28 September 2009
22 September 2009
Sorry, I'm talking about cycle parking and shower facilities where I work. In the past, most of the time I had the freedom of the building yard when it came to parking, and a choice of showers as there's one on the ground floor (open to all building occupants) and another one upstairs in my employer's offices (two in fact, since one is designated 'male' and the other 'female' but they are both individual showers, so the distinction is purely academic).
Yet recently I experienced for the first time a queue for all 3 showers - OK, a queue of 1 in each, but it meant a wait of 15'. And I notice that the yard bike racks are busy even in bad weather. So, it must be a sign that more people are cycling than before - or that the building's occupancy has risen. Or perhaps that Manchester College (one of the tennants) is using more of their space here as classrooms. I suspect is all of the above.
Now, it would be fine if it wasn't because many fellow cyclists (and this is an old bugbear of mine) tend to park their bikes in between racks, rather than mount their rides ON them. I know, these racks are not the best and they risk being 'wheel benders' but there's only so much room, yet people merrily plonk their bikes, on the ground, in between two racks. In some cases this is because they've got D-locks and that's the only way they can wrap it round both frame and at least the bike wheel. In other cases, it's just sheer laziness. In all cases, it feels inconsiderate and is a bit of a bugger for those of us who, after the school run, arrive at work that little bit later.
There is of course extra (and more secure) parking in the building's basement, but getting to it is like making it through the 36 chambers of Shaolin - three flights of stairs, four doors, a combination lock. The basement in question is the old factory loos of when this building was some sort of factory, complete with wooden panels separating white toilets against a background of green tiles. Behind so many doors, it is a very eerie place - nobody would hear you scream if you came across a ghost...
19 September 2009
Each Saturday, a big black truck appears at the bottom of my road, with bikes stuck to the roof and rear. Out of it step a bunch of City-boy ponces in fluorescent Spider-Man outfits, shades, bum bags and stupid cleated shoes, who then pedal around our narrow lanes four abreast with their private parts alarmingly apparent. Do they enjoy it? They never smile. I'm sure they just come here to wind me up.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/moslive/article-1211917/JAMES-MARTIN-The-Tesla-Roadster-electric-supercar-thats-fast-Ferrari.html#ixzz0Rb4qJ7Nz"
14 September 2009
09 September 2009
I was working at home yesterday so as to be able to drop my car in the garage in the morning and collect it at the end of the day. I had planned to take a local radio cab to collect me from the garage in the morning, but they let me down - so I walked home, 30' in the rain.
By 4pm I realised I had to get the car - they close at 5pm religiously and leave your car in a dark alley overnight. Options:
- Call a taxi and risk being let down again
- Walk 30' in the rain again
Would cycling be an option? Not with a small car: how would I get the bike back home once I had the car? and then I remembered...
Three years ago I bought a cheap fold up bike. Ebay job, £30, this ain't no classic British beauty, no Brompton or such like. But could it rise to the ocassion and be the solution to my problem?
I got it out of the loft, pumped up the tyres (gone flat after 3 years). On the plus side, assembly was very quick indeed - one-two-three job with saddle post, steering and central hinge. Rear brake never worked, but at least the front one did.
So I set off - and how quickly did the bike's shortcomings become apparent! Not tall enough, my legs could not extend well. No gears - I know, I've gone soft but I do like my gears. Tiny wheels, too short a frame, it was more like riding my kids scooter propped on a stool on top of it. With my Altura hig-viz jacket, I must have looked like a circus clown - a group of youths I went past on the way told me as much (and more!).
Sorry, I took no photos.
01 September 2009
Not a lot to report otherwise - must clean & lubricate my bike. Must take the kids out on the bike more. Must teach my youngest to ride. Must start thinking about next year's touring ride - do the C2C for a 3rd time? Or try something else - and if so, what?