Tuesday, 30 January 2007

In which I have a bit of a rant

What started as a link to an article in the New york Times about how New York is lagging beind the rest of America when it comes to non-car transportation, turned into a bit of a rant in my latest post on Bike Darlington: The City That Never Walks.

The pedestrian and cyclist is taxed every day: by delays and emissions. Though we think of it as a luxury, the car taxes us, and with it we tax others.

I've been quite busy at Bike Darlington recently, with all the Pedestrian Heart stuff going on (Can I ride my bike in the Pedestrian Heart? - Part 1, Can I ride my bike in the Pedestrian Heart? - Part 2 and Can I ride my bike in the Pedestrian Heart? - Part 3) and the articles in The Advertiser and The Northern Echo.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Change of biking plans


Aviemore, Scotland,
1st & 2nd September 2007

Which means I can't go.

I just looked at the train times from Aviemore to Darlington. I could get back for work on the Monday, but it would mean a seven hour wait in Edinburgh and going straight from the station to work. And that assumes I can get booked onto the right trains, given the silly two bike rule we have in the UK.

Teaching is great for holidays, but we don't get to choose when they are. I'm probably going to have to wangle some unpaid leave to get to SSUK in Bristol in June, but because of when it is in the year it shouldn't be a problem. But, September 3rd will probably be the day that our first year students start, which means there's no chance of some swaps or leave.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

2007 Biking Plans

What started as a comment on Alex's blog, grew bigger than I intended, so I've nabbed it to post here too. Efficient!

My riding plans for 2007 and filling up. There's a six hour enduro in Hamsterley in May that I'm doing. From the people who brought us the SSUK trails, so it should be great.

Around that time there's a planned club group ride from Hamsterley to Reeth; 37 hard off-road miles from Weardale to Teesdale to Swaledale. I've been reading too many blogs I found via Dave Nice, so I'm half-tempted to ride the road to the start (20 miles) and home again (30 miles). Maybe solo later in the year though, not sure the middle miles would be fun with a fresh-legged group after 20 miles and knowing there's 30 to go.

There's SSUK and SSWC to look forward to as well.

I'm hoping to do a fixed road century in September; it nearly killed me geared last year, but the weather was the worst they could ever remember for it.

I'm also eying up a possible big loop made out of parts of the Sustrans C2C and W2W routes, with some linking sections, starting and finishing in Darlington. Or maybe organising a Tan Hill and back ride/race, a la Trans Iowa.

Lots of plans, but as we all ken, The best-laid schemes o' mice an 'men Gang aft agley, so we'll see what happens. (I'd forgotten Burns' night was today until it was too late to organise haggis, but it does give me an excuse for wee dram of a slightly underage Ardbeg.)

Can I ride my bike in the Pedestrian Heart?

The answer is getting clearer:

Can I ride my bike in the Pedestrian Heart? - Part 1
Can I ride my bike in the Pedestrian Heart? - Part 2
Can I ride my bike in the Pedestrian Heart? - Part 3

Global warming will happen faster and be more devastating than previously thought. Fact.

A report encompassing the work of thousands of climate experts says that "global warming will happen faster and be more devastating than previously thought". "The really chilling thing about the IPCC report is that it is the work of several thousand climate experts who have widely differing views about how greenhouse gases will have their effect. Some think they will have a major impact, others a lesser role. Each paragraph of this report was therefore argued over and scrutinised intensely. Only points that were considered indisputable survived this process. This is a very conservative document -- that's what makes it so scary."

[lifted completely from Kottke]

Sunday, 21 January 2007

You've got to ride it to believe

Todd at Clverchimp has posted quite an old video showing Selling the Revolution, a thirteen-minute documentary from 2000 about launching the then-new product, the Xtracycle.

I'm on the Xtracycle mailing list, so I might see if I can arrange a local test ride with someone on the list.

Anyone who hasn't seen an Xtracycle before need to take a look. If you're looking for a way to extend the way you use your bike, these are for you.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Riding Advice For Beth

Riding Advice For Beth from Kent Peterson. But, it might work for you too.

To much stuff and things

On the day you read this the same volume of trade will take place as occurred in the whole of 1949

We now make as many phone calls in a day as were made in the whole of 1983

(source: new scientist magazine)

Howies: anyone know where the pause button is..

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Windy local ride

A local ride today; about 30 miles, give or take.

Very windy; enough to bring me a to a standstill at one point, and to blow me across the track at another. Off-road sections were wet and squirmy.

Distance: 30 miles (48 km)
Surface: On- and Off-road
Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Weather: Windy, very windy. But, dry
Bike: Inbred Singlespeed (with 2.1″ tyres)

Friday, 12 January 2007

Windy! Whisky! Wheels! Widing wound up!

Really gusty winds here today. I got blown sideways across the road on my way home from work, even though I'm certain I kept the bars straight; just blown sideways.

There's a quiter, drier patch forecast between 6 and 9 am tomorrow, according to MetCheck, so I'm going to try and get up early tomorrow and ride. I'll get my kit ready tonight and see what happens. But there's Belgian beer in the fridge and Ardbeg Still Young on the shelf...

The wheels for my Solitude frame arived on Wednesday. Surly hubs, laced to Mavic MA3 rims. I've decided to use the chainset I have on my Kona, since that'll mean I can get the bike built up a month or two earlier. I have a seatpost and saddle on my Inbred that I can use, so I'm getting there. I'll probably get a stem, BB and headset in February. That just leaves tyres, tubes, brakes, a sprocket, a chain and some bar tape to finish it.

Commuting mileage this week: 15 miles (Mon, Tues and Fri - in Manchester on Wed and Thurs).

(I just noticed that Mactually had its second birthday on Monday. First Post.)

Thursday, 11 January 2007

The Running Man

"The human body has limitations," Karnazes says. "The human spirit is boundless." Your mind, in other words, is your most important muscle. As a running buddy told him: "Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!! What a ride!"

- Wired Magazine: Dean Karnazes ran 50 marathons in 50 days. He does 200 miles just for fun

Monday, 8 January 2007

The human equivalent of a cow being stunned by a captive bolt pistol prior to slaughter

Any member of the public who voluntarily pays to read magazines stuffed with candid photographs of celebrities walking down the street clutching shopping bags is suffering from an acute form of mental illness that hasn't been diagnosed yet, but surely will if there is an atom of hope left in the world, because a civilian flipping through Heat in their lunch break is the human equivalent of a cow being stunned by a captive bolt pistol prior to slaughter - except the cow, at least, dies for a purpose.

- Charlie Brooker on Celebrity in The Guardian [via Tygerland]

Darlington Cycle Campaign

In case toy can't get enough of me here, I also post on Bike Darlington, the Darlington Cycle Campaign blog.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

No gears for 2007

In my garage I had two complete bikes: my geared Inbred and my singlespeed Kona. The Kona was, really, my commuter bike but last year I hardly used the Inbred, because I kept getting out the Kona singlespeed. This is silly, because the Kona's 12 years old and, after two years of commuting, knackered. The Kona's been getting more and more knackered; the rear rim's worn out and needed replacing and the front wheel was completely shot, plus the headset needs some sorting out, I think. But I don't want to spend any cash on them, because I'm trying to get the Solitude frame built-up.

I'd been given some free replacement wheels for the Kona by JeffH on the HTB forum, which would have got it up and running again for no money, but it just seemed silly getting the Kona going again when the Inbred was sat unused. Plus, having done my round-up of rides for 2006, I realised that some of my longer and harder rides were done on the singlespeed.

So, last night I took all the gear bits off the Inbred, put on JeffH's wheels and the singlespeed cog and tensioner from the Kona, as well as putting back the front V brake in place of the disc that I've never really got properly sorted. I still need some narrow chainring bolts so I can get rid of the big and little chainrings, and the brakes need some new blocks, but I now have just one working bike, and it's a singlespeed.

The singlespeeded-Inbred will be my do everything bike until I get the Solitude built. I'll be riding it to work, riding it on solo rides and on group rides. One bike with one gear.

So, there's my first New Year Resolution: No gears for 2007.