Spot the difference

Here’s an exam question posed in an arithmetic test in the US:

If a car travels at a rate of 30 miles per hour, in how many hours will it reach a town that is 120 miles away?

Here’s an exam question posed in an arithmetic test in the Netherlands:

In een uur fiets je ongeveer 18 kilometer. Bereken hoeveel kilometer je ongeveer fietst in 10 minuten. Je kunt hierbij een verhoudingstabel gebruiken.

Translation: You cycle at about 18 km an hour. How far can you ride in 10 minutes?

There’s more…

Ilse gaat altijd met de fiets naar school. Ze doet er ongeveer 20 minuten over. Vanmorgen kreeg ze halverwege een lekke band. Ze moest verder lopen. Schat hoeveel minuten Ilse liep.

Translation: Ilse’s bike ride to school takes 20 minutes. Today she had a puncture at the half way point. How long did she have to walk?

And more…

Klaas zegt: ‘Ik hoef maar 5 minuten te fietsen om van huis naar school te komen.’ Janneke doet er zeker 23 minuten over om van huis naar school te fietsen. Schat hoeveel kilometer Klaas en Janneke van school af wonen.

Transation: Klaas says: “I only have to cycle 5 minutes to get to school.’ Janneke needs at least 23 minutes to cycle to school. How far from school do they each live?

Dutch folks love their fiets.

The questions above were taken from an exam paper available here as a PDF. With thanks to Marten Gerritsen.

‘Bike Freedom’ nominated for top travel award

Vélib’, the new cycle rental programme in Paris, has been shortlisted for a British Guild of Travel Writers Overseas Tourism Award and is through to the final round of voting by members of the Guild. The Award will be announced at the Guild’s annual dinner at London’s Savoy Hotel on Sunday 11th November.

The scheme – it stands for velo and liberation, ie bicycle freedom – was proposed by BGTW member Anthony Lambert.

In praise of the scheme, and cycling in general, Lambert said:

“Is there any better way to explore a city than by bike? You see more than you do when walking because you’re looking ahead instead of down in case of you know what. You can cover the ground more quickly in boring bits, never feel disinclined to stop to look at something interesting, and you work up a healthy appetite for dinner. It saves going to the hotel gym, causes no pollution – and now in Paris it’s virtually free.

“In July the city set up 750 stations and there’ll be 1500 by the end of the year, with 20,600 bikes. Numbers are particularly dense around Metro and railway stations. Computer terminals at Velib stations have a choice of 8 languages and you can have a one- or seven-day subscription, costing just €1 or 5, using your credit card. You choose a bike from those on the screen and away you go. The first half hour is free so you can cycle, park at another bike station, and then take another bike. It’s €1 for the first additional half hour and rises more steeply after the third half hour. This encourages a high turnover of bikes, and avoids competing with bike hire companies who hire for longer periods. Paris has 371km of bike path and more are being

“The scheme has already been a huge success. Winning this award would send a signal to other cities that this is the way to go.”

Here’s a video of how the scheme operates:

And here’s a video – called Velib Freeride – which shows the bikes being ridden down steps and in a BMX park. The on-board dynamos look trés chic in the night-time scenes:

By the end of August the 10,000 bikes were sharing 60 000 rentals per day, which means each bike is being rented in average six times a day, a huge success for the scheme.

The Vélib’ bikes are provided FOC to Paris by SOMUPI, a firm owned by JCDecaux, the outdoor advertising agency. In return for the bikes, Paris gives JCDecaux beaucoup advertising slots around the city. Due to the success of the scheme other cities around the world, including London, want to get on board.

The other nominations in the BGTW’s ‘Globe’ category are Historic Jamestowne and the Cancun Regeneratikon project. editor Carlton Reid is a member of the British Guild of Travel Writers. Guess which scheme he just voted for?

Pedestrian granny v revving sports car

It looks almost too good to be true. Spoof or genuine street drama? You decide.

If spoof, how did they get the airbag to inflate upon handbag impact?

PSP download spam trashed

Like any site with the ‘add your own comment’ feature, is bombarded with spam comments. Some get through the spam filter and look like real comments. All contain a URL in the hope you, dear reader, will click on it and fly off to the often dubious content.

The latest bit of spam which finagled its way past the filter was manually trashed but it was ironic which story it decided to infect and to which kind of site it was forwarding to. For obvious reasons the URL won’t be repeated here but it was a games download site, hoping to entice readers to download games for PSP players. And the story? 10 Things to Do with Your Kids This Summer.

No real surprise but that article was aiming to get more kids cycling…and away from their PSPs and Gameboys. Of course, now that this site has uttered these keywords, the spambots will hone in on this story. Drat!

Shimano/YouTube comp: the shortlist

The bicycle short video competition had a whopping 134 entries by the close of play on August 30th. These 134 have been whittled down to nine. The finalists will be judged at Interbike by Tour de France TV commentators Phil Liggett and Bob Roll.

The other judges are Kozo Shimano, Interbike’s Rich Kelly, and 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.

The competition videos had to be short and had to be “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.”

A number of the entries were spoof videos and because these were so good they have been rolled into a category of their own.

THE SHORTLIST, part 1 (in no particular order)

Bike it, you’ll like it:


Transport for London ad:

Amsterdam: The Bicycling Capitol of Europe:

WeJustWorkHere2 (SantA Cruz Bicycles):

NFTA1 (Bike to work, Netherlands):

THE SHORTLIST, part 2 (spoof vids, again in no particular order)

Cycling – Jolly good fun:

10% percent less:

Cyclists live longer:


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:

Well done to those on the shortlist, commiserations to those video-makers who didn’t make it through. An announcement about the winning entries will be made from the first day of Interbike, September 26th.

Even Dirt staff cycle to work

On choppers and stuff.

“Ever wondered how the lazy ass Dirt crew get to work every morning?” asks Mike Rose, editor of Dirt magazine.

“Well, wonder no more, this fly-on-wall video shows the daily commute of the staff on their way to the ‘9 to 5 grind’:

It’s filmed in a sloppy style by the DownAndOut crew. a bit like Heinz

While Heinz, famously but not quite accurately, has 57 varieties of foodstuffs, 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 YouTube videos are available in hi-res versions on the 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.

Moggies to be in vanguard in war against dopers

A French news agency reports that a team of scientists from MADA is to attempt to retrain a famous American cat to spot cyclists who dope. If successful, the new technique could be rolled out on other cats, starting with kittens.

Currently, Oscar curls up next to care-home residents about to expire, but Dr. Steffen F. Line of MADA believes the cat’s ability to sense when a person is close to death could be used in sport.

“Cats often can sense when their owners are sick or when another animal is sick,” said Dr Line.

“They can sense when the weather will change, they’re famous for being sensitive to premonitions of earthquakes.

“Oscar is not psychic, we believe he is picking up on biochemical impulses. We hope his talents extend to the ability of telling when a banned substance is being used in sports such as cycling.”

Cycling is currently reeling over a number of cases of sporting fraud, including in the ongoing Tour de France.

Patrice Leberk, CEO of the company which owns Le Tour, is a cat lover and would like to see the use of felines in anti-dopage.

“We’ve tried sniffer dogs. We’ve tried being nice to the riders. We’ve tried being horrible to the riders. Nothing seems to work. Oscar may be our last hope. My own moggie can hum La Marseillaise and if he can do that who knows what specially trained cats will be capable of?

“We need to catch them young, of course. I plan to donate some of my own kittens to further Dr Line’s research.”

Cofidis rider Bradley Wiggins said: “See, I told you Floyd Landis was guilty.”

Polka dot bra in Tour de France cheat shock

The ‘Men in black’ just can’t beat pro-cyclists willing to use any and all means to help them win.

Click this video for incriminating evidence of the yellow jersey getting grossly unfair hillside assistance:

Oh, and want to wallow in a 10-minute interview with Alexandre Vinokourov? Here he is after stage 13 of this year’s Tour:

And this Kazakhstan news anchor says the behaviour of a world-famous Kazakh citizen is “disgusting” and “unacceptable.”