Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I ride a bike when I can cos...

I ride a bike when I can cos...

1. I just love riding the bike.
2. Riding keeps me healthier fitter & it's easy.
3. Riding burns calories, allowing me to indulge my other hobby which is eating & not feel guilty.
4. Riding makes me feel awesome, especially the buzz of achievement at the top of a large hill, or dragging a trailer full of shopping home.
5. Riding saves me money on fuel & car maintenance. I've reduced my car mileage by 1/3 over the last year.
6. Riding for me is often more direct & convenient than the car so quicker.
7. Riding turns every trip, no matter how mundane, into a mini adventure
8. Riding on a sunny day though a tree lined road/path with the birds singing and the sun shining though is just wonderful.
9. Apart from riding down hills,. Nothing is better than that :-)
10. Did I mention that I do it cos I just love riding the bike?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

How much does it cost to run a bicycle..

There is a story in the Daily Mail about MPs claiming 20p per mile for trips by bicycle, and it has elicited the usual and expected response by Commentards
"They're taking us for a ride"
"If they're cycling during the working day they're already being paid"
"It costs nothing to run a bike"

Actually the 20p/mile rate is a standard HMRC rate & anyone using the bicycle for business miles who can claim is entitled to claim including myself.

But is running a bike actually free?

Let's assume that you have actually bought the bike you use outright.

If you cycle approx 2000 miles a year and claim it back, which is about 200 return trips of 10 miles.

2000 miles will probably see off
One pair of tyres - Schwalbe Marathons - £60
One chain - £16
One cassette- £15
2 sets of brake pads (assuming V brakes, front & rear)- £20
One full service - £80 (Halfords Elite Service)

That's the thick end of £200 already.

As for fuel, the Calories burnt calculator here reckons about 600 calories per hour, which is about a 10-12 mile ride. That's the equivalent of 7 bananas (90 cal each). Or £1.40 (current ave cost of 20p each), or £300 worth of bananas for the 2000 miles.

So in terms of fuel  & maintenance, a bike will cost about £500 to run over 2000 miles a year, before the cost of buying the bike, and other items such as clothing/shoes is taken into account. Insurance, etc are excluded from this, as is the cost of buying the bicycle and depreciation.

Compare with running a car (bog basic 1.4 hatchback) for the same 2000 miles.
Fuel (at 35 mpg) would cost £340 using this calculator.
A years service will be approx £150.
Tyres will be £250 to replace, but will last about 20,000 miles, so about £25

So in terms of fuel  & maintenance, a car will cost a similar £500 to run for 2000 miles a year
Insurance, VED etc are excluded from this, as is the cost of buying the vehicle and depreciation.

Yet car mileage comes in at about 67p/mile, where bicycles only attract 20p.

So the real issue is why are car drivers subsided so much from HMRC, especially when the other  benefits to society of cycling are not taken into account?

We should pay much more people who cycle, and indeed the french are thinking about it

Saturday, 15 March 2014

New Bike parking at Brockley Whins Metro

Noticed that there has been some new bicycle parking installed at the Brockley Whins Metro station on South Tyneside.

The previous parking, which is a couple of sheffield stands behind the Westbound station building, cunningly placed to render half the capacity unusable. They are still in place.

These are the new stands. Only gripes are that they are not covered. Some lockable "pods" would have been nice to attract regulars. Also they have been placed under the CCTV mast, so it is very possible that they are not covered by CCTV, which is isn't good news. Other than that they seem to be reasonably well placed and accessible. The concrete plinth has been there a few years, since the install of the CCTV, and I always assumed it was for maintenance vehicles. Obviously no more.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Missing the point

The last 24 hours have seen cycling safety in the spotlight from a couple of normally driver centric sources.

Firstly Top Gear did a piece on making a public information film about cycling safety.
Since TG had basically morphed into last of the summer wine with 3 old blokes posing about for cheap and obvious  laughs, I didn't expect much. It turned out to be even lazier and more unfunny. It reminded me of the last, cheap , casual racist and sexist bullying humour of the 70/80s. The BBC should have amount higher editorial standards.

The saddest thing seems not to be that the Neanderthals that revere Clarkson as a god will (and are) hanging on any and all of the negative points raised, but that so many people on cycling forms such as and bikeradar thought that some good points were all raised.
With fellow cyclists thinking that, we don't need enemies.

The second is the announcement of the AAs bike safety campaign which will be officially launched this Friday, so this may be premature.

The pre launch information revolves around the idea of stickers given away for car mirrors.
Unless there's more this, like TG, misses the point, as mirror stickers won't guard against actions such as passing dangerously close, or left hooking people on bikes,

I applaud the AA for taking positive action, but I just fear that it's missing the main areas of danger to cyclists from drivers.
The campaign also seems to suggest that it will have the recommendation that cyclists need to adhere to the highway code, falling into the lazy stereotype we've come to expect that all drivers are saints and anybody on a bike is a scofflaw, when in fact it's usually the opposite, with virtually all success anything they habitually breaking the law.