Cycling Page Contents
The Cycling Page gives you some interesting, facts, information and topical items about Cycling.
We at Entsoft enjoy cycling that's why this page exists. We would like your comments and views on cycling, Do you cycle to work? If so how far do you cycle? Do you cycle each day? Does your workplace have facilities for cyclists, or walkers? Do they have a green policy?
Cycling, The Environment and Your Health
I cycle to work 3-4 days a week as I firmly believe that a motor vehicle is unnecessary for journeys of less than 10 miles and certainly for less than 5 miles. Of course this is not always practical and this has to be balanced against the luggage one may have to carry, maintaining a normal family life, or other commitments we may have. Although excuses such as, I'm not fit enough, It will ruin my hair, I don't have time, I don't have anywhere to leave my bike and there's nowhere to clean up when I get to work, all seem a bit lame. But this is the cop-out that most people use to cover up for pure laziness and apathy.
Why not do a quick survey around you own office one day and see just how many people there are that could be cycling to work. I won't bore you with the benefits, I'm sure you are well aware of them already. I would guess that we could remove 30-40% of all cars from Britain's roads if people had to use a cycle for journeys of less than 5 miles, where there is little baggage involved, the person is between 16 and 55 and reasonably fit.
Why does the UK insist on treating its cyclist and pedestrians so shabbily?
Why do we continue to produce motor vehicles in this country with the exhaust pipe on the left hand side?
Is there no current, or planned legislation intended to correct this extreme health hazard?
Do other countries legislate for this situation?
I wouldn't mind having a fiver on any of the Scandinavian countries having some sort of laws.
We should at the very least have some legislation that forces motor manufacturers in the UK to place the exhaust pipe on the right hand side for all cars designated for sale in the UK. This would also give some additional incentive to buy British, although I doubt that most people even understand the consequences, let alone care. I will only purchase a car that has the exhaust pipe on the right. At present this seems to be limited to all motor cars manufactured in Japan and some from the UK, although I have noticed some Scandinavian makes that have the exhaust on the right, even though this is not the norm for their country, so it can be achieved. Lets face it there's no rocket science involved in placing the exhaust pipe on the other side of the car.
Next time you walk, or cycle down any of our roads, just stop for a moment and have a look at each vehicle as it passes. Keep an eye on the exhaust pipe and see how they are all on the left hand side and directed towards the pavement and kerb. The pedestrian and cyclist get the full blast of raw exhaust fumes before they have had time to dissipate into the air, as they would do if all these exhausts were on the right hand side and pointing toward the middle of the road. It is children that are most at risk as they are physically much closer to this danger. The bigger the car the closer the exhaust is to the pavement and the more poisonous gas they blow on us. I would even suggest that a pedestrian, or cyclist in the UK is at far greater risk of poisoning than the motorist himself.
Should we really be encouraging people, in particular children, to cycle and walk next to some of these busier roads, bearing the above in mind? This is of course much worse in towns and cities, than in more rural areas, although as a cyclist you still have to stop at busy junctions and traffic lights and breathe all this in.
No I don't have any facts and figures to prove any of this, maybe someone does, I don't know. But surely common sense is all that is needed, not another bag of figures. The government is extremely quick to ban the sale of something, like beef, or any other food stuffs, if there is the remotest possibility that so much as one person in every twenty million may contract a fatal disease because of it. Yet it's not prepared to protect it's population from the extremely harmful and possibly fatal effects of car exhaust gasses being blown directly onto the pavement.
Cycle Training Scheme
Cycle Training Schemes are run by most councils in the UK and is aimed at 7-10 year olds at junior schools. It comes in two sections, part 1, which is the basic 3 hour course and is open to 7-9 year olds and part 2 which is the full 8 hour course, open to 10 year olds.
For more details and information on how to become a Cycle Training Scheme Instructor please visit: http://www.hants.gov.uk/roadsafety/cyclists/cycscheme.html
What Type of Cycle Should I Buy?
The answer to that really depends on what you want to use the cycle for, so I’ll list a few uses first, then the different cycle types that match the activity.
Typical Cycling Activities:
- Mucking about with mates after school and at weekends on local roads, sports fields and woods.
- Once weekly cycle ride on roads and designated cycle paths, with the occasional foray onto a bridle path, or other fairly un-bumpy forest track.
- Cycling to and from school, or work up to 2 days per week, where the distance is less than 5 miles each way, plus a bit of (1).
- Cycling to and from school, or work at least 3 days a week, where the distance is greater than 5 miles each way.
- Performing acrobatic tricks with your cycle using various ramps and other objects.
- Cycling up ,or down very steep hills on tracks that were not designed for cycles, on a recreational/occasional basis.
- Cycling up ,or down very steep hills on tracks that were not designed for cycles, on a competition/regular basis.
- Cycling on rough tracks through forest’s, woods, or general countryside.
- Cycling as fast as possible along good roads and lanes.
- Cycling around towns and cities, maybe making deliveries, or just going to and from work.
Cycle Types For The Above Activities:
- Low end ATB (All Terrain Bike), this may have either a standard, or “Y” type frame, with as much suspension as you like and can be bought for £80 - £150, if you pay more your wasting your money, but make sure it has at least got “V” brakes, steer clear of “Calliper” type brakes found on very cheap bikes.
- Low end Road bike (not Racing bike), Hybrid, or ATB, in that order. A Hybrid has an ATB frame and bars, but with road wheels and gear sets. A Road bike will have a normal frame and should come complete with mud guards, lights and a rack. If you chose an ATB for this fit a pair of Cross tyres (fat but smoothish) in preference to the Knoblies it will come with and avoid all suspension except Seat Post. These bikes should set you back between £100 and £200.
- Mid range Road bike, or Hybrid, in no particular order, just depends on personal preference. An ATB is not recommended for this type of activity due to the knobbly tyres and suspension that will sap your energy and the difficult in fitting mudguards, racks and lights. Personally I prefer a Hybrid type bike for this activity. Will cost you about £225 - £400.
- High end Road bike, or mid range Hybrid, in no particular order, just depends on personal preference, will set you back about £350 - £600. The better quality components on these bikes will serve you well in the longer term.
- This is the realm of the BMX bike, but not exclusively so, Mountain and ATB bikes are also used for these activities. Depending on how serious you are and how much time you will spend on this activity, will determine how much you should pay for your bike. So anywhere from £150 - £750.
- Mid range Mountain, or ATB bike and the more suspension the better. You will need at least front fork suspension and seat post suspension would be very nice. The “Y” frame bikes are great for this activity and provide all the suspension you will need. The cheaper bikes will eventually give trouble with all the suspension parts, these will typically seize up unless regularly maintained and eventually give up the ghost. You can get disk brakes at this level, but this will be at the expense of quality elsewhere. Expect to pay between £300 - £500.
- High end Mountain, or ATB bike and the same comments apply as for (6) above. Look for disk brakes front and rear, they will help with balance and of course stopping. Prices will be in the range £500 - £2000.
- Mid range Mountain, or ATB bike and the same comments apply as for (6) above. Expect to pay between £300 - £500.
- Mid range Racing bike would be ideal for this type of activity, unless you plan on doing competitions on a regular basis, then look more at the High end of the price range. My personal preference for this activity is a Midrange Hybrid bike, I find these far more comfortable and give a much more upright siting position, don’t like all that bending over my breakfast and I also find the Racing bike position impairs breathing, well it does for me anyway. Its also unusual to find even seat post suspension on a Racing bike, which I find does smooth the road rumble out nicely on a Hybrid. And don’t forget the Hybrid has much the same gearing, wheels and tyres as a Racing bike, or it can do if you desire. Expect to pay about £350 - £750.
- For this activity you can dig out your old “Mini Moulton Automatic”, if your old enough to remember that milestone in cycling history! Really though that type of bike, you know the foldy up type of thing, is ideal. A shopping, yes that’s right a shopping bike is just perfect for this activity as well. Basically you need something that has got full mudguards, Dynamo lights and lots of space for holding things, you know, saddle bags, rack bags and a bag, or basket on the front as well, these bikes also typically come with a good stand, essential for in town. Gears, well seven is nice but five, or even three will do. You will pay between £200 - £400.
How Many Gears
- Well 30 years ago that was easy to answer, you either had 3 gears if you had the in-hub type of gears (Sturumy-Archer), or 5 gears if you had just the rear Derailia type, or even 10 gears (if you were very well off) and you had the front and rear Derailia type gears that are so common today.
- Now we seem to have gears coming out of our ears. And if you haven’t got at least 24 then, well your just going nowhere and must be Sooo Uncool.
- Of course that’s all rubbish and it will depend entirely on what you intend doing with the bike, or what the bike was designed for, so here's a rough guide:
Don’t forget the more gears you have and the cheaper the bike the worse the quality of components will be, so they will be prone to problems and more susceptible to wear and tear.
Why do some parents buy their children bikes that cost in excess of £500 with 24 - 26 gears, disk brakes, suspension everywhere, huge knobbly tyres, no lights and no protection from the elements, just to ride 500 meters to the local playing area where they are promptly thrown to the ground, so they can all huddle together, smoke cigarette’s and talk about the kids that aren’t there? Who rules the roost eh?
- For Road, Racing and Hybrid type bikes 15 gears will be more than enough and most people will probably never use more than 6 - 8 of them on a regular basis. There are times when very low, or very high gears would be nice to have, for going up, or down very steep hills and in these cases there is a requirement for 24, or even 26 gears in order to get those very low and very high gears.
- For Mountain and ATB type bikes that are being used for the purpose for which they were designed, that is, up and down mountains, or generally rough and undulating, steep ground, then there is a good case for 24 - 26 gears. If you just using the bike as a suedo Road, or Hybrid, as most people do! then the comments above will apply.
- BMX bikes are easy, they do not have gears, they are always direct drive.
- Shopping, town and fold-up type bikes will generally only need 3 - 5 gears and that’s all you will get. If 3 gears they will be the in-hub type, or if 5 gears they will be of the rear only Derailia variety.
What Type of Brakes
- There are currently 4 deferent types of brakes that you can expect to get on your bike, so we’ll list them here in order of stopping power, cost and preference:
- Calliper brakes, these are found on the very low cost, value adult bikes, but are only really suitable for small children’s bikes, stopping power is minimal.
- Y brakes, these are fitted to bikes at the Low end of the market, they generally provide adequate stopping power for lighter adults and most children’s bikes. Performance can be enhanced by fitting longer brake blocks than those supplied with the bike.
- Vee brakes, these are probably the most common type of brake now fitted to all midrange and also a lot of High end bikes. Very good stopping power and again performance can be enhanced by fitting slightly longer brake blocks than those supplied with the bike.
- Disk brakes, the almost ultimate in stopping power, fitted to bikes at the top end of the market, but increasingly common on bikes in the midrange as well. These are great for the heavier cyclist. But don’t forget once a brake is good enough to lock the wheels that’s your lot, its then totally dependent on the frictional value between the tyre and surface that you are on.
- So what’s next, Disk brakes with ABS perhaps?
Links To Other Cycling Sites
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