Back up Abnalls

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I’ve had a couple of messages from the person who is working tirelessly to make sure that improvements are made to the National Cycle Network Route 54 and  that they are sustained, specifically the gated section on Abnalls Lane mentioned previously.

Our correspondent tells me that the police are still keen to do further enforcement and would like to see improvements to a number of contributing factors, including making sure the signage is visible and not hidden behind hedges, that the areas around the gates that are still overgrown are cleared and the gate from the Lichfield side, in a poor state, needs repair. I imagine these are issues for Staffordshire County Council to address.

Also it has been suggested that cyclists who use the lane take the time and trouble to close the gates, though this can be problematic if cars are attempting to use the lane. Apparently someone in a velomobile has been taking videos down there recently. Would be interesting to hear from anyone who knows the person or whether the videos are posted online.

If anybody fancies joining a group of cyclists for a trip up the lane one day to make general observations please get in touch.

 

Jumble Season

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Got taken to the bike jumble in Kidderminster yesterday and drove past the fixie philosopher on the way in and managed a chat while waiting in the queue.

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I might be able to tell a stem from a seat post but when presented with so many it can be a bit overwhelming. It was like people were speaking a foreign language at times. But with some guidance I managed to get a wheel and a crankset for my new fixie project. Martin who organised the jumble at Martin Heath Hall is talking about doing it again in January next year. The Erdington one is on in March as well. Something for the winter season.

Dark nights, bright lights

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It’s getting to that time of the year where the commute is getting darker and the need to be seen much greater. Trying out these motion sensitive dust cap lights to try and get some more side on visibility. Might end up looking like an ambulance a quarter of a mile away instead, but at about £1.50 each delivered, it’s worth a try.

Two wheeled weekend by Simon

So, the last weekend in September was looking good as far as two wheeled adventures went, the Lichfield Derive on Friday night, The Cycle Show at the NEC on Saturday, the “alternative” to the Sky ride in Birmingham on Sunday and topped off on Monday with the Mass Cycle around the Conservative Party Conference. Things didn’t get away to a good start, late away from work saw me fail (again) to get to the Derive, but an early start on Saturday saw me up bright and early and soon amid the shiny bikes at the NEC. I entered the show at the children’s / electric bike end, which had tucked away some nice examples of “Hand” built frames, it seemed a strange place to put them?

There was lots to see, particularly busy were a company selling “high end” second hand bikes, but from a personal point of view, the Handmade Bike Show, back in Bristol for 2015, was a better event….. and better value for money if you had to pay the show price and then the car park fee.

So, on to Sunday and the Birmingham Bicycle Mass Ride, this was set up as the Sky ride in Birmingham was cancelled this year. Rolling down to Millennium Point a few minutes before the 2.00pm start time, I had expected to see a big group of bikes and riders ready to go….. not just the other six riders that arrived before me! We duly set off a “mass” group of seven, zig-zagging the cycle lanes in the City Centre and then taking a route to Edgbaston. It was in fairness a good route and I did feel for the organiser. So with just seven of us… you would not imagine too much could go wrong?, within the first mile we had a well and truly jammed chain, my Cycle jumble “bargain” Brooks saddle fell apart half way round and towards the end of the ride a bike had BOTH brake cables snap!!

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Monday and the “mass cycle”. I didn’t know what to expect from Sundays ride in Birmingham, Push Bikes in Birmingham had been pushing the event well, but following yesterdays turn out I wondered how many would be there. In the end the turn out of, I am guessing 200+, was as good as could be expected. There was a good mix of age, gender and bike types –  trikes, recumbents, dogs in trailers, I was extra happy to see TWO Mercians! The ride its self was quite short and we spent more time “waiting” (sometimes hard to see why!) than riding, but there was lots of banter and chat and all seemed to be enjoying it.

The Police “looked after” us stopping traffic and keeping us moving. The event was to highlight the CTC campaign Space for Cycling and there were several MP’s in attendance, both Transport Minister Robert Goodwill MP and Shadow Transport Minister Richard Burden MP, plus several councillors – Goodwill stated, “We spend our time trying to find things that we disagree about – and although there are a number of those, cycling isn’t one of them. We need to get the Cycle Revolution that the Prime Minister talked about last year really on the road.”

The aim of the CTC lead campaign is to increase government spending to £10.00 per head, (per annum) raising to £20.00, to bring us in line with other European Countries and the Transport Minister was keen to advise us there is an announcement due in the next few weeks that “we” would all be pleased with……. We will see!

Still spinning by Alan

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Well, back from Ireland and I needed to get myself in a frame of mind to brave the local byways and the city.
Had a starting spin on Wednesday and another on Sunday which didn’t go quite to plan. Just short ones. I had fun tagging onto the back of a threesome road team of a dad and two daughters for a while just to see if I could manage the 20+mph they were generating. I let go close to Fradley and suffered an impact puncture after hitting a stone in a rough section of road and had to stop for repair.  Thanks to all the guys and a young motorist who stopped to offer help. It was much appreciated. Tyre changed using new multitool kit and wheel re-attached but the A Brake refit defeated me as the new multitool lacked the right sized allen key until Ron from Aldridge stopped and had one to fit for a 30 second cable release,refit and adjustment. Thanks Ron.
As I arrived at Fradley Junction the threesome road team was just leaving but a bit of banter in passing raised a laugh and even after finding the train included an 11 year old lass, the prospect of a pot of tea and a cake was still good.
The last leg up N54 was uneventful but for passing a nice old guy I guess in his 80’s out for a spin and watching an aggressive driver nearly coming to grief on the Canal bridge believing that after he had screamed past me he had the right of way, failed to slow for the crest and found another car already there. It was close! The language was foul and unnecessary and spoiled a pleasant afternoon.

Trillions of bikes

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Went to the Cycle Show at the NEC today, not really my thing but glad I can say i’ve been at least once. There were, as you would expect, hundreds if not thousands of bikes to see but if you are going over the next few days I won’t post any spoiler photos, instead just look at one bike maker among many.

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As I mentioned the other day i’ve come across many people who are trying to bring something that they think is different to the cycle market. I spoke briefly to Lawrence, owner of Trillion Cycles, based in Solihull. The build quality of his frames were excellent and they finish the bikes with decent components or just sell the frames if you want, that come with a limited lifetime guarantee. There was one to try on the test track and though too small for me was well balanced and the bike looks great for the price.

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Elsewhere the absolute highlight of the show was something that took me by surprise. I’ve been helping a friend who is looking to get a recumbent trike but has a problem with a faulty tendon meaning he struggles to push on one foot. For a while we have been looking at a variety of possible solutions. We saw these pedals on another trike and asked the person on the stand where they were from. Oh those, he replied, they are weighted, self righting pedals from an exercise bike. They may be the solution he has been looking for.

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