Tag Archives: Commuting

Proviz ‘Out Of The Dark': Clever Interactive Advert

Clearly this is an advert for high visibility cycling gear, but it is an effective one. Watch the YouTube video below then go interactive at OutOfTheDark.tv.

For each jacket the company sell incidentally (presumably through the interactive website) they will donate £5 to RoSPA.

From the press release:

Proviz co-Founder Anthony Langly-Smith comments ‘Most cyclists understand the importance of being seen when cycling at night, but many cyclists are riding with little or no reflective material. The video highlights the Proviz REFLECT360 cycling jacket, which is made exclusively from reflective material and has been in high demand this winter. We hope viewers will play around with the video and share it with friends and family so that as many cyclists as possible are aware of the safety benefits of being seen at night.’

A Commute With A View

However eager I am to move on from my current job at the end of next week for pastures new, I shall miss the sunrises over the countryside of South Oxfordshire which can be truly spectacular. Of course my view is enhanced somewhat by travelling on two rather than four wheels…

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My Cycling Commute… Meets The GoPro Hero 4

OK, it’s not the greatest adventure, but my daily commute from Reading to Henley-on-Thames by bike (Reggie the bike no less) does give me the opportunity of testing out my newly acquired Go Pro Hero 4 (silver) camera. And it worked a treat! I videoed the entire half hour commute in both directions today but you’ll be relieved to know that I have edited the round trip down to just under two and a half  minutes. GRH30_main1I’ll leave you to critique my film making skills but it terms of the quality of the camera, it is phenomenal. The videos were recorded in widescreen 1080 HD (I could have opted for 4K but it would have probably resulted in my computer melting down during the edit – the size of the files created today amounted to 24GB!) and the Go Pro was attached to the bike via a purpose designed handlebar mount. The only issues I encountered while cycling were on the way to work. The camera occasionally fell forward (although this did inadvertently produce some interesting shots of the wheel) and due to the rain, the image was at times obscured by a large blob of water on the waterproof casing. The latter issue was only temporary and the former was solved by hanging the camera from the handlebar rather than positioning it above the bar (a simple solution pointed out by various people on Twitter combined with a setting that flips the screen 180 degrees) which I did on the way home. So, sit back and enjoy my at times very damp cycle to work from the comfort of your living rooms. Lights, camera… action!

The set up for the cycle to work… and the ‘hanging’ set up for the return journey.

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The Morning Commute…

After the long summer holiday afforded to teachers, the new academic year has started and is now over a week old. The days are shortening, the mornings getting colder, but the cycling commute is at its most beautiful. This morning was a stunner, certainly on my commute through the countryside of South East Oxfordshire… All these photographs – of the fields to the south east of Henley-on-Thames – were taken without filters or any digital effects apart from the very last one which has received the Instagram treatment… 123456

Thursday 4th September: Cycle To Work Day

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From the Cycle To Work website:

“Celebrate your commute and take to two wheels on Thursday 4th September 2014!

Cycle to Work Day is a national event, championed by multi gold medal winning Paralympic cyclist, Dame Sarah Storey, which aims to encourage everyone to take to two wheels and cycle to work for just one day on Thursday 4th September 2014.

According the census data, 760,000 people in the UK cycle to work regularly – this number keeps growing steadily, but with Cycle to Work Day’s help we are aiming to make those numbers skyrocket this year and beyond! By 2021, we hope to see 1 million people regularly commuting to work by bike.

Last years event saw a Herculean effort from the 20,000 commuters who hit the streets and cycled over a quarter of a million miles on Cycle to Work Day. This year we want to double the number of budding commuters saddling up and achieve (at least) half a million miles pledged! For this to happen, we need your help. Here are some of the ways you can make a difference:

  • Promise to get in the saddle on September 4th by pledging miles for cycle to work day here: www.cycletoworkday.org
  • Share www.cycletoworkday.org on your social media pages and encourage your friends, family and colleagues to sign up and get involved.
  • If you know a wannabe cyclist in need of a new bike, let them know about the cycle to work scheme.
  • Ask your employer to get behind the day by offering staff that ride a free coffee and croissant as part of Britain’s Biggest Bike Breakfast.

You can also hook up with us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to be sure you’re the first to hear about our competitions and prize draws.

Don’t forget to pledge your ride!

We hope you’re planning on taking part this year too! Show us your support and pledge to ride by clicking on the link above!”

Transport For London: Share The Road

The Lighter Side Of Cycling: See And Be Seen!

Here in the UK the clocks have just changed which means that cycling commuters such as my good self can look forward to six months of travelling to and from work without having to remember to fix the lights on the bike for all except the earliest of starts and latest of finishes. So it seems a strange time for companies to be launching some innovative products to help cyclists (and others) to be seen, if not always necessarily to see. Here are three:

Brainy Bike Lights

Invented by a chap called Crawford Hollingworth, a behavioural scientist, they are described as ‘combining brain science with clever new lighting technology to make cycling safer‘ and have been ‘verified in extensive tests over the past two years by the University of Oxford‘. So there you go! The inventor, was inspired to create the lights following his experiences of cycling in London and Oxford.

And here is the science behind them;

Untitled1It’s a major safety breakthrough because they increase cyclist ‘standout’ in urban light clutter.  The inventor used behavioural psychology to design a light using the international ‘cyclist on a bike symbol’.  This creates a cognitive short cut to drivers brains alerting them that there’s a cyclist nearby but also a vulnerable human being.  Combined with new Edge lighting technology the symbol lights can be seen clearly in sharp focus at all angles from up to 20 metres. And they work almost as well in daylight as at night. These lights (white front/red back) speed up driver reaction, awareness and stopping times.

They remind me a little of lights that I have seen which project an image of a bike onto the road in front of and behind the cyclist and I do believe the science. When I lived in France during the 1990s many schools had a large plastic cartoon character just outside their gate. The figure had one leg in the air as if it was about to start to cross the road. Even though I knew that it was a comical plastic sculpture, every time I saw one, I immediately hit the brakes of the car that I was driving. I never ran over any children. More information about Brainy Bike Lights on their website. They cost £50 for a pair. I can see how they will be of use in an urban setting but for my own commute which is through the middle of the dark countryside of Oxfordshire I will still need my very bright CatEye rechargeable lights that not only allow others to see me but also illuminate the road in front of me.

The Commuter X4 Rear Bike Light

I’m not sure if there was ever an X1, X2 or indeed X3 but the people behind this light are up for an award at The Gadget Show Live which takes place between 8th and 13th April 2014 at the NEC in Birmingham so it must have merit.

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It is, according to the website, a wearable rear light which is adjustable on back packs of up to 35 litres. It can also be worn over the shoulders without a back pack. It has a projective central LED chip light plus four LED fibre optic light guides. It is USB rechargeable, fits over rain covers, is water resistant and has multiple flash and fade settings. The picture here shows one of the devices attached to a pannier on the side of a bike which I do like. The most dangerous moments of my commutes to work are when I am crossing large roundabouts and the motorists approaching the junction don’t see me (and my very bright lights, or so their gestures claim…) as they at a right angle towards the bike. They could be useful.

The Zondo Firefly Bag

Screen Shot 2014-04-05 at 18.42.53This is a more general piece of equipment that is aimed at anyone who might want to choose to use a small backpack and isn’t meant to be a replacement for cycling lights. The system is still in development and the people behind the product are looking for funding via KickStarter. I have a feeling that it might have features on Dragons’ Den recently (certainly something similar did). There is a video on the KickStarter page in which former athlete and man behind the project, Rick Beardsell, explains all you need to know. You can invest from just £5 all the way up to £1,000 should you wish.