Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Cycle Quest

All 42 answer cards (10 checkpoints per card), the question booklet and poster map for the British Cycle Quest arrived the other day - total cost £10.00!

I have now completed 5 checkpoints and have at least one more I can complete this month. I had a great ride the other day through Northumbria, taking in some lovely countryside I would never have cycled through otherwise and am really keen on the whole idea. I am going to string several checkpoints together for my weeks cycling holiday next year. I will aim for some checkpoints further afield but just not sure where. Should I head to Cornwall or The Shetlands? Wales or The Outer Hebrides? The Isle of Man or the Isle of Wight? Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The Cycling BUG

I attended the inaugural meeting of the Bicycle User Group (BUG) at my hospital site this evening. There were a total of seven people including the Travel and Access Manager and myself. Although not a great turnout considering the hundreds of people employed on the site, there was plenty of enthusiasm and a willingness to try and move cycling higher up the agenda and press for better on site facilities.

We decided our main objectives should be:
  1. To press for better, secure cycle storage
  2. To encourage the implementation of a cycle to work scheme (long awaited)
  3. To promote cycling as a healthy activity for a healthy workforce
  4. To start a 'bike buddy' system for new cyclists
  5. To press for separate toilet and shower facilities for any new site buildings
We also hope to establish some links with local cycle shops and get a reduction on kit for BUG members and on a social agenda encourage BUG members to enter the Manchester SkyRide in 2011 as an identified group.

Plenty for me to help out with and nice to know our Travel and Access Manager actually cycles to work!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

The New Bracket

As promised some pictures of my new Rixen Kaul KLICKfix bracket in use. It is fitted with the extender section and accessory bar, both of which are extra. 

Just did a 48 mile ride with a loaded bar bag and never had a moments worry about it. The light is fitted when I'm commuting to work and so don't have a bar bag attached then but the two would fit at the same time just as well.

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Planning a  route for a weeks cycling in 2011 I had kind of decided on Scotland and a journey through the Outer Hebrides but a few days ago all that changed. I received my copy of Cycle - the magazine of the CTC (Cyclists Touring Club) and read about The BCQ or British Cycle Quest. Intrigued, the more I learnt about it the more I liked the idea.

According to the CTC the BCQ is a unique cycling challenge and a great motivation to discover new places. There are 402 checkpoints - 6 in each county including various off shore islands - so they are pretty widespread and there is no time limit or order in which to visit them. You just need to answer a question at each one and send in answer cards. I can visit as many or as few checkpoints I want at a time, do it whenever I like, take as long as I wish and devise my own routes to get to them. I can visit local ones on day trips from home and will string a few together on longer trips. 

I'm starting this month with either a cycle into West Yorkshire or over to Liverpool and will also knock a few off around Newcastle towards the end of the month. I liked to bag a 100 or so in the next year and will use my weeks cycling holiday in 2011 to visit some in Scotland. I'll be blogging each trip (on the BCQ page) and will tally the total miles cycled while 'questing'. It's all a bit nerdish but what a great way to see the country and visit some places I would never even knew existed.

Wish me luck!

Friday, 1 October 2010

Entering The Red Mist

Red Mist: a feeling of extreme anger that clouds one's judgement temporarily.

I really lost my rag with a motorist last night. I was sorry almost as soon as I did it - not because what I said was factually wrong or it didn't correctly express how I felt, but because what I said was only ever going to inflame the situation and give the motorist the excuse I was just a yob. 

It was 21.00hrs. I was cycling in secondary along the inside lane of a 30mph dual carriageway, fully lit up and wearing my hi viz reflective jacket. There was no traffic in front of me as I approached some traffic lights. A third, left turn only lane, began about 50m before the lights and this is where I was aiming to be. So travelling at 18-20mph I moved into primary within said lane as the lights changed to red. Next thing I knew a small car overtook me with less than 12-15cm room, it barely passed me when it moved into the gap between myself and the lights, forcing me into the gutter. It then stopped at the junction. 

Within a couple of seconds I was level and began attempting eye contact with the driver - something she wouldn't do until I banged on the nearside window. I asked if she knew how close the overtake had been? whether she had seen me? and so on. She said she had seen me from some distance behind and stated I should have been "against the kerb" and not "in the middle of the road". I made clear I had every right to be where I was and irrespective of my position her overtake was highly dangerous. She would not concede or apologise and I just got angrier. I asked if she: was an Advanced Driver? knew the Highway Code at all? had any cycling experience? I answered my own barrage of questions by shouting she obviously did not. And then I did it. The lights were changing to green and she was getting ready to make her escape and so I ended my rant by calling her a stupid cunt with as much venom as I could muster.

Like I said I was sorry almost as soon as the words left my mouth - almost! I blame the fact she had almost seriously injured or killed me a few seconds prior. She made it quite clear she had seen me, didn't think I had the right to be in that position and so it seems had no compunction in driving as close as she could. I would certainly not apologise to the driver if I had the misfortune to meet her again. However, I have renewed my personal vow to keep my cool when dealing with some of the prats on the road. It is just very, very difficult sometimes.