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18 March, 2010

Not tax-dodging

There's a common misconception (foreseen by Winston Churchill, oddly enough) that because, unlike motor vehicles, bicycles don't require tax discs, cyclists don't pay 'road tax' and therefore have no right to use roads; that cyclists are only there at the sufferance of drivers, who 'own' the roads, and must always defer to motorists.


4 January, 2010

Frozen out

I've noticed a few news reports this morning about shortages of road salt in certain areas of the UK, so I have sympathy with the need for local councils to prioritise and restrict their use of grit.  However, though Lancashire County Council is responsible for 6,961 km of highway and prioritises 2,418 km, its policy for deicing pavements and cycle tracks seems a little extreme.

18 August, 2009

Zero tolerance

Roads are dangerous and some drivers are irresponsible.  Excellent reasons to improve the road environment and driving skills/attitudes, but not remotely excuses for cyclists riding on the pavement.  There is no such excuse.  Ever.

27 April, 2009


I cycled ~29 km on Friday, ~40 on Saturday and 67.5 yesterday (photos to follow... eventually).
So why was a mere 5.4 km ride this morning such hard work?

10 March, 2009

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Dolphinholme-Abbeystead-Trough of Bowland-Lancaster

I cycled home from work 'the long way' today, passing through Dolphinholme and Abbeystead to take photos of Wyresdale in the beautiful evening light.

6 December, 2008

Walk/Cycle ride: Bentham-Ingleborough-Lancaster

Today's weather was cold but cloudless and particularly clear, so was an excellent opportunity to play in the snow on Ingleborough.

28 October, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Conder Green-Lancaster

The Stork, Conder Green, near Lancaster, UK, at sunset. ©NRTAnother slight diversion from my usual route home from work, though it's a little late in the year to take my camera on such trips, since unless I leave work extraordinarily early, the light fails before I can cycle anywhere especially interesting.

27 October, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook O'Lune-Lancaster

Showery weather today: long intervals of sunlight demanded a bike ride, but the interposing heavy rain clouds cautioned me to avoid going far.  Hence, I simply followed the canal to the Lune Aqueduct then along the river to Caton.
With my camera, obviously.

4 July, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Quernmore-Lancaster

I sometimes refer to going home from work 'the long way', to denote 40-70 -km evening cycle rides, but this is more literal: a slight diversion into the Conder Valley as far as Quernmore, then straight home to Lancaster; 10.8 km is almost exactly double the direct distance, but hardly remarkable.

4 July, 2008

Opportunity re-missed

My employer is introducing a suite of 'flexible benefits': salary-sacrifice schemes allowing one to avoid paying tax on a range of products and services.  One is a 'cycle to work' plan, whereby an employee can buy a £1,000 voucher for a bicycle, if the primary purpose is to travel to and from work.

30 June, 2008

Still exercising due care & attention

In last year's EuroRap report, my main cycle route east from Lancaster was ranked as the third most dangerous road in the UK.

This year¹ it's no.2....²

7 June, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Caton Wind Farm-Lancaster

Somehow, I haven't got round to visiting Caton Moor since the wind farm was overhauled in 2006; I suppose I've considered destinations a little further from home as more 'exotic'.  That's a pity, as this corner of the Forest of Bowland AONB is understatedly attractive, so I returned today.

31 May, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Dunsop Bridge-Chipping-Lancaster

My usual 74 km cycle ride through the Trough of Bowland continues to, or from, Slaidburn and the Lune Valley.  However, in 2005 I went through Chipping and around the southern margin of the Bowland Fells, avoiding the climb to Cross of Greet at 427 m asl.  On that occasion I rode clockwise, but today I reversed the route, dealing with the major hills first and the flatter sections later.

24 May, 2008

Walk/Cycle ride: Clapham-Crummackdale-Ribblesdale-Settle-Lancaster

As is fairly usual, I wasn't entirely sure where I was going today: I caught the early train (08:12 from Lancaster) to Clapham and the Yorkshire Dales, but it wasn't until I was in my seat that I studied the map and made a rough plan.  I'd visit the Norber Erratics well before other Bank Holiday day trippers arrived, return to my bike, go on to the Ribblehead Viaduct, then reconsider the options.

12 May, 2008

Dolphinholme & Over Wyresdale Church

I took a slightly circuitous route home from work today: south from campus (i.e. directly away from home) then inland to Dolphinholme, then back to Lancaster over Hare Appletree Fell.

6 May, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Galgate-Glasson-Lancaster

The sunny evening was far too good to waste, so I decided to cycle home from work via the Glasson Branch canal and Glasson Dock.

3 May, 2008

Cycle ride: Windermere-Wrynose Pass-Langdale-Windermere

When planning our camping trip to Seathwaite last week, I considered travelling by bike: either by train to somewhere on the Cumbrian south coast then up the Duddon Valley or by train to Windermere then across to the head of the Duddon via the Wrynose Pass.  On that occasion I was pleased to accept a lift by car instead, but today I attempted 'Plan B' of the original idea.

2 May, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Quernmore-Lancaster

I planned to take advantage of the good weather by following a long route home from work: via Littledale and Caton, in fact, which would be something like five times the usual distance.

19 February, 2008

Oi, me! No!

It takes a certain type of confidence to accelerate hard towards the back of a stationary bus, relying on it having moved off before I get there.

15 February, 2008

Nice rack

I have two bikes at present, and no dedicated storage in a small house, so they're taking up a significant amount of space in my front room (which has a bare concrete floor, so water/mud/road salt isn't a problem).  A bike rack would be really useful.

9 February, 2008

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Morecambe-Heysham-Lancaster

I fancied a bike ride this afternoon, but nothing too ambitious, not least because I'd left it rather late in the day.

5 February, 2008

Cycling jury's in

As reported earlier, I replaced my bike last summer, buying a Specialized Globe Comp IG8.  Now I've had a full six months (er, very nearly seven) to become accustomed to it, what do I think?

I'm not sure.

22 January, 2008

Clamp away

Under a sensationalist headline about London "clamping down on cyclists", the Guardian reports that local authorities are seeking legislation which will enable them to remove obstructions from busy pavements.  These 'items deposited on the highway' may include advertising boards, building materials – and parked bicycles.

14 December, 2007

Going nowhere

My new bike lock came with a £700 anti-theft protection guarantee: if I lose my bike because the lock is successfully broken, the manufacturer will pay out so long as I've followed their 'Proper Bicycle Lock Up' guidance.

23 November, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Dolphinholme-Lancaster

Contrary to expectations, I did need to visit campus today, but I didn't stay long: I completed what I had to, then bought some lunch and left for a bike ride, making more use of the sunny mid-afternoon than I'd have achieved in work terms.  I'm sure my boss would agree.

11 November, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Glasson Dock-Lancaster

Somehow, I didn't get round to a bike ride until rather late today.  The autumn light was already fading by the time I left home, so I kept it quite short: just to Glasson Dock and back, a ~16 km round trip.

21 October, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Hornby-Warton Crag-Lancaster

Today's trip was almost the reverse of one I completed in November 2005, thereby avoiding a nasty ascent and offering different views.  It was a good ride, which I'll probably try yet again in spring or summer.

14 July, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Tunstall-Leck Fell-Kirkby Lonsdale-Lancaster

On Tuesday, I bought a new bike, so today (Saturday) was my first opportunity to test it properly.  My initial plan was to simply ride to Kirkby Lonsdale along the floor of the Lune Valley and back via the ridge to Halton, but I soon decided to add a decent hill climb and to incorporate places I hadn't visited before: Tunstall Church and Leck Fell.

10 July, 2007

All change

My bike has been ill for a while, badly worn gears slipping whenever I put even moderate pressure through the cranks.  This has been particularly annoying when the chain has jumped from the top chainring to the middle ring at speed, requiring me to stop and relocate it by hand or keep going with my little legs moving in a blur.

25 June, 2007

Missed milestone

I've belatedly noticed that my bike computer has logged 10,065 miles (16,198½ km) since 1 February, 2003.  I covered 34½ yesterday, and my round-trip to work is ~7 miles, so I suppose I must have passed 10,000 last Monday.

25 June, 2007

Due care & attention

Wonderful.  According to a EuroRAP report. er, reported by the BBC, my main cycle route east from Lancaster is the third most dangerous road in the UK.

Don't tell my mother.

9 June, 2007

Walk/Cycle ride: Bentham-Ingleborough-Lancaster

Ingleborough again this week; I seem to have visited the Yorkshire Dales a lot recently.  This time was slightly different, as rather than the summit being my main objective, I wanted to explore the extensive area of potholes on Ingleborough Common, the shoulder of the hill above Ingleton.

26 May, 2007

Walk/Cycle ride: Bentham-Kingsdale-Lancaster

My last 'big' cycle ride of 2006 took me through Kingsdale, a secluded glacial valley above Ingleton, at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.  It seemed quite pleasant, and looks interesting on the map, but I passed at dusk (with ~30 km still to go) and was too tired to appreciate it.  Considering a motivation for that ride had been to visit one of the few dales I'd yet to see, today I returned for a better look and to take photos.

5 May, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Knott End-Lancaster

Another warm Spring day, so I decided to go for a bike ride.  The only problem was the humidity and consequent haze, which restricted visibility (though not to the same extent as last month) and hence limited my choice of destinations; there'd be no point going somewhere for the long-distance views.

29 April, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Garstang-Nicky Nook-Galgate-Lancaster

Today's much-modified ride was comparatively short but enjoyable, filling gaps in my local knowledge and offering a few decent photo opportunities.

15 April, 2007

Walk/Cycle ride: Bentham-Whernside-Lancaster

Slightly later than expected, today I (sort-of) completed one of the walks I've been planning: Whernside in better visibility than November 2005.

13 April, 2007

Walk/Cycle ride: Silverdale-Burton-in-Kendal-Holme Park Fell-Lancaster

I made a point of avoiding popular tourist destinations such as the Lake District this week, as last weekend was the statutory easter holiday.  Hence, despite being obliged to take 5-11 April off work (statutory days plus employer policy), I waited until today, when people were likely to be back at work, to take voluntary leave and to visit the Lakes.

6 April, 2007

Walk/Cycle ride: Clapham-Moughton Scars-Crummack Dale-Lancaster

Crummackdale, between Clapdale (above Clapham) and Ribblesdale, is one of the few valleys I'd yet to visit in the south-west corner of the Yorkshire Dales.  I'd wanted to visit for a while, not only for completeness but because of the spectacular features: the glacial erratics at Norber, the views across the eastern side of Ingleborough from Thwaite Scars and the limestone cliff of Moughton Scars.  It's surprising that it's not better-known.

6 February, 2007

It's not a war out there

As I may have happened to mention ;) I'm not a cycling activist.  My view is that cyclists are road users like any other, with the same rights and obligations as the drivers of cars and lorries.  As such, I assert my rights, but feel no affinity with self-righteous pseudo-hippies who regard traffic regulations as optional or even oppressive (one idiot I encountered this week likens cyclists to suffragettes).

4 February, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Great Stone of Fourstones-Cross of Greet-Lancaster

I thought I'd try something simple for my first real ride of 2007.  Simple, but not short, as it turned out....

2 February, 2007

Equal, not special

Writing in the Daily Torygraph Telegraph, Andrew Gimson suggests that 'Bicyclists are justified in breaking the law'.

27 January, 2007

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook o'Lune-Halton-Lancaster

I didn't have a particular destination in mind for today's bike ride, my first of the year.  I knew I wanted something relatively short, as the weather wasn't great and, overstating slightly, I'm still recuperating from my mystery weight loss in Nov-December.

12 November, 2006

Random queries no. 85

One of a series of genuine search engine enquiries which successfully brought visitors to the Ministry.  Can I help?

information on how to repair a puncture on a bycycle

11 November, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Leighton Moss-Lancaster

As A. has a (very) shiny new bike, we went for a ride today.  For some reason, the tenuous excuse of my birthday was used to justify inviting several other people (not that justification is required), though it's nearer to next weekend than this one, really, and I still plan to do something then.

9 November, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Kirkby Lonsdale-Dent-Kingsdale-Lancaster

In hindsight, I'm a little surprised I planned today's ride.  I suppose I must have considered it the natural evolution of earlier trips, linking two routes I know I can manage without especial effort.  It turned out to be the longest ride I've done yet.

1 November, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Sunderland-Overton-Lancaster

The sky was absolutely clear this morning, so I took a little unscheduled leave (time I can easily make up by staying late for a few evenings) to visit Sunderland (Point) again.  Last Saturday, I'd been slightly disappointed that I reached the saltmarsh road from Sunderland too late in the day, and the best, south-facing, views were directly into the sun.  In theory, I could avoid that by going earlier.

29 October, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Sunderland-Heysham-Bolton le Sands-Lancaster

Despite the fine weather, I didn't manage to leave for a bike ride until after 13:30 today, so didn't plan to go far: just to Sunderland (the tiny village near Sunderland Point, at the mouth of the River Lune) to take a few photos supplementing/replacing those from earlier trips.

14 October, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Scorton-Garstang-Calder Vale-Lancaster

Not a bad ride today, combining a few previous trips to supplement (and replace) earlier sets of photos.  However, it became... complicated.

23 September, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Wray-Slaidburn-Lancaster

There's a right way to cycle the route described in the title, and a wrong way.

One attacks the steepest hills in the first few miles, has all other ascents in the first half, and ends with a long downhill then level ride along the Lune Valley.
The other tires one with a fast valley ride and gradual climb to 427 m asl then features three other significant ascents in the latter half, two at the very end.
Guess which I did this time.

27 August, 2006

Cycle ride: Oxenholme-Sedbergh-Kirkby Lonsdale-Lancaster

Somewhere new today: Sedbergh, at the edge of the Howgill Fells.

16 August, 2006

Taking the....

Vale of Glamorgan Council provides even temporary road signs in both Welsh and English – as they should, of course.  However, a slight clue that they're merely meeting a statutory obligation, and that their recruitment policy might be a little lacking, is that they translated 'Cyclists Dismount' as 'Llid y Bledren Dymchwelyd'.

14 August, 2006

The way forward?

A new Google Maps app offered by byCycle assists cyclists with route planning.  When one specifies a start and end point, the Trip Planner doesn't merely calculate the quickest or shortest path, but considers hills, traffic density and other factors that the basic Google algorithm, optimised for car drivers, ignores.

12 August, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Claughton-Lancaster

Claughton, in the Lune Valley 6-7 miles inland from Lancaster, is one of those places everyone passes through without stopping, or even especially noticing.  I've done it myself dozens of times; it's a little further than I'd reach on short bike rides and merely somewhere en route on longer rides, but not itself a destination.

16 July, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Yealand Conyers-Arnside Tower-Silverdale-Lancaster

Another day, another bike ride.  Yesterday's mustn't have been sufficiently tiring. 
I suppose I could have started today's with a train trip to Carnforth, but saving ~12 km is barely worthwhile and besides, it was a sunny day.

15 July, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Cockersand Abbey-Lancaster

A consequence of publishing photos of local landmarks is that they might subsequently appear in web searches, and some might be ranked quite highly.  That's fine in itself, but one has no way of knowing in advance which will achieve prominence, and it can be a little embarrassing to receive numerous visitors for a mediocre photo one only took as an afterthought.

3 June, 2006

Walk/Cycle ride: Clapham-Pen-Y-Ghent-Ribblehead-Ingleborough-Lancaster

When people attempt the Yorkshire Three Peaks walk (three adjacent hills on a circular route to be completed within twelve hours), they usually begin with Pen-Y-Ghent (694 m asl), but in my case it's the last I've climbed, having visited Ingleborough (723 m) numerous times over the past decade (most recently in April) and Whernside (736 m) in November 2005.  Time to complete the circuit.

1 June, 2006

Still cycling along....

Oops.  Missed a landmark: three-quarters of the way towards having cycled 10,000 miles since 1 Feb 2003.  At the time of writing, my legs have pushed Bikey 7,538 miles (12,131 km) in 1216 days, an average of 6.2 miles/day.  Negligible for a 'pro' cyclist, but I'm only a commuter who goes sightseeing at weekends!

29 May, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Warton-Lancaster

As I said a couple of weeks ago, Warton Crag is an excellent viewpoint across Morecambe Bay on a clear day.  Unfortunately, that hadn't been one, but today's weather was more promising: showery, but otherwise totally clear, so I went back.

10 May, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Galgate-Glasson-Lancaster

This afternoon was clear and sunny, so I took a longer-than-usual route home from work.

6 May, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Warton-Bolton-le-Sands-Lancaster

I've cycled past Warton, the first village north of Carnforth, numerous times on the way to Arnside and Silverdale, and I've climbed Warton Crag 2-3 times within the last year, yet all the photos I've taken have been from, not of Warton, or taken in bad light and hence discarded.  Today I wanted to correct those omissions by specifically visiting the village and Crag.

30 April, 2006

Walk/Cycle ride: Clapham-Ingleborough-Clapham-Lancaster

At 723 m asl, Ingleborough is the nearest 'big hill' to Lancaster, or at least the most readily accessible.  I've climbed it several times over the past decade, but I'd only followed the route from the south-east once before today.  That's an odd omission, as the path from Clapham is probably the most pleasant, avoiding the duckboards and crowds of the Hill Inn footpath and passing more landmarks than the direct route from Ingleton.

27 April, 2006

Lose 'em

Yesterday, Ian rightly mentioned that the inside (i.e. nearest the kerb) two feet of a road is the most likely to hold debris or have pot holes. Cars and larger vehicles push stones, etc. out of the main carriageway, but bicycles don't have the weight or tyre width to do the same.  It's a fundamental flaw of on-road cycle lanes; most debris collects in the area reserved for the very sector of traffic most vulnerable to it.

22 April, 2006

Cycle ride: around Coniston Water

Having returned from our walk a little earlier than anticipated, I still had time and energy to do something else with the late afternoon, so I decided to go for a quick bike ride around Coniston Water.

22 April, 2006

Walk/Cycle ride: Coniston lakeshore

I'm pretty sure I was the first up today, so went for a short walk to the shore of Coniston Water before breakfast.

17 April, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Hornby-Wray-Roeburndale-Lancaster

In January 2005, I fulfilled one of my (very) minor ambitions to follow Quarry Road across Caton Moor.  See that entry for an explanation of its significance to me.  Today I followed the other route across the Moor, Roeburndale Road.

15 April, 2006

Random queries no. 42

One of a series of genuine search engine enquiries which successfully brought visitors to the Ministry.  Can I help?

cycling maps of lancaster

14 April, 2006

Cycle ride: Windermere-Kirkstone Pass-Grasmere-Langdale-Windermere

I was rather surprised to realise that it's been over a year since my last trip to the Lake District.  Maybe it's because I'm reluctant to commit to a whole day in the National Park in winter, as I'd be trapped a long way from home (too far to cycle back, and I don't have a car, so I'm restricted by the rail timetable) if the weather broke, and I don't fancy the idea of sharing the space with hordes during spring, summer and autumn weekends.  Whatever; those are flawed reasons, and I ought to make the effort.

11 April, 2006

The thought counts, but...

Mother: whilst your gift of thermal waterproof trousers was appreciated, I'm afraid it was a rather misguided idea – they're not at all "ideal for the bike".

10 April, 2006

Tan-through bike gloves

Helen tells me that it's possible to buy UV-neutral swimsuits, which avoid tan lines.  I'm not sure why she cares, as her favoured complexion is rather more 'alabaster' than 'mahogany', and she's not exactly the outdoors type!

Whatever; I'm fed-up of developing cyclist's arms each summer: brown to the wrists but with white hands and eye-catching brown spots where the straps of my bike gloves leave small gaps.  If someone was to make tan-through cycling gloves (not golf gloves!), I'd be interested.

1 April, 2006

Walk/Cycle ride: Lancaster-Ingleton Waterfalls-Lancaster

As I mentioned at the time, I was slightly disappointed by my last visit to the Ingleton Waterfalls, as the harsh light limited my photos technically whilst the confined valleys limited the angles from which I could take photos at all, and being with a group limited my time to experiment.  The results were clichéd and bland, only saved by the attractive subject matter.

19 March, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Halton Green-Lancaster

I don't think I need to go into great detail about this one: I simply rode out to the ridge above Daisy Bank, on the north-eastern outskirts of Lancaster, for a slightly different view of the snow-covered Lakeland fells on the horizon.  From there, I went on to Caton, crossed the river at the Crook O'Lune, then returned via Halton Green.

4 March, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook O'Lune-Kirkby Lonsdale-Farleton Knott-Lancaster

I remember a time when the start of March was damp, windy but fairly warm.  Things change.  Today was bitterly cold (by UK standards) but brilliantly sunny, so I took my camera for a bike ride in the snow.

18 February, 2006

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook o'Lune-Lancaster

The section of the River Lune between Lancaster and the Crook O'Lune near Caton is extremely familiar, not least because I have to pass it on the way to/from pretty much anywhere east or north-east of Lancaster.  Recently, however, I was startled to see a photo of the Crook from an angle I hadn't encountered, and realised that I seem to follow permutations of the same two routes every time.  Hence, today I planned my trip in advance, targeting viewpoints of which I've always been aware, but had never visited.

28 January, 2006

Cycle ride: Arnside-Silverdale-Lancaster

Today's ride partly repeated one I did last August, but since this is January and one can't rely on long afternoons, I decided to eliminate the long 'lead-in' by catching the train to Arnside before cycling home via Arnside Knott, Silverdale and Carnforth.

17 December, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Casterton Fell - Lancaster

Filling in a gap, today.

10 December, 2005

Protect your noggin

Wouldn't be seen dead in a bicycle helmet?  I'd rather not be seen dead, so I do wear a helmet.

27 November, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster-Caton Moor-Lancaster

When I left the house today, I had no idea where I was going.

18 November, 2005

Iced grass

Frost, Lancaster, UK. ©NRTMy daily commute takes me past Burrow Beck, a small (except after rain) stream flowing through Hala, the southernmost area of Lancaster.  Recent night temperatures of -3°C or less have generated freezing fog above the open water, coating everything within 2m of the ground in thick frost.  Click the image for a larger view of the result.

16 November, 2005

Think I got away with it, pt.1

Yesterday afternoon was sunny and I had the office to myself (my boss is on leave, and J. had rung in 'ill' (hung over)), so on the spur of the moment, I left early and went for a bike ride.  Each time I do that (go for fairly long impromptu rides, I mean, not leave the office early), I'm mildly concerned about not carrying a bike pump or puncture kit, just in case something happens.
Well, it did.  Twenty-seven miles (43 km) into a 46-mile ride, at the highest point of the Bentham-Slaidburn pass, I suddenly had a totally flat rear tyre*.

12 November, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster-Hornby-Lancaster

Though we've had a lot of rain recently, today seemed clear and dry, so I went for a bike ride along the Lune, hoping the river flow would be photogenically high.

6 November, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster-Sunderland-Lancaster

Nothing too ambitious this afternoon: just a gentle ride with my camera along the right bank of the Lune Estuary from Lancaster to Sunderland (aka, inaccurately, 'Sunderland Point').

1 November, 2005

Beautiful morning

Ah, the pleasures of cycling to work on a crisp, sunny Autumn morning:

28 October, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Quernmore-Lancaster

This was a beautiful evening, clear and sunny, so I cycled home from work the long way, via the the back lanes to Quernmore then over the ridge back into Lancaster.
Luckily, I had my camera with me, so there are a few rather attractive photos.

16 October, 2005

Risk assessment paradox

In summer, cycling in shorts and a T-shirt, I think nothing of riding at 18-32 mph (29-52 km/h) with exposed knees and elbows*.

Now the weather is a little less predictable, I tend to wear my sleeveless 'puffa' jacket which, though it amusingly resembles a war correspondent's flak jacket, obviously leaves my arms bare.  This somehow makes me feel vulnerable, more so than if I was wearing less.  I wonder why.

15 October, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster-Crook O'Lune-Lancaster

Today's cycle ride, to the Crook O'Lune near Caton (five miles or so from Lancaster), was mainly for the exercise, but as usual I had the camera with me, so I might as well publish a few photos.

13 October, 2005

Missed opportunity

The University's 'Travel Plan Co-ordinator' circulated an e-mail this morning promoting a potential scheme whereby, as I initially understood it, staff could buy bikes at a rate subsidised by the University and Inland Revenue (ie. the employer and tax authority).  That'd be a great idea, and an encouragement to those considering cycle commuting.  I began drafting a reply saying that I'm not currently looking to replace my bike, but that I'd like to express my support for the concept, and might use it at a later date.

However, before sending that, I happened to read another response, from someone who'd already studied the small print at the scheme's website.

11 September, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster-Knott End-Lancaster

For a change, I turned away from the hills for this weekend's bike ride and visited North Lancashire's coastal plain, the Fylde.

27 August, 2005

Cycle ride: Clapham-Ribblesdale-Ribblehead-Lancaster

Today's bike ride was probably my longest yet: from Clapham railway station to the village, across to Ribblesdale via Austwick, up the valley to Ribblehead, back down Chapel-le-Dale to Ingleton, then home; 72 km (48 miles) in 3hr56', though I made frequent stops and was out for 6h15'.

20 August, 2005

Cycle ride: Kents Bank-Humphrey Head-Cartmel-Lancaster

I left my usual range today, catching the train to Kents Bank on the north side of the Kent Estuary, 'properly' into Cumbria, though still slightly outside the Lake District National Park.  The plan was to explore Humphrey Head, which projects out into Morecambe Bay and overlooks the areas of North Lancashire I already know well.  From there, I planned to visit the village of Cartmel and its priory before returning to the coast at Grange-over-Sands and catching the train home.

19 August, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster University-Home!

Looking south and west from my office, the weather looked pretty good, so I decided to go home the long way – very long, in fact, as I was considering cycling to Scorton.  However, as soon as I turned onto the campus perimeter road and glanced east, I changed my mind, as the sky was near-black.  I was lucky to make it home by the direct route, having only paused to take three photos, before the rain started.

14 August, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Warton-Silverdale-Arnside-Lancaster

Back in May, I abbreviated a trip to Arnside, having been distracted by 'shortcuts', so decided to repeat and complete it today.

1 August, 2005

Note to male cyclists

That mention of Marks & Spencer reminds me of something I've wanted to mention for a while:

Daily cycle commuters in the UK ought to be aware that M&S produce compatible male underwear.  Tesco don't – the seams are in precisely the wrong places for 25-30 mins per day on a bike saddle.

I don't think I need to elaborate on that.

30 July, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Abbeystead-Lancaster

Processing a few photos last week, I realised that I didn't have any half-decent images of Abbeystead.  It's a quaint little village – well, just a hamlet, really – in Wyresdale,  so I decided to correct the oversight today.  It wouldn't be a particularly long ride, but the steep first ~10km are always challenging, and once I'd visited Abbeystead I could extend the route as much as I wanted.  Having seen the approaching weather from Jubilee Tower, that was unlikely; 'straight out, straight back' seemed sensible.

24 July, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Sambo's Grave-Morecambe-Lancaster

I've frequently been to Sunderland (the tiny village at the mouth of the River Lune near Lancaster, not the large city near Newcastle-upon-Tyne), but hadn't found its most notable landmark, Sambo's Grave. *

18 July, 2005

On aggregate, leave it alone

The short section of cycle track linking Collingham Drive and Bailrigg Lane, Lancaster was resurfaced a couple of weeks ago.  The grass verge had been encroaching onto the tarmac, so that needed cutting back, but otherwise I was surprised that the Council considered there was a need to do more.  I've always thought the surface was very good (not that I'm a tarmac connoisseur) – no potholes, puddles or even trivial irregularities.

9 July, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Conder Green-Lancaster

Quite a short ride today.  I followed Ashton Road out of Lancaster to Conder Green, but somehow lost interest in going much further, so, after taking a few photos, came straight back!

24 June, 2005


Gallery of improbable bikes (and trikes, and quads).

[Via Spinneyhead]

23 June, 2005

Big five-oh-oh-oh

Sorry; this is another entry probably only of casual interest to me, but my bike computer tells me I've cycled 5002 miles (8,050 km) since 01/02/03.  That's 1,000 miles since 27/01/05; the daily commute is a round trip of seven miles, and I often go for a recreational ride of ~30 miles at the weekend.

30 May, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Silverdale-Lancaster

The sky was absolutely clear today, so I felt obliged to make the most of the weather and compulsory day off work and go for a bike ride, even though I'd already done 45 miles (73 km) yesterday.  For a while, I've intended to visit Arnside with the camera, but that would be best suited to catching the train there and cycling back.  As maintenance/upgrading work has denied Lancaster any rail connections at all each weekend from January to June, the Arnside trip has been delayed.  However, recent cycle rides have proved that I could comfortably manage that sort of distance as a round trip by bike alone, so long as I avoided too circuitous a route.

29 May, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Garstang-Chipping-Dunsop Bridge-Lancaster

This was my first 'long' bike ride of the year; indeed, probably my longest planned bike ride to date.

22 May, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Over Kellet-Borwick-Halton-Lancaster

Many visitors to the Ministry arrive via Google searches.  A fairly frequent one is for 'Borwick Hall', which is a little embarrassing, as a single, rather poor quality photo I took of the Elizabethan manor house (now a council-run outdoor activities centre) last year seems to rank highly in search results.  That's a poor advert for the site, so I went back today to take a few better photos.

20 May, 2005

Greasy road

Why is it that a road surface during/after light rain feels 'greasy' underfoot and is drastically more slippery than during/after heavy rainfall?  Further rain onto this 'waxy' surface somehow improves traction, which isn't intuitive.

18 May, 2005

Damn pesky kids

Sometimes paranoia can be useful.

The final section of dedicated cycle track before joining the road at Hala passes through a gap in a high hedge.  There's a bollard in the middle of the gap, preventing access by car.
On my way home this evening, I noticed that one side of the gap was totally blocked by a pile of branches and fence posts, and that a group of children ran away into the bushes as soon as I appeared.  Why were they hiding, and why was I being forced onto one side of the path?  I stopped.

14 May, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Crook O'Lune (nearly)-Lancaster

Today's ride was simply to the Crook O'Lune, one of my more frequent destinations, but I started with a slightly different route and the photos of the spring vegetation aren't bad, so it's worth mentioning.

28 April, 2005

Ambushing wildlife

Sometimes I really like cycling to work.  This morning I passed seven squirrels, four rabbits and a startled stoat - startled because, as with all the others, it didn't hear the bike until I was 3-4 metres away (not that I was trying - I'd probably have been more obtrusive if furtive).

You don't get that in a city as large as Manchester, nor even in rural areas if travelling by car.

26 March, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Glasson Dock-Cockersands-Lancaster

Today's bike ride was quite straightforward, and stayed within the Lancaster area.  I've mislaid the note I made of the mileage, but it must have been about 20 miles (~32 km).

24 March, 2005

Cycling: Windermere-Langdale-Windermere

Every weekend from January until March (now extended to June), the railway line through Lancaster has been closed for maintenance/upgrading.  This has meant that all my weekend bike rides have been restricted to the local area, within a radius if 15-20 miles.  One benefit of the University being closed for easter is that I wasn't at work today, so could try something a little more ambitious.

19 March, 2005

Cycling: Lancaster-Caton-Lancaster

Just a short cycle ride today, to the floodplain of the River Lune just upstream of Caton.  I took a few photographs before leaving Lancaster, then followed the north side of the Lune for a change, passing Halton and the Crook Of Lune.  My plan was to walk along the riverbank from there, but there was nowhere safe to leave my bike, so I went on to the end of the cyclepath, locked the bike to a fence then just walked for a kilometre or so.  I returned via Brookhouse and the inland 'back' route to Lancaster, arriving just on sunset.
For once, I'm reasonably pleased with a couple of these images, as a bit more than just a record of where I've been.

13 March, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Kirkby Lonsdale-Lancaster

To Kirkby Lonsdale this morning; a small market town on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales but just over the Lancashire border into Cumbria, which surprises some.

9 March, 2005

Too obvious

Cycling home from work yesterday, I noticed that whenever I braked to turn a corner, the steering became very heavy and pulled to one side.  Rationalising this held my attention all the way home, but I rejected all my theories &ndash misaligned brake pads, buckled rims, and elaborate, improbable physics (Coriolis force?).

This morning, I found a drawing pin in the front tyre.  I suppose it might be involved.

I absolutely had to be in work on time today, as I needed to activate a webcast, so I left the drawing pin in and rode carefully.  It held ;)

27 February, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Calder Vale-Abbeystead-Lancaster

I went to the southern limit of my usual cycling range today, exploring a new area near Scorton then into Wyresdale as far as Abbeystead and back home via Jubilee Tower.

19 February, 2005

Cycling: Hest Bank-Morecambe-Heysham-Sunderland

Last Sunday, I woke early, so went for a two-hour bike ride before the majority of Lancastrians had even woken.  Since this was another sunny morning, I planned to do the same again, but various tasks prevented me leaving until 12:30.

31 January, 2005

Still cycling along...

On Saturday, three days short of the second anniversary of my fitting a bike computer, I passed the 4,000 miles (6,437 km) mark; at the time of writing, these legs have done 4,038 miles.

Updating the rather pointless statistics noted last July, when I passed 3,000 miles, it works out as 1022 miles in the 185 days since then, or 5.5 miles per day, 38.7 per week.  That's markedly less than Feb-July 2004 (merely to and from work would be 35 miles per week) but it does include a particularly wet autumn/winter and hence few extra rides at weekends, and fits the long-term average of 5.5 miles per day, Feb '03-Feb '05.

30 January, 2005

Bike licencing

It seems bicycles have to be licenced in the city of Milwaukee, USA.  I'd fully support a similar scheme in the UK.

Or rather, I wouldn't.  On closer examination, the Milwaukee licence is a means of identifying an individual bike, not proof of the rider's competence, which is what's really needed.

29 January, 2005

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Caton Moor-Hornby-Lancaster

One of my more frequent weekend bike rides is to Hornby along the Lune Cycleway (aka Millennium Park) and A683 main road, then across the Lune Valley floor to Gressingham and back along the top of the valley side to Halton and Lancaster.  It's a decent 20-mile ride, fairly photogenic and with a few moderate hills.  Today's varient added a more strenuous ~250m ascent over Caton Moor.

17 January, 2005

Colour saturation

Just as I start wearing a high-visibility jacket for cycling*, Jon Ronson suggests in the Guardian that dayglo garments have become ubiquitous in urban areas so are barely noticed.
To become practically invisible, wear a workman's safety jacket.

18 December, 2004

Cycling: Lancaster-Claughton-Lancaster

There was a covering of snow on the distant hills today, so I went for a bike ride as far as Claughton, between Caton and Hornby in the Lune Valley, hoping for a few reasonable photos.  However, though the air was clear(-ish), the December light was rather 'thin', so I've only bothered to process four images.

14 December, 2004

Put it away

That's the second time I've nearly been sideswiped by a cyclist using a mobile phone.
Using a handheld phone whilst driving a car is rightfully illegal in the UK, but at least it's possible to control a car (most of the time) whilst holding a phone.  Someone cycling one-handed whilst composing a text message simply isn't controlling the vehicle adequately, nor paying attention to his/her surroundings.

18 September, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Galgate-Conder Green-Galgate-Lancaster

The three miles (5 km) of the Glasson Branch, opened in 1826, link the main Lancaster Canal to the sea at Glasson Dock.  I've cycled the route before, but years ago, without a camera (nor a permit to ride on the towpath - naughty), so I repeated the trip this afternoon; here are the photographs.

12 September, 2004

Abortive trip to Morecambe

According to the local papers, a reenactment of the D-Day landings was scheduled for this weekend, with Morecambe beach representing Normandy.  Though the weather was rather windy and threatened rain, I decided to have a look.
I took a few photos along the cycle path to Morecambe, but when I arrived, I couldn't find a hint of anything related to the 1940s.  There were more people around than I'd expect on a blustery Sunday, but there seemed to be no focus to the crowd, so after wandering along the promenade as far as Bare (part of Morecambe - I don't know the source of the name) and back via depressing council estates (it was too windy to return along the prom, against the wind), I, er, went home.

7 September, 2004


Bikey is in for repairs and servicing at present, so I'm gratefully borrowing A's bike for the daily commute to work.

Whilst it's otherwise fine and particularly robust, the knobbly off-road tyres (max. pressure: 40psi) have a massively greater rolling resistance than Bikey's 65psi near-slicks, so this morning's workout was rather more strenuous than usual!

If anyone reading this cycle-commutes on a mountain bike with knobblies, as I used to before buying a hybrid (mountain bike profile, but optimised for road use), you mightn't realise the difference proper road tyres make.  I'd strongly recommend trying them.

21 August, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Galgate-Trough of Bowland-Jubilee Tower-Lancaster

Last night, my mother rang to tell me that Galgate, the village just south of Lancaster where I lived 1994-96, was on the TV news: the River Conder had breached its flood barriers after sustained (though not especially heavy, to my knowledge) rainfall.  This morning I took my new camera for its first outing, to Galgate.

15 August, 2004

Cycle ride: Sunderland Point after work

The weather was too good this afternoon to just go home after work, so I merely collected my camera and continued with a brief bike ride to Sunderland Point (yes, the headland beyond Sunderland village).  Not that I took many photos; I was there for the experience rather than to record it.

7 August, 2004

Cycling: Lancaster-Lower Bentham-Hornby-Lancaster

Another hot, humid Saturday, so I obviously went for a long cycle ride.  Erm....

1 August, 2004

Cycling: Lancaster-Dent-Lancaster

As mentioned 'yesterday' (I'm posting this retrospectively, a few days late, as it took a while to process the accompanying images), Jonnie's extended birthday celebration included a camping trip, to Dent, in the Yorkshire Dales.

30 July, 2004

Cycling along...

On 20 February, I wrote that according to my bike computer, I'd cycled 1,970 miles (3,283 km) since 1 Feb. 2003.  This morning, I noticed that I've just passed 3,000 miles: 3,016 miles, or 5,027 km.

29 July, 2004

Long way to work

I woke early on a sunny morning, so why not go for a bike ride on the way to work instead of on the way home, as I usually tend to do?

I'm glad I did, as a couple of the accompanying photos aren't bad.  Unfortunately, the morning heat haze meant that there were few other photo opportunities.

29 July, 2004

Psycle Path

I've just been challenged for cycling past someone a couple of weeks ago without acknowledging him.

Sorry Jim.  I'd never knowingly blank someone, but it's certainly true that when I'm on the bike, I'm genuinely unaware of other road users as individuals, they're simply obstacles.  I see a car but not the driver, or a bike but not the cyclist.  A face is only relevant in judging the focus of a road user's attention and whether he/she is a hazard; I don't see the person.  I doubt I could even comment on the colour of the car or bike as soon as it passes out of my field of view.

The psychological implications are... unflattering, but I'm just focused, honest!

24 July, 2004

Cycle ride: University-Quernmore-Lancaster

An advantage of living alone is that there's nothing preventing me from taking a scenic route home from work, on the spur of the moment (so long as I'm home by 19:00 to ring Helen!).

18 July, 2004

Cycling: Lancaster-Scorton-Conder Green-Lancaster

For once, I didn't cycle alone today; J. was foolish enough to accept my invitation.  I planned a relatively easy route, leaving opportunities to extend it as time and energy allowed.  We followed the A6 to Galgate, then lanes past Dolphinholme to Grizedale Fell, then round the back of Nicky Nook to Scorton.  At that point, I'd considered heading back up the Wyre Valley, perhaps to Jubilee Tower, but J. very sensibly preferred to follow a flatter route to the coast and follow the Lune back to Lancaster.

27 June, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Over Kellet-Tewitfield-Lancaster

This week's cycle ride was a little longer than usual; I'd anticipated two hours for the destination and route I'd chosen, but it took a full three hours (to within 15 seconds, according to my bike computer), of which I was stationary for only 28 minutes.  It was slightly disappointing that I 'only' covered 28 miles (47 km) in that time, but well over half was off-road, so I travelled slowly.

I had a vague plan to cycle to Over Kellet, a small village in the less-visited area immediately north of Lancaster, between the coast and the Lune valley.  I've probably passed through the village no more than twice in a decade.  Looking at the map, it seemed appropriate to return along the canal towpath, in which case it made sense go a little further north, to the point in Capernwray where the road adjoins the canal.

18 June, 2004

East Lancaster Road

I happened to have the digital camera with me yesterday, so took a slightly different route home from work, following the eastern margin of the city between the edge of the built-up area and the motorway.  I even took a few photos.

2 June, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster University-Conder Green-Lancaster

I cycled home the long way today; heading south from the University (home is north!), to Galgate then along Conder Green Lane to, surprisingly, Conder Green.  From there, I followed the disused railway line, now a cycle path, along the river north back into the city.  The last part was the main reason for the alternative route, as I wanted to take a couple of photographs of the semi-derelict linoleum mill buildings, for a CD cover, but I took a few photos of the rest of the trip, too.

30 May, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Halton-Lancaster

Barely five miles into today's ride, I hit an unexpectedly steep hill outside Halton (barely five miles from home), which seemed to strip me of motivation to go on.  I dropped back down to the Crook O'Lune at Caton and returned to Lancaster, where I took a a few photos in the city itself.

27 May, 2004

Bikey's bearings broken

And other 'b' words (maybe not 'beluga'), some of them even publishable.

One minute I was hurtling up the A6 (I do like a good hurtle), overtaking all other cyclists, the next there was a grinding clunk (really) and the cranks were no longer moving properly.  I'm pretty sure it's the bottom bracket bearings, so I'll have to visit the bike shop this evening.

At least everything still rotates, and I didn't hear the distinctive sound of a broken bearing cup etching the frame, so was able to proceed to work, albeit being overtaken by all other cyclists, even the one on the unnervingly wobbly folding bike.

23 May, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Heysham-Hest Bank-Halton-Lancaster

In February, I cycled to Sunderland (Lancs.!), with the vague intention of returning via Heysham.  The trip to the former took longer than expected, so I abandoned the latter for a later date.  Due to other commitments and plans, that didn't happen until today.

20 May, 2004

Green day

I cycled home from work the long way this evening, for a change, following the towpath of Lancaster canal rather than the usual roads.  I'm glad I happened to be carrying the digital camera, as strong sunlight through the trees made this a colourful (well, green) trip.

16 April, 2004

Consider yourself disowned

The BBC reports that a man has been sentenced to 16 months in prison for slashing nearly 2,000 vehicle tyres in 10 days after being soaked by an inconsiderate motorist while cycling.  The BBC's characterisation of the offender as 'a cyclist' is a bit misleading, as he certainly doesn't represent cyclists, and I have no sympathy for him; the BBC seems to suggest he was a campaigner, but 'lone nut' is more accurate.  The offender's vandalism does nothing to help any alleged 'cause' of cyclists - if one inconsiderate driver made him angry, what is the relevance of 'punishing' 548 entirely different parked cars, lorries and vans?  Because all drivers act identically?  Untrue.  This division of people into homogenous mobs of 'cyclists' and 'drivers' is not only needlessly and unproductively adversarial, it's also inaccurate - many cyclists drive too.

24 March, 2004

Building a better bicycle

This is a nice idea: a self-inflating bicycle tyre.  Rotation of the wheels power air pumps in the hubs, continuously topping-up tyre pressure whenever the bike is moving.  Excess air is automatically released to prevent the tyre from bursting, whilst an early problem of filling tyres with water in wet weather has been solved.
Currently 'only in Japan', I can imagine this sort of thing gaining global popularity.

NP: The Flower Kings, Würzburg, 1996

7 March, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Cockerham-Glasson Dock-Lancaster

I was expecting to say that today's bike ride was shorter than usual, but 17.84 miles (29.73 km) is a little above average.  I can say it took less time than usual, at 1½ hours (80 mins moving), as I'd planned a specific destination and route in advance, and didn't amble.

28 February, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Jubilee Tower-Lancaster

This evening's bike ride was challenging (very hilly) but straightforward, so doesn't really require much comment.  I simply rode out to Jubilee Tower, above Quernmore, to take a couple of photos and watch the sunset, then came back via the same route.

21 February, 2004

Cycling again: Lancaster-Morecambe-Hest Bank-Halton-Lancaster

This has been the third consecutive weekend with good weather, so I went for my third consecutive weekend bike ride, taking the digital camera.  Again, I only had a rough idea of where I was going: Hest Bank, where the Chinese cocklers died three weeks ago.

20 February, 2004

A bit nippy

I don't mean it was cold this morning, though there was a frost.  I mean that I cycled to work astonishingly quickly: 3.36 miles took 14 mins, which is 2-3 mins faster than usual over a distance 0.14 miles shorter than usual.  The distance is easily explained as taking an abnormally tighter line, but it was the absolute speed that was surprising.  I typically reach 27mph on one particular downhill section; I can't 'go for it' as it's also a curve, with a relatively major junction at the axis, so I need to take care.  However, for once I accelerated after the hill, holding 30mph for a few hundred metres.  Trivial for a car, of course, or even for a racing bike, but about as fast as I've ever done on this one (a hybrid mountain/road bike).  It wasn't an effort, either - I stayed above 25 mph for the next couple of hundred metres, too (usually 20mph, max; 12-15 in a headwind).

I'll have to try that again, when I'm not watching for ice on the road!

Incidentally, I forgot to make a note of it on the anniversary, but I've been riding with a bike computer for over a year, and the current total is 1970 miles (3283 km) since 1 Feb. 2003, the vast majority of which was just commuting to work.

15 February, 2004

Cycling again: Lancaster-Sunderland-Lancaster

Another cycle ride today, this time exploring the north/west bank of the River Lune downstream of Lancaster, somewhere I'd never been before in over a decade of being a Lancaster resident.  I've been to Morecambe a few times, and to White Lund Industrial Estate midway between Lancaster and Morecambe, but the rest of the 'peninsula' was entirely unfamiliar, partly because it's not on the way to anywhere, and partly because the land around White Lund is unattractive - sight lines are dominated by industrial units, and for some reason any remaining land is used to graze horses; since the local water table is at (or above) the ground surface, grazed land is invariably a dispiriting mass of mud.  Combined with wind-blown litter and smell from the adjacent Salt Ayre landfill site, the result is very off-putting.

7 February, 2004

Cycle ride: Lancaster-Caton Moor-Lancaster

Not a bad ride today, climbing ~200m to the base of my PhD fieldwork site on Caton Moor, then back along the Lune Cycleway.  However, the weather was very changeable, with threatening skies (though it didn't actually rain), and neither of the associated photos are noteworthy.

21 January, 2004

Drivers want road test for cyclists

As a cyclist, I agree with many of the points made in this Guardian article.  For a cyclist to ride without lights, or on the pavement (US: sidewalk), or ignore traffic lights, is simply illegal, never mind damn stupid and needlessly antagonistic to motorists and pedestrians.

11 January, 2004


Bent fork. Copyright NRT, 2004I crashed my bike last night.  Swerving to avoid a small dog in the road, I skidded on the wet surface.  I stayed upright, but recovery left me heading directly towards a wall, travelling fairly quickly.  I only had time to straighten the handlebars before hitting, head on.  I don't remember the following couple of seconds, but I wasn't hurt; I have a bruise on my right thigh that I didn't notice at the time, and the sides of my left knee were tender this morning from being squeezed between the frame and forks.  There was lime dust on my left foot and knee, and bizarrely the back of my right shoulder, from hitting the wall, but the bike took vitually all of the impact.  I lost my hat, then found it perched on top of the 2m wall.

The bike is absolutely fine - almost.  The chain came off, but everything is aligned correctly and it went straight back on.  The wheels are fine, without even a bent spoke.  The curved bar ends of the handlebars obviously hit the wall (lime dust and scuffs), but their shape seems to have allowed them to flex.

5 January, 2004

Bike okay - luckily

For various reasons, my bike (bicycle) is currently stored in my living room, and until today hadn't been used since 23 December.  I must have passed it a dozen times in the three full days since I returned to Lancaster, ample opportunities to check it over and ensure it was roadworthy for the first trip to work this year, yet I left it until 08:25 this morning, minutes before leaving.  The tyres were a bit soft, and once I was on the road I found that the gears had stiffened (okay, jammed), but it was basically okay.  If there had been something more serious, I'd have been very late for work, avoidably.  Why did I leave it until the last minute?  What does that say about my mind set?

29 October, 2003


It's only 16:15, but it's been a long day, starting with a puncture, my first for at least three months. Note to the military: kevlar, as used in bullet-proof vests and 'thorn-proof' bike tyres, doesn't stop drawing pins.
The repair made me late for a meeting, leaving just enough time to reach campus, buy milk and make a cup of tea but not drink it before having to leave for another, two-hour meeting, then a further hour-long debriefing/discussion session. Only then did I have an opportunity for my first drink in 12 hours or so, followed by my first food in at least 16 hours. Unsurprisingly, the rest of the day has been a bit of a struggle.

NP:Staind, '14 Shades Of Grey'. S'okay; nothing special.

6 October, 2003

Back to school

Ten minutes after waking this morning, I opened the curtains. Dull, drizzly. Ugh. By the time I'd had a drink and checked my e-mail, the rain had stopped. Yay! If I'd left the house then, I'd still be dry. Not dressed, but dry.

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