Thursday, 24 July 2008

Trains and Roundabouts

My normal commute is ride to station (4.5 miles all hills), take train to Harlow Station , ride from station to work (1 short hill and 1 busy roundabout).

Since i got the Agattu, I've left it at the station and picked up a second bike at the other end. The Agattu just looked too big to fit on the train and was going to be very heavy to lift up the stairs. I'd been thinking that I'd try it when the school holidays started on a day when Mike wasn't going to nursery. As it happened when i got to the station this morning i found that I'd left my bike lock by the backdoor. Time to take the bike on the train....

Damn its heavy to lift! Eventually i found a spot to hold that worked. There's no way i could lift it with one hand while carrying Mike in the other. But i have a secret plan on how to handle that......

I got it onto the train and yep the damn thing is far too long to sit in the corner like my Dawes tourer can. However, i put the stand down, put the front brake on (with my magic hair tie, that i keep on the handlebars) and left it stretched across the carriage between the doors. In this position it was very stable, didn't move and people could get around it easily. Hurray!

So i got to Harlow and get to my busy roundabout. As i approached i saw a car turning left into the exit before mine and a blue van moving fast behind it. I slipped the gear into 5th, shot out (like a rocket!) , quickly slipped to 7th and Bam! I've cleared the danger zone of entering the roundabout. The blue van was left standing. That's the quickest start I've ever done! That'll cut minutes of my commute (it wont be any safer I'll just adjust when i can pull out at junctions :-)

The capability of these machines continue to amaze me. Why doesnt everyone have one?

Monday, 21 July 2008


So todays post is about watching TV. a bit odd on a blog about family cycling but....its Le Tour time. Julia and i have always watched the tour and this year is no different. Actually that's a lie. This year is the best Tour ever. Well done Mark! Come on the Olympics!

Mike gets to watch the Tour as its the only way i get to watch it ( i should be putting him to bed) Now Mike is just starting to notice the 'Telly', but on the whole he ignores it. He loves Le Tour! He even has a little dance for the music (I'll try and get it on Video!)

We were sat watching one of very first downhill stages. The camera was following a lone cyclist who was descending very fast. Mike suddenly makes a screaming noise. We quickly ask what wrong and realise he's not in pain he's grinning. Then he refines the noise and tries again. He hadn't actually screamed he'd said "Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee".

He kept saying 'Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' all the way down! I reckon this qualifies as a first word but Julia reckons 'Weeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee' isn't a word.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

British Parents for Pedal Power

I found this great story on ecovelo , about mums in schools who organised a bike sharing program. They got three Cargobikes which are kept at the schools and can be loaned or borrowed by participating parents. 

The great thing about this scheme is that it was in the UK. In Richmond, London. A superb example of people in the UK getting it together and fighting for themselves and their kids to have a bit of freedom from the car. Its such a positive story.

The scheme apparently is so successful that it won Tfls prize for Cycling Communities. I've heard nothing else about it at all. I picked it up on a US blog which includes coverage from a TV network! The UK getting international recognition for cycling schemes! What is the world coming to......

PS Read the link on ecovelo. Don't read the comments as the first comment on this really positive story is immediately negative. US commenter note.