Go bag a Bickerton

Check this 1983 TV advert for Bickerton folding bikes. Brompton wasn’t the only British folding bike maker of the time.

The advert was put together for Bickerton Rowlinson Ltd by Sharps advertising, who subsequently became Dorland (part of Saatchi and Saatchi). I don’t think the scriptwriter won any awards for this ad, but you got to love the idea of putting a nun on a bike.

The ad aired on national telly. It went out on the young Channel 4. Bickerton scored a great deal because there was an actor’s union strike at the time and few ads were able to beat the Equity blockade.

Mark Bickerton, son of the bike’s inventor, said:

“The name Bickerton is still synonymous with folding bikes, and it is amazing how many people still remember this advert 24 years on.”

“For years, I have been searching for a copy of this advert and the other day someone e-mailed me with a digital copy. It’s a little bit of history.”

Mark Bickerton has been the UK agent/importer of Dahon folding bikes since the mid-1980s.

Flip the pages of the Bike to Work Book

Here’s the latest, revised version of the Bike to Work Book. It’s now a 50 pager, with some minor revisions to the text and two new pages at the back with bike quotes from famous folks.

The e-book is now a page-flipping beauty!

Click on full screen, scroll around, zoom in and out, select just certain pages to forward or Twitter/Digg/Reddit about.

Because this page-flipping version of the sampler is so gorgeous I’ve decided to make the full, 250+ page e-book into a free publication. The print book will still be available on Amazon etc but will also be available to download gratis. This will get the book seen by lots more people and – paradoxically – should not harm sales of the print version. If anything, it should actually help the sales of the ‘real world’ version. But, it’s a risk.

Please forward the new rendering of the sampler to any folks you think might be ripe for conversion to bike to workers. Here’s a shortened version of the URL: http://tinyurl.com/Bike2Work

The docstoc and scribd version of the book will soon be updated with the current version of the sampler. To date, the book has been viewed nearly 4500 times on docstoc so – in book terms – it’s already a best-seller!

Cellphone driver could have killed the American dream(boat)

This is a famous photograph of Barack Obama riding his bike in Chicago when he was a mere senator. The bike doesn’t fit him and he’s pedalling with the balls of his feet but he appears relaxed and safe.

But check out the driver in the passing car. Sure looks like he’s driving while talking on a mobile phone. Such lack of attention is a major cause of auto ‘accidents’ around the world. The American dream could have been over before it even started.

Cyclists look small in HGV mirrors

Dunno, this bobby on a bike looks pretty big to me.

The Council gave cyclists an opportunity to see the road from a HGV driver's viewpoint

Maybe being a policeman helps in the visibility stakes? Of course, once the cyclist has cleared this area it’s into the HGV drivers blind spot. But there are special mirrors to combat such blind spots.

The pic is from a press release from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.


As part of a three week long London-wide campaign of education and enforcement aimed at lorry drivers and cyclists, the Council gave cyclists a rare opportunity to see the road from a HGV driver’s viewpoint and learn about the real dangers in passing them on the left hand side. The campaign’s aim was to reduce the number of collisions between lorries and bicycles.

The awareness event was held today 26 November at the entrance to Holland Park, on Kensington High Street, with partners the Metropolitan Police Campden Safer Neighbourhoods Team.

The Royal Borough’s Cycling Champion, Councillor Maighread Condon-Simmonds, said: “Even the most road-aware cyclist will probably never have seen what a cyclist looks like in the mirror of a HGV and more importantly when they don’t appear in the mirror. This event gave cyclists a chance to brush up on the basic rules of the road and see things from a different perspective. I’m also very pleased to hear that the campaign will also encourage lorry drivers to pay special attention to cyclists.”

Bike experts were on hand to give quick safety checks and simple adjustments to bicycles on site and alerting riders to another hazard – the risk in jumping a red light.

Barack surrounds himself with bike commuters

James L. Jones, National Security Advisor and bike commuter

No need to send James L. Jones a copy of my Bike to Work Book, he’s already one of us.

The former US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (2003-2006) has just been made the President-elect’s national security adviser.

Here’s what the retired marine general told military newspaper ‘Stars and Stripes’ about his favoured choice of work transport:

“[Commuting by bicycle is] an absolutely essential part of my day. It’s mind-clearing, invigorating. I get to go out and pedal through the countryside in the early morning hours, and see life come back and rejuvenate every day as the sun is coming out.”

Click on the box in the right-hand corner of this embed to make it bigger and then use the magnify tool to zoom in to the text:

Bike to Work Book Sampler

Get your own at Scribd or explore others:

Cough. Splutter. Cough. Evening Standard backs congestion charging

I’m agog, the Evening Standard wants to keep 30,000 cars out of London partly in order to protect newbie cyclists!

THE Mayor is expected to announce his decision on whether to keep the western congestion charge zone within days: as we report today, the issue is dividing London councils. Hammersmith and Fulham council is at loggerheads with Kensington and Chelsea over the western extension’s future.

Hammersmith regards the zone as creating a “Berlin wall” which divides one part of the borough from the other, and is worried about the effect on local businesses. The Royal Borough, meanwhile, says its residents like the reduction in traffic the charge has brought.

But this question has to be looked at from a London-wide perspective. The western extension was inevitably unpopular when introduced. However, to remove it now and allow 30,000 cars a day back in would be a retrograde step. It would force many cyclists back onto public transport, increase car commuting and congestion, and worsen air quality. At a time of pressure on budgets, the Mayor will not want to do without the revenue the zone raises. The solution is to modify the charge so that it still deters car commuters but ends in the middle of the day to allow access to shops and businesses.

Mobile phone driver [UPDATED]

I did something wrong this morning. I got angry. With a motorist.

That motorists care little for my safety doesn’t normally bug me. It’s a given. Motorists rarely stop to think they’re piloting lethal weapons in a world of a soft and squishy things.

The thing that really got me was the fact he could have wiped out my daughter.

We were cycling to school together. My other two kids had left earlier and I was chaperoning Hanna. We turn left off the main road. Behind us, but only just, and also turning left, there’s a guy driving along, with a cellphone clamped to his ear. I usually challenge such illegality by asking drivers to put down their phones.

This guy didn’t.

While still pedalling along, I pointed out there was a 9-year old child in front of him and he might like to change his mind. He didn’t see the need.

I shouted at him. Shouldn’t have done that.

UPDATE: Shy bairns get nowt. I decided to put in a complaint to the company I read about while I was up close to the vehicle. I got an immediate emailed response, promising I’d get a call from a company area manager.

He reached me today (he had called yesterday but got Hanna, and he didn’t leave a message). He asked me about the incident and accepted my apology for the shouting I gave the driver, understanding the provocation. He said: “You read all sorts about people phoning and texting when they’re driving, it’s not on.”

He also said his company has a safe driving policy and this employee breached it. There were ten employees in my area yesterday and all denied driving while phoning. All were read the riot act.

The area sales manager also said he’d be resending the company’s safe driving policy to all local employees and will stress the fact that it’s illegal to use a mobile phone even when stopped. The engine must be turned off.

A small victory for road safety, I’d like to think.

Long-dead rock band resurrects bike couriers

I thought email had killed the bike courier? Not so. It’s the 1980s all over again as Guns N Roses use bike couriers to rush long-awaited new album to select music retailers.

Cars, buses and taxis get bunged up on Oxford Street – the most obvious candidate for pedestrianisation in the world – but bikes will always get through.

According the NME, 100 cycle couriers swarmed London last night to deliver copies of the band’s first record in 15 years.


There’s a double page spread in the Bike to Work Book which documents how bikes will always beat cars in rush-hour traffic. View the online PDF here. Combined with an earlier version, it’s already had 2000 views. The sampler can also be downloaded automagically via my iTunes podcast feed thingy.