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Thursday, 28 June 2012

BUG News 28 June 2012

Introductory ramble
With the Tour de France approaching fast, I suppose it’s the only time of the year that cycling will get a mention. In Europe, cycling is an important matter, yet in the UK, it’s only when there is some Brit interest that the general media get interested. Not that interested, mind you, I don’t expect much of a daily bulletin on BBC News unless “Cav “or “Brad” win a stage.

Its long been a puzzle for me. Its not like there is no cycling tradition in the UK, it’s not like Steve Peat was never a World Cup Champion  or been a word class rider for over 12 years. It’s  not like there is no cycling tradition in the UK, it just seems that its ignored. Now with Sky sponsoring a TdeF team containing both Cav and Brad, and Eurosport covering pretty much every important cycling event on the road and for mountain biking, there is plenty of coverage. Yet in a country where world class tennis achievements by Brits could be written on the back of a small post card, (Fred Perry, Virginia Wade,  Sue Barker, possibly,  and Andy…) the BBC covers Wimbledon as if it’s a hotbed of achievement and popular sport

In terms of participation nearly 4 times as many people participate in cycling than tennis, according to official figures (Sport England) yet from the TV and the newspapers, you’d think that tennis is some sort of boom sport with loads of British winners, least around Wimbledon time. Now before you think I’m having a go at tennis, I’m not, I played competitive tennis for a while and squash for ages.  But tennis is a great example of sports getting what seems like over exposure. Now, I am all for national traditions, well some of them, but if national TV is to cover sports in a more even handed way, perhaps cycling, as an example, should get a fair crack of the whip. 

Can I commend ITV 4 for anyone “with time to spare” as well as Eurosport coverage of each stage, ITV 4 does a good summary every evening at 7pm with is a good summary of the day.
Cycling in the news and other Fun stuff
It seems that cyclist safety is a concern around the world. The Peterborough Examiner (Canada, not the Fens) has an interesting article which says many of the obvious stuff but without any of the conflict issues that tend to bog down the “argument” in the UK. The paper also links to a number of cycle courses. Even handedness in a newspaper about cyclists, it must be the Canada effect!

For those who fancy a challenge, an ex-colleague of mine sent me a link to the human powered helicopter.  (well “Rotorcraft” to be exact) I’ve watched the attempts for human powered flight over the years and this looks like another interesting piece of engineering with just the necessary hint of madness! Here’s the link for a view. Human powered flight

Recipe of the week
I’ve been sending cake to my “nephew-in-law” serving in the forces abroad and looked long and hard for a brownie recipe that didn’t use actual chocolate, as it tends to melt in transit, not in a good way, especially if you’ve packed some magazines as well. Eventually I came across this one,  quick-and-easy-brownies  Its ready in no time, does not need good cooking skills and is improved if you do add chopped glace cherries and perhaps some bits of white chocolate, if you are eating it yourself. Enjoy!

Maintenance corner
Ok, back to basics. Repairing a puncture. With the rain and grit still all over the roads, it’s still all too easy to get a puncture. Whilst some of us will have been doing this since we were 5, many people will have not done this, friends of mine throw punctured tubes away! Being tight, I patch my tubes, it’s also eco-friendly and as cyclists were are trying to be eco-friendly, aren’t we? 
This video hosted by MBUK’s “Doddy” is a good summary for both fixes on the trail or at home. I would recommend replacing a tube when you are out and fixing the tube in the comfort of your home! Fix a puncture

One piece of advice, NEVER skimp on type levers, I only use these, from Park Tools Look at the customer reviews, they are stiff and effective. Don’t use the nasty ones you get from cycle fairs and NEVER use a screw driver!

Its summer, honest, get out and ride

Friday, 22 June 2012

So why do I cycle

So why do we cycle? Its an easy question, but its not an easy answer. The answer was different when I was five, when I was a teenager and now as a supposed adult. I cycle now for fitness, fun and probably stress relief. Occasionally for achievement too. It's also a substitute for what ticked my boxes in the past. I was a ball player, a cricketer and a rugby player. At that time, I didn't even own a bike. Not because I had fallen out of love with cycling it was just not needed to tick my boxes.

As a five year old, it was adventure, even if that adventure only took me to the other end of the service road for our estate and the main excitement was wondering if Mr Brown was going to shout at us again for cycling past his gate on the footpaths.....

In my teens, cycling represented my first taste of freedom and independence, it also was a period when I lost more skin than at any other time in my life. My teens started with using the bike to go fishing and ended with cycling being a "legal" way of getting home from the pub. I tried competitions, I tried trips out, but it ended with my time trial bike being sold and buying my first motorcycle, all 100 snarling cc's of Yamaha "madness"

I suppose my cycling has gone in a circle or at least there is a bit of boomerang shape to the analogy. Cycling is adventure again, and I'm really not sure how a thought one evening turned into planning a 1,000 mile trip, not really into the unknown as I have ordered a SatNav, but into some other unknowns, like will my legs stand up to the challenge, will I get bored with it and catch a train home or will the bike break and I end up not finishing a day or will I get lost!

Starting a bog is harder than first expected, I hope it will improve over time and that the functionality of the site will get more interesting too.

Thursday, 14 June 2012

I suppose I'd better start somewhere

Welcome to BUG, least my version.

What started many years ago as an in house Audit Commission newsletter ended when the last of the team writing it were made redundant. I came on board quite late in BUG's history, but enjoyed writing the weekly pieces and though it might be an idea to carry on..

I don't intend to write this alone and will welcome contributions from ex audit commission BUG readers and anyone else who fancies writing an article or having a rant,  so get in touch. The site may be of interest to to bikers everywhere so please pass on the location of this Blog if you can and we'll see how we get on.

There is no fixed direction for the site/Blog, I've written on everything from the Tour de France to bike maintenance to making cakes, my ex colleagues have written on family matters, innovations, racing, new technology and bikes that just look nice.

So, I'll try and keep a flow of articles appearing, best that I can. Comment will always be welcome