Bike music (and not just by Queen)

Back in 2006 I ran this ‘name that bike tune’ comp:

The prize has long since been awarded but, today, David Bernstein of the Fredcast, twittered about the lack of good bicycle music, compared to tunes about cars and driving. I replied with the YouTube video above. The comp was pre- so there’s no URL for the answers.

Which is why I’m listing them here:

1 Queen, I want to ride my bicycle
2 Katie Melua, Nine Million Bicycles
3 Jerry Mungo, Pushbike Song
4 Attila Horvath, Singletrack Seduction
5 Dipsomaniacs, Get off my bike
6 Ballboy, Olympic cyclist
7 Kraftwerk, Aero Dynamik
8 Darryl Purpose, Traveler’s Code
9 Amy Correia, The Bike
10 Benoit Charest, Tour de France (from Triplets of Belleville/Belleville Rendezvous)
11 Moonlight Drive, Cycling through France
12 Ugly Kid Joe, Bicycle Wheels
13 Pink Floyd, Bike
14 Mixtures, Pushbike song
15 Bob Gaddy and his Alleycats, Bicycle Boogie

How to Lock Your Bike video

I produced this bike security video for Northumbria Police. Newcastle students get their bikes nicked hand over fist. And walking around the campus, it’s clear to see why: many of the bikes are poorly locked with weak locks, easy prey to scallies with bolt croppers and bottle jacks.

Naturally, many of the locks could be breached with pliers never mind meaty bolt croppers.

The video – flagged as produced by the forthcoming Bike to Work Book – is just two and a half minutes long but gets across the main messages from this long and detailed bike locking article.

The other videos in the Bike to Work Book series are:

Hi-re versions of these videos can be found on the podcast, available on iTunes.

“Ha-ha, biking Boris nearly got boinked”

The now famous incident of London Mayor Boris Johnson nearly being killed by a stupid truck driver (famous to cyclists, anyway…we’re spreading it virally as a There But for The Grace of God Go I parable) is bound to featured on this week’s comedy news quiz Have I Got News For You.

Because it’s Boris, the video will be played for laughs but, of course, the criminal actions of the truck driver – trying to squeeze past a group of cyclists on a bend, over speed bumps and with too little space to overtake safely – will be a reason for mirth, not condemnation.

Perhaps, just perhaps, the truck driver may face some sort of sanction. His crime? Being caught. On camera. These sort of ‘accidents’, sadly, are not rare but it’s unusual for there to be a celeb involved and unusual for the CCTV footage to be made public so quickly.

Andrea at wants the truck driver to be banned from driving in London and for the video above to be sent to all haulage companies as a warning: ‘[I’d] send an email to all companies who employ lorry drivers, and tell them: “Drive like this and we will impound your fleet.”’

@karlOnSea calls the incident an “assassination attempt.”

Karl also points out the tousle-haired one was wearing a bike helmet, not something he’s noted for. In a spirit of helmet-wearing safety, here’s my video of a game you could once place online thanks to the UK’s Department for Transport.

Following complaints, the game has now been culled. Complaints? What’s the world coming to when you can’t hit kiddie heads with a mallet?

Colchester’s Mr Angry: please don’t explode

No Cycling sign in London park; cyclist ignoring

Over on I answer a load of queries sent in to the site. Most are either too banal or too localised to be worth broadcasting. Everybody gets a personal reply but some of the questions are of general interest. These get posted to the FAQ section – with an answer – for all to see.

Generally, the questions are from new cyclists, worried parents or returnees to the fold. Sometimes the questions are from non-cyclists and these tend to be more strident. One came in earlier today. I answered it at length. J Clift of Colchester (who I assumed is a Mr.) really doesn’t like people cycling on pavements [US=sidewalks]. I don’t either. It bugs me when I see adults riding on what are clearly footpaths. But I know why those adults are not riding on the road.

See if you agree with what I wrote to Mr Clift.

Q: “I am somewhat angered these days by the amount of people who ride on pavements, young and old, and no-one in authority seems to care or be about to stop this. The public just seem to think they can do this because there are no effective actions to stop them. I just grow angrier and madder by the day. Sometimes I have suggested to the riders they are illegally riding but I fear for my safety! What can I do before I explode?!”

No Cycling

A: Cycling on the pavement is illegal and cyclists can be fined £30 on the spot (and often are).

But, just as motorists routinely break traffic laws (running red lights, driving in bus lanes, habitually speeding, driving while talking on mobile phones), sadly, some cyclists also break the law and cycle on pavements (i.e. footways).

Sometimes this is ignorance of the law. Other times it’s laziness. Often it’s due to confusing local authority cycle facilities: many pavements have been designated as cycle paths and yet, just a little further on, the very same stretch of ‘cycle path’ reverts to being pedestrian only.

Mostly, however, it’s out of fear of motorised traffic. Not that cycling on the pavement is necessarily safer than being on the road. Sometimes motorists mount footways and kill people. For instance, on Friday, a pregnant woman in Carlisle was killed by a dangerous driver who hit the woman while she was walking on a footway.

Rest assured, all the official advice from cycle organisations is for cyclists not to ride on footways. has a page all about ‘cycling and the law’, where cyclists’ rights and responsibilities are spelled out in no uncertain terms.

This article leads with the ‘cycling on pavements’ issue. A bike shop in York also has a Stop At Red campaign aimed at cyclists who run lights. I don’t know of any motoring organisation that has a similar single-issue campaign aimed at stopping motorists committing the same offence.

Many motorists also routinely park on footways, a dangerous practice for passing pedestrians, wheelchair users and pushchair pushers. It’s also very damaging to pavement slabs; costly for councils to repair.

In an ideal world, no cyclists, drivers or pedestrians would break the law: but we don’t live in an ideal world. By all means campaign against cyclists using footpaths but perhaps there are mitigating circumstances on some of the footpaths in your local area (speeding motorists, poor signage of where cycle paths start and finish etc)?

If the majority of those you see cycling on footways are youths in hoodies, ask your local police to take some action. Maybe they’ll send out some bike bobbies to nab the worst offenders? A few FPNs (fixed penalty notices of £30) might reduce the problem.

Looking on the positive side, it’s probably better to meet a hooded youth cycling on a pavement than meeting the same youth acting illegally in a car. Cyclists riding on footways are wrong and irritating; they’re very rarely life-threatening.

Don’t explode. Take up the footway cycling issue with your local council. Consider widening your campaign to include complaints against all forms of anti-social transport behaviour. In fact, if your local streets were made safer for cycling, there would likely be less need for cyclists to ride on footways.

Cars are heavy, fast and potentially lethal to flesh-and-blood cyclists and pedestrians. If your area saw dramatic reductions in car speeds, I’d warrant you’d see a dramatic reduction in traffic violations by cyclists.

Driving while distracted with cellphone

Bikes are not welcome on Dutch trains

That’s because there are so many bikes in the Netherlands. If Dutch people tried to bring their bikes on their train journeys, the trains would be as long as the whole Dutch rail network…

That was one of the surprising findings on a parliamentatry study tour to the Netherlands I accompanied last month. Click to watch a short movie on the trip.

Count the helmets.

Bike and Trains Study Tour, Netherlands from on Vimeo.

MPs and Lords from the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group visited the Netherlands in April 2009 with officials from British cycling organisations.

This 12-minute video is a record of that study trip.

The Lugano Charter to be revisited?

The New York Times is reporting that the UCI could be about to stage one of its irregular stabbing attacks against the sport it claims to represent. The Lugano Charter – a charter for stifling innovation – might be about to be upgraded.

It’s worth reading this charter. It’s the philosophic basis behind the organisation’s much more difficult to digest technical regulations.

The Lugano charter

Tuesday 8th October 1996

Being aware of the potential dangers and problems posed by a loss of control over the technical aspects of cycling, the UCI Management Committee has today, Tuesday 8th October, taken a number of measures here in Lugano.

In doing so, the UCI wishes to recall that the real meaning of cycle sport is to bring riders together to compete on an equal footing and thereby decide which of them is physically the best.

The features which have contributed to the world-wide development and spread of the bicycle are its extraordinary simplicity, cost-effectiveness and ease of use. From a sociological point of view, as a utilitarian and recreational means of transport, the bicycle has given its users a sense of freedom and helped create a movement which has led to the considerable renown and popular success which cycle sport enjoys. The bicycle serves to express the effort of the cyclist, but there is more to it than that. The bicycle is also a historical phenomenon, and it is this history which underpins the whole culture behind the technical object.

If we forget that the technology used is subordinate to the project itself, and not the reverse, we cross the line beyond which technology takes hold of the system and seeks to impose its own logic. That is the situation facing us today. New prototypes can be developed because they do not have to take into account constraints such as safety, a comfortable riding position, accessibility of the controls, manoeuvrability of the machine, etc. The bicycle is losing its “user-friendliness” and distancing itself from a reality which can be grasped and understood. Priority is increasingly given to form. The performance achieved depends more on the form of the man-machine ensemble than the physical qualities of the rider, and this goes against the very meaning of cycle sport.

The many effects of this rush to extremes risk damaging the sport of cycling. These include spiralling costs, unequal access to technology, radical innovations prepared in secret, a fait accompli policy, damage to the image of cycle sport and the credibility of performances and the advent of a technocratic form of cycling where power is concentrated in the hands of a few powerful players, to the detriment of the universality of the sport on which its future and continued development depend.

Sounds reasonable, but had this charter been around in the early days of cycling we’d have had no derailleur gears and no quick release wheels. Taken to its logical conclusion we should have no MTB suspension forks; no power meters; no composite frames. Just a steel diamond frame and a single gear.

In fact, the UCI could be seen to be at the very nadir of cycling cool: give the wonks their way and we’d all be riding around on fixies.