Enough already!

If you think there’s plenty of my writing on the web already – BikeBiz.com, Bikeforall.net and QR.tv – you won’t be interested to know I’ve now got a monthly column on BikeRadar.com.

In the style of fellow blogger and BikeRadar columnist The Fat Cyclist, I’ll trail the column here but won’t spill all the beans.

The first piece is about a particularly hard Northern training ride, preparation for the two sportives I shall be doing this year.

The pain of the climb was long gone. This was cycling at its most sublime. To appreciate the good times, you have to suffer the bad.

And I’m not suffering enough at the moment. I need to suffer a lot more. On 11th May I’m riding the Fred Whitton Challenge, 114 miles over every major col of the Lake District. This will be my third ‘Fred’. My goal, as always, isn’t a stellar time, it’s merely to ride every inch of the route. At just under 100 miles ridden you’re faced with the twin terrors of Hardknott and Wrynose, tough climbs with fresh legs, murderous with jelly ones.

It’s on rides like these you know you’re not a cyclist for the pleasure of it, it’s the pain you seek out. Click to read the full piece …

And this is the video mentioned in the column, Phil Liggett riding in his eponymous Challenge.

Moonwalking bear vid nearly tops viral list

According to the Viral Video Chart, Transport for London’s ‘Do the Test’ video is now at number two in the list. Yesterday it was at number eight.

The British video has had 1.18m views on YouTube. Very few viewers will know – or care – that the idea for the video was plagiarised from an American academic.

Cut up by a car? Carve your name on the side

Not on a lovely metal car, of course, one of these wooden ones:

Udo Haase, a wood carver from Kiel in Germany, created a 1:1 replica of a Mercedes 300 SL last year and then went and trumped it by later making a Ferrari 250 GTO.

Unlike the beasties with engines, these two benign vehicles can’t go very fast. But, should making cars out of wood catch on, at least we could punish any bad driving by using an Olympic-style parabolic mirror to let the driver know he’s upset us.

Mind you, that could inflame, ahem, the war between cyclists and motorists. There are now so many wooden bikes, a special splintering-and-burning clause would have to be placed in Bike Snob NYC’s proposed peace treaty between cyclists and motorists.

Save the planet: cycle into the sun

Now, if only US eco-retailer Gaiam could scale up this solar reflector and attach it to a real bike…

“Swivel the adjustable solar panel on this unique lamp toward any direct light source and watch as its artful bike rider instantly starts pedaling toward a sun-powered future.Whether you turn on its conventional lamp to provide illumination or simply place it in a sunny spot as a fascinating mechanical object d’art, it puts the promise of solar power on creative display.”

Mind you, as it stands, this is a cute, planet-friendly gizmo for your windowsill. A snip at only 49 bucks!

Clarkson lover fries his undercrackers

As video virals go, the one below is a belter. It’s laugh-out-loud funny.

The anti-hero is a fat, sexist, conservation-hating, energy-wasting SUV driver who shouts at cyclists (“check this out, loser!”), pollutes for fun and wears a t-shirt that says ‘Polar bears, who cares?’

And it’s all to promote Energy Wasting Day. Fantastic bit of reverse psychology. Literally: Mr Dan Power drives backwards into a recycling container.

Another of Mr Power’s t-shirts reads ‘Polar bears are gay’. He reckons anybody who doesn’t drive a ‘chick magnet’ SUV is a “woman or a child.”

The viral was produced for the Climate Group, an eco-charity.

The Climate Group has some big-budget backers, such as M&S, Tescos, Sky TV and More Than.

Naturally, they’re all plugging their ‘eco-friendly’ not-so-conspicious-consumption products such as online car mileage monitors, planet-friendly kettles and other such green-tinged goodies. Sadly, there are no bikes on display. Corporations like to do their bit for the planet but truly encouraging customers out of their cars is not something that’ll catch on. Until the oil runs out, that is.

Bike shops clash over CamCam

On yesterday’s Spokesmen podcast I defended some of David Cameron’s ‘bike crimes’. Far from being a ‘Lycra lout’ as much of the media has painted him, Cameron DID NOT ride through a red light.

Watch the Daily Mirror’s video and you can see that Cameron rides over the white stop line as a defensive measure but doesn’t ride off until the light changes. The Daily Mirror was careful not to say Cameron rode through a red light but the rest of the media, and of course, comment posters, made no such distinction.

I’m dead against riding through red lights. It infuriates me to see it in action. The mass media likes to portray it as a national disease when, in fact, it’s more common in London than in other UK cities. (Now, riding on the pavement, that’s different, it’s common everywhere, a result of some pavements being made into bike paths so all are now fair game, especially as motorists routinely treat roads as race tracks).

When I stop at red lights in London I feel like a country bumpkin. When in Rome do as the Romans do? Not for me.

I’m therefore sympathetic to Andy Shrimpton’s Stop at Red campaign. Andy is the savvy, worldly-wise owner of Cycle Heaven, a wonderful bike shop in York. Much as I admire his campaign I think the comments he gave to the media over the CamCam episode have been wide of the mark.

Instead, I think much of what London bike shop Velorution says on the matter is noteworthy. Owner Andrea Casalotti argues that Cameron should not have apologised over his ‘bike crimes’ but should have used the opportunity to “explain that what he did was reasonable” because “if a facility puts, say, the convenience of motorists ahead of the safety of vulnerable road users, it is reasonable to disregard it.”

I wouldn’t go that far – especially as I wrote this article on keeping street legal when cycling – but I believe that Cameron’s misdemeanours are minor.

Perhaps the Daily Mirror could now follow ordinary folks driving and film them routinely breaching 30mph limits? Ditto for phone-driving.

We all see this road danger multiple times every day. This morning, when cycling with my kids to school, a bloke in a sports car negotiated a sharp turn on a steep hill with a cellphone clamped to his ear. It was perishing, with black ice on corners.

Sports car driver must have seen at least one of my kids cycling up the hill but didn’t think to stop his conversation. Bastard.

Next Spokesmen chat due out later today

We’ve just recorded another Spokesmen roundtable podcast. The Skype connection was crystal clear. It’ll be pumped out to iTunes and other podcatching software soon. Check on The Fredcast’s twitter updates for the actual second of publication.

Donna Tocci, David Bernstein and lil ‘ol me talked about van Impe, Landis, locks, Slipstream’s inclusion in the Tour de France, David Cameron’s freewheeling faux pas and other such stuff.

Mirror uses CamCam to nail Tory leader for bike crimes

Cycling makes it on to the front page of a British tabloid today. It’s all about Tory leader David Cameron’s bike commute to work.

He was filmed breaching road traffic regs. In the video he’s shown cycling the wrong way up a one way street, using a pelican crossing when it’s on red (but there’s zero traffic coming) and taking a right turn in front of a keep left bollard. The turn is on a wide avenue with no traffic on it.

The Daily Mirror implies it caught the would-be PM going through a red light. In fact, he went ahead of the white stop line to get away from cars but did not cycle through the light. He’s clearly shown waiting until the green light before cycling in to Parliament.

Many sets of UK traffic lights have ‘advanced stop lines’ so cyclists can get in front of the motorised traffic. This set had no ASL but it’s perfectly sensible to keep out of the way of impatient motorists.

You know, like famous TV presenters talking on their cellphones while driving, another Daily Mirror exclusive.

In related news, the Stop at Red website campaign from York bike shop owner Andy Shrimpton has had just 2405 signatures since it was created in 2006.

The difference colour and music makes

This is an interesting video. It features only minimum bike content (a passing cyclist). The short is by Martin Frericks.

It’s the same footage, played twice. In the first version a poisonous colour cast has been embedded in post-production. The music mirrors this. In the second version there’s a happier filter and happier music.

A Matter of Colour and Sound from Martin Frericks on Vimeo.

To watch the video in HD, click here. Vimeo is what broadband was invented for!