Dutch MPs want kids to get free bikes

Primary school pupils should be given free bicycles, argues the Dutch Socialist Party (SP)

The party will present a motion to that effect today, reports the Dutch-language section of the SP’s website. According to the party, half of primary school pupils in the Netherlands cannot participate in school bicycle tests because they have no access to bicycles or do not know how to ride one.

Really, in the bike-mad Netherlands?

SP’s Meta Meijer said:

“This bicycle plan offers many advantages. Children get help riding a bicycle, which is good for both the environment and their health. By doing the exam, they learn how to participate in traffic safely. Finally, young people can gain valuable experience repairing bicycles in practical lessons.”

A medley of Interbike pix

Kudos to Tim Grahl, Guitar Ted, Fritz at Cyclicio.us and Byron and his Bike Huggers for their Interbike photosets.

I don’t use Flikr. I send my pix via Mac’s iPhoto to Google’s Picasa. Here’s a bunch of my Interbike shots.

The shots include pix of Interbike’s Rich Kelly and the Boston Globe’s Ross Kerber. When he wasn’t spending time in the Media Center researching a breaking mutual funds story, Ross was out riding or researching bikes. He wrote two stories for his paper, here and here.

Ross may specialise in mutual funds but he did his internship at Bicycling magazine, hence his interest in Interbike. He sold the trip to his editor on the technology angle. Riding can be research.

There were also at least three belt driven bikes at the show. There was the Spot one, of course, but there was also an alu Strida, which has been using a Gates (rubber) belt for 20+ years. And Delta Corp. had some city bikes with Gates belt drives, and not just on the iXi.

On the Tour of Lake Mead, Interbike director Lance Camisasca handed out water to thankful riders.

Two fast riders on the Tour of Lake Mead were David Bernstein (left) of the Fredcast and Tim ‘New York Times/Boston Globe’ Jackson of Masi. They dropped me after this shot was taken. My excuse? I had to take pix and video so couldn’t put the hammer down. Yeh, that’ll do.

Dunlop in chunks

Tire Ball introduces ‘air cell’ flat-proof tyre inserts at Interbike.

Scottish-born Belfast-based JB Dunlop created the pneumatic inner tube in 1888 revolutionisng the world of bicycles, making bikes faster and more comfortable. But then as now, the one-piece rubber tubes were prone to punctures. Many flat-free systems have been introduced then.

The newest on the block – and an innovation that would pleased Dunlop – is the Tire Ball. Already used successfully in motorbikes and ATVs, Tire Balls are small, squidgy 2.5inch air-filled balls which fit into existing tyres and rims. If one flats no big deal there are 20+ more to keep the tyre ‘inflated’. Pressure forces the rest of the Tire Balls to fill the empty space.

The Tire Ball Development Company is a spin-off of SRC Summers Racing Components, a motorbike and ATV specialist run by Wade Summers, father of off-road motorbike racing champion Scott Summers.

At Interbike’s Outdoor Demo, the Tire Balls booth was mobbed from morning to night with beta testers being signed up to iron out any wrinkles in the system for MTBs. Tire Balls will cost about $150 per wheel but can wholly prevent punctures and rim flats, of vital importance to racers. The Tire Ball system has been created for XC and DH bikes.

Wade Summers said Tire Balls offer “not only virtual flat-proof characteristics but simultaneously improves traction and improves suspension performance. Tire Balls are designed to last for years not hours of use.”

Revolution stays in Manchester but expands to Oz and Wales

Season 5 of the Revolution kicks off on October 20th. The velodrome-based event is a class act, soon to be available in Newport and Australia, too. Watch a video from last year’s series…

The series continues November 17th, January 12th and February 23rd. With British Cycling and many international riders now using the Revolution as crucial preparation for UCI competition the racing is getting harder and faster with riders travelling from outside Europe to enjoy the Revolution experience.

This year the Revolution will be top and tailed by the National Track Championships and World Championships providing an awesome season of racing for the newly laid Manchester track.

However, not all the Revolution action will take place in Manchester with new events scheduled for Australia and the Future Revolution taking place on the 13th and 14th October at the Newport Velodrome.

“The Revolution brand is growing,” said James Pope from Face Partnership.

“We have established a partner to develop Revolution in Australia with an official launch scheduled for the beginning of October. In addition, the Future Revolution, which has been developed in partnership with DHL, has been set up for juniors providing an exciting race programme for British juniors to take on their international counterparts.”

Tickets for Revolution on October 20th are now on sale from the Revolution website or by calling 07005 942 579 or 0161 223 2244.

Phil and friends go cycling in the Peak District

The Phil and Friends Challenge Ride starts and ends in Stannington, near Sheffield, every August. This was the seventh ride, and as always, was led by Phil Liggett, the ‘voice of cycling’. The ride benefits the CTC Charitible Trust.

There were a couple of hundred participants with the ‘friends’ being Eurosport commentator David Harmon, Quickrelease.tv’s Carlton Reid, and Ron Gray, founder of the Lanterne Rouge club.

Riding with this bunch for part of the way were Brian Robinson, the first Brit to finish the Tour de France (with Vic Denison in 1955), and Martyn Bolt, a councillor with Kirklees Council. Evidence of Bolt’s power was seen on the drag up Holme Moss – council workers had painted permanent road markings telling cyclists the distance to the summit.

Check out all of the Quickrelease.tv YouTube videos here and subscribe, for free, to hi-res versions via iTunes here.

232,011 reasons to link with Quickrelease.tv

The 68 Quickrelease.tv videos on YouTube.com have been downloaded 335,163 times.). Bike brands and shops which want to feature on future vids and podcasts – or place banners on this site – can now access a PDF ratecard.

The YouTube video library of Quickrelease.tv is here. One of the vids has had 27,415 views.

28 of the Quickrelease.tv videos are available in hi-res versions on iTunes.

Click here for advertising and video production details.

QR.tv: a bit like Heinz

While Heinz, famously but not quite accurately, has 57 varieties of foodstuffs, Quickrelease.tv now has 57 videos in its YouTube library.

Go watch a few of them here. One of them has had 27,000+ views. All in, the videos have had a whopping 230,896 views on YouTube. Some have been sponsored videos, such as the Silverfish-supported videos on the Nissan Qashqai Challenge MTB event. These videos have had 13,397 and 16,526 views, an excellent payback for the UK Raceface importer.

And, talking about Heinz, viral videographer Nalts is the 1,965th entry in the Heinz ‘make us a cheap ad’ YouTube video contest. His video is way funnier than anybody else’s.

The Heinz Top This TV Challenge may have had 1,965 entries but, hey, it’s backed with a top-prize of $57,000 and is a paid-for contest on YouTube.

All you get in the Shimano/YouTube contest is a huge bag of bike bits schwag – but it’s had 120 entries. More are needed. Remember, the videos will be judged at Interbike Las Vegas by Tour de France commentators Phil Liggett and Bob Roll, see yesterday’s story.

Most of the Quickrelease.tv YouTube videos are available in hi-res versions on the Quickrelease.tv video podcast site on iTunes. And, there are some videos that are only placed on the podcast site so subscribe to make sure you get ’em all. It’s free, and the videos play on PCs, Macs, Apple TVs, iPhones and iPods. And some play on cellphones, too.

Liggett and Roll to judge Shimano/New Belgium YouTube video comp

The Quickrelease.tv bicycle short video competition will be judged at Interbike by Tour de France TV commentators Phil Liggett and Bob Roll.

The other judges are the illustrious members of The-Spokesmen podcast, including David Bernstein of the Fredcast, Tim ‘Masiguy’ Jackson, Donna Tocci of Kryptonite and Tim Grahl of the Crooked Cog Network.

Get your vids in quick, the deadline is August 30th.

The rules for the Shimano/YouTube/QR comp are here. 120 videos have been submitted to date.

Not all comply to the competition’s requests for the videos to be like “TV adverts extoling the virtues of bicycling to a mainstream audience. So, go light on the Lycra. No techie stuff. No Critical Mass protest vids. No art installations. Just great images of cycling that could make Joe and Joanna Public get out there and ride…for the sheer fun of cycling.”

Submit your own video via YouTube.

The competition winners get Shimano schwag, including top-end components. The competition is also sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Co. of the US, maker of Fat Tire Amber Ale. A video of a New Belgium TV ad featuring cycling was used in the Shimano/YouTube competition video:

If you can get your bike film down to one minute then consider also submitting it to the Film Minute competition and the Friends of the Earth YouTube competition for video shorts.

Learn how to plan, shoot, edit and compress your film here.

Coals to Newcastle, bikes to Gateshead

“I abhor the Barrattification of Britain, this defacing of green and brownfield sites by identikit boxes…Let’s plan new-builds with variation, greenery, ecology and community in mind.”
The Independent, April 2001

Following the publication of this article, property development company George Wimpey called Wayne Hemingway’s bluff. Would he and his wife Gerardine, the other half of iconic 1980s clothing brand Red or Dead, help design a new housing development in Gateshead?

The Staiths South Bank was the result. It’s Britain’s biggest HomeZone and it now has a bike pool facility for residents.

Video available on iTunes here.

HomeZones aim to promote a more balanced relationship between pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles. Rather than prioritising cars, they encourage environments where the spaces between the houses are safe for children to play and for adults to meet their neighbours.

Phase one of the Staiths South Bank development was completed in April 2005. The whole scheme to house over 2,000 is projected to be finished in 2010. The 526-metre wooden Staiths on the river Tyne form a scenic backdrop to the development. Built in 1890 the Dunston Staiths were used for coal loading until 1980.

The 40-acre site will eventually contain 750 homes. It has a wide variety of homes including townhouses, apartments and semi detached houses. The buildings are finished in a range of materials including coloured render, brick, cedar wood cladding and Scandinavian tiling. Bins – and cars – are screened with wicker fences. There are ‘pocket parks’, communal barbeques, colourful children’s play areas and concreted-in outdoor table-tennis tables.

There’s a cycle route in front of the Staiths. This goes to Newcastle city centre along a flat riverside route. It’s blocked in the other direction but eventually there will be a cycle route to Europe’s largest mall, the MetroCentre.

It’s easy to reach the city centre by car from the Staiths South Bank, but even easier by bike. It’s a five minute cycle ride to the iconic Tyneside attactions such as the Baltic arts centre, the Sage and the Tyne bridge. The opening of the Gateshead ‘blinking eye’ Millennium Bridge has seen an additional 94,000 trips per year being generated between Gateshead and Newcastle, an increase of 186 per cent. Parking on the Quayside is limited.

George Wimpey North East is hoping to boost the number of residents who cycle with the introduction of the Cycle@Staiths Initiative, launched on Wednesday by Hemingway. This is a Continue reading “Coals to Newcastle, bikes to Gateshead”