Are you ready for the Ride of Your Life?

Click on the doc above for a 34-page sampler of David Rowe’s new eBook, ‘The Ride of Your Life’.

If you frequent bicycle blogs and podcasts you’ll be hearing a lot about David in the next couple of weeks as he’s doing a virtual book tour.

His eBook – designed by his son, Evan – provides guidance to sport-recreational road cyclists on how to choose smart goals. The eBook was released earlier this month by, and went straight to the top of its best-seller chart.

There’s an hour long interview I conducted with David here as an Mp3 or subscribe to the podcast on iTunes to get it automagically.

During each stop of the Ride of Your Life eTour, David will discuss how riders can prepare mentally for completing rides of 100 or more miles in a single day. He will also describe his experiences riding some of the great long distance events held in the Pacific Northwest of the US, including the Cascade 1200, the Rocky Mountain 1200, and the Portland to Glacier 1000.

Listeners to the audio podcasts, and readers of the book tour blogs, will have an opportunity to win free copies of the eBook by posting questions, and by sending in stories about challenging events they have ridden. David is collecting stories from readers who overcame physical, mental, or equipment challenges to finish a challenging ride. He is going to publish a compilation of the best stories in an another eBook, which he will make available – for free – later this year. Riders’ whose stories are selected for publication will win a free eBook.

Entry forms are available here.

The Ride of Your Life eTour begins here, today, and will continue on the sites below until February 26th.

The participating bloggers and podcasters are:

January 30:

February 1: The Fredcast. A podcast with David Bernstein.

February 4: PAC Tour. An interview with Lon Haldeman.

Febuary 6: UltraRob’s Adventures. An interview with Rob Lucas.

February 10: Cyclelicious. Interview with Richard Masoner.

February 12: BikingBis. Interview with Gene Bisbee.

February 17: The AdventureCORPS Blog. Interview with Chris Kostman.

February 20: The Everyday Athlete. Interview with Heidi Swift.

February 24: Interview with Jonathan Maus.

February 26: BikeLoveJones. Interview with Beth Hamon.

Why can’t motorists wait two seconds?

Jan 27th 2009: Do I have a target on my back? I’ve just been on a car hood. There were witnesses.

I’m riding back from dropping my daughter at ballet. I have flashing LEDs front and rear, plus reflective jacket, plus flashing LED ankleband. The narrow road outside our cottage is a rat-run, especially at night.

I could hear a car going stupidly fast behind me, revving right up to me. I have to take a right turn on a road and then an immediate right turn into our drive. If a car is too close, the driver might not realise I’m making two turns in quick succession – so, if I hear them getting too close, I wiggle to tell them I’m about to do something they might not be expecting.

Tonight, an impatient driver ignored my flashing LEDs and disregarded my wiggle and hand-signal. I turned right, and as he was inches behind me there was nowhere for him to go but – slowly – into the side of me. I’m now parallel to his front bumper, stuck half through my right-hand turn. The driver revved, and blistering the air, told me to get out of his way.

I stood my ground, pointing to my flashing LEDs, asking him why he had been following me so close when I was executing a turn. I was a paragon of calmness. He revved again, pushing into my legs with the front of his car. He repeated his instruction for me to get out of his effing way.

A cyclist came along at that moment and I asked him to be a witness to the drama unfolding. The cyclist tried to calm the motorist, arguing there were no injuries involved (yet) and that as he hadn’t seen the original incident we should disengage.

The young, well-dressed motorist got out of his car at this point and started effing and blinding at me at very close quarters. Instead of the expected thump, he got out his iPhone (not all iPhone users are saints, then), said he’d call the police, and took a picture.

By this point, my next-door neighbour was watching and listening.

The motorist said “people like me” needed to get out of the way of cars [UPDATE: “people like me” meaning cyclists or anybody in front of him? If cyclists, then I would now point him to, a site that majors on the cyclists’ right to the road]. I suggested he might not want to use a vehicle weighing a tonne as a battering ram on my legs.

He lifted my bike out of my hands, threw it to the side and on to the ground and got back in his car. I stood still. Gandhi of Jesmond Dene.

I was about to take out my iPhone and take a pic of the guy’s number plate when the car revved, and moved forward at enough speed to force me to jump on the hood. I had to hold on, Starsky and Hutch style as he drove 10m before a chicane and a coming car stopped him. Now even more enraged, the motorist reversed at speed. All the while other cars are managing to make their way past. (What must they have been thinking? I don’t suppose you see somebody crouching on the hood of a speeding car every day of the week).

The motorist sounded his horn, shouting and swearing. By now off the hood, I blocked his way while I took a pic of his number plate, which is only fair as he took a pic of me. Once I recorded his details, I stepped out of the way.

He drove away, swearing, but, again blocked by a car coming the other way, he had time to shout why he was in such a hurry to get past me. He was late for picking up his son. Mr Angry revs again, and sped away, brake lights blinking as he aggressively tail-gated a car with the temerity to be in front of him.

The patient cyclist gave me his contact details. The police will be called. The cyclist said not to bother as “they won’t do anything.”

I dunno. With two witnesses, they might just.

Two policemen called in tonight, very quickly after I phoned in the incident. They seemed shocked by the details recounted above and took it all very seriously. Probably because of two witnesses.

The guy was to be interviewed tonight. Case could go to court, possibly for dangerous driving, more probably for careless driving.

I’m still in shock. I don’t like or encourage these sort of encounters, but, sadly, they’re getting more frequent. Too many drivers don’t seem to realise cars can be weapons.

Deliberately shunting my shins was dangerous – and stupid given there was a witness standing by – but to take me on a 10m drive on his hood was insane.

What I didn’t write about above was the abuse the motorist gave cyclists in general. He doesn’t think we should be on the roads at all, and said so in no uncertain terms. At the very least the guy needs a motoring attitudes course to teach him that the roads are not for cars alone.

When I’m in my car I, too, get frustrated when I’m late, but I wouldn’t for a moment take out that frustration on skin and bones.


A nice police officer called today and said the “offender” would be arrested and charged with assault. Lifting the bicycle away from me was enough to warrant this charge but taking me on a little car journey on the hood/bonnet was “very serious”, said the police officer.

The car used in the incident was a company car and the driver has yet to be tracked down. “But we’ll find him,” promised the police officer.

By going down the assault route instead of a motoring infraction there’s less red-tape and more chance of securing a conviction. The first assault took place within one metre of one of the witnesses.

FINAL UPDATE: The police phoned tonight (12th Feb). The driver was identified and arrested. He admitted he had lost his temper, and that he shouldn’t have done. He told the arresting officer he was sorry for he had done and that it won’t happen again.

The police officer said the driver was “unknown” to them ie no previous. He accepted a ‘caution’. I was asked if I was OK with that. I said yes, and meant it. I had told the police at the time that the guy was probably the salt-of-the-earth when away from his car. Hopefully, he’ll now take more care when driving behind and near to cyclists.

A ‘caution’ is a shot across the bows. It’s on the driver’s police record and if he’s caught road raging again he’s more likely to be convicted for any future infraction. Case closed.

Quick vids for bike newbies

You know how to correctly fit and wear a bike helmet. You know it’s best to pedal with the ball of your foot not the arch. But beginners tend not to.

That’s why I’ve made some video shorts. There are two online right now, more are in the pipeline. Future shorts will focus on why it’s important to look behind before signalling and to watch out for motorists opening doors in your face. All are branded as ’60 Second Bike Tips’.

The videos are to promote the Bike to Work Book. I could have placed them on a high-quality video sharing site such as Vimeo but I want the vids to get lodged in all sorts of digital nooks and crannies, and only YouTube can do this. The full catalogue of videos have been watched 1,188,401 times on YouTube.

The two videos above – and the three to be edited soon – feature the following:

1 Karl McCracken
1 Cannondale Bad Boy singlespeed stealth commuter
1 sensible jumper
2 Doc Martens
1 borrowed helmet
1 beta testing waterproof rucksack

I’m keen to produce more video shorts, none of them lasting more than a minute. The shorts will be collected on this YouTube group. What mistakes do you see newbies making?

Taxi squishes lots of cyclists

But don’t worry, it’s all in the name of art. In fact, no cyclists were hurt in the making of this music video:

Of course, singer Jarvis Cocker would be well aware of the friction between cyclists and cabbies. He’s one of London’s most distinctive cyclists – the others are mayor Boris Johnson, newsreader Jon Snow, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and wannabe PM Dave Cameron.

Via: Chris Hill.

Monkeying around on bikes

Tea brand PG Tips no longer uses real chimps in its UK TV advertising, preferring an actor and a glove puppet. Back in the 1970s, use of chimps was fairgame (see ‘disclaimer’ below) and one of the most famous ads was this one of the monkey Tour de France.

It features a cycling chimp crashing behind a car and then saying to a tea-pouring mademoiselle, ‘Can you ride tandem?’

Thanks to the non-pc wonders of Japanese TV and YouTube, there’s a whole load of apes-on-bikes videos. Most feature orangutans showboating with training wheels. Pah! Are there no videos of primates going ape on drop-bar road bikes?

Sure there are. Check out the bikes in this clip, the monkey bikes even have racks. These monkeys could commute to work. My next project? The Bike to Circus Book.

There are some more speedy simians in this video. It’s a race between a bloke on a unicycle and some flat-bar monkeys.

Use of primates in TV advertising or for the amusement of a TV programme’s audience is wrong. Primate experts say it’s cruel to the animals concerned. Experts also say such imagery harms the cause of primates in the wild.

Are you winding me up? Good

Wind up bike lights

On the pre-Christmas Spokesmen podcast I recommended the solar-powered Anklelite and Baglite LEDs from Pedalite. I’m using them lots as on-the-body lighting. Staying on the no batteries theme, I’d now like to recommend the Swallow wind-up LED set.

Crank the handle for 30-45 seconds or so and front and rear blinkies are juiced for half an hour. I bought them for fitting to my kids’ bikes but I liked them so much, they now grace a commute bike and my road bike.

The front and rear lamps are connected by a long wire. A crank handle on the front light powers the rear too. The unit can also be used as a charger for cellphones.

In the UK the Swallow is available from the Ethical Superstore.

Kill the Twitter re-postings?

You decide, should I kill auto-postings like these?

It’s a daily collection of my witterings on I post a lot of updates on Twitter. In webspeak, prolly too many. You don’t really want to know what I had for lunch (cheese sandwich with ale flavoured ploughman’s pickle, since you asked) but perhaps storing the postings is a good archive for the useful URLs I’m in a habit of posting?

It’s tough to go back too far in time on Twitter and I’m afraid all the postings about my past lunches will be lost. Sorry, meant to say ‘Useful URLs.’

If you think I should cease and desist, tell me. Below, or as a message on

Twitter Updates for 2009-01-06

  • @garyboulanger Yeah, I was thinking more along the lines of Looney Tunes. #
  • 58 percent of bicycling Americans don’t wear helmets, claims Consumer Reports. #
  • 100 percent of US cyclists killed in 2007 were riding bikes. Could have been another stupid stat from Consumer Reports. #
  • @DonnaTocci Brewing. #
  • @donnaTocci Tig-welding and other forms of bicycle manufacture. #
  • Two swallows don’t make a summer but last night and this morning I’ve seen more commuter cyclists than usual. And it’s icy and very cold. #
  • @KarlOnSea It’s a good piece in the WSJ. One teensy weensy mention of bikes would have been icing on the cake. #
  • Mac and PC users: share screens with new Skype: #
  • @John_the_Monkey Yes, very slippy. My 3 kids managed to stay upright. Funnily enough, theirs were the only bikes in the school bike rack. #
  • Gonna get a track bike. Not for street posing (you should see the hill from our house) but for, you know, track riding. Need it for Saturday #
  • Fred Whitton ride entries open online. But closed almost straight away. Such a ‘hot’ event. 112 miles over every col in the Lakes. Hard! #
  • @Wossy Funny, he normally always answers his phone, especially when driving. #
  • I like WSJ’s ‘cash guzzler’ term. Used it on this Social Media Release: #
  • RT @FerroGate: 7 Cases to Show You How Digital Publishing Does Not Compete With Print #
  • @BlogCoach And you can get derailed easily… #
  • @BlogCoach Which reminds me, must go write a posting. Thanks for the platform prod. #
  • I have just landed a commission to do a major article on Twitter for a mainstream pan-European biz mag. #
  • Why the bike trade is so great to work in (and why I love getting free bikes and bits): Bike industry types: agree? #
  • Added Portland commute stat to Social Media Release: #
  • Tweaked the ‘Bicycle Commuter Act’ press release: I see that the American way is word caps for headlines. #
  • Got me some Buddy Flap mudflaps, thanks to @bikehugger Cheers, Byron. PS Where are is the instruction pamphlet? #
  • Off to get the Reidlets. My second short ride of the day. Steep grassy hill should get me slightly warm. #
  • RT @darrenwaters: @Wossy is the great un-masker of Twitter fraud! [Like @lancearmtrong in the bike world]. #
  • Trey that again…. RT @darrenwaters: @Wossy is the great un-masker of Twitter fraud! [Like @lancearmstrong in the bike world]. #
  • @Interbike @maddogmedia Free bikes? Did I say bikes? I meant free socks. #
  • Reidlets ride home in sub-zero temp [pix]: Our cottage is behind the trees. #
  • @maddogmedia I have a joke, too. ‘No, socks, please, we’re British.’ Might not translate very well. #
  • @jfellrath Josh is ‘teaching’ Ellie how to do martial arts. They watched Kung Fu Panda the other day and now Josh is the master. #
  • Pix on @animoto animations can now be slowed down or speeded up. This is better news than the iPhone app. #
  • @maddogmedia 1970s stage comedy ‘No sex please, we’re British’. #
  • I’m very very sorry in advance on this one. But I just got offered a three day ski trip. See, not just bikes. Hate me, go on. #
  • @KarlOnSea Chamonix. Lux chalet. Sorry. #
  • @maddogmedia Since your views on Las Vegas are well known, I’m guessing you mean Hell. But they are interchangeable, right? #
  • Free bikes not so good, actually, says former journo: #
  • @FredCast Yes. What size socks do you take? #
  • Ordered iLife 09. Some of the iPhoto, iMovie and Garageband features look stunning. #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

For pleasure & profit (but mainly pleasure)

I’m very, very lucky. I’m embedded in the bike trade. I’m the executive editor of BikeBiz magazine; I get to play with lots of shiny new bikes and bits; I get taken on brilliant bike-themed press trips; I write books about cycling like the Bike to Work Book and Family Cycling for Snow Books; I get sent new bikes when the existing ones are ‘last years’ models’; I get to meet and ride with pro cyclists or legends such as ‘the cannibal’.

Sounds peachy, if you’re a cyclist.

But if you’ve got a well-paid job you could afford to fly around the world playing on bikes, too. You could buy the latest machines, you could luxuriate in Rapha underpants, were such things made available. You could pay to be on training camps with the pros.

My bikey lifestyle is available to buy.

I’m multi-skilled, I could probably shift to a different sector and make a lot more money than I make in the bike trade. I could then buy what I currently get free as part of the job.

I stay put. Partly this is because the bike trade is what I know and I know how to make money from bikes (it’s mostly by selling magazines, books and websites I’ve created) but it’s also because I really love the bike trade. Everybody thinks their trade sector is special.

But perhaps the bike trade – selling such a great life-enhancing product – really is special?

On page 68 of the current BikeBiz, in page flippy mode above, Jason Leavy, associate publisher of Future’s MBUK and What Mountain Bike magazines, writes a farewell letter that claims the bike trade is “genuine” and doing “fantastic work” and has a one-of-a-kind “sense of character and decency.”

He didn’t have to write this, he’s leaving for a new post in Dubai. As a relative newcomer to the cycling industry, and with experience of many other industry sectors, he has a good handle on why the bike trade is different.

“Those of us who have worked in different sectors of business are, in many respects, better placed to judge a sector than those who’ve only experienced the one they’re in.

“Therefore you’ll have to trust me when I say that the cycling business really is as good as it gets.

“I want to use this as an opportunity for people in the industry to accept praise from somebody who can talk objectively and with no agenda to push. You really are all doing some fantastic work, day in, day out, and while still retaining a sense of character and decency that I haven’t encountered anywhere else.

“Keep setting the standards that others should be measured by.”