Cycling

I am a keen cyclist.

I want more people to cycle. As well as the personal health benefits, it is a nicer way to get around and it is better for the environment. I do not have the attitude in which I believe the bicycle is the superior mode of transport and everything else is worthless. I welcome walking, cycling, driving, coaching, bussing, training or flying. Anything else? That too. Each way of transporting oneself has pros and cons.

When I were younger, I had a nice mountain bike which I took great care of. I had it for years and years. There was so much sentimentality attached to this bike. Up until the age of 18, I’d sometimes (relatively rare compared to now) use it to go cycling around the town on the pavement. It wasn’t common to see cyclist on the road – well, at all. I never knew it was against the law to ride there as no police officer, or anyone ever stopped me. I was always, what I deem a considerate cyclist, and I still think I am.

When looking for potential universities, the University of Nottingham’s acres and acres of campus really appealed to me and after I successfully got in, I was certain that I was going to take my bicycle with me. Getting from A to B without a bike would have taken a long time.

After a month up with my yellow mountain bike sadly it was stolen from Sainsbury’s in Beeston.

Exploring the campus. Only 4 days later a vicious thief stole my bicycle.

I used a couple of other mountain bike replacements for a year or so. They just weren’t the same. They were heavier. I was of course grateful that it was a bicycle and I got get to where I wanted quickly. I used it everyday and didn’t think about cleaning it. After extended use, as well as excessive oiling on my part, it collected a lot of dirt from the road.

In the long summer of 2013 I got my first road bicycle. And my love with road cycling stemmed from there.

June 2013

I loved it. So much lighter. The smaller tyres meant less resistance. The dropped handlebars altered my position and made long distance cycling easier. Love, love, love. But another vicious thief stole it from campus whilst I was in a lecture in February 2014. Luckily it was covered on my uni room insurance and I was given a more expensive bicycle. If I had been picking from a catalogue, but because the experts told me a nice one I obliged. It is heavy but it is Dawes Giro.

I still have it now. As a consequence of the stolen bikes, I have now got a super secure U lock which is incredibly difficult to break. Also I alarm my bike when I lock it up.

In August 2015, I purchased another bicycle. Using my Dawes constantly, it is prone to gather dirt and muck off the road and where I ride it in all weathers, the rain has rusted the chain and cogs slightly. My new bicycle is a Boardman Team Carbon. So light and beautiful. If there is even a cloud in the sky, I don’t use it. Haha.

And now is now.

My most recent statistics are from my Garmin device which I had for a year on January 13th 2016.

I have cycled 2,092 miles burning 141,351 calories for 11,480 minutes!

Oh, and I got a tandem and unicycle a few years ago.

I read heavy and wide about cycling.

As well as reading many blog posts and articles, I recently (summer, 2017) read “The Bicycle Planning Book by Mike Hudson (1978).

And here is its conclusion:

I know I shouldn’t put these on but these summaries of each chapter are wonderful. I recommend the book as the heart of the content talks in great detail about the history of the bicycle, its usages, safety aspects, the law, and planning.

On another note, her is a video presented by Chris Boardman:

Helmets

Everyone has an opinion on this.  Even if someone has never cycled in their life, they will give you their view.  I have been cycling for years and consider myself a competent cyclist.  It’s up to you whether to heed my reasoning.  It’s your head.  I made the decision a few years ago not to wear a helmet.  I used to religiously wear one.  Even for a trip of less than a mile, I’d put the piece of plastic on my head.  After reading a lot of literature, I came to realise I may have lulling myself into a false sense of security, and changing the perception of drivers around me.  The latter point is the biggest here.  If a driver looks at me in my protective head gear, and thinks that I am a cyclist, and overtakes me with a sliver of distance, and hits me, I don’t stand a chance.  A car weights nearly 2 tonnes.  But if a driver sees my head they may think oh, there’s a person I need to carefully manoeuvre this machine around him.  All cycle helmets need to abide by EU/BS regulation.  I cannot remember the details off the top of my head (further research required) but it states that all helmets need to take a single impact from a height of 2 metres at a speed of 12 mph.  And that is it.  And if there were to be an impact, it is really unlikely to be a single impact hit.  If rotational forces are involved, the helmet has no effect.  I do not wear a helmet when I go for a walk or when I am a passenger in a car or on a bus.  If I shouted at the passing traffic and told them to put a car helmet on, the occupants in their metal shells would laugh.  But people on foot and in cars are injured and killed on a daily basis from head injuries.  These could have been mitigated by a helmet protecting their head.  But if everyone wore a helmet, maybe motorists would take more risks knowing that the military-clad walkers and fellow passengers are ready for action.  The debate is complicated and complex and I haven’t done it justice here.  When I have more time I will reference some sources.  But for now, I direct you to a video I produced a few years ago on the subject.  It was meant to be short and snappy and it was not.  But hey.

Here’s an interesting piece: Cycle Helmets: A Duty to Wear? by Martin Porter QC

 

 

Rickshaws.
I support them. Never rode in one but may do one day. Great way to get about. I believe they need regulating to control the prices. Have you heard the story about one rickshaw rider who charged a fortune for a few miles? Also regulation will ensure there is a degree of responsibility. Ensuring, for example, that each has a number plate will enable the rider to be held to account should they need to be.

Is the General Secretary of the LTDA a joke representative? People don’t tip up and fall out of them. “The problem is you can’t licence a vehicle which is inherently dangerous”. But don’t taxis have a licence? The pollution produced by motorised vehicles is too high. It’s dangerous. It kills.

In central London, with average traffic speeds of around 10 mph, having rickshaws really isn’t a problem. Rather than allowing more and more private vehicles and private hires to fill the streets of London, a more sustainable approach needs to be found. This provides an opportunity to have a green mode of transport, and a pleasing way for tourist to explore the city.

So links to elsewhere . . .

Cyclists reveals their filthy face masks after commuting in London. This is what the lungs put up with. Not everywhere is as polluted as some parts of London but just think about that for a minute. Is that ok?

Yes to this news.  London approves Europe’s First City-Spanning Bike Superhighway.  Segregated cycling!  Showing how it is done.

Cycling UK has recently called for greater public awareness into “dooring”.  This is a criminal offence under Regulation 105 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 and Section 42 Road Traffic Act 1988.  Dooring, or car door refers to the act of opening a vehicle door without consideration of those around you and under these mentioned regulation and act it is punishable.  At the moment, only by a fine of up to £1,000.  This needs to be changed.  The following video is an example of the completely fine process of a bicycle filtering through traffic and a passenger opening their door:

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