Archive for April, 2010
When I am putting in a lot of miles I think that Torq recovery really makes a difference to how you feel the next day. I think the chocolate orange flavour tastes revolting and gritty , but the strawberry and cream flavour is actually quite pleasant.
But…I find there is a side effect which if it could be captured and channeled into forward motion could be rather helpful.
Been reading a couple of blog posts about bike advocacy recently. Firstly an uncharacteristically downbeat post by Bike Snob NYC on David Byrne’s role. Rather a depressing read, essentially it seems to argue that the bike is not a viable form of transport because we can’t all live and work in gentrified Manhattan. Secondly a thought provoking post by Karl McCraken questioning whether if to effect change cycling advocates should abandon widescale action and focus on winning gains in small areas of towns and cities.
Personally I am convinced by Karl’s analysis and unconvinced by Bike Snob. In terms of changing the culture, small areas with flourishing active travel modes demonstrate that there is a possible alternative future and celebrity endorsement works. We may all know that unlike David Byrne we need to commute daily but cycling has suffered for too long with a ‘bicycle clips and plastic mac’ image.
But changing the culture is not enough, changing our approach to the built environment has to happen for those who might feel warm to cycling to put it into practice. My cycling commute is 34 miles a day. Most people don’t want to do that. Hey there are some days I don’t want to do that. I do it at the moment because I know I am investing in fitness for the summer. Cycling is part of my life and it is more than a transport choice. So I am atypical. Now consider the person who just wants to get to work. Let’s say 5 miles is a reasonable maximum one way trip for someone like that. Then where they live and where they work becomes critical. If they work in a business park built in green belt just off Junction 37 of the M1 the likelihood that it is an easy, five mile max, cycle commute from where they live is lower than if the office is in the centre of a town. If they live in a new housing estate in Stocksbridge even if their workplace is in the centre of Sheffield it is not a likely commute. 600 new homes approved, 10 miles from the centre of Sheffield, how many extra cars on the already cyclist unfriendly A616 as a result? We need to be tougher on what gets built where, so that people who want to adopt sustainable and active travel modes can readily do so. Changing the culture so they want to is not enough.
And while we are tightening up the rules on what gets built where we need to tighten the rules about what counts as good development. When Sheffield Council can refuse planning permission for a small supermarket because there is no car parking and argue parking on the road is potentially a problem, they are still thinking that accommodating the car is the answer. It isn’t, we need more small supermarkets so people aren’t tempted to get into their cars in the first place.
With the first closely run general election in nearly 20 years it will be interesting to see if politicians have the appetite for the difficult truth that some freedoms (such as for an unpolluted atmosphere) come with an associated price tag of restrictions.
There are essentially two ways to remove old Campag brake blocks; the very slow way and the slightly less slow way. The very slow way is to remove the blocks and holders from the bike and attempt to slide the blocks out. They have been in there a while and every time you applied the brakes you tightened them into position. They are happy where they are, don’t want to come out and swearing will not help. The web is full of forum posts from desperate people who have started on the very slow way and lost the will to live
The slightly less slow way is illustrated above. Use the pliers to pull the free end of the block away from the holder then a small screwdriver to lever the block out.
Then clean the holder with a brush, making sure that every bit of grit is removed. Old toothbrushes are good for this. Then carefully lubricate the back of the block – soap, washing up liquid or a child’s wax crayon also work – you have to be careful to avoid any of the lubricant getting on the braking surface. Then slide the new block into place, making sure that you have the appropriate block in the right direction – they are labelled both left/right and forward. You might need to use a vice to do this.
Bolt them back in place, adjust and test ride. Do the test ride immediately. Now wash your hands. In fact, you might be advised to wash your hands before doing the test ride, especially if you have white bar tape.
Two rainy days and the opportunity to get down to two non-cycling, but cycling related tasks. The first was enjoyable but occasionally perplexing. A change in structure for the local CTC group meant that it was time to move the website to the much more user friendly www.sheffield ctc.org One thing I am particularly pleased about is that we have a clear statement about what we are about and we now have a site that integrates both the riding and campaigning content. While we are on the topic of new websites Cycle Sheffield have had a refresh and now include some detailed route advice to place like Hillsborough, Crookes and The Northern General
Task two was rather less enjoyable. I had bought a floor anchor some months ago and had not got round to installing it. There was no alternative but to go for it. Now this brute is intended to stop people walking off with your prized bike and is essentially a kick ass metal ring which is attached to the floor with four allen key bolts. Once torqued up to 25Nms the heads of the bolts are destroyed by hammering a ball bearing into the hexagonal hole. This is intended to prevent the bolt either being undone or drilled out. Simples. Well not quite so simple as installation required drilling four 16mm holes 90mm deep into solid concrete. Note concrete, not cement but a mixture of cement and aggregate. And note that 4x90mm equals over a foot in old money. After an age determining where it should go – there would be no chance to reposition it – I went to collect the SDS drill I had arranged to hire. Only problem was the previous hirer hadn’t returned it. I was now faced with a choice; abandon my plans for the day or push on using my 20 year old 500w hammer drill. So it was gloves, face mask, ear protectors and goggles on and two hours later with a bruised right hand the beast was in place. Hmm