Mountain Bike

<a href=””>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?










Way to Go!

<a href=””>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!”


Or just possibly this way…..



<a href=””>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 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


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 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.

Try a Trike!

Take a complicated subject you know more about than most people, and explain it to a friend who knows nothing about it at all.

How to explain the delights of riding a trike to someone who knows nothing at all about it – and that includes most of my cycling pals, especially if the vehicle in question is a recumbent trike?

The stock phrase “it’s like riding a bike” doesn’t really apply any longer when you go from two wheels to three. Yes, like riding a bike, riding a trike is a skill you won’t lose once you have mastered it, but that is as far as the similarity goes. Put someone who has ridden an ordinary bicycle ( “ordinary” as in standard or usual not  “Ordinary” as in a penny-farthing or high-wheeler) on a tricycle and they have great trouble controlling it. You have to unlearn the method used to steer a two-wheel bike by leaning.

The amazing thing is that once on a recumbent trike this doesn’t apply. It is so very different from a bicycle that steering is learnt from scratch. Many years ago we went on a short holiday where we were given the chance to ride a lot of different recumbent trikes. At that time I was an average sort of cyclist, commuting to work and riding the back of a tandem at weekends, but even though I had never ridden a trike since I was five, I found no difficulty at all in getting used to the various recumbent trikes on offer,

Fast forward now to the present day: I’ve got a recumbent trike and I  wouldn’t be without it. My balance isn’t good enough to get around on two wheels and a trike is my preferred solution. It’s also an instant talking point when I park it outside the supermarket. And I get noticed. Drivers see this peculiar machine, ridden by an eccentric old lady and give me a wide berth. On a bike they used to regularly cut me up. There is nothing like a trike!

My Favourite way of Getting Around
The best way to get around!


Reasons for Riding


There are many reasons for riding a bike. Here are a few of mine. The 4 big E’s


Cost has to come into it, especially if you are going to commute by bike. Some years ago I had a part time job at Lancaster University, a  distance of seven miles from home by bike avoiding the busy  main road. It wasn’t a highly paid job and the hours were limited. If I’d decided to commute by car, the cost of buying a second-hand car, taxing and insuring it, keeping it topped up with fuel and serviced would have eaten up most of my salary. I’d have ended up in the crazy situation going to work in order to pay for a vehicle to get me to work.A bike meant no expensive car insurance, no vehicle excise duty (often mistakenly called road fund tax. Road tax, as a separate tax to pay for the upkeep of our roads was abolished in the 1930s) No MOT and no petrol of diesel to buy. Quids in.In bad weather I had the option of going by bus or scrounging a lift from someone travelling in same direction. Catching a bus involved a walk of a mile to the nearest bus stop, a wait for the bus and a further quarter of a mile walk uphill at the end of the trip.  Going by bus was slower and less convenient than cycling. No wonder it was the option of last resort.



There’s a disconcerting tendency in some people  to regard a bike as piece of keep fit equipment. riding my bike probably kept me reasonably fit for my age and stopped me having to spend time and money and effort going to the gym. To me the ultimate illogicality is someone who gets into a car to drive to the gym in order to ride a stationary exercise bicycle when they get there. One occasion I recall with delight was riding the last section uphill towards to office where I worked and passing a student half my age pushing a mountain bike!  I was a middle-aged lady on a touring bike – not a racer – and this encounter made my day. images


We all know that cycling is good for the environment. Bikes don’t comsume vast amounts of fossil fuel, they don’t emit noxious gases or pollute the atmosphere, they don’t cause respiratory diseases and  if you are hit by a bike you are not going to be as badly  injured as if you were mown down by a car. For all the talk about “dangerous” cycling the acual number of people killed or seriously injured by cyclists is minute compare with those injured by car drivers.



Given all the above, I would still not be riding a bike – or a trike – if I didn’t enjoy it. The cash savings, the added fitness and the rather smug feeling that I am doing my bit to help the environment wouldn’t be enough to get me commuting 15 miles a day by bike if I didn’t enjoy it. And I did enjoy it. There are many people who enjoy their work and get a satisfaction out of doing it well, over and above any monetary reward. It is somewhat rarer to find people who like going to work in the sense of enjoying the actual journey. I can truthfully say that I enjoyed my trip to work most of the time. OK there was occasionally bad weather and inevitably there were punctures, but not many. Riding home in the dark and wet isn’t fun and some drivers never seem to realise that undipped headlights can dazzle a cyclist or a pedestrian. I was lucky in that there were facilites for showering and changing when I got to work and one department where I worked was especially cycle-friendly. By that I mean there were a couple of cycle helmets perched on top of a filing cabinet and the head of department kept his bike in his office leaning against the hat stand. Now I’m retired,  most of the other considerations don’t  apply, but enjoyment is still a factor. I can choose when and where I ride and it’s great. Cycling has these advantages over many other forms of exercise:

a) It can be done on your own. You can’t do that with tennis or football. 

b) It can be continued into old age, as long as you can stop yourself trying to compete with younger riders or thinking how much faster you could ride ten years ago! 

I read a piece recently about a bishop who had decided to give up using his car for Lent. He was going to walk, catch a bus or train or ride his bike instead.  Good for him. Then it occurred to me; what I would find a real penance would be if I gave up my bike for lent. The deprivation doesn’t bear thinking about!




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!



“Seeking the Bubble Reputation Even in the Cannon’s Mouth”

Recognise the title?

Shakespeare’s description of the soldier in the seven ages of man. There now, that’s probably earned my a totally unjustified reputation as a expert on The Bard and all his works. You might even want me on your team for the next pub quiz!

Only joking. But reputation is a funny thing. It all depends on your standards of comparison. To many of my friends and acquaintances in the village where I live I am considered as a keen cyclist. But most of them don’t ride a bike at all.  Some of my friends in the local cycling club hardly count me as a “proper” cyclist at all. I don’t go for 25-mile training rides just for the hell of it. They do. I also ride a trike, and not only a trike but a recumbent trike – how weird can you get?

People I meet outside the supermarket – the bike park outside our local supermarket is a great place for striking up conversatioms about cycling – often say “You must be fit.” But it depends on your standard of comparison. Compared to Bradley Wiggins or Victoria Pendleton I am not fit; even compared to some of my cycling friends of a similar age I am not a strong rider. But I don’t care. I ride to get where I want to go at the pace I want to go. I enjoy riding and use my trike to get around.

Many people regard a bike as either a toy – something you get out on a nice sunny Sunday afternoon  to go for a quick five mile ride to a nearby picnic site. To others it is a piece of sports equipment, taken out to do long training runs and carefully maintained and cleaned, My trike is neither of these: it is a “means of transportation” as they used to say many years ago on the radio programme Twenty Questions. I use my trike to get from A to B. Keeping fit, saving money by not driving a car, being ecologically friendly and not polluting the atmosphere – are all only side effects, though admirable ones.