Thursday, 8 September 2011

The strange case of the disintegrating bike rack

I always thought bike racks were pretty tough. I give them some pretty heavy punishment, with some hefty paniers and a rough ride sometimes along my commute. But I wasn't expecting this:
Yup, first one side cracked away, and then after about another two weeks, while going over a pretty big bump on the Regent's Canal, the other side went. I had to carry my panier in a most awkward fashion half on my shoulder, half around my neck.

I think what really did it for them was my trip along the Thames Path (Windsor to Shoreditch) with my paniers loaded to the max with tent and everything. It laid down the seeds of the rack's destruction.

Anyway - definite proof that bike racks are mortal. If you ever wondered. KC

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Reebok white kids bike stolen today

My daughter's nearly new bike got stolen today - from Broadway Market in London. Here's what the bike looks like:

I've put my post code in several places on the bike. Most likely it will turn up on EBay or Gumtree, and I'll have a look around the local markets. It's registered with the police, and reported as stolen.

I'd be very grateful though if people could look out for it on the web.

A little tip if anyone's parking their bike near Broadway Market. Don't go too far down the canal (West) down Regent's Row. There are less people there, making it easier for the bastard thieves to take bikes quickly without being seen.

Oh - and remember that kids bikes are worth money too - I was stupid to have gotten a bit blase about the fact that it was a child's bike and so didn't need so much security.

Thanks so much if you can help. KC

Monday, 6 June 2011

A good reason not to think about your pension while cycling

I admit it, I was deep in a day dream. I was thinking about my pension. I was (to be frank) thinking about my boss's pension too, and some questions I'd like to ask him. Then suddenly, whack! I had that slow motion thing. But unlike the cockroaches you see in slow-mo on nature films, where they find a foot coming towards them laughably slow and can take evasive action, I was unable to do anything except fall kind of through my bike, hitting knee, elbow, thigh. And giving each a good hit and scrape.

The cause? I think I had hit a ridge with my tyre and because it was wet, slipped and fell.

The ridge was simply the join between two bits of tarmac - one green, one grey - with a little metal ridge to seperate them. I find that moving at an angle between two heights on a surface is very dangerous somehow,  and slippy.

Anyway, karmacycle escapes with minor injuries and a few aches - luckily it was in a quiet spot by the canal so no-one was there to run me over.

Try not to think about pensions while you're cycling.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cyclists: Beware open car doors - not for the reasons you'd expect

I can't restrain myself from describing this one - though I warn you, it's not a pleasant story.

Karmacycle was doing a bit of nipping and weaving through stationary traffic on the Pentonville Road, up at Islington, heading West.

A few yards ahead, I saw a van door being opened, and then left wide. My immediate thought:

"Arg, idiot for opening his door with bikes coming." Then ...

"Oh well, perhaps he's overheating as it's a hot day."

Then I was forcefully made aware of the real reason he'd opened it.

I'm sorry to have to say this, but a vast stream of vomit came issuing forth from the open door, all over the road.

By happy good fortune, there was enough room on the other side of the road for me to skirt around the action, but it was way too close for comfort.

I don't like relating such stories, delicate readers, except I suppose that it may act as a warning to be even more careful of "opening door syndrome" than you might expect.

I don't think this is common, is it? I hope not. Anything similar happened to you?

Monday, 21 February 2011

Boris bike users - an alternative user's guide?

I was struck - OK, let's face it, irritated - by a chap this morning who got on a Boris Bike and was taking the same route West through Tavistock Square etc as I was. Full credit to him for using two wheels. But the irritation was that at every traffic lights, while all of the rest of us queued like good people, he sauntered past in the other lane, coming to rest at the red light in front of us all. Lo and behold, when the light turned green, he gently ambled along, forcing everyone to overtake him. You guessed it, at the next lights, exactly the same thing again. A couple of people started ringing their bells in a very British way, but I suspect he had no idea that he was committing a classic cycling faux pas. The solution? Let's draw up some alternative Boris bike rules - the ones people really need to see. I need your help.


1) Unless you know for sure you're the fastest in a pack of cyclists, never go to the front of a queue at a traffic light
2) never rely on cars, taxis, vans or lorries to indicate. Assume they'll turn anyway
3) be nice and polite to fellow cyclists - it may mean you'll recieve similar treatment
4) ditto other traffic
5) Never try to outpace a fold-up bike. You will lose. (!)

any more for the list? Perhaps collectively we can come up with a definitive top ten.


Thursday, 27 January 2011

A very strange digital and real life biking coincidence ....

There are few things more tedious than someone boring you about an amazing coincidence. Bumped into your boss in the Amazon rain forest etc etc. But I'll just test you out on this one to see what you think, then you can ignore me.

I have a friend. Let's call him Ed. Because that's his name. I haven't talked to him for about 12 years. I know he's a cyclist though as I did see him in the distance about 3 years ago, in London.  Two days ago, via another friend, I spotted his name on Linked In. I asked to be in contact and said "hope we can talk - perhaps we'll see each other on our bikes".

Well, you guessed it. This morning, in Notting Hill Gate (why does everything happen in NHG?), who should I see coming towards me, on his bike, but ... Ed. And we stopped, and we chatted, and we remarked on the coincidence.

That's one of the reasons I love biking. The people you see and meet. And I think that's a pretty decent coincidence.  You got any biking coincidences up your collective lycra sleeves?

Monday, 17 January 2011

Quietly coming back to life

I'm just really sneaking in a post to keep my blog from getting the digital equivalent of cobwebs and to let you know that karmacycle is still alive and well, cycling through London. As ever, I've been tweeting more than blogging but it is nice to come "home" to the blog every now and then.

Like thousands of Londoners at this very moment, I'm hoping my bike clothes might just dry out before tonight, after a nearly biblical soaking this morning. If you're in the mood, and know you have the means to get dry later, riding in the rain is one of life's great pleasures. You feel a bit like you're at the helm of a fast ocean-going vessel in the driving force 9 gale, sea lashing at your face.

All I need is a sou'wester to complete the picture.

A bientot, mes braves.