I suspect it is never going to make anyone a fortune, but I have got to say that I love the bicymple and the thinking that goes into it. Too many people take things too seriously these days and this looks like a nice corrective. Good luck to her and all who venture forth on her.
I confess I was pretty dismayed when I read of the Mayor of Liverpool’s decision to pilot the abandonment of bus and cycle lanes in the city.
BBC Liverpool Coverage
My gut feeling was that this was a backward step and further evidence of the pro-car, so-called populist politics we are coming to expect these days.
So I was pretty relieved later in the same week to come across The Traffic Commissioner for New York’s account of their recent experiment that firmly pointed in the opposite direction. In recent years and months they have set out to ‘re-imagine and re-invent’ their streets as shared resources for people, cycles, busses and cars – with great success. In summary, they have:
- used paint and temporary materials to create 50 pedestrian plazas
- converted 26 car lanes into open squares
- built 57 miles of speedy bus lanes
- created 350 miles of bike lanes
- introduced 50 miles of new parking protected cycle lanes
- provided 6000 rental bikes which now see 35000 average users each day who have cycled 7 million miles between them since the introduction.
- seen a 49% increase in retail sales along bike lanes
- seen a 50% decrease in cycle and pedestrian injuries
- seen a 170% increase in economic activity in the areas concerned.
Figures Speaking for Themselves?
So I started out pretty depressed, but ended up impressed and even a little optimistic. If New York, capital city of ‘the bottom line’ can manage this, then surely any city can? Unless, perhaps, you are Liverpool and managed by dinosaurs pointing the city backwards to the future?
Janette Sadik-Khan’s TED Talk is well worth watching – thought-provoking and funny.
I came across this very nice little video (it’s only just over 6 minutes long) by David Kroodsma and Lindsey Fransen made during their recent trip down through Eastern Europe. I like the way they have told the story of their trip through these 10 ‘tips’ that they want to recommend. To be honest, they are more like ideas or beliefs that they hold about cycle touring than tips exactly, but they are none the worse for that. It’s a very sweet little video with a nice sound track and some warm and funny moments.
If you want to read more, David and Lindsey have a website devoted to promoting their ideas on sustainability and climate.
Fancy something a little different in the way of bicycle-related reading? Tired of touring-based, “how I made my way round the world on two wheels” travel books? I have just the thing: “A Year in the Saddle: How two riders took on 12 great cycle rides,” by John Deering and Phil Ashley.
The 12 rides are iconic. Nine of best the UK has to offer and one each from Belgium, France and Italy. The rides are the stuff memories, if not dreams, are made of.
This is really three books for the price of one:
- It’s a coffee table book in large format with stunning photographs. I mean stunning. Not the usual, “here is the bike in front of some just-out-of-focus view or other. The photos are down to Phil and are overall wonderful and sometimes breath-taking. The book design matches the photos for quality and reeks quality. As you turn the high quality photo paper of the pages your eyes feast on the images while your nose enjoys the smells of freshly printed, no-expense-spared gloss paper. Wonderful stuff!
- It’s a call to the pedals for all lycra clad warriors who are spending a wee bit too much time on You Tube or the couch, watching, or reading about, how others do it. It admits it is not a ‘how to do it’ manual, but the call to get out there on the bike is obvious. This is a book that celebrates cycling for the masses of cyclists for whom drugs will never be more than a reward for a great day in the saddle – and will normally be swilled from a glass. Yes, you can swill wine if you have worked hard enough for it!
- It’s a hoot. A real hoot! I didn’t sus this on a first reading of an early chapter, but as you delve into it the craick of John Deering’s reconstruction of their dialogue on the rides you realise that these two cyclists are great mates with miles of riding behind them over many years and John has a genius for capturing the joy and humour of their days together. As you turn the pages, sometimes you will smile, but you may well laugh out loud. Either way, the imperative to go get your bike out and seek out a run with mates will press you forward.
I found my copy of this wonderful book by accident while browsing remaindered titles in a bargain book shop. What a shame I thought: it deserved much more than the knock-down price it was on sale for. Now I see it has a new life on Amazon with Sean Yates, who originally contributed a forward (and a truly terrifying photo of his legs and veins!), as an author.
Inspiration times two!
I guess this is some sort of re-launch strategy with a new publisher. No matter, get yourself a copy – you will not regret it for a moment. “A Year in the Saddle” is a keeper for sure!
Recommended with five stars.
If you have a cyclist in your life and you are looking for a present for them – look no further: Tom Bruce’s new book, “Every Inch of the Way: My bike ride around the world” will be a pleasure for anyone interested in cycling and adventure. It is a cracking good read.
Tom Bruce On the Road (Photo Credit Tom Bruce)
More and more cyclists are appearing in print with tales of their cycle trips. Tom Bruce’s effort stands out from the crowd for three reasons:
- I like his no nonsense, ‘lets get the story told’ style. The narrative moves along at just the right pace and you are never bored by too much description or tedious detail.
- He weaves elements of story telling, technical stuff, planning and practical matters, some historical and cultural coverage with personal insights, in a really nice, seamless mix.
- Best of all, he has a great adventure under his belt – a proper round the world the hard way story: 14,000+ miles, 20 countries, 280 days and in some of the wildest and most challenging areas of our world.
I bought his book as a paperback. First impressions were not all that good. The presentation is less than polished. The black and white photos are disappointing. There are quite a few typos. However, once you start reading, all these worries quickly fade. This is a proper adventure story told by a lively and likeable young man. Will I be following in his pedal tracks? No way anytime soon. Has he inspired me to pick out bike trips I might want to make? For sure!
If you want to see more of his trip and some excellent colour photos check out his blog.
I came across this entry in CTC’s Cycleclips magazine today.
Now, I may be stepping into the firing line here, but it does seem to me:
- he was pushing his luck
- he was a bit unlucky
- he must have met some jobs worth
- he should have eaten more humble pie
- two wrongs don’t make a right
- the CTC could make better use of their defence fund.
Am I wrong?
Posted in Opinion
Tagged CTC, opinion
When we met with Andy Blance to specify our bikes we had a lot of choices to make. Many were difficult options on technical matters. My choice of saddle was instant, however: I knew I wanted a Brooks model B17. The B17′s reputation had gone before it! Here’s a glimpse as to why:
Three years into riding the Thorn I am still convinced I made the right initial choice. The B17 is just coming into its best, although it was never uncomfortable, it is now a real pleasure to sit on over a long day.
Brooks England saddle. B-17 model. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)