go in and have a look around.”



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