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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


  1. John S (still at AC, for next 6 months...)28 June 2012 at 15:32

    Good blog, Mike. One useful piece of advice I was given on fixing punctures when out on the road - eat something before you start. Helps you calm down, gives a quick energy boost, and your hands are still clean (they won't be afterwards!)

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. As I always carry a spare, I find that fixing the flat after going for post ride "refreshments" works well too! I can fix it whilst my "healthy" pizza is warming in the oven!

  2. Thanks Mike

    A good read as always.

    I, too, dislike Wimbledon and only ever tune-in in the hope of seeing Andy Murray get booted out

  3. Quite like tennis - just not wall to wall.......I would welcome some BBC time on the TdeF - which will only come when/if Wiggins wins and suddenly there will be BBC reporters there as if they had always been there. Chapeau to ITV 4 and Eurosport for their excellent coverage

  4. I thought tyre lever = spoon?

  5. Well, I'll only use my silver plated spoons the solid ones are too fragile!