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Friday, 14 December 2012

Strange MTBs and Cycle Safety

Cycle paths - a waste of time?

It's often said that cycle paths which separate bikes from traffic are best. Well, in terms of ring roads and dual carriageways they may be, but it's not the only solution.  They can reinforce the "them and us" issue with drivers and may contribute to making other roads more dangerous. Some of the glass covered, dog messed and poorly maintained excuses for cycle paths I have encountered makes the prospect of sharing a dual carriage way with cars at 70 mph seem quite attractive. 

So what is the solution? Well it's horses for courses. I like the Bristol Ring Road cycle paths - they are mainly looked after, well used and populated by cyclists and pedestrians expecting to see each other. I also like some of the cut-throughs that legally allow a left turn at red lights and clear white markings that give a cyclist at least some feeling of belonging on the road. Vague red lines on normal roads are just a waste of paint, and effort and probably piss off drivers who wonder what they are for.

So, use cycle paths, if they are relevant to your journey and safe to use. But don't use rubbish half hearted efforts - we all pay for the highway, so use them.


29'ers

29'ers are not cyclists who are forever 29.....(not me...) they are the new trend in mountain bikes which use the  "29 inch" wheel size, a wheel slightly larger than a "26 inch" wheel (obviously), the most common size on a mountain bike. 

You might ask why? Well, the reason for 26 inch wheels was more a matter of history than choice, but the size was good in that the wheel is robust (well as robust as possible - I've bust about three, none of my friends have AFAIK, but there again, I weigh in at least 4 stone heavier than most...) and is easy to turn, lift and is reasonably light.

So why a larger wheel? Well one of the main reason is easier rolling - i.e.  less resistance to rolling as the tyre hits the ground at a shallower angle and also being larger tends not to get "stuck" in so many smaller holes and rollers (apparently) It also means that stutter bumps have less of an effect and it's possible to use a hardtail bike with larger wheels and get a lighter overall bike.

Bike magic have done a review of a Santa Cruz and they really liked it. This is not a cheap bike, but it does give you cause to think outside the box a little, when thinking about a bike. 29'ers tend to be a better fit for taller riders as the wheels take up more room within the frame. And there is the question of cost. The frame is £1750 - and for that I can find you a nice complete full sus "normal" MTB with quite a few "trimmings" to add. However, I have found a recent review of hard tail 29'ers   which provides an alternative look. Now if I had room in the garage, I could be tempted, but it's not justified as I just don't get off road as often these days.....

Be interested to see what people think. Indeed, has anyone tried one?

Winter cycling update

Bike Magic also have an article about winterising your bike I am glad they covered the same ground as I did. Hope it helps.

Bristol Cycle Trails promo

For those who like the feel of a public information film from the 1960s, I've found a promo vid for Ashton Court. Taking the piss apart - if you are in the area - they are worth a visit as they provide an easy to follow workout where you can go really fast. Of course - let me know you are coming and I'll fire up the Gaggia for post ride drinks!

Ashton Court promo   You can even see what's on offer at the golf course...if MTBing is not for you!

I love the 4 year old kid used to show the trail! Look - MTBing is for anyone!

Of course - Ashton at full pace looks like this...... Ashton Court - fast and Leigh Woods looks like this Leigh Woods

Recipe corner - Lemon Drizzle cake - Vodka update

Having tasted the first and second batch of Xmas Pudding Vodka, I conclude that it's more "Mince Pie" flavour - but none the worse for that. Easy to make - easy to drink - straight from the fridge mind!
Lemon drizzle cake often causes the waste of lemon juice. This recipe makes the most of your lemony expenditure. I made this Lemon drizzle "cake" recipe from the Guardian last weekend. It turned out to be more of a lemon brick as it sank slightly in the centre - prob because I had medium eggs and not large ones - so the structure may have been a tad flimsy. 

Do pour the drizzle on top as directed, but keep it away from the edges until you have control of your "drizzling" It's really more like marinating and as it cools/sinks in, it will get harder. So if you just pour and go, it will be a bit of a mess - tasty, but a mess!




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