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Friday, 20 July 2012

BUG News - 20th July

Opening ramblingsA recent  YouGov  survey suggested that the main reason that cyclists cycle is for "enjoyment". A number of other reasons including fitness, stress busting and saving money.

Now, I am pretty sure that I've never saved money by cycling, indeed, cycling is my biggest cost outside of buying a house! I've certainly spent less money by building my own bikes, doing my own upgrades and buying "bargains" off the web, but buying an £800 fork for £400 is only a saving if you can justify the £400 in the first place. Still, the fork looks great on my wife's mountain bike - the one that used to be mine........grr

Anyway, back to the theme of enjoyment. Enjoyment covers a wide range of emotions and satisfactions, so the survey made me wonder what people meant by "enjoyment". I "enjoy" many aspects of cycling, I enjoy getting up a steep climb on the road, I enjoy "cleaning" a difficult technical section of trail, I "enjoy" the feeling of having "got away with it again" after a helter skelter ride down a rocky chute.

So, perhaps what I enjoy is achievement. The achievement of 30 seconds across the rocks or a 50 mile ride amongst the hills.  I also enjoy the sensation of cycling, speed, the sound of the wind, the corners. Cycling is a very sensual sport in the way that surfing or skiing are.

So perhaps YouGov needs to do a little more research on this, if they want to find the motivations for cycling. For me it varies day to day, but whilst "enjoy" might be a cover-all definition, it doesn't really drill down to the detail. And that detail is needed if cycling is to be encouraged.

My definition of "enjoy" might scare the pants off many proto-riders - hell they don't want to follow me down the last last mile of rocks on the Whytes Trail at Afan, well not unless they don't value their safety, but as a starter might enjoy the solitude of riding a tow path in the early morning light of a summer's day? Actually, I quite fancy that too!

Cycling in the news

Olympic lanes to include cyclists?

A group of five MPs from all three major parties has tabled an early day motion calling on Transport For London to allow cyclists to use the special lanes reserved for athletes and Olympic bigwigs to woosh through the congestion of London traffic.
The call comes in the wake of last week's claim by the Environmental Transport Association that banning cyclists from Games Lanes would put lives in danger, and the somewhat clueless response from Transport for London.
Cyclists face a £130 fine and possible impounding of our bikes if we stray into a Games Lane, for example to overtake stationary traffic gridlocked because half the road has been allocated to the Olympics. The Environmental Transport Association said that the combination of the ban and the removal of bus lanes from routes with Games Lanes would put cyclist's lives at risk.
Amazing - a £130 fine and concerned for safety! It must be "A London Thing" as here in Bristol, the "special lanes" are for buses, taxis, motorcyclists AND cyclist. We all get on fine. We share the fact we're being eco friendly and slightly privileged.

But is not really a matter of safety in London, is it? Its the way that in a "meritocracy" cyclists are seen as "lower down the food chain" than others and so compromising their safety is allowed or tolerated, "otherwise you'd be in a car, no?"

Victoria Pendleton - on the BBC

I don't know if you saw the documentary on Vicky. Wow, it was honest, perhaps all too honest. It was on the BBC and is probably on I-Player. I found it painful to watch and to find (I think) that Vicky's need for approval appeared to provide the spur for her efforts rather than an inner confidence. It may just be me but I prefer my sports people to be more like Daley Thompson or Steve Ovett or Kelly Holmes where confidence in themselves leads to not even considering defeat or "doing badly" as an option. It might even be called arrogant. 

That a load of work had been done by the Team GB psychologist means that this public image of Vicky is the one after she had been "worked on". In one way, I'm really impressed that Vicky has held it together to be one of the best track cyclists of all time, but my concern for her as a fellow human being means that I will be secretly happy once she retires and doesn't have to put herself through the torture every day. If you see the programme, you might also agree that it would be good for her Dad to get over himself, too.........

Recipe time - millionaire shortbread

This  recipe is one like the one I found in the Co-op food magazine and which I made this week. This one is made by someone called Ginger, apparently. I include it as it look a good recipe, only I included ginger in the base, using crystallised ginger, a couple of "balls" plus some syrup.

Be careful when making the caramel, I slightly burned the bottom of the pan and had the odd "fleck" in the final product. I used "light" condensed milk, but its still a million Kcal per slice. Anyway - its way better than shop bought and a treat to definitely share......

Maintenance task of the week

I hate look at the doing it but its worth cleaning your bike frame and inspecting for damage. Most modern frames are made of aluminium and usually well over engineered. But it is possible to break or crack your frame and aluminium does not have the resilience of steel once damaged. So the occasional inspection of the welds and the tubes especially around the head tube is not a wasted 5 minutes. But first - you have to clean the bike! It will also make you feel good and encourage you to go and make it dirty again!

Ride on!


  1. Didn't see the programme, but just reading the review was painful!
    I know you're an avid tour watcher, did you catch the donkeys? will try and post a link, not sure if this works though.
    it's dagmar btw, just to lazy to sign in

  2. ah, obviously, didn't work, google donkeys and tour de france or copy the url

  3. and don't get me started on the olympic lane fiasco. have just got back no my bike (hoorah!! and working fine!!), and will have to put up with THAT (guess it's going to be back routes for the duration of the fun)

  4. I saw the donkeys - they even posed for the cameras - probably photo shot of the tour!

    It's been really good watching the efforts of towns to "do" a TdeF theme in the fields - fantastic efforts

    Hi Dagmar!