Archive for the ‘biking’ Category

National Trust … disappointed.

August 6, 2017

While mountain biking today, someone claiming to be a National Trust ranger said we “shouldn’t be here” and “we were doing the sport no favours”. The irony was we were on Black Crag near Skelwith. Looking at my map of the area indicates there are no access rights for any person. The area is open moorland, uncultivated and used for grazing of sheep and cattle.

This isn’t a case of “the cyclist on the footpath”, as there’s no footpath up there. Footpath in the legal sense of the term.

It seems to be that organisations like The National Trust seem to be perpetuating this “image problem” because it serves their own end of encouraging access to their land only for people who support their own views.

The National Trust seems only to notionally tolerate mountain bikers, over the years many of my favourite routes have been changed from challenges to smooth and wide motorways. The NT seems to be ignoring that there are bikers willing to make the extra effort, and achieve the levels of fitness to ride bikes to away from the crowds and bustle, all for enjoying what the British countryside wilderness has to offer.

In my view the NT ranger is doing the NT no favours, going around making unverified and arbitrary statements like that. It only serves to make the NT look poor from my point of view. I would be disappointed and saddened if this was genuinely the view of the NT.

I do not feel it is appropriate for NT rangers to risk disturbing the peace by making comments like that. I fear they are putting themselves at risk, especially with people who tend to be physically fit, and wear body armour. I would be saddened and disappointed if an NT employee got hurt because of this irrational need to confront people.

I’m going to close the “allow comments” because I haven’t the time or energy to de-bunk the usual nonsense claims made of mountain bikers. If the NT wanted to limit and contain trail damage, they would prevent another drop of rain from falling from the sky.

As a sport, mountain biking is here to stay. You can suck it up, or embrace it. The choice is yours.


Living Streets – Try20

May 3, 2016

It has come to my attention that it is National Walking Month. I realise I might not be the target audience for this (honourable) campaign, because I will actively avoid a walk which looks like it will exceed 10 minutes. I’d prefer to jump on a bike and ride for 10 mins, an hour, several hours, as long as have the time and energy for.

Ten minutes is about the break-even point for walking versus cycling for me.

I wish Living Streets the best for their efforts.

You sir, are a buffoon.

January 7, 2016

On the grounds you’ll never enforce the legislation you are suggesting, therefore it’s pointless and redundant from inception.

As a road user, on both four wheels, two wheels etc I have always felt that cycle lanes are dangerous because they bring cyclists in to potential confrontations with motorised vehicles. Given the contemporary increase in the interest in cycling there will be greater numbers of cyclists who lack the experience of joining faster-moving traffic.

My solution is so simple it’s hidden in plain sight; remove all cycle lanes so there are no points where cyclists are merging in to motorised traffic.

Therefore car drivers will have to share the roads, as they are obliged to do so. Similarly, cyclists will have to share the road, and because there are more of them now that task will be made easier.

Garmin Edge 800 – Disk Mode

December 28, 2015

A data point; having read it recently on a talk forum. If your Edge 800 does not automatically switch to disk mode when you plug it in to a PC, do this:

  1. Disconnect the USB cable, at the PC end because that’s easier.
  2. Hold the Lap/Reset button down while you plug the USB cable in.
  3. Keep the button held down for a few seconds, and release.
  4. Disk Mode – every time. Yay!

For people like me who are minded to open gadgets to fix them, in the Edge 800 the USB and micro-SD slot are on a daughter-board PCB which is siliconed in to the base. I didn’t fancy prying it out to attempt a repair. If you need to replace the internal battery, that’s not a hard job. The flex cable for the touch-screen is fiddly to reconnect on reassembly.

Putting the record straight…

November 30, 2015

… one thing at a time.

Something happened yesterday’s mountain bike ride, which saddened me a little. As someone who participates in what is (sometimes) seen as a minority sport, there may be pockets of ignorance and fear among those looking in from outside.

I’ll try and set the scene. It’s a wet day, not “otter’s pocket” territory but not far removed. I reach the brow of a tiny incline, and see there are pedestrians sharing the trail. I’m at sufficient distance to shout out a friendly “Hello!”.

At this point I’ll interrupt the narrative to let you (dear reader) know that hydraulic brakes sometimes make a lot of noise in the wet. This is undesirable, but does not indicate a malfunction. The reason why I run hydraulics is that they continue to work in the wet.

So I’ve dabbed the brakes at the summit. Squeeek!
Shouted out to indicate I’m here, and I’m just human like everyone else.
I start to roll down the incline.
Controlling my speed sensibly, so people don’t feel like they’re in danger.
I need to keep two hands on the handlebars, I’m modulating the braking force to prevent skidding.

In a blatant display of ignorance, some old biddy says “Bell?”

Having slept on it, and scratched my head several times, I still can’t think of a reasonable explanation for comments like the above.

Therefore I conclude it was borne out of ignorance.

In conclusion the time is now to set the record straight:

  1. There is no requirement (in common or criminal law) for any cyclist to carry a bell.
  2. While I have a tongue in my mouth, and breath in my lungs, I will shout out to any other trail user. I will not change my behaviour depending on the mode of transport of the other trail user(s).
  3. While I am riding any bike it is often dangerous to remove my hands from the controls. I can retain control of the bike with my hands at the controls.
    This applies on and off the roads, by the way.
  4. I will always share trails in a responsible way, and will always make the safe choice.
  5. If a trail is a right-of-way or not is beyond the scope of this statement.

In the situation I described above, the ignorant walker was aware that I was present. She was aware there were other trail users present. Yet she chose to behave in an arrogant and confrontational manner, while clinging on to an incorrect presumption. To be honest, I feel sorry for you that you’re stuck in that cognitive loop from which you’re unlikely to escape.

This trail is a permissive route for cyclists. As the landowner has given informed consent, then the opinion of a minority of walkers counts for exactly nothing.

Thank you for reading.

Smile and wave!

September 2, 2015

Perhaps the children of Lindal-in-Furness have never seen a camera:

Smile and wave!

Smile and wave!

Probably not worth being flattened on the A590 for, all the same.

SRAM X7 10-Speed Rear Derailleur – why the cheap pulley bearings?

May 15, 2015

Subject says it all really.
Why do SRAM spoil a competent rear mech. with cheap and nasty bearings which go rusty if they are in the same room as a drop of water?
SRAM ought to expect bike components to get wet from time to time, I’ve had the rear mech about a month.


(31/8/2015) By way of an update, SRAM do say you can dismantle the jockey wheels, remove the black seal and add grease. It’s a lot of faffing around compared to using better-sealed bearings in the first place.

Whyte bikes and frame warranty: Double-plus good.

October 13, 2013

Just a note to say I am very pleased with Whyte’s support and commitment toward their bike frame warranty. In April this year I bought, second hand, a Whyte 146s. (The 2012 model) It was a demo model, bought from a dealer.
By August there was significant play evident in the swing-arm bushings. There was (what appeared to be) cracks showing near the bottom bracket. Not great for a carbon fibre frame.
I was also concerned that Whyte may not honour their warranty, as I was not the original owner. I asked my local bike shop, who are a Whyte dealer, and they said they would ask Whyte.

Against my expectations Whyte confirmed they would supply a replacement frame. They actually supplied a 2013 frame, which looks brilliant. Whyte also supplied a replacement stem and new grips for the handlebars, to complement the black and orange colour scheme.

Well done to all concerned.

19/11/2013: I originally stated it was a 2014 frame. My mistake, the 146 does not appear in the Whyte range for 2014. Probably because of all the beardy-weirdy wheel size variants, 29 inch, 27.5 inch and 650B. 🙂

Roger Lawson (Alliance of British Drivers) – You don’t speak for me.

August 11, 2013

Subject says it all really. In this interview with the BBC’s Newsnight (date 7/8/2013, about 23 minutes in) Roger Lawson says “Cyclists are aggressive and dangerous, you don’t get that with drivers!”

As the Alliance Of British Drivers represents fewer than 1% of drivers in the UK, I would say he is in a very small minority. So, for the sake of clarity:
I drive a car, for which I pay all costs associated with.
I ride a bike, for which I pay all costs associated with.
I would like to make it clear that I do not support Roger Lawson’s statement, he does not represent my views as a road-user at all.

I think his inclusion in the Newsnight program was a triumph on the part of the people who make the programme, as it reinforces the points raised by the pro-cycling part of the programmme.

Jeremy Clarkson buys a bike!

July 8, 2013

Has the world gone mad? According to Series 20, episode 2, Jeremy Clarkson has bought a bike. A simple google search confirms it.

As a long-time cyclist I say “well done” for taking the first step. And no, lycra is not compulsory. 🙂