Category: Video

What Did You Do During Lockdown, Sir?

When I woke up this morning I noticed a report on the BBC website titled ‘I’ve been listening to 300 vinyl records to get me through lockdown’. That’s an impressive achievement, I’m sure, and probably a very enjoyable one. On Monday March 8th I return to work after having spent most of the last twelve months on lockdown. It’s been a mixture of furlough from my job at a local arts centre combined with on-off periods of working in local schools as a teacher but that has only amounted to three months out of the twelve. So basically, like many others across the world, I’ve had a lot of time on my hands. Lots of walking, a fair bit of cycling (including the trip around the UK of course and a few days up in the Yorkshire Dales), reading, TV, films… the usual stuff. Ah yes! There’s also been The Cycling Europe Podcast. On that score, it has been a very productive year…

Cycling Films At The Cycle Touring Festival

The virtual Cycle Touring Festival has got off to a good start – perhaps you have already ‘attended’ some of the events – and the programme continues throughout this week. There’s a full run-down of the live events in this post on CyclingEurope.org in which I made a passing reference to the ‘other events’ that form part of the festival. One of those is a programme of films and I’m slowly making my way through the listings. So far I’ve watched the following three films, each of which are very different in their style.

Helmets: Cracking Open A New Kask

I tread wearily when broaching the subject of cycling helmets as I know what contentious / passionate debates they can provoke. Some hate them and will never wear them; others love them and would never not wear one. I stand somewhere in between; I have one and wear it when it’s appropriate to do so. I accept the argument that if you are run over by a truck whilst cycling, there is little that a bit of plastic and foam is going to do to save you, irrespective of how highly engineered that plastic and foam might be. That’s not why I choose to wear a helmet when I do wear a helmet. I wear a helmet when the conditions would suggest that it is prudent to do so. This is not an exhaustive list but I usually do so when it is raining, when it’s windy, when I am going downhill fast or when I feel the traffic is somewhat intimidating. If I’m on a short journey – usually when I am commuting – I tend to wear the helmet as I don’t want to stop to put it on if I need to. Not doing so also requires you to find somewhere else to put the helmet. Your head, apart from anything else, is a convenient place to store a helmet, even if it’s not needed. And why do I choose to wear a helmet when it’s raining etc…? Because I think that it’s at those times when there is the greatest chance of me skidding off the bike and hitting my head on the floor. In that respect, a helmet might save my life.

2020: The ‘Interesting’ Year In Review

So 2020… it will go down in history as the ‘interesting’ year. More infamous than famous. It does seem to have been a year that has passed very quickly. Perhaps it was the soap-opera nature of the whole COVID thing, waiting for the next bit of breaking news that might change our lives for the better but which, more often than not, delivered yet more bad news. However, in a year of many, many negatives it is worth reflecting upon the fact that the global pandemic did have knock-on positives. I don’t usually show it, but I consider myself to be an optimist and if ever there was a year when being an optimist – even a blind optimist – was more useful than ever, it has surely been 2020.

The Great British Cycle Tour: The Film Premiรจre!

In these somewhat strange times, heading out to the cinema to watch a film, let alone attending a film premiรจre, might be off the agenda for most people. Yet today I can offer you the chance to do just that from the comfort of your own home. You are formally invited to the film premiere of The Great British Cycle Tour: The Film. The film premiรจres on YouTube on Sunday 27th December at 6pm UK time (that’s GMT)…

red and gray pagoda temple

‘Twas (The Rather Frustrating) Week Before Christmas / Japan 2021?

On Sunday 6th December I was awoken by a ping on my phone. When I looked it was the NHS COVID app. I’d received messages before from the app telling me that all was well and that it was continuing to do its job. This message was different… I was informed that I had been in contact with someone who had subsequently tested positive for the virus and that I should self-isolate for 14 days. For a few moments I pondered the situation. The app is anonymous so I could just ignore it… but that wouldn’t be the best thing to do. In fact it would be the wrong thing to do. So I resolved to stay at home. Somewhat of a pain on several levels, not least the inconvenience of having to, well, stay at home (although living as I do in the countryside, I didn’t see any harm in going for a wander down the valley on a couple of occasions) and that I had to cancel about ยฃ1,000 of supply teaching work for which I had already been booked. Not a great start to the month…