Friday, 24 September 2010

A bike quote not quite by Oscar Wilde

I was proud of making this one up on my bike this morning .With apologies to Oscar Wilde:

Bikes: "we are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the cars"

Probably time to get back in my box.


Thursday, 23 September 2010

The Chicken bike, a cool bike wine label, and the best graffiti I've ever seen ...

I don't want to chat much today, so I'll just pop up some photos - which are better than a thousand words. Perhaps even ten.

I drank this bottle (not alone!) and loved the label:
Wine is l'echappee du ventoux by Paul Jaboulet - from the Wine Society - design due to fact that Tour de France goes past the vineyards

Next, a bike dressed a chicken (I thought it was an owl at first) at the Hackney City Farm The guys there tell me that when you pedal, you power a TV and sound system. I guess the chickeny part of the concept is a clever joke about battery hen farming ... or possibly just because it's more fun like that

Chicken bike:

The chicken bike also generates leccy

Finally, the graffiti - nothing really to do with biking, but I spotted it while on my bike at the top of City Road up at Islington in London. So beautifully, judged, in my opinion. The ad is sort of begging for someone to write something in that huge white space. And this person, whoever it was, did not hesitate
Make a Statement graffiti:

Hope you can see the "addition"
I took a close up too for those who can't see the above: 

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

The mother of all punctures - on my London bike commute

Can you see the screw sticking right into my tyre, like someone hammered it in? Well, I got that just as I was cycling along the bike lane off Tavistock Square. Clang clang clang, thought something had got caught in my wheel. One very long screw.  Here it is again.

I wrestled with the puncture for half an hour, putting patches on the inner tube, but failed as it had been shredded. I wanted to change the inner tube but didn't have a spanner which would have loosened the wheel. So, KarmaCycle, would you believe it, admitted defeat and got in a taxi with LCM (London Commuting Machine i.e. my bike) and headed home, tail between my legs. On the plus side, I had a super-nice taxi driver and together we sorted out London's transport problems. Here's another rather blurry view after I'd pulled the screw out a bit:

Has anyone else had a punture like that, where the screw/nail just plunges straight in? Was it left in the bike lane sticking up? Did it fall at a freak angle poking upwards? Did someone come and hammer it in while I was stopped at the lights for a second? I need a forensic puncturologist.

Monday, 13 September 2010

A few cycling updates for you to have a look at

I've been spending more time on Twitter than the blog recently so have not been as "regular" as I should - for which, apologies. I also thought it might be worth me putting in a few more links to things related to cycling, rather than just banging on about my own experiences in London. As ever, feedback welcome.

But first, Me

It's always me me me isn't it. Well, I can safely say that my "everlasting cold" is now over, since you ask - and I think I'm now getting back to match fitness. Not that I play any matches. But I feel energised again by biking, and more importantly I'm not keeping my wife awake at night with my hacking cough. Seems that the doctor's surprising prescription (see earlier post ) might have done the trick

The bike

Time to get those lights on the bike again, I'm afraid. After what felt like a supreme effort, I finally managed to:

1) find front and rear light
2) find the right battery for them both
3) re-fit rear light to bike despite it not really being compatible
4) avoid leaving lights flashing overnight in the shed (so far). I find this last one an unavoidable winter activity

For your entertainment

It's great to discover a new cycling blog - and I'm annoyed I haven't found this one before as I'm finding it hilarious. The blog is called The Lo Fidelity Bicycle Club  They've recently invented a whole Highway Code with items such as this:

213 Motorcyclists and cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces and obstacles such as drain covers or oily, wet or icy patches on the road which the cycle lane runs through. Give them plenty of room and pay particular attention to any sudden change of direction they may have to make by sounding your horn, winding down your window and informing them that they should NOT be on the road (also see Rule 204).
 Anyway, it made me chortle.

Upright - better for your back?
Sit upright, not forwards:

Interesting article suggesting sitting upright on your bike is much better for your back. Can be found on Bike Biz here.

Cycle escorts not used during tube strike?

And here's some news reporting union claims that bike "escorts" sat idle during the recent London tube strike. I didn't actually know there were any, so I'd be interested if anyone out there can report anything different. The article is reported on PA

Safe biking to one and all. KC

Monday, 6 September 2010

Quick - get on that bike, there's a tube strike

With the tube strike due to hit London at 5pm today, surely now's as good a moment as any to dust off that bike you've been keeping at the back of the shed, check the tyres and brakes, and get going - perhaps tomorrow morning would be best.

There's a timely link on the cycle site advising anyone who hasn't ridden in London before to check the site to see a likely route. It rather cunningly lets you plug in your start and finish locations, then gives you three options - fast, medium and most quiet.

Slightly oddly, the Transport for London journey planner site also does a cycle route option. It's a bit fiddly and you have check and uncheck various options, but you do get a decent route at the end of it.

I've been trying the Sustrans site but I can't for the life of me get it to do a route "from" and "to" somewhere.

Anyway, if you are thinking of riding tonight or tomorrow and feel a bit nervous - good luck. Most of the time it's fun. Try not to get intimidated by cars and motorbikes, use common sense don't try to to be too "nippy" and fancy ... go gently, with the flow.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Doctor's orders - a cocktail of drugs, and get back on your bike

More attentive readers may have observed me banging on in my Twitter feed about how sick I am, how I'm now in my third week of having a cold and generally whingeing about not being on my bike.

You know how men are alleged never to visit the doctor? Well, that felt like a challenge to me, so I decided that I would buck current trends and go and see one, and at the very least have a good moan about my everlasting cold.

Drugs smorgasbord

I went to see the good doctor yesterday. He did some good work with his stethascope and quickly surmised that in spite of my fears, the infection had not spread to my chest. Relief. But was it OK to have a horrible cough and a miserably runny nose for weeks on end? Oh yes, a virus can be with you for weeks - nothing abnormal about that. So what can I do about it? Well, here was the surprising bit.

He said - don't do what a doctor says, but what he does. When he has a virus like that he takes:

- two paracetamol
- two ibuprofen
- one sudafed

Remember folks - I'm a blogger not a doctor!

all at the same time, every four hours! My God, I feel vaguely guilty about taking two paracetamol when I have a headache - God knows what this cocktail of drugs will do!

Wow. What about wine. Can I drink wine?

Oh yes - no problem there.

And (of most pertinence to this blog, of course) - should I be on my bike? And here was his best answer:

"Listen to your body". If it makes you feel tired and horrid, don't. If you feel good, go for it.


I came away from the surgery reeling a bit as I'd never have expected any of those things. I stocked up on the necessary drugs, went home, took some, drank wine. Slept better than I have for weeks. Got on my bike this morning and had a lovely, leisurely ride through London on a glorious sunny day.  Amazing how some positive advice from a doctor can transform you.

I'm sure many of you have doubts about the wisdom of this advice - but it seems to be working so far.

Any thoughts out there about when not to bike - for medical reasons - or indeed, strange things doctors have told you to do?