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Archive for the ‘Cycling News’ Category

An Interesting Infographic

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013 by Mick Allan

Staying safe on bike ridden roads.

A guest post by Tora Saxon of National Accident Helpline

It is difficult to estimate how many people were encouraged onto their bicycles following the Olympics last year, and equally, how many people are benefitting from the recent government investment in cycling around England, but it’s certainly a lot.

Following the ever increasing number of cyclists on the road, the number of accidents has inevitably risen, reiterated by the increasing number of claims National Accident Helpline are seeing year on year. Therefore, all you cyclists out there need to be extra careful on your small framed, two wheeled vehicles – that cycle lane ain’t big enough for the both of us…

As documented in the infographic, 92% of all accidents involve another vehicle, whether it is another cyclist or an engine powered vehicle. Here are a few tips which will aid you whilst trying to survive on the roads:

Bicycles are the least visible vehicle on the road, so whether it be daylight or not, then some sort of reflective gear on your person or your bicycle is well recommended!

Even though your competitive nature might be forcing you to bomb it as soon as the lights go green, let other vehicles go first. Be aware of your actions, signal and let motorists know what you are doing.

Hopefully we’ll be seeing more and more cycling lanes due to the investments – so use them! It’s much safer to adjust your route to incorporate more cycle lanes.

Wear your damn helmet.

nah_infographicv11

Gosh Tora, I don’t really know where to start with this. The infographic is jolly interesting but it strikes me that you’re talking very much from the point of view of a motorist. Or at least from the point of view of someone who lives in a society which accepts the car/motoring culture as the ‘norm’.

Cycling is not in itself a dangerous activity. On the contrary, it’s widely known that the positive health benefits of cycling outweigh the dangers by a factor of 20 to 1. The rise in cycling commuter numbers has, of course and inevitably, led to an increase in cyclist KSI rates. In the UK cyclists have an entitlement, a right, to use the roads. Car drivers have responsibilities. They also require qualifications and licenses. Cyclists are entitled, motorists require permission. And, lest we forget, cyclists were here first. Cyclists have every right to use the roads, to go about their legal business without the ever present threat of car violence. So your ‘advice’ that ‘cyclists need to be extra careful’ really grates. Your plea needs to be directed, not at cyclists but at the drivers of the motor vehicles which pose the danger. You say that ‘bicycles are the ‘least visible vehicles on the road’. Again, your advice, such as it is, would be far better directed at motorists. When you pass your test to earn the privilege of driving on our roads it’s made clear that drivers have a duty of care to other road users. Drivers should be driving in such a way as to expect the existence of cyclists. Driving in the distance they know to be clear. That means looking out for other road users, bollards, errant peds and even cyclists.

Your next piece of ‘advice’; ‘to let other vehicles go first’. Where did you get this from? It’s not in the Highway Code and it’s not to be found in the guidelines of The National Standards for Cycling (Bikeability). I fear you might have made this bit up.

Urging cyclists to wear flourescent garb, reflectors and helmets shifts the burden of responsibility away from those responsible for the danger onto the victims of that danger. It’s like telling everyone to wear camo and bullet proof vests when theres a mad man running amok with a gun. Or, and forgive me for stretching the analogy, expecting women to dress down and not go out after dark to avoid being raped.

Please. Tell it to the perpetuators of car violence – not the victims. Wear a damn helmet? Really? Go ahead and find me a single shred of evidence that cycling safety helmets have any measurable efect on cycling KSI rates. I can predict with a high degree of confidence that you will not.

If people are being knocked off their bikes it’s not because they’re riding bikes in traffic it’s because drivers aren’t taking enough care. I know this to be true because I ride and I drive and the world is full of idiots who don’t give a damn about others on the road or the quality of their own driving.

If your attitude is representative of the views held by the general motoring population and/or the people who make up the UK insurance industry – I despair. It’s no surprise that cycling is such an unpleasant experience on British roads.

Mick

Windcheetah’s on the move…

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by Mick Allan

The Windcheetah has an enviable reputation in Human Powered Vehicle Racing circles. Designed by Mike Burrows in the early eighties it was the first high performance recumbent trike in the world. There had been other high speed machines, streamliners such as the Vector, but none before the ‘Speedy’ had such an enthusiasm for going around corners. Ballantine had one, and famously claimed that a Speedy could out-corner anything. And it could. Smaller and lighter than anything else on the road, a Speedy can make short work of a Porsche in a switchback. The only downside of the machine’s joi-de-vivre is a high bill for front tyre replacement! The ‘Speedy’ has won races and broken records all over the world, including a LEJoG for a faired machine which still stands. (As per usual – right click and ‘view image’ to see full size)

Andy Pegg - Window cleaner, recumbentist.

Demand for the Windcheetah, first from friends, then other BHPVC members and then the wider world meant that Mike was devoting more and more time to making Speedies, but Burrows never wanted to be a bicycle manufacturer, and so he licensed production to good friend and Speedy fan Bob Dixon. Burrows went on to design bikes for Giant in Taiwan, his own long-tail cargo bike the 8 Freight, and a whole bunch of racing bikes. Bob meanwhile manufactured and sold Speedies to customers all over the world, did a bunch of development work and evolved the design, but now, after being located in Cheshire for almost 20 years Windcheetah production has moved north to new premises in Lancashire. It’s entering a new phase.

New AVD Windcheetah

Karl Sparenberg and his company Advanced Velo Design Ltd. based in Darwen, have recently taken over responsibility of producing the iconic recumbent tricycle on behalf of designer Mike Burrows and has outlined his plans for the future.

“The Windcheetah has always been regarded as the most uncompromising high performance trike on the market and in pure performance terms it would be hard to improve on Mike’s classic design. However, the workshop relocation offers an opportunity to overhaul and improve the Windcheetah manufacturing methods, which in turn will bring improvement in engineering quality. With this in mind we have invested in new jigs and production tooling to improve the consistency and quality of the product. The Windcheetah will remain a hand built product , manufactured in the UK to very high engineering standards.”

Sparenberg’s commitment to continue manufacturing in the UK is unusual at a time when many specialist cycle manufacturers are outsourcing production of frames to Taiwan and China .

New AVD Speedy

“A major part of the appeal of a Windcheetah is the superbly engineered chassis built by artisan engineers. Our customers know that when they order a Windcheetah it will be a hand built machine, manufactured up to a specification and not down to a price. An increasing number of customers also appreciate our policy of sourcing as much as we can locally. From an environmental viewpoint it would be hard to justify having our frames made in Asia, importing them to the UK for assembly and then shipping them back to our markets in America, Europe and Australia. It isn’t possible to source every component in the UK but where possible we do. The chassis is such a fundamental element to the character of the Windcheetah it would be unthinkable to outsource its production. We’re very proud to be a UK company manufacturing a UK product ”

We’re big fans of the Speedy around here. I’ve owned three of them (including, separately, numbers 002 and 003) and Jim still owns 007. Although it’s changed in detail over the years, (the chain doesn’t run down the left hand side these days). it’s a testament to the soundness of the original design that it has remained fundamentally unchanged since it first hit the road.

Windcheetahs are very special. They are iconic, legendary, revered even, and they are held in such high esteem for good reason. Riding a Speedy – flat out, hanging out of the seat to keep the inside wheel down whilst clipping the apex of a curve – should be on every cyclists ‘101 things do to before you die’ list. Nothing else comes close.

Birmingham Bike Show

Friday, September 30th, 2011 by Mick Allan

With the recent Eurobike and Interbike shows still fresh in our memeries we set off to the National Exhibition Centre with little enthusiasm. We’ve been spoilt by the biggest shows on the planet, how could Brum come close? Well, we expected it to be boring and we were wrong. It was blimming great. The public days will be the new venue’s real test but what was obvious from speaking to exhibitors is that the UK cycle industry is in good health. They’re all doing very well thank you. The bouyancy and optimism which was evident at the Bristol Handmade Show earlier in the year is not restricted to that tiny niche – it’s industry wide. And long may it continue. (Right click and view image to see larger images)

Condor had some gems.

Condor had some gems.

Condor

Condor mixte

Hard-as-nails Dolan track iron. Well... carbon...

Hard-as-nails Dolan track iron. Well... carbon...

Always a pleasure. So lush.

Bianchi. Always a pleasure. So lush.

Junior Dolan racer. Small and perfectly formed.

Junior Dolan racer. Small and perfectly formed.

Say no more.
Say no more.Colnago

Yes please....

Yes please....

OMG LMFAO @Pearson's model names!

OMG LMFAO @Pearson's model names!

Pearson Cycles

Pearson I've started so I'll finish

A cunning plan

A cunning plan

Blue

Carying cargo is cool.

Carrying cargo is cool.

This was exquisite. And lots of money.
Nice retro Pug let down by modern saddle
The long awaited return of purple anodizing.

The long awaited return of purple anodizing. Enigma fixed.

As ever  there are  more to see (of this show and others) in Cyclorama Dot Net’s Facebook albums.

New Practical Information Articles in Bike Culture

Monday, September 26th, 2011 by Mick Allan

We’ve been beavering away recently, adding more articles to the Practical Information section of Bike Culture – our archive and general information resource. The latest articles concentrate on easy-to-do jobs we can undertake to keep our machines in good working order (such as lubing chains and control cables) and as time goes on they’ll come to address ever more complex tasks (such as replacing chains and cables). Other new articles include advice on handlebar set-up, tools, installing tyres and even washing your bike.

If you’re interested there are a couple of ways you can get involved in this process.

Firstly, if there is a particular subject you’d like covered please ask. We have a panel of experts sitting around twiddling their thumbs just waiting for the opportunity to write a piece on – how to fit mudguards, buying a saddle, setting up a kids bike, choosing a trailer, etc, etc…

Cyclorama Technical Department.

Cyclorama Technical Department.

The other way you can get involved is to write an article yourself. Paul Johnson contributed an excellent ‘Introduction to Clipless Pedals‘ earlier this year, and our mate from ‘down under’ – Peter Tremlett regularly provides us with articles which chart his freakbike builds.

Don’t be shy! We’d love to publish your stories if you think your experiences can help other cyclists – let’s spread the knowledge!

Mick

Cyclorama welcomes: Middleburn Bicycle Components

Friday, August 12th, 2011 by Mick Allan

I’ve been a big fan for very many years, so it’s particularly satisfying to welcome Middleburn Bicycle Components to the Product Pages of Cyclorama.net

Probably the best little bicycle component manufacturer you’ve never heard of, Middleburn make an enormous range of aftermarket transmission parts, including cranks, chainrings, bashguards and fasteners. And like many small specialist companies the guys are more likely to be found elbows deep in aerospace quality swarf than chairing a meeting of the marketing commitee. There are two reasons for this, firstly, they are makers rather than salespeople, and secondly: they’re just too darned busy. With little or no advertising Middleburn run at full capacity year after year.

Middleburn RS8 X-Type Triple

Clearly there’s something going on here that transcends the normal relationship of consumer and consumable. Within the UK cycle trade Middleburn components are the stuff of legend. But that’s only part of the story. What beats me is how does a company survive whose components outlast almost everything else out there?

Because if I buy a ring from them today – it’s going to be a really long time before I need to replace it.

Cyclorama welcomes…

Monday, April 4th, 2011 by Mick Allan

Nijland Products

We are delighted to welcome the latest addition to Cyclorama.net. Nijland Products company specialises in the development and production of cycles for special needs, cycles for sport, fun and recreation and delivery-tricycles. The whole product range consists of various product lines and numerous model options.

Nijland Products supplies cycles for the elderly, tricycles, tandems, recumbent-tricycles for children and different models of the original Huisman delivery-tricycle. products are available from stock although custom made is also an option. Furthermore, Nijland Products has a separate facility specialising in the design and development of solutions for individual customer requirements. One such example is the special modification of the Pommy to provide electric assistance for children with special needs.

Nijland Products currently employs thirteen people, eleven of whom are directly involved in production. The manufacturing of frames, as well as the assembly of complete products, takes place at our factory plant in Heeten, the Netherlands.

The Nijland Products customer-base, both at home and abroad, is expanding to include well-known companies and district councils. Their products are found in the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Sweden.

Nijland Products in Cyclorama

Image coutesy of www.workcycles.com
Image courtesy www.workcycles.com