Bookmark and Share

Archive for the ‘The Bigger Picture’ Category

Ru and me

Sunday, February 12th, 2012 by Mick Allan

mickand rutwo

‘A Little Story About NY Bike Lanes’

Friday, June 10th, 2011 by Mick Allan

Cop tickets cyclist for not riding in bike lane – cyclist makes video. It’s very funny.

Quote of the Day

Monday, March 28th, 2011 by Mick Allan

“Mankind has invested more than four million years of evolution in the attempt to avoid physical exertion. Now a group of backward-thinking atavists mounted on foot-powered pairs of Hula-Hoops would have us pumping our legs, gritting our teeth, and searing our lungs as though we were being chased across the Pleistocene savanna by saber-toothed tigers. Think of the hopes, the dreams, the effort, the brilliance, the pure force of will that, over the eons, has gone into the creation of the Cadillac Coupe de Ville. Bicycle riders would have us throw all this on the ash heap of history.”

P.J. O’Rourke

Cadillac Ranch thanks wikipedia

The Cadillac Coupe De Ville?

Exqueeze me?

Leaving aside for a moment the smug self-frottage which makes up the rest of this quote, if you’re going to hold a single car up as the pinnacle of human achievement it’s absolutely certain that the Cadillac ‘Coupe De Ville’ would be among very last you would chose. There were five generations of Coupe De Ville between 1949 and 1993, it would help if PJ would tell us to which he is referring. ‘Coupe’ is a body style, ‘De Ville’ is a trim level which sits between ‘Calais’ and ‘Fleetwood’. I point this out merely to demonstrate that the man knows nothing about which he speaks, but it doesn’t matter too much. The fact is the Cadillac Coupe De Ville represents everything that is wrong about the age of car worship we find ourselves born in to. When our grandchildren ask us where all the oil went we can point to Cadillac’s 7.7 litre v8 and sub 10 mpg fuel consumption figures, a profligate consumer of materials and energy from assembly to scrap yard.

What a total idiot.

If he’d said Lamborghini Gallardo he might have had a point….

Give a car

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 by Mick Allan

I drove in to work today. The car was sitting there all warm and cozy. My bike was sitting there with a wet saddle and wet grips. I know very well, even as a self confessed cycle enthusiast, just how easy it is to give in to the temptation of driving in rather than cycling. Even on relatively nice days like today. I drove in yesterday too. Oh the shame.

The many hundreds of people all over the world involved in the promotion of cycling are constantly looking for ways of  persuading drivers out of their cars and onto bicycles. It’s an uphill battle when even bike geeks like me find it hard motivate themselves to ride a few miles to and from work when threatened with the possibility a bit of weather! For many months last year we didn’t have a car and I had no trouble whatsoever getting to work.

I was contacted recently by Harry, a regular reader, he asked if he could bring Giveacar to your attention through the website. Cyclorama welcomes any scheme which encourages people to give up their cars, so here’s his article introducing the scheme.

I’ll be riding to work from tomorrow.

I promise.

Guest Post by Harry Achillini of Giveacar UK

Regular visitors to this website don’t need to be told about the benefits of cycling. There is a wealth of fantastic and inspirational articles here that highlight the problems we face in our car filled world and the solution that cycling can offer to these problems: from the anger and frustration caused by the daily commute in cars and trains, to the health problems that can arise by relying entirely on fossil fuel powered transport, cycling can offer you a happier, healthier and freer lifestyle.

giveacar

This is not to mention the great damage caused to the environment and health of others that has been caused by our over-reliance on these polluting machines.

It is now well know that we are putting our habitat in jeopardy by creating an unsustainable amount of Carbon Dioxide. It is also well know that cars produce CO2 and are therefore contributing to environmental damage, although many will find the amount of CO2 produced by cars to be quite staggering.

It is estimated that one litre of petrol creates 2.4 kg of CO2. If the average consumer purchases 1000 litres per year, and there are 30 million cars in the UK, the UK creates 72,000,000,000 kg of CO2 from cars alone. No wonder we are seeing such changes in our weather conditions!

To add to this, the fumes created by cars have many detrimental effects on our health: they are well known to contribute to respiratory conditions and lung cancer, as well as creating urban smog and acid rain. The statistics below from the Environmental Defence Fund give us an idea of what our obsession with cars is doing to the planet:

2,000,000,000 Vehicles on the planet by 2020, half of which will be cars

1/3 Portion of smog-producing air pollution that comes from cars

27% Per cent of U.S. carbon emissions from transportation

21 Endangered species under serious threat from road impacts

Perhaps you are too well aware of these issues and have given up your car. Perhaps you have resolved to use your car less, and to walk and cycle more. Perhaps you can be swayed by the idea that you will not only help the environment by giving up your car, but can benefit any number of charitable causes by doing so.

Giveacar is a social enterprise founded by graduate Tom Chance that gives you the opportunity to donate your car to charity. The service only uses the UK Environmental Agency’s Authorised Treatment Facilities when scrapping cars, ensuring that the harmful liquids in your car won’t just be left to seep into the earth. The vast majority of the proceeds from the scrappage are then sent to the donors charity of choice.

The scheme, still only in its infancy has already created more than £250,000 in donations for UK and international charities, and provides yet another reason for people to get out of the car and get on a bike.

If this article has inspired you to scrap your car, please go to the Giveacar website

The Advert Game

Friday, October 1st, 2010 by Mick Allan

I’m not a big fan of television adverts. Most of them seem to be targeted squarely at idiots and the other most of them are for products I would never dream of purchasing (even if I was a top international fashion model). In fact I have a kind of vague policy of black-listing anything which appears in a TV ad. Unless it’s chocolate flavoured. I genuinely loathe and detest adverts and for as long as I can remember I have actively sought not to watch them. But something happened the other night which has me and the kids actively seeking ad breaks and watching each advert with rapt attention.

We were watching Simon Cowell’s The X factor at the weekend. The ads came on and the first one, for some global financial corporation, had a bike in it. So did the next one, an advert for a small French hatchback. And the next one, this time for Amazon, and the fourth too, an advert for hair products. Four in a row, for products and services totally unconnected to bicycles or to the bicycle manufacturing industry. Sometimes in the background, sometimes as an integral part of the ’story’. It seems that no advert is complete at the moment without a Pashley Princess or a neon fixie.

We love trying to spot them (like ‘Where’s Wally’ but easier) our aim is to find an ad break in which every advertisement has a bicycle. But part of me resents it – advertising agencies cynically exploiting ‘our’ bicycles to their own ends. Because I’ll wager a penny to a pound that each and every one of those advertising creatives drives a bloody Car. And probably a Porsche. And probably a 911S. But certainly not a bike. And it’s really galling that so many damn car ads feature bicycles. Renault, Vauxhall, Honda et al. What the hell is going on there then?? Do they imagine that the inclusion of bikes in their adverts enhances their green credentials? I don’t know but it feels a bit perverse to me.

What we can cautiously deduce from the phenomenon of bicycles in the majority of adverts during  peak family-viewing time is that cycling (for perhaps the first time since the mania of the 1890s) is now officially ‘cool and trendy”. Something that we cyclists knew all along. Is it a global penomenon? Perhaps our non-UK readers could watch a bit of telly and let us know.

So the kids and I are eagerly hunting the ad break in which all of the adverts feature bikes with eager anticipation, our Moby Dick – The 100% Bike Advert Break. It’s a very real possibility and it’s likely to be found on ITV on a Saturday night around 8:00pm.

And then, perhaps, I can go back to avoiding the damn things again!

And if there was any doubt in anyone’s mind that cycling is the coolest thing on the planet right now along comes Mark Ronson’s fab new song and video. For which all the groovy bicycles were supplied by Cyclorama Featured Retailer Ridelow.

So we’re all cool! You’re cool, I’m cool.

Yay. Now we just need to communicate that fact to the driver of the black BMW which cut me up before running a red light this morning.

Uncool!