Thursday, June 16, 2005

Bike To Work Day

Well, its bike to work day and surprise surprise the rain is lashing down outside. Civil servants from other departments had an organized ride this morning but I have to drop the kids off at school so I missed it.
There was one extra bike in the bike shed at the beginning of the week - I still dont know whose it was, but at least somebody rode one day of bike week. In fact you could say the number of people cycling to my office doubled!
Oh well, theres always next year.

Monday, June 13, 2005

A Clean Set of Wheels?

A green SUV, yeah right.

From the Guardian

If you read the motoring press then you might believe that the RX400h, with
its part electric/part petrol "hybrid" engine, has been sent from above to
single-handedly slay climate change. According to much of the coverage, there is
no need to feel guilty - if you ever did, that is - about driving an SUV, given
that the RX400h achieves up to three times the fuel efficiency of its market
rivals and an equally impressive reduction of polluting exhaust fumes. The
message is clear: relax everyone, the panic's over. A breathless review in
Automobile magazine talks of a car that "accelerates with V-8 gusto and cradles
its occupants in leather-lined luxury". The hyperbolic review ends: "The Lexus
RX400h provides the well-to-do with a sacrifice-free ride to social

So is this car the saviour many are claiming it to be? Could the hybrid
engine be the "bridging technology" that will enable us to reach the
oft-heralded, post-carbon age? Or is it just an eco-veneer being applied to what
is still a very dirty way of getting from A to B?

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


After a couple of weeks cycling the trailer bike and my daughters bike back home every day I decided that I would leave the bikes locked to the fence outside the school and pick them up on my way home from work. On the second day of doing this I got back to the school to discover 3 flat tyres.
I pumped up the tyres on my daughter’s bike but the scum had pulled out the valve on the trailer bike tyre.
Of course all I got from my wife was I told you so, but it really annoys me that with all the cars near by that they never mess with them. Maybe its because they haven’t seen a trailer bike before so it got their attention. I just wish I’d caught them in the act.

Also, yesterday morning I got another puncture despite having 2 new tyres !
So I decided to e-mail the council and give them a piece of my mind. I told them that if they really wanted to encourage people to cycle in the city they should ensure that the cycle paths are well maintained and free from glass.
There has been the same patch of glass on the path now for over 2 months. With Bike to Work Week starting here next week I told them that this would be the ideal opportunity to ensure the paths are in order. There would be nothing more discouraging to a new cyclist than getting a puncture on their first day out.
I also highlighted the fact that to really encourage cycling they would need to have a cycle network that is integrated in to the main road system and actually went as far as the city centre. So far they only seem to have put cycle paths where it is convenient for them, not for us.
Lisburn is a very small city and the distance from one side of the city to the other is less than 5 miles which makes it an ideal place to get about by bike. Its just a pity that sustrans only seems to build cycle paths that attract tourists and Sunday cyclists rather than provide a real transport alternative. If I followed the sustrans route to work in the morning it would take me an extra 30 minutes.
Anyway on the plus side I saw a 4 wheeled recumbent carrying an advertisement hoarding yesterday – the only bummer was that it was on a trailer being towed by a 4x4.
Oh well every silver lining has a cloud.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Apeakolypse Now!

You can rely on Schnews to tell it like it is.

Apeakolypse Now!

Petroleum geologists reckon that the world oil peak will be sometime
between 2005 -2010. The majority of non-OPEC producers such as the United
States, Britain, Norway, and Mexico, who satisfy 60 percent of world oil demand, are already in a production plateau or decline. A leading guru, Colin Campbell (ex of Shell and Total Fina Elf) reckons 2007. Are we preparing for it? Are we readying ourselves to radically change our lifestyles and energy consumption? Of course not.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

New Tyres and Old Wrecks

After fixing three punctures in the space of a week, I decided it was probably time to get a new front tyre. I usually buy any spares and stuff for the bike when I’m in Belfast but as I was off work I decided to use a local shop - cycle zone in Lisburn.
The guy in the shop was friendly (always a reason to go back in my opinion) and had the "2" new tyres (I decided to splash out) on in no time. I was amazed when I checked their web site to see that there has been a cycling shop on that site for over 100 years! Its hard to imagine them working on penny farthings out the back – I’d love to see some old photos of the place.
I asked him about the Raleigh 20 I have rusting away in my garage. I wanted to find out if there was anywhere in Ireland that did re-sprays, but as I suspected there isn’t. If I can get the seat post out I think I’ll take it in to him and see if he thinks it’s worth spending the money on. I’ll probably have to send it to England for a re-spray.
I suppose it’s a matter of taste with the Raleigh 20, I love them. I used to ride mine all the time when I first came over to Ireland but it got a bit neglected when I got my current bike about 7 years ago. The poor thing even rusted away outside the circus office for about a year. I’d love to fully restore it and make it in to a fixed wheel, its just having the time to do it.
Check out Sheldon Browns Raleigh 20 page to see the type of thing I’m talking about. Anyway I’m sure I’ll have more to say about 20’s in future posts.