Posts

Showing posts from 2009

STILL FIXATED

Image
A year on from publicly declaring my fixie fixation, I'm still wimping out by riding my Pearson Touché as a single speed, free wheel. There's no good excuse for this laxity.

Time poverty could be a plausible reason. It must take considerable hours of practice to feel confident on a fixie, after all - time I don't have. But the truth is, I've just never got round to flipping my rear wheel. I feel quite comfortable staying free and single - in a bicycling sense at least.
Being a cheerleader for a movement I've not wholly embraced myself may smack of hypocrisy. But a recent jaunt into London's Square Mile suggests that I am not alone.




The City is a-swarm with bicycles of all shapes and sizes, weaving their way through the congested traffic. Trader types on mountain bikes; prim PAs on granny-geared shoppers; thrusting graduates on rusting steel racers; shop assistants on secondhand hybrids; company directors on shiny folders; cockney geezers on dodgy knock-offs; posti…

PARK RIDE

Image
Anyone with two wheels in west London will know about Richmond Park. It's a splash of cool green in the middle of suburban concrete.

It's surrounded by Roehampton high rises, A3 traffic jams and endless residential streets. On the proverbial clear day, you can see the London Eye, BT Tower and Canary Wharf from the middle of the park.



It's home to a wide variety of wild - and not so wild - life. Rabbits, badgers, woodpeckers, squirrels, foxes, ring-necked parakeets, magpies and herons live there. 350 fallow and 300 red deer roam the park at will. They've been in the area since the 17th Century when Charles I enclosed the land for easy hunting. It remains one of the largest enclosed parklands in Britain.



At the weekends Richmond Park is rammed with cyclists on the metalled roads, as well as on the off-road Tamsin Trail. Groups of club riders, most notably from London Dynamo, whiz round the perimeter in fully-fledged peleton formation. Scattered bunches of Kingston Wheeler…

VIDEOING VEN, TOUX, THREE

Image
HELP US BEAT BLOOD CANCER
Waiting at Southampton Airport very early on a July morning, my biggest stress was trying to remember whether or not I'd packed a copy of the Radio Times. Why I needed a TV listings magazine to film a group of cyclists ascending the 'giant of Provence' would become apparent later, once we'd reached the summit at just over 1900 metres.

As soon as my colleague Nigel had arrived with his camera and (not so) portable editing kit, we realised that we would be hit with a hefty excess baggage charge if we were to load all of his broadcast gear onto Flybe's flimsy-looking, twin prop, De Havilland.


Sure enough, after dancing between the check-in and excess baggage desks (at opppsite sides of the departure hall), it transpired that we'd have to pay an extra thousand pounds. After a quick call to Tara - our still-slumbering planning editor - the kit was soon stowed back in the boot of Nigel's car in the airport car park, where it would stay f…

JUST ANOTHER PAISLEY BIKE RIDE

Image
What wouldn't I have given to have been in Paisley a couple of days ago, when 'Mellow Johnny' himself turned up and invited the great unwashed out for a bike ride? Piecing together the story from Lance Armstrong's Twitter feed, it appears that back home in Texas, the seven times Tour winner was contemplating his imminent trip to the 'Emerald Isle' for the Tour of Ireland, when he realised that his mate Bono was doing a gig in Glasgow.



U2, Croke Park, 25th July 2009On the spur of the moment it seems, he decided to fly across for the Hampden concert and duly tweeted,"Hey Glasgow, Scotland!! I'm coming your way tomorrow. Who wants to go for a bike ride?"A couple of hundred fans at least - including 'Flying Scotsman'Graeme Obree himself - did. And they duly turned up in the rain, in Paisley, to go for a spin with the world's most famous cyclist. The small Scottish town can't have experienced many other days quite as surreal as this one.B…