MJR's slef-reflections

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cycling Entries

I Can't Dance

Mon, 14 Apr 2008 11:00:42 +0100

My legs hurt.

It hurts to sit. It hurts to stand. It hurts to walk. $DEITY knows what it will feel like to ride my bike.

How did I do this? It wasn't some bizarre biking accident. I was laying cables under the floor between the two offices at the opposite corners of my building yesterday. I lifted three floorboards and four carpets and drilled one hole. Afterwards, I rebuilt some shelves. How did that hurt my legs???

Today is Blogger Appreciation Day [UNOFFICIAL] so I'd like to thank Steve for Chronicle which is now powering this blog instead of the old homebrew.

Meanwhile, messages that came in while I was AFK included a strange one from Paul, Steve being elected as Debian Project Leader (well done!), 'Free Software in Ethics and Practice' - Richard Stallman, Thursday 1st May, Interview: How a hacker became a freedom fighter From New Scientist Print Edition, Understanding Design & Computers: Notes from an Introduction to OpenMoko, by Ole Tange for UKUUG

Finally, in a cycling and cooperatives cross-over, this article on Hammond's crash also mentions the other two Brits, who ride for cooperative teams. I watched the race, but didn't see much of them.

1 comment.

Tags: cooperatives, cycling, debian, life, phones, software.

Back from Cuba

Mon, 12 May 2008 15:58:47 +0100

I'm just back from a trip to Cuba. Sorry for the abrupt disconnect. I expected to have limited connectivity there, whereas I actually had none at all except for 23 minutes! I hope the other members of the cooperative and the editorial team stepped in suitably well. I'll check in with them now and then start on the emails, but I wanted to put this broadcast out first for those who are watching closely and wondering...

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Tags: cooperatives, cycling, life, travel.

Fuel Price Bleating and Biking

Tue, 27 May 2008 10:17:26 +0100

[Photo of Cyclists]
England swings like a pendulum do!

There's another fuel price protest and the coverage in the London press is pretty biased, with occasional balanced reports and very rare dissenting opinion.

One of the favourite whines on news-and-nutters phone-ins is "waah, I live in a village, I need my car". While that's true for some people, most villagers could switch to bicycles for many journeys without problems.

At the moment, the biggest problem with cycling to town is the number of cars on the small lanes, followed by the number of potholes. Switching to cycling or walking will have a triple benefit: fewer cars on the road will free up space for cycling, wear the roads out less and reduce fuel demand (so petrol should become cheaper for those who really need it).

Over the last few days, I've been happy to read Bike The Drive 2008 [Dirk Eddelbuettel], Mountainbike, By Joerg Jaspert and How to Start Bicycling to Work, by John Goerzen.

A couple of tweaks to that last one: in England, I don't think that a cycling helmet is necessary. I've not worn one for the last few months (it went mouldy after a rain storm) - I find I can hear traffic better and many drivers seem to give me more room on the road. I wonder if helmet-wearing "dehumanises" cyclists to drivers? The safety data seems rather confused, but it's a personal choice. If you feel safer with a helmet, wear one. I also wear ordinary business or casual clothes, relying on a good quality commuter saddle rather than cycling shorts. I suspect that drivers here are developing a sort of blindness to the "screaming yellow" hi-vis jackets, so I don't wear those - but sometimes I wear hi-vis reflective armbands if I'm wearing black in the dark. I agree completely with the comments on that page about being predictable, Cateye lights and pannier bags.

Finally, Bike Week 2008 starts on 14 June, which would be an ideal time to try a group ride - or just get a free breakfast for cycling into town.

Update: Wheelism: How To Commute By Bicycle and Drake.org.uk: The Pushbike Song - it's a veritable wave!

9 comments.

Tags: cycling, life, travel, wsm.

BBC website, TV and Technology

Tue, 03 Jun 2008 10:43:29 +0100

[Dish]
(How I get TV)

The British Broadcasting Corporation, the largest UK public service broadcaster, is seen as a slow lumbering beast and a bit clueless about technology, as you can see from the comment when I wrote about Click: Free=beer and facebook-flaming recently. I think that's a pretty typical view.

For example, the BBC has recently helped to launch Freesat which is good in some ways (free-to-air and maybe more standards-based than Sky) but still publishes half-truths like

"Installing a satellite dish is a job for professionals"

(On balance, it's no harder than installing most TV aerials, in my opinion, but remember you get no warranty on DIY.)

It's pretty much the same situation online, which is why stories like The BBC and innovation [DavePress] and Good news for websites - BBC told to link out more! continue to be news, nearly 12 years after the BBC's website launched. (Source)

One of the few areas where BBC triumphs is probably news-gathering, picking up stories that are unpopular with both business and government, like BBC NEWS: Towns triumph in broadband tests which follows the Experts Say Ofcom Wrong About Rural Broadband storm online. I recently helped The Doon of May team look into internet connectivity and I was surprised how bad it was in their location: a bit of attention from BBC News is most welcome.

If you'd like to try receiving the BBC - or some other national broadcasters in Europe - by satellite, I'm currently taking Questions About Cycling on Satellite over on my Cycling Fans blog.

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Tags: cycling, hardware, life, satellite, web.

More driving and cycling

Wed, 11 Jun 2008 18:17:56 +0100

Jeff Bailey asked:

"Heya Brits! Any of you still driving cars at ~ 1.15 according to the Daily Mail"

Yes, I am. I drove on Monday (at 1.18/l) because it was the least bad option for the journey. I try to avoid it and I felt bad afterwards (literally - it was too damn hot and each part of the journey was too short for the cab to cool down), but the car was available and the other choices involved not attending some events.

On Sunday, I used my bike instead, but I was I wondering if the world is full of Sunday drivers today or whether I was really riding that badly. You name a junction on my route and I seemed to get into a conflict with a car at it.

Today's bike trip went much better, even getting thanks from a coach for pulling aside halfway up an incline, but I had to take avoiding action as I re-entered the village because of a police car. I'm pretty damn sure that wasn't my fault, but I do wonder when it's the police.

I'm still riding without a helmet, without ill effects. Gunnar Wolf was getting a breeze through a different kind of helmet but I think it's telling that cyclists "feel naked" rather than actually being naked (usually, at least). Have we got too used to being cocooned in metal boxes while out on the roads? I've always ridden and walked a lot - is this why I don't miss the hat much? I must remember to drink more in summer without it, though.

I share Criag Sanders's scepticism about the protests and Chrisitan Perrier's enthusiasm for bike-pools. I don't agree with many of Russel Coker's views on oil prices but they are interesting reading, even so.

I'm taking part in JamBustingJune for the West of England region and BikeWeek 14-21 June 2008

3 comments.

Tags: cycling, life, toll road, travel.

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