Monday, 26 August 2013

Are We Getting Fat As A Nation?

I was certainly getting fat before I acquired my cargo bike. I sit at a desk all day. I like being thin, or at least thinner than I was. I have never been good at cutting down on food. And anyway it's a double fail. You cut down on food :( and cutting down on food makes only the most marginal difference to how much weight you lose :( :( 

I can only speak personally of course, but riding my cargo bike has, to my great surprise, taken off 5 kg of totally unnecessary body weight in 5 weeks - and I haven't even been trying. I love that Sextus Empiricus.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Borisette the cargo bike rides to the park for some extra oxygen. A peacock stalks over, as only peacocks can, to investigate. This encounter with a particularly fancy bird reminds me of a further wonder of using a cargo bike to transport oneself: I can wear my ordinary clothes. The bike is clean. The lubricated bits and potentially road dirty bits (tyres and chain) are covered. This does not mean I won't clean and polish her from time to time but, day-to-day, she's the most step off and step into the office form of transport you could imagine. And she carries my paper-weighty back pack. PS: London Cyclist has just linked to his blog on bike cleaning on Twitter. You can find it here.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Here is the great and extremely prescient Martin Amis on the great American automobile age:

"The five lanes coming into the city were all blocked and the five lanes going out of the city were all blocked; between these two great metal Mississippis of steam and suffering, of spiritual durance, there lay a railtrack on which brightly lit and entirely empty trains sped past in both directions. No one ever used the trains. They had to be in the cars. Americans were martyrs to the motors; autos were their autos-da-fé. Never mind what cars have in store for us globally, biospherically; cars our cars hate us and humiliate us, at every turn, they humiliate us."

From The Information, 1995, HarperCollins (UK)

Monday, 5 August 2013

On the Dutch and Their Cycling: Do They Really Live on Another Planet?

No, obviously not (see mock questionnaire below). If their cycling culture can add to personal freedom and happiness for all ages and better city function overall (and anyone who has visited NL can confirm this), we can surely emulate this in GB. The RideLondon weekend is over. There was a bit of dropped handlebar, head down racing - not very urban-friendly - but it brought massive attention to cycling. And as @TeamGB said, the important thing was not to win or lose but that "More importantly 70,000 people cycled on car free streets in London & Surrey.” I agree. Experiencing roads in and out of London on a bike reinforces the message "don't just think about it, do it".

My own cycling aims are to get from A to B. Obviously, I want to do this in as safe and stress-free a way as possible.

I'm also interested in getting fit away from my desk. My gut feeling about this - and the gut/stomach complex, directly linked to the brain as it is, is a remarkably astute organ - is that activity slims you down but stress can fatten you up again.

Ergo, if you cycle in everyday urban conditions you lose weight. However, my gut feeling goes on, if you cycle in stressful conditions you will dismount so shaken up and p'd off that you will head straight for chilled lager or three or down to the KFC or whatever foodie emporium hits the spot for you.

Whereas, if you cycle in less stressful conditions (let us not talk about stress free, there being no such thing) it's a win-win. Your personal win-win every time you get on and off your bike.
The Regent's Park landscape scheme matures: years after it was laid out, the designer’s vision can be seen as it finally comes to fruition.

On cycling, once again let me mention the Dutch, the cycling nation par excellence: 

Are they stressed? y/n
Are they overweight? y/n
Do they exhibit beer guts? y/n
Do they look as if they're miserable? y/n
Do they frequent AA? y/n
Do they live on another planet? y/n

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Bicycles At Dawn

It's the Prudential Ride London Weekend 

For the Free
Cycle event, riders can join at any point along the route.

Routes are here.

There was a jolly nice feeling in London this morning - ah, and the air was like wine.

As I cycled around on Borisette, I met few motor vehicles. Many 'family' cycles were out, some looking as if they had been knocked up, with the right technical advice of course, in their back yard and with the entire family, including small tots, on board.

Later, when I told the shopkeepers what I'd seen, most were enthused and even entranced at the thought of loading their families onto one (or two) sturdy bike(s). There's a thought.

The Prudential Ride London Weekend
"a free, family-friendly, mass participation bike ride on closed roads through Westminster and the City of London"