Category Archives: Cycling

Warm Showers: Visitors From San Francisco And Bordeaux

Not quite like waiting for a bus, but nearly… I received an email from Martin a couple of nights ago: could he stay overnight as a Warm Showers guest? No problem. No sooner had he arrived last night than I received a call from a woman in cycling distress: Jenna, also a Warm Showers member had arrived in Reading – the town where I live – and had a problem with her wheel. Could I help? Of course… So, after probably six months of no Warm Showers visitors, I had two on the same evening. Nice people! Martin is from Bordeaux and cycling to the Isle of Man – read his blog posts here – and Jenna is from San Francisco and cycling to Bristol. She too has  her own website. I wish them both a good onward trip!IMG_8827

Along The Med on a Bike Called Reggie: The Map

Here it is… (If you see any errors, please let me know before it goes to print! It’s not geographically perfect by the way…):Map - Final - Small

Here is a previous version (spot the differences!):Screen Shot 2014-07-24 at 21.20.52And here is the draft version:10489720_682136948545711_1734027562123754378_n


Crossing America: San Francisco To New York


Earlier this year David Simms and James Hesketh stayed overnight with me as WarmShowers guests. At the time they were en route to Paris on a tandem. They never actually got there due to problems with the ferry I seem to remember but Paris was only a trial run. They had their ambitions set upon a greater objective; that of crossing America on a tandem. In the last couple of days they have set off albeit not on a tandem as they had initially planned. They aim to cycle from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to the Statue of Liberty in New York over the next six weeks. I’ve asked if they would like to write a short weekly summary for but in the meantime you can find out more about their journey via their own website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram profile. They are cycling in aid of the Youth Sport Trust and you can make a donation on their Virgin Giving webpage. Here are a few of the pictures that they have so far posted. Bon voyage and good luck!Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 08.40.20Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 08.41.20Screen Shot 2014-07-21 at 08.40.52

BREAKING NEWS: Along The Med on a Bike Called Reggie…

…will be published on Friday 1st August 2014. The much anticipated follow up to ‘Crossing Europe on a Bike Called Reggie‘ will be available initially as an eBook at Amazon and in paperback from CompletelyNovel. ‘Along The Med on a Bike Called Reggie‘ will be available on other platforms (iTunes, Kobo, Waterstones…) as well as in paperback at Amazon and Waterstones (as well as in store) by the end of August. Watch this space for updates in the run up to August 1st but if you really can’t wait until then, remember that several extracts from the book are available on Cycling to read now! The links are over there on the left of this page. Med_Cover3

The Printing Bike Project

This has simplicity, beauty and European cycling written all over it. Or rather, printed all over it. It’s nice. I received an email from a chap called Laurence this week. This is what he said;

“We’re a small not-for-profit letterpress print company located in Bristol and two members of our team are planning to take cycle from Bristol across Europe to Mainz, Germany, the home of letterpress. The twist is that we’ve made a cargo bike made with an Adana printer attached to the back, planning to visit poets, artists and other craftspeople and printing something they’ve made or written and sending it to various contributors of the project.”

Here’s a video (also very beautiful as well as hypnotic – I could watch printing presses all day long!) that explains more;

Isn’t that just so simple yet so fantastic? The initiative is looking for funding via KickStarter and there is a Twitter feed as well as a presence on Instagram. Well worth a look, a little bit of your time and perhaps even a bit of your cash… Here’s the route that the press will be taking to Germany:

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 20.03.16

Print Bike Prototype

“When The Tour De France Came To Yorkshire”

Here’s a great video from Welcome2Yorkshire summing up in images and music the two-day visit of the Tour de France to Yorkshire. A few screen shots to whet your appetite…Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.05.03Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.06.51Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.07.04Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.09.01Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.08.04Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.08.22Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.09.11Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.06.37Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.06.07Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.09.36Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.08.42Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 19.10.09


The Invisible Bike

By guest blogger Andriy

image003How many times have you heard the story of the invisible bike? The one that came out of nowhere, and appeared too late for a driver to stop. The one that should have been more visible than it was. The one who left it too late to do something about their bike lights. Too many times, I’m sure.

Cycling accidents, according to ROSPA, hit a 5-year high in 2012, and over 19,000 road traffic casualties admitted to hospital or reported to the police in 2012 were cyclists. This number is expected to rise as more people turn to cycling to cut costs or stay healthy.

Cycle safety is something that is taught in primary schools these days. Children from 8 years old are taught to signal, know when to pull out at a junction and know road safety, but as the years wear on, although the rules of the road still remain, there is one thing that is never focused on quite so much, and that is visibility.

A high visibility jacket is no longer enough. Many of our roads are unlit at night, and particularly in the country, where half of cycling accidents end in fatalities, a high proportion of these accidents happen at night.

Purchasing a good quality bike light is imperative to protect cyclists from the dangers of invisibility. It’s possible to purchase good quality lights at a very reasonable price, and those cyclists that purchase quality lights are arming themselves with something that will help to make sure they ARE visible. Combining these lights with reflective, highly visible clothing may make you stand out, but as far as safety is concerned, that’s what you need.

According the RVLR (Road Vehicle Lighting Regulations), a cyclist must have

  • A front lamp and rear lamp capable of producing a flashing or steady light. (Of course, a steady light is safer, but if you choose a flashing one, it must emit 4-candela minimum.)
  • A rear reflector
  • Four pedal reflectors.

However much you comply with the RVLR by ensuring that you have the correct bike lights affixed, if they don’t work properly, or they fail whilst you’re in motion, then effectively you are invisible again. Therefore, using high quality, long lasting batteries is a must, and you must ensure these are replaced regularly to avoid being the invisible bike that cannot be seen until it is too late.

Brompton World Championship 2014

Moving on… I’m a sucker for a good poster (I think I said the same thing only last week about the Transport for London posters…) and here is another good one. More details on the Brompton World Championship websiteBWC14_final_final

The Grand Départ 2014 Stage 3: Cambridge To London

TDY-Tour-de-France-Stage-3-Map-Cambridge-London-Europcar-UKInformation courtesy of Europcar!

The Côte De Greetland, Elland, Sunday 6th July 2014

The atmosphere today on the Côte de Greetland (known locally, more prosaically as Queen Street, Hammerstones and Blackley Road) was wonderful. Half the population of the small town of Elland (c. 20,000) must surely have been somewhere along the hill. I was brought up on Blackley Road and my parents still live there so it was the most logical place for family and friends in which to gather. The roads had been closed from early in the morning leaving it a place free of motor vehicles (apart from the ‘official’ ones of which, admittedly, there seemed to be many) and slowly, the crowds began to gather. Initially just a couple of camping chairs and their occupants but within just a few hours the road was thronging. Quite extraordinary scenes the like of which I have never seen before and will probably never see again. We should do things like this more often in Britain. Perhaps after the experience of the last two days, we might start… You can see the cycling itself on the ITV Player if you missed it live on the television. I purposefully took no photographs as the breakaway group or peloton passed by preferring to cherish the moment itself (Update: See the bottom of this post). I did however try to capture the atmosphere both before and after the cyclists had climbed the ‘côte‘: IMG_8612IMG_8626IMG_8610IMG_8633IMG_8634IMG_8638IMG_8642

Update: Since posting the above images, I have been contacted by Dan Buckley (@DanTheBuckle on Twitter) who was standing only a few metres above me on the Côte De Greetland and who did take some pictures of the cyclists. Here they are:Br4wG4PCcAA7HLsBr488C8CMAAmHwk

Update from the police…

Inspector David Shaw:

“I had the privilege of working the Tour de France on Sunday and was the sector commander for the West Vale and Blackley sector of the race. I also worked closely with my colleagues who covered the other two sectors of Ripponden and Hebden Bridge/Mytholmroyd.

I would like to put on record how proud I am as the Valley Inspector of all the residents and supporters from all over the country who turned out and got involved in this amazing sporting spectacle!! The atmosphere was electric and is one of the friendliest I have ever worked as a Police officer. Everyone on the route was happy and enthusiastic and considering the size of the crowds and the long wait for the riders everyone was impeccably well behaved. I spoke with some people who had been on the route since 5am!! The generosity extended to me and my colleagues and indeed all the tour makers was very much appreciated. I particular appreciated the offer of some suntan cream when I had started to turn red.

For those on my sector you will have seen and heard me with my loud hailer keeping everyone up to date with where the race was!! There was also some siren entertainment for the kids who wanted me to pretend to be Kevin from despicable me and even some Mexican/Calderdale waves!!

The feedback received from everyone involved in the race has been immensely positive and everyone is especially proud to have been part of making the Grand Depart a massive success for Yorkshire. This is in no small part down to all of you as residents of the Valley!! 

I hope the tour returns soon!!”