Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Pot Holes Part Deux

So as I cycled in this morning – it was a nice day – sunny but with a chill in the air so I didn’t get too hot. I had gone for a longer ride yesterday 18 miles in one go, now this may not seem like a lot to many of you but normally I cycle 22 miles a day into and back from work, but to do 18 miles in one go was longer than I normally do and I had chosen a route that included a killer hill in the 2nd to last mile. I didn’t want to push it too hard on the distance because I knew I had a week of cycling into work ahead of me.

Anyway I digress, I was feeling no ill effects from the ride yesterday and was rolling into work at a reasonable nick. As I approached some red lights at a cross road (and yes I do stop at red lights like this) it was time for me to unclip me left foot to stop and rest – just as I was trying to unclip I hit a pothole, this totally screwed up everything, my foot “bounced” back into the clip and mild panic ensued. Fortunately yesterday I had been practising getting my right foot unclipped (I normally only bother doing this when I am stopping to get off the bike) and this practise paid off, I was just able to get my right foot out in time, stopping me from doing a comedy dismount and crashing down sideways on the car to my right or the pavement to my left – either way my shoulder was not looking forward to another bashing.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Thinking of buying a lock - then stop and read this.

Saw this very interesting site about a “man in his shed” who has designed a new lock.

I have moaned on this site before about locks – they are heavy and expensive. You end up having to buy a lock (if you want insurance) that cost upwards of £70 and seems to weigh as much as the bike itself - what does this lock achieve, well if you are lucky it will stop a thief with a pair of bolt cutters for about 10 seconds (wonder if you get the cost of the lock back with your insurance claim)?

So “man in his shed” has come up with a new design, it is made of titanium and it is a flat bar (you will need to go to the site to see why this is an advantage). Because of how it is built, the lock is much lighter and stronger than any others out there – it also is easy to attached to your bike without the need for expensive additional attachment bits and does not get in the way like current locks, all in all the design is elegant and practical.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Comments or lack of

As I travel this interweb seeing various sites on cycling etc. I am left pondering one question – why do they get comments and I don’t?

I don’t think it is because I am not controversial enough – to be honest my tongue in cheek style is hardly politically correct – but no response.

OK topics – apart from my personal observations I think I tend to post on relevant topics – but no response

How about my poor English (I really should proof read before I post but well it just takes too long) – but still no snotty comments on my poor Engrish.

In-depth, pointless but sometimes useful reviews – still no feedback on preferred alternatives.

Lack of readership – well it’s a vicious circle here. Poor articles = low number of readers – so basically this is a non-point as we end up going back to the points above.

Links – well if I read something that I think is useful I post a link but I suppose we go back to low readership which equates to poor link usage from this site.

Maybe there are no other Mambos out there – hmmm I seem to pass many of them on the road (maybe they are out there all day and cannot get on a PC)?

So what should I do? I tell you what why don’t you comment below and let me know (ahh trickery that’s a new one).

Friday, 20 May 2011

Traffic Lights and why people stop.

A rather curious thought has been working its way across my consciousness over the past few weeks and it all revolves around the contentious point of stopping at Red Lights. Now there is no point in boring you and  especially me with working through the argument of to stop or not at red lights, some do and some don’t. A majority of people that either stop at lights or don’t have their genuine reasons. The careful cyclist (and let’s be honest that means usually a female) will stop at all lights and progress at a steady and elegant rate (this I also think is the general continental way of riding a bike, but more on that another day). Then there is the bike nutter who considers it an insult to his human rights to make him stop unless he personally wants to, this type of person will take all manner of risks and for the purposes of this post I shall take this as so.

I personally think I tend to fall in-between both of the above groups. I stop for red lights at junctions / crossroads or where traffic ahead will come onto my road from the left. I will not stop though if it is a pedestrian crossing and no one is on it or if the lights are for traffic coming in from a lane on the right and the left hand side of the road I am on just continues straight with no roads coming on to it; I still proceed with care, as I know vehicles joining my  road from the right will not be expecting me there and although I am not in their way, I still am aware I am doing a manoeuvre outside normal practice. To summarise I only go through red lights when I know it is safe or where the risks are within my control.

So to the crux of my post – there is a group of people who I whole heartedly sit in my group of riders (and I think I sit in the majority when it comes to red light jumping) yet they often stop at every set of lights. So who are they and why do they do  it?

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cars to Avoid on the Road

So I assume I am not the only person to do this. So for others of you who do the following and have felt alone, wondering if anybody else kept a similar list but not daring to ask, I shall run through my mental list of Danger Cars.

In my mind as I cycle to and from work I have been making a mental note of what cars on average it is worth avoiding or at least taking more care when near them. What follows is a list of the cars and drivers to take special care of when they are near.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

The Fear

Well been away and am back again – between having to travel abroad, afternoon meetings (making the use of the bike impracticable) I have not been in the saddle anywhere near as much as I should have been lately. Last week I only had a chance to ride in once, this week it will only be about 3 times.
The issue perturbing me currently though is the suggestion of a friend at dinner on Saturday. He wants me to join him on a 70 mile bike ride at the end of August, this fills me with dread. I do two 11 mile rides a day – generally speaking that is enough for me – the thought that I could complete 70 miles in one ride totally fills me with dread! Can I really go that far?

Friday, 6 May 2011

An Excellent Article

I saw this article on www.londoncyclist.co.uk

It is basically a “10 lessons I learnt in my first year of cycling” written by a person who has obviously like many a Mambo taken up cycling again in his 40’s.I want to link to it as I think it was well written and had some good points in it (not the usual absurd opinions you hear from me here). So rather than reproducing it here (obviously showing the source) I thought, in true Twitter style, I would just link it. If you are relatively new to cycling it is worth a little read, to be honest I wish I had read a few more articles like this one before I started off. I do totally disagree with his idea of using cheaper clothing though – one does have certain standards to maintain!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Speed Cameras

I have a dream – well an ambition really, but I hear things that start with “I have a dream” do quite well at getting a crowd going.

On my favourite hill (see earlier posts) well going into work it is because it goes downwards, there is a speed camera near the end – now I have never been able to go through it at full pelt - normally some car is worried about getting a fine and gets in the way (their fault for having a number plate).

Today I manage to have enough clear road to go through it at 36 mph, I believe I could get a max of about 39 – 40 mph with a clear road (please remember I am on a hybrid and I have 50 teeth on the front cog only) though it is feasible that I might spin my legs off totally. Even still the speed camera did not get up the gumption to take a picture of my magnificent feat! So just how fast am I going to have to do – I know my wife got a ticket for doing 39 mph in a car through it – maybe bikes are just too small to register?

There is just one question, if I did manage to set it off – say at 40 mph – I would want a copy of the picture. Do you think if I went to the police they would let me have it, or would they be their usual spoil sports and give me a fine instead? The fine and points on my license might be worth it though for such a glorious moment!

Or maybe I should just grow up and act my age and not my shoe size – how dull.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Been Away.

So, it has been a while since my last update. I have been away on holiday, which was a total disaster. It was terrible weather (the weather in the UK was far better) I got Flu, I was bored and ended up having to do work whilst away – the only difference being that my data usage cost me 10,000 times more because I was abroad.

Needless to say I was glad to be back, the only problem being that I have to go back there for 3 days because the work I did out there needs to be closed out with some conversations, [sarcasm]I can’t tell you how excited this concept makes me [/sarcasm].

So what else I miss – well the dog of course, though I am not sure the feeling was reciprocated, he seems to have a great time at my sister’s house and seems to get far more attention there and comes back spoiled and annoyed with me for deserting him. Also within 30 minutes of being home I popped into my garage and said hello to my bike, how I missed my daily exercise. I did try going to the gym whilst I was abroad – I had this great plan that I would use the time I was away to do some strength work but the aforementioned flu put paid to that idea. On top of that I still have the leftovers of the flu to deal with, so for my first two days at work I have had to use the train (maybe tomorrow I will get back in the saddle). Either way my feet are twitching and my desire to dice with death on the roads of London grows hourly – see you all out there very soon, meanwhile I shall console myself by looking wistfully at other cyclist as they ride by on my walk to the station.