Sunday, 17 February 2013

BFTF loves cycling 2013

Without wishing to get all "when I were a lad", BFTF's childhood was proudly working class - but one thing that BFTF was never without was a bicycle.

And BFTF ran these into the ground when a youngster.

But for the last couple of years's the bike that BFTF has was a rather cheap affair from ASDA, and that cheapness showed in the way it eventually became rather hard work to ride, with the bearings in particular becoming worn out.

So, in late 2012, BFTF bit the bullet and bought a new bicycle with the aim of using it for excercise, cycling with the kds and, occasionally, actually as a means of transport. This post contains various cycling related bloggage. Oldest at the bottom.

Update : Nov 2013: Stop The Killing
Huge and very impressive "Stop the Killing" event in London on 29th Nov, in which around a 1,000 cyclists converged on the Transport For London HQ and stages a mass "die-in" to highlight the fact that several cyclists have been killed in London in recent months. HGV's have been involved in half of the recent fatal collisions - but represent only 5% of traffic.
The "Stop The Killing" "Die-in". TfL HQ
Image by kind permission of Benjamin Lester
The campaign has a series of asks off TfL:

1.The Mayor and Boroughs to spend at least the same per person on cycling provision as The Netherlands (the UK spends about £1.25 per person – The Netherlands spends about £33 per person);

2.A ban on vehicles whose drivers cannot see adjacent road-users; and,

3.A full London-wide segregated network to be built urgently.

Incredible pictures at a number of places, including here

. Media Coverage in The Evening Standard and London24.

Particularly interesting coverage at this cycling site which looks at whether the cyclists demands are realistic, with Andrew Gilligan, the mayor of London’s cycling commissioner commenting that:
“The problem, I suppose, for the diers-in is that we have a highly ambitious cycling programme. What can they ask us to do that we’re not doing already? ... We promise to do a huge network of cycle routes by 2016 – so the demand becomes for an even bigger network, to be finished even sooner.”

Also, as background, worth reading this pretty concise and comprehensive article in the Guardian, which notes that Boris Johnson does "walk the walk" by actually cycling around, that he sometimes doesn't check facts and that there are hugely impressive plans for largely segregated north-south and east-west cycleways across London.

An interesting and impressively comprehensive TfL report investigating the dangers posed by construction traffic to cyclists can be found here.

Update : Sep 2013
A rare picture of BFTF on his bike (worth mentioning that while BFTF is no lightweight, he is substantially slimmer than the picture below implies)...

A rare picture of BFTF cycling.

And BFTF wonders whether Bramcote Council realise that there is a reason all the cyclists below have ignored the cycle stand and, instead, chained their bikes to the railings...
Dear Bramcote Council. Can you see the problem here?

Update : Sep 2013
As part of the GCC challenge (which which hopefully be posted about in due course) BFTF had been gobsmacked to find that he has cycled around 1225miles since late May.

Crikey, and double crikey.

A fair bit of this has been on the Victoria Embankment, which has the multiple attractions of being flat, well surfaced, reasonably sheltered and largely free of traffic (especially as one end has been closed off due to the tram works), while a lot has been cycling a few times a week to and from work (about 25miles round trip).

BFTF has seen some interesting stuff while pedalling along the Embankment, including some lovely sunsets, many very fast cyclists and the lovely River Trent in a variety of lights.

Four things particularly stand out though...

McDonalds Litter Pickers
While cycling along the embankment one fine day, BFTF noticed a bunch of people picking litter and stopped to ask them who they were, as it is great to see such civic mindedness. It turned out that they were staff from the Trent Bridge branch of McDonalds who got together once a month to do some litter picking and then have a bit of a picnic.

Good effort Trent Bridge McDonalds !

Trent Bridge McDonalds, out litter picking !

BFTF also learned the valuable lesson that flash photography and hi-vis jackets to not play well together...

Flash + Hi-vis = Doh!

The bagpipes, aye, the bagpipes
One (Satuday?) morning, BFTF was cycling along the Embankment and heard the unmistakable sounds of bagpipes. The music was coming from this chap, who can apparantly be found/heard on the Embankment most Saturday mornings. He was pretty good, and (wearing a NottinghamScience hat for a second) the doppler effect as BFTF approached and then passed the piper was rather groovy.

Bagpipes on the Embankment

Hard drivin' on the river
The Trent is, of course, used by many river users. One example is these canoeists paddling away on a Tuesday evening. It looked like pretty hard work, they can't stop even for a moment!

Hard Working paddlers

Youth of today
BFTF was having a few laps of the Embankments one evening and noticed there were some teenage, (East?)African heritage, youngsters at one playing football across the Embankemnt road. BFTF has to say he was impressed with the way they stopped playing every time BFTF approached and let BFTF cycle straight through. Given that the black community gets such a bad press, its great to be able to highlight such an example of good manners and courtesy


Update : May 2013
With the clocks going forward in late March, it was now possible to cycle to and from work in daylight, so BFTF took the plunge and cycled in to work, alongside a couple of colleagues who are regular cyclists.

The journey was about 11 miles each way. BFTF has made the run on a few times over the years on the old bike, each time arriving at work/home as a physical wreck. With BFTF's workplace being in Derbyshire THERE ARE HILLS on the journey...

But on the Voodoo, it was do-able!

Most surprisingly, and encouragingly, BFTF made the journey three times over a two week period, and found that it got significantly easier and faster, each time.

BFTF has set a target of cycling to work every day for a whole week - and hopes to be able to achive this sooner rather than later!!

Incidentally. it is worth mentioning that that this whole cycling to work thing only works because there is a shower at work - a definite must in the equation.

And you may also wish to visit this post which challenges Halfords to pay their workers in Cambodia a living wage.


BFTF's bike - it is a thing of beauty

One thing that BFTF has, rather unexpectedly, discovered, is that cycling around is a great way of seeing parts of Nottingham that one would not normally see. For example....

Cycling along the path next to the Trent, north bank just after the ring road

The Trent, within a few hundred metres of the Boots works, not that you would know it

Beeston Weir - it's impressive

The future, here today, at the University of Nottinghams Jubilee Campus

Update:Mar2013 : Saw this rather groovy creature (which I believe to be a Mongolian Ringneck-type Common Pheasant) at the Park and Ride by the Trent.

A pheasant, looking cool

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