Monday, 28 March 2011

London to Brighton

Had a crack at London to Brighton yesterday. Whilst it wasn't easy, it certainly wasn't the problem I thought it was going to be. I had to walk up two hills, but they're massive and I would be riding slower than walking.
There is a full ride report on my other blog here. A great day out if the truth be told, and the first inkling I've had so far that physically we could do it as a team. I thought we could probably all do it, but we got there in good spirits.

The rest of the guys by the sea

I didn't ride today. I know I should, but it's my first day back at work after a week off, and I wanted to arrive looking smart. Train was delayed by half an hour so I got there cross. Typical.

UK protests

You may have noticed a little protest in London at the weekend.
in 1979 we elect the tories, we end up with strikes, demonstrations, unemployment, poverty and regular people forced into direct action... in 2010 we elect a tory government and...

It cost 2 billion pounds of extra revenue raised from north sea oil to give a 1p reduction in fuel duty saving the average driver£14 pounds a year. Delivery companies, taxi drivers and owners of a chaffeured Rolls will all save a fortune. which hospital,school or nursery would you have saved if you had 2 billion to play with

Friday, 18 March 2011

Not all the twats in the city are bankers

As I was riding to through the City this morning (down City Road past Moorgate Station and on past the BOE) A pedestrian cut across my path in moving traffic. Our eyes met briefly... He then lowered his shoulder and tried to barge through me. I was moving at a reasonable pace in heavy traffic and my momentum, combined with the fact that I am reasonably sturdy, meant that I got a nasty bump to the shoulder and chest. He however span off into the path of the car behind.

I don’t blame him for trying to get across the road at an inappropriate place. I don’t blame him for running into me; These things happen. The eye contact right before the lowering of the shoulder, coupled with the change of direction through my path I do blame him for.

I hope he made it to his destination safely though... with road skills like that he may not survive many more crossings.

On a much more cheery note I passed a young lady whose choice of bike cheered me immensely. She was riding a Genesis Equalibrium (Steel road bike), with matching brooks tape and seat. Sensible mudguards and a rack for her pannier finishing off the ensemble. It’ nice to see a cyclist who has managed to get through the bike shop process without being sold a hybrid.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Fisheye photos

My good lady S took the fisheye camera with her to Berlin. I hope she won't mind if I put a couple of them up here...

For those that are interested it was cross processed slide-film, but I don't know which make and speed.


I am really enjoying the commute to work in the mornings and am beginning to appreciate the potential of night riding. In the past I have only commuted on a full size bike (non folder)where it gets dark on the way home, not when it is dark at the outset and murky for much of the journey. I have got a great light on the front that I can turn to constant. I have it directed slightly down so I can spot the potholes on the less well lit streets of Hackneyville. A couple of potholes I’ve spotted recently could swallow not just a Brompton wheel, but most of a full size road bike. Some of these (What’s larger than a pot... Bath) holes are in dark streets too.

The Brompton, whilst less stable and more affected by potholes, was less worrying to ride in the dark. I guess it felt more nimble and there was no cross bar in the event of a prang.
I do feel vulnerable with skinny wheels and derailleur’s front and back, and I do think they probably need adjusting again. Ideally I would have a Reynolds frame, with hub gears, hub dynamo, bullhorn or moustache bars, brooks saddle and tape and vittoria randonneur tyres (or similar).

Whilst looking at bikes to help a colleague out we came across this...

Cyclocross bikes are being touted as ideal commuters with a little off road capability... although this looks like an able commuter with more than a little of the “round-the-world” or off road capabilities. I really like hub gears, steel frames, drop bars... If only I still believed in Santa and unlimited space

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Part time psychos

There appears to be something about bad weather that drives people nuts. On Monday I had a lovely journey into work in the sunshine. By late afternoon it was cold and damp, with a stiff breeze picking up.

I had already had plenty of time to regret deciding on shorts for the morning ride as I now had a chilly ride home. I would have plenty of time to regret it on the bike too.

Joking aside it was a terrifying journey home as all the drivers had mutated into selfish-desperate-to-get-home-zombies. Still on the plus side it made Stamford hill seem less challenging. By the time I got there i was quite used to cars pulling out of side roads in front of me without even looking in my direction.

I have now developed a system for bunny-hopping on the road bike. I feel this will save many pothole-related punctures in the days to come, even if it does make me look like a pretentious middle-aged child.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

repost from the buskers on bikes...

During Sunday’s ride Ken said something which stuck with me. It involved clipless pedals and increases to efficiency. If clipless pedals improved the transfer of power by x%. What else might help. Obviously a lighter bike, aerodynamic clothing...
Then it hit me. My bike weighs about 10kg without pedals or water bottles, so probably around 11.5 ready to go. I could shave some of this weight with lightweight bottle holders etc...

But what about me. I weigh 82kgs. The upper end of the healthy BMI for my height and build. The bottom end of Healthy BMI for me would be up to 6KG lighter or 7% of my bodyweight.
This might be key to me getting better.
I guess I’d better start counting the calories.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Melodica Rock

My Melodica arrived the other day. Not knowing if I was going to get on with the instrument I didn’t want to shell out £30-100 on a hohner, so I bought a £17 Swann. To be fair Swann are one of the biggest manufacturers of instruments, and it’s not bad. Melodicas always sound a little strange to me anyway.

The purchase was inspired by “The luckiest guy on the lower east side” by the magnetic fields. We are covering the song in the LEJOG band, and whilst I love playing Uke on this because there is one on the record, I could hear a melodic part for our version.

Bizarrely if you play it with the short pipe in place and hold it by the strap you go boss-eyed trying to see what you are playing. With the longer pipe you look like you are on oxygen or something.

Back to cycling to and from work as I got left behind on our ride at the weekend.

Rob has asked me to play a Grant McLennan tribute night at the Lexington with him in may so I need to meet up with him to get a cd of tracks for that fairly soon.

Thursday, 10 March 2011


I have finally got around to creating a blog for the charity ride in the summer. It can be found here...

So far Jonny, Warren, Neil and I have all written stuff for it.


I've just got back from a weekend away to Berlin with Miss S. One of the things I had desperately wanted to do was the "Fat Tire" bike tour (No link. You can google them). In Barcelona I had seen the tour go by after doing the bus tour, and it seemed a little more exciting. The main difference, and one that i hadn't considered earlier, was that the river in berlin was still frozen... whereas I was in Barca in August.
It was absolutely bloody freezing, but fun and informative. I can't reccomend it enough, and our guide (Tam) was possibly the most over-informed tour guide I have ever met.

After finishing I was able to warm up nicely at the slightly strange Badesschiff (Bath-Ship) with a silent bunch of mostly Germans.
There is still a section of the wall which is earie in the extreme.

There are loads of cyclists and nearly all of them ride very practical bikes. Very practical. Heavy steel frame, front dynamo, Brooks saddle (or similar). Some ride traditional road bikes but the vast majority ride utility bikes.

Personally I think this is great.

Weird Cats