Mountain Bike

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/mountain/”>Mountain</a&gt;

I am a brand new mountain bike
My owner’s pride and joy.
I’ve chunky tyres and umpteen gears,
I am his favourite toy.

I’m bright and clean and shiny,
My owner’s joy and pride,
And every weekend without fail
He takes me for a ride.

He loads me on his Volvo,
Drives forty miles and then
He lifts me down and rides two miles
Then drives back home again.

There’s one thing kinda puzzles me,
The trails we ride are flat
I’ve never even seen a hill.
A mountain? What is that?

 

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Way to Go!

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/trains-planes-and-automobiles/”>Trains, Planes, and Automobiles</a>

You’re going on a cross-country trip. Airplane, train, bus, or car? (Or something else entirely — bike? Hot air balloon?)
Respond in a New Post

Choice of transport mode? No contest, Airplanes mean crowds, waiting in line, luggage getting lost, feeling shoved around discomfort, boredom.

Trains – well in the old days trains were fun. In the days of steam, Thomas the tank engine and the Fat Controller…yes, trains in stories were great. The Railway Children, Hogwarts Express…The reality was much less fun, Overcrowding seems to be the norm and even if you have a seat booked you have a struggle to find it and then have to get the person sitting in it to move. Can be tricky.

Bus? If you live in a rural area of Britain just finding a bus can be a challenge. A lot of the rural bus services have been shut down as “uneconomical”.

A car does give you the chance to set your own pace – or at least choose your own traffic jam. But at least one of the party has the job of driving and can’t enjoy the trip and the scenery,  It costs too, fuel, servicing, maintenance, MOT, vehicle excise duty, driving licence, insurance. Cars are an expensive luxury that would not be used to the same degree if we had a really good public transport system.

The best way to go is under your own power on two – or three wheels.

“In a car you’re bound and fettered
But a bike can not be bettered
As a way to get yourself from A to B
So I beg you, do not drive,
Breathe fresh air and come alive
Get  a bike and come and ride along with me!”

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Or just possibly this way…..

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Travels with a Tandem

The Happy Wanderer What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

It all depends on when and where and how you are travelling. When we went on tandem holidays  we never booked accommodation ahead because we didn’t know how far we would get in a day. It would have been frustrating to have to stop early in the afternoon simply because we had a b&B booked.

So much depends on the weather, the traffic, the state of the roads, how tired you are, even how good your navigation is.

On one occasion we got a lot further than we’d planned simply because the roads were dead quiet and there was no traffic. It happened to be the day of Princess Diana’s funeral and the streets of Lancashire were deserted. Everyone was indoors watching the event on TV. We broke our previous record for distance travelled with a loaded tandem and ended up at Shrewsbury, much further on than we expected to get.

Of course there are times when not booking ahead can mean you are still searching for somewhere to stay quite late in the evening, All I can say is that we’ve never had to sleep under a hedge …yet. There’s a first time for everything. But on a cycling tour, not knowing where you will be sleeping the following night is all part of the fun!

We found a B&B in Ardrossan when we had more of less resigned ourselves to riding as far as the ferry terminal and dossing down in the waiting room. We found a room in a Travel Lodge on the motorway – we went in via the service entrance, bicycles aren’t allowed on motorways. We found the staff very helpful.they even let us store our tandem in the linen room!

Not having a fixed route and a rigid itinerary is definitely preferable if you are on a bike.

ESME

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SLASH AND BURN

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/slash-and-burn/”>Slash and Burn</a>

Write 500 words on any topic you like. Now remove 250 of them without changing the essence of your post.
Respond in a New Post

There are many reasons to ride. My own are what I call the 4 Es

ECONOMY
ECOLOGY
EXERCISE
ENJOYMENT
ECONOMY riding a bike has got to be cheaper than a car. Think  of the costs of buying a vehicle, insurance, fuel and servicing, MOT, license and vehicle excise duty – often wrongly called “road fund license”.

ECOLOGY Consider the harm done to the environment by cars and buses, Petrol and diesel fumes, exhaust gases all pollute. Every car adds to our carbon footprint.

EXERCISE With a bike as a way of getting around your daily journey to work e can be a time of enjoyment. The exercise you get sets you up for the day. I know, I’ve been there. I can remember going into an office and finding one colleague moaning about traffic jams and parking, another complaining about the slowness of the bus service and the cost of fares. The only happy man was to one whose bike was chained to the hatstand.

ENJOYMENT If I am honest, none of the reasons listed above would make me want to ride my bike if I didn’t enjoy it. Cycling is economical, it is ecologically friendly , it will help you keep fit, but above all it is FUN

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Here is the longer version

A difficult one, this.What can I go on about for 500 words…Riding a bike and/or a trike. Yes! Even if it is a bit rubbishy and repeats lots of things I’ve said in previous  articles/posts etc.

There are as many ways of riding and reasons to ride as there are cyclists. My own take on this matter is that I ride for what I call the 4 E’s

  • ECONOMY
  • ECOLOGY
  • EXERCISE
  • ENJOYMENT

ECONOMY riding a bike has got to be cheaper than driving a car. The cost of buying the vehicle, insuring it and feeding it petrol (or I suppose diesel) and oil, servicing and taxing the machine, learning to drive the damn thing and keeping up with the changing regulations on what you can and can’t do on today’s roads. Then there’s MOT and license and vehicle excise duty – often wrongly referred to as “road fund license”. This tax has not been used exclusively for road maintenance since I understand the 1930s.

Everyone pays for the upkeep of our roads if they have an income. Roads are funded from general taxation, income tax and council tax. Someone who never ventures outside his front door, doesn’t drive a car or ride a bike or even walk on the pavement nevertheless if he eans money and pays tax on it contributes to the upkeep of our highways.

ECOLOGY Just think of the harm done to the environment by the use of various other means of transport. Buses, cars, coaches, taxis all pollute, some more so than others. Petrol and diesel fumes, exhaust gases. Maintenance  of roads and motorways has come at a cost to the environment. Every car adds its bit to our carbon footprint. Every car journey does it bit to deplete the atmosphere.

EXERCISE with a bike as a way of getting around you are able to keep fit without the hassle of joining a gym or indulging in sweaty workouts. Your daily journey to work if done on a bike can be a time of enjoyment and benefit. The exercise you get sets you up for the day. I know I’ve been there. I can remember going into an office and finding one colleague moaning about traffic jams and the difficulties of parking, another complaining about the slowness of the bus service and the cost of fares. The only happy worker was to one whose bike was chained to the hatstand. Yes, there are some problems with commuting by bike; bikes can get stolen or vandalised. I’ve known saddle bags or pumps being taken and some people were in the habit of removing their saddle and when leaving the bike with the thought, I suppose, that a thief must be pretty desperate if he is prepared to ride minus saddle.

ENJOYMENT If I am honest, though, none of the reasons listed above would make me want to ride my bike if I didn’t enjoy it. Cycling is economical, yes; it is ecologically friendly , true; it will help you keep fit… well, maybe. But above all it is FUN.

You’re Never alone with a Trike

One of the main things about riding a recumbent trike is that you are noticed, Trikes aren’t for the shy retiring type. If you want to fade into the background and hide from people don’t get anything as unusual as a trike.

Park a trike outside a cafe or supermarket and nine times out of ten, when you come back there will be at least one person looking it over. The usual questions are ” is it comfortable?” , “how fast can you go?”  “do you feel safe?” and often from younger people “how much did it cost?”

It seems nowadays people measure the worth of an object  by its monetary cost. When I was growing up it was considered impolite to ask what something had cost,  a bit like asking how much someone earned. It just wasn’t done. I might say to a friend “that’s a nice handbag. Where did you get it?”  but I’d feel I had to offer a reason if I wanted to know what it cost, eg “I’d like to get a similar one for my daughter – is it very expensive?”

Back to bikes or trikes: some of the odder questions I’ve been asked:

  • How do you pronounce the name of the maker? ( It’s Hase – hass- e the German for hare, I understand.)
  • Where did you get the flag? – ans. it came with the bike. The questioner wanted to get a similar flat for her mother’s mobility scooter.

I’ve learnt to allow extra time for shopping at our local supermarket to allow for the time explaining the delights of a trike and how  I came to ride one. There have been some expressions of interest and even people saying “I’m getting less steady perhaps it’s time I went for a trike”  But so far I’ve not managed to persuade anyone to change their mode of transport. But I live in hope!

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ESME

 

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10 Commandments for Car Drivers

1          Is your car journey really necessary? Would it be cheaper, easier, safer, and pleasanter if you walked or cycled or travelled by bus?

2          Allow plenty of clearance when passing a cyclist, the same distance you would allow for a car – and then some. Why? Cars don’t wobble, cyclists do. Fact of life. Potholes, crap on the highway and other obstacles have a greater effect on a bike than on a car.

3          Don’t think that because you see a bike ahead you must pass it at all costs. Only overtake when it is safe to do so.

 4          There are complaints about cyclists riding without lights at night. Not a good thing to do, I agree, but what about drivers who fail to dip their lights and dazzle cyclists and pedestrians. Much worse and more likely to cause an accident.

5          The advance stop lines at traffic lights are there for the use of cyclists – not for drivers in a hurry who want to get away fastest when the lights change. It surprises me how many drivers don’t seem to know this.

6          Don’t park on the pavement. (American readers amend this to “sidewalk” – i.e. the part of the highway reserved for pedestrians.) If there isn’t room to park on the road, then go somewhere else, don’t force pedestrians into the carriageway.

 7          Remember that a cyclist has as much right to be on the road as a car driver. A cyclist – or for that matter a pedestrian – is allowed to proceed along any road except a motorway. You can legally walk along a busy A road with a speed limit of 60 mph and no footway, pushing a pram and leading a dog. Foolhardy maybe, but not illegal.

 8          If you use your horn, use it sensibly. No use blasting at a cyclist when you are already alongside, all that is likely to do is to cause a timid rider to swerve and perhaps fall.

 9          Be especially careful on country lanes. No footway, no lights, sometimes blind bends and often the national speed limit, plus the chance of a piece of heavy farm machinery or a herd of cows coming towards you.

10        Get a life, get a bike!

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In a car you’re bound and fettered
But a bike can not be bettered
As a way to get yourself from A to B
So I beg you, do not drive
Breathe fresh air and come alive
Get on your bike and come and ride along with me.

 ESME

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Tuesday Tirade

Five things Motorists do that infuriate cyclists:

 1 Feel they MUST pass a bike

There is a strange assumption that if there is a bicycle – or a tandems or a trike  – in front of you, it is imperative that you pass it.  It doesn’t matter how fast or how slow it is going. If it is a bicycle you must pass it. A fast racing bike with a strong rider can get up to 30 or even 40 mph. Cyclists aren’t compelled to have speedometers as cars do, so in a 30 mph limit a cyclist might be legally riding at 35 mph but a car trying to out run him is breaking the law. Not that most drivers would know or care about this.

2. They don’t allow enough clearance when passing

The Highway Code tells a driver to allow as much space for a bicycle as for a car, Common-sense would suggest you allow more. Bikes can wobble and swerve to avoid potholes or debris. Cars don’t do this.

From my own observation many drivers regard a bicycle as a stationary object and will drive as close to a cyclist as they would to a brick wall.  When we cut the hedge outside our property we put a wheelbarrow a couple of feet from the edge of the road. It baffles me that drivers will give a stationary object like a wheelbarrow far more clearance than a moving bicycle. 

3. They play follow the leader

If one car driver can see far enough ahead to get past a bicycle or group of bicycles safely often the driver behind will assume that he can too. It doesn’t always work. Road conditions change by the minute.  An adequate gap 30 seconds ago is a dangerous gamble now and a suicidal risk ten seconds later.

Of course when a driver is faced with crashing head-on into a lorry or swerving and hitting a cyclist, can you blame him for picking the softer target?

4. They dazzle cyclists (and pedestrians) at night

A poetic take on this:

I’m flattered if you raise your hat 
In greeting when we meet.
Such charming old-world courtesy
I find is kind of sweet.
I like it if you open doors
Or offer me your seat
Politely in a crowded bus
Or on a busy train
Or hold your brolly over me
As shelter from the rain.

But why should your behaviour change
These manners that I like
When you are in your limousine
And I am on my bike?
When I am cycling down the lane
On dark and stormy nights
And you are speeding homeward
Why won’t you dip your lights?

A hat that’s doffed is very nice
But better far for me
Are headlights dipped as you approach
To let me clearly see
The potholes and the hazards.
What I would most delight in
Is clearance when you overtake
On lanes with no street lighting.

I don’t care if you cut me dead,
Ignore my cheerful greetings,
But please try not to cut me up
When driving home from meetings!
Your intentions may be friendly
But when I’m on my bike
A close encounter with a car
Is something I don’t like!

5. They Park on Cycle Lanes

‘Nuff said. Dangerous because it means the cyclist has to pull out into a (usually) heavy traffic flow to get past.

NB All except No 5 do not apply when I am riding my recumbent trike. I don’t know why drivers give little old ladies on recumbent trikes better treatment – I am just glad they do!

ESME

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