Tuesday, 30 April 2013

30 Days Of Biking - End of month report

Two weeks ago I posted about #30daysofbiking and how I was faring.

Sadly, I haven't been out as much as I had since then. In total just 3 outings, covering 31.8 miles and taking my April total to 119.9 miles in 9 rides. That's still over 13 miles a ride, so not too shabby!
My year total at date of publishing stands at 550.7 miles, which is over a quarter of my 2000 mile goal for 2013 in a quarter of the year. So far I'm on track!

Things could be looking up physically as I've consulted a chiropractor about my leg issues and he has discovered I have some pelvic rotation which would go a long way into explaining why I have these problems. I'm confident that Andrew will correct any problems and I will continue the year injury-free.

How about you? Did you manage the full 30 days? Leave a comment below!

Follow me on Twitter @BishAuckBiking for more cycling information, opinions and stories.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Get Britain Cycling?

Wednesday 24th April was a big day for cycling in Britain, as the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group (snappy title) published their resulting report from their inquiry into how to "Get Britain Cycling".

The report is a lengthy document, which I confess, I haven't read in it's entirety. Or much of it at all, to be honest, just the summary.

I have however, read many news articles, blogs and tweets about the subject. This blog post is merely my own opinion thrust into a myriad of others out there on the www.

My overall feeling can be summed up as such:
Whilst I think that such a report is warmly welcomed by cyclists the length and breadth of the UK, there are many factors in place that could make the recommendations made in the report come to a slow, disappointing end, like getting a pinch flat after hitting a pothole in the road.

The biggest of these is convincing the Prime Minister that cycling is an extremely valid way of decreasing obesity, saving money everywhere and increasing "the quality of life in our towns and local communities". If it comes from the top down, getting Britain cycling could become a very real possibility. If, and it's a big if, David Cameron is on board. The best way this can happen is if this petition can get over 100,000 signatures - this will force a parliamentary debate on the subject. It currently has over 20,500 signatures.

How does this affect me?

To be honest, a lot of the reading I have done seems to be London-oriented. OK, it's where all the politicians live, where the publication was launched and was the focus of Great Britain's Olympic triumphs in the London Olympics last year. The capital is always going to be first. If (there's that word again) Britain does indeed get cycling it will undoubtedly start in cities, then the bigger towns and then eventually the small towns and suburbs. This is of course dependant on local councils getting involved - a council may have a cycling enthusiast at the head so measures may come into place sooner than others.

I found this handy page on the Guardian website, which shows the population density of travel modes in areas of England and Wales, as found in the 2011 Census.


This is how my area fares:
Less than 5% of people regularly cycle commute
Compare this to the percentage of people driving to work:
Lots of areas where 30-60% of people drive to work
In fact, we have to go to York, (30 minutes south on the train), to find a city with a population of regular cyclists that colour the map anything other than that awful beige:
In York, 5-15% of people are regular cyclists
From the same Guardian website, the data can be downloaded to a Google spreadsheet. Here's how the North East of England stacks up against the rest of England in all categories:


Whilst the inquiry is undoubtedly good news, I think it will be a very long time before I will see any benefits of the report - but city dwellers: you are in luck.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Cycling in your 20s (Not the 1920s)

How should I cycle train in my 20s?

I read the article above yesterday and felt, for the first time, like I'm past it, over the hill. I should point out that I am 30 years old.

The article makes it clear that if you are cycling competitively, explosive power and speed is your strong point in your twenties, not endurance. Which is good to hear, as I think I lean towards endurance and stamina-testing bouts of physical exercise.

I suppose more than anything, the article made me feel like I'd missed out on a lot of two wheeled excitement over the last decade. Truth be told, I've been cycling since October 2006 when I was 24, but I was just getting back into it and really just riding for the enjoyment.

The next article about training/riding in your thirties was published today but I haven't read it yet. I think I'll save it in Pocket or my biking Springpad notebook and comment later after reading thoroughly and contemplating it's advice/wisdom/foolhardiness (delete all applicable).

Monday, 15 April 2013

30 Days Of Biking - Half Way Report

If you don't know what 30 Days of Biking is, I'll tell you. Or you can click the link and take a look yourself! Basically, you sign up and pledge to ride your bicycle everyday during April. You don't need to go far, just down, the street would do.
The idea is that you share your stories, blogs, photos and other media on Twitter using the hashtag #30daysofbiking.

So far, I've only managed to cycle 7/15 days, covering 88.1 miles. This is pretty poor compared to previous months and is down to a knee injury I've picked up - but from where and how, I don't know!

The physiotherapist I have to see about my meralgia paresthetica says I might have overdone it when I covered over 38 miles on the 1st April. Last week I cycle commuted on Monday and was in pain so I did nothing all week, bar a 3/4 mile spin to the police station and back on Friday night. A week off must have done some good, resting up. Commuting on today confirmed that it in fact hadn't helped. I'm thinking of getting a second opinion from another physio.

So for now, I think that I will be missing even more cycling than I have done in a long while. I cycle commuted all through the perma-winter we've had in the UK and now that the weather is fine, I can't ride! Grrr!

It's even more annoying as Sam and I are planning a ride called Coast & Castles, 200 miles from Newcastle upon Tyne to Edinburgh.

I hope I get my knee fixed soon.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Fixed gear bikes - a dying breed?

When I was looking at getting myself a commuting bicycle, I had a fixie in mind. Simple/almost no maintenance required, a fixie is a get on and ride, get home and put away kind of bike. You barely have to think about it other than when you are riding it.

However, I went for a geared hybrid and I'm glad I did. Having any gears is worthwhile, despite the weight penalty. When you feel tired coming home from work, pick up an injury or the weather is hindering you, gears are your friend! A helping hand when the going gets tough out on the road.

Last week, I read this article from Bikeradar. It seems I have made the newest fashionable choice! To be honest, I haven't seen many, if any, fixed or singlespeed bikes in the area. I have however, seen one electric bike - a man was pushing it towards Halfords as he'd suffered a flat.

I'll keep my eyes peeled!

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Google Map Maker - UK

Today Google announced that their map editing service is now available for UK users.

I am quite excited about this because I know that some cycling routes around the area here in Bishop Auckland are not shown on Google Maps. I think if the quieter, more scenic routes were shown, a lot more people would be interested in cycling between towns.

Hopefully I can contribute to this. I have started, by submitting the Auckland Way byway I use on my commute between Bishop Auckland and Spennymoor. The route drawing method is the same as making your own maps for private or shared use. However, defining the route seemed confusing and I'm relying on guidance from moderators for this.

A handy way of doing this would be to ride the route while recording using any GPS app that allows you to export the data as .gpx, .kml or .kmz and simply upload it. Maybe you can do that? Worth a look!

There hasn't been too many additions to the area yet, but it's early days.
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