Friday, 17 December 2010


Well a brief post from the phone... it is easier than getting the picture on to a pc and then uploading it.

Today in Weymouth we had some snow. It was falling a bit then thawing a bit so nice and icy. I waited till it stopped then ventured out to defrost the bike... interesting times I think as I chip ice from the seat.

Cycling on the snow isn't too bad at all though I take things easy just in case. This is a.mixed blessing because I need to pedal to keep warm... I am still wearing shorts.

On the way up the hill I get wheel spin... the Orca has slick tyres so grip isn't its strong point. I take the decision to ride away from the edge of the road, holding up traffic. Oddly none of the passing vehicles object.

Hope this silly white stuff goes away by Monday.

Ah well, dear reader, I am finding typing on this phone tricky, so for the moment I bid you adieu.
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Thursday, 2 December 2010

Snow 2...

Well, as promised, what video I could salvage from this mornings very interesting ride to work. Unfortunately the battery on the camera stopped recording after 21 minutes or so, and consequently missed the other fall and wobbliness which caused me to walk up the hill and down the other side until I reached the cycle track.

Would I do it again? Yep. It was fun, and I need to practice falling off a bit more.
Was it bonkers? Yep. A fairly silly thing to do but hey, you only live once! I rode to college 20 odd years ago, albeit on a diamond Frame bike, in much much worse snow and ice than today.

The trip home this evening was massively uneventful; the cars having cleared the road somewhat and I cycled along the roads rather than the railway track.

Will I cycle tomorrow? nope; I need to get fuel in the car ready for the weekend and the snow will have all turned to ice, a surface on which the slick tyres of the Orca will have even less grip than today. The roads will still be clearish unless it snows again tonight, which is unlikely.

Still got a silly grin on, falling off notwithstanding!

See you later people



Well people, there may be snow however cycling has to go on... and yes, there will be a video collection later of all the falls I managed to make today. For now you will have to put up with a bit of waffle about how different the Orca is to a normal bike.

It is days like today when I wish I had managed to afford a trike - then there would be no falling off and a lot of sillyness!

Here is a post I made on cyclechat for those of you who don't read that website....

I got up this morning to be greeted by the first snow of the year. Lovely. I thought oh I am commuting to work, how hard can it be?

Well not too bad. The Orca is a very different kettle of fish in the snow than a DF... especially with slick tyres.

Balancing is interesting especially with tiller steering.
Applying any sort of power with slick tyres was a no no so I had to find flat/downhill bits to recover from the inevitable "offs".

Fell off 4 times, all low speed, two within 2 yards on fresh snow after a right turn, the next on a slight uphill incline which also requires a sharp left at the top, and the last one after negotiating a road pillow on a well packed snowy road.

Smiles all round though I think I may have bruised my shoulder a little.

Unfortunately there isn't any video because, as a result of wearing a hat under my camera mount, the Muvi was pointing at the sky.

Tonight I will be cycling home along main roads, rather than along my usual mainly off road route.

And after I get home I will edit what video I have... and post it here of course.


Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Idiots on the trail

The ride home started so well today. Left work as usual, remembered to switch on the camera. As it happens, I am glad I did. Saw a lovely rainbow which the Muvi failed completely to capture.

The first incident, unfortunately, was not caught on camera as I don't have a sideways facing device - some impatient chap in a Ford Mondeo tried to fit between me and an oncoming vehicle near the Vets on Chickerell Road. I duly held him up for a while then, when he finally over took, it transpired that he only made about 15s progress as he stopped in Prince of Wales Road, just past the path on to the Rodwell Trail. I failed to stop and discuss his lack of driving skills because, in general, motons aren't worth the effort.

Anyway I haul up to the Rodwell trail and just as it starts to rain I pass through the tunnel towards Rodwell station, a well known drinking haunt for the local youth with nothing better to do.
As you can perhaps see, I anticipate trouble and move over to the right of the trail, yet one hard man decided to block the path.
I wonder just how hard he would be with a chain ring and pedals embedded in his nether regions? As it happens I don't get to find out because I win the game of chicken. I hardly ever lose that particular game.

Oh well better luck next time I guess.

If you are wondering just what would happen had I made contact - well I may have fallen off but with feet clipped to bike I would have been up and fighting fit fairly quickly, your man in the hoodie would have been in a private world of pain...

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

YouTube FAIL

I must apologise for the lack of video in the "How Close" post. YouTube scores another fail. Perhaps it will fix itself?


How close would you like your shave sir?

Dear me. It has been many many days since I posted a video and some of those because I was away so not cycling and the rest mostly because I dropped the camera and needed to wedge the surface mount "on switch" back on to the circuit board with some cardboard. Yes, a true bodge lacking only the gaffer tape and baler twine.

Back on topic - I was innocently cycling along past a traffic light when I was overtaken by a car. Nothing very exciting there; he even managed to miss me which is a plus I think.

The next car in line obviously wanted a pedal embedded in the side of his wonderful purple Ford Fiesta (N 97 AYA in case anyone is interested). What makes this overtake particularly depressing is that the car rushed ahead to the Red traffic lights, then fails to make any progress in front of me for about a mile - the road goes down hill and is fairly fast. I was right on his tail until he decided to park by the side of the road, just before the crest of a hill so noone could safely pass him until he had finished his operation.

Now I don't mind people overtaking - they do after all have places to be - but really, when doing so, please leave more than a Rizzla paper's gap between you and me. Next time I may wobble and an SPD in the side of a car is inclined to do damage...

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Two days, two videos, one blog entry

Two videos today...

I have met this particular dog many times, indeed she features in a clip posted earlier this year (don't ask me which one - I only write the blog) I really do seem to be the only cyclist which freaks her out. Ah well, perhaps she will get used to me? I know I have to slow down around her to give her a chance to decide what to do next.

These lads were a bit odd. I couldn't work out if some were bullying others or what was going on, then to have one demanding bike or death I found alternately amusing and rather sad. Needless to say I rode on without stopping (though I did go really slowly through the middle of the group) and saw hide nor hair of them in the mirror so supposed my life was safe for the moment. However there seem to be some rather scary cars on the roads locally - most of which have been in accidents - so I keep my eyes and ears peeled for them.

Early start tomorrow, so dear reader (I know there is only one of you), I will say night night.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Why horses should be treated with respect

Horses are wonderful creatures, don't get me wrong, however a semi-autonomous semi-intelligent prey animal is not something to be encountered lightly on the roads - after all they weigh 0.5-0.75 tons and if that sits on you, or your car, the results are predictable...

If anything spooks a horse it will rear, skitter and/or bolt. That anything can literally be that - a shaft of sunlight, a butterfly, a car, a seagull, a cloud passing the sun, a tree waving oddly in the breeze or even a cyclist 200 yards away on a weird bike wearing a HiViz jacket... oo that will have been me then!

In this case I don't think it was me - they started to act up whilst I was a fair way off, however the piebald one did look rather oddly at me as I went past really slowly on the pavement... and, for some reason, I can't help feeling a little guilty.

Incidentally no one was thrown from their horse - though that may have been a close run thing - no cars or vans were crushed by fleeing creatures and no cyclists fell off their recumbents in the making of this movie.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Stinging nettles

Well the 33 seconds of yesterday's trip home displayed above were possibly the most exciting and bizarre of the week since Monday. A near miss, cycle on cycle action and stinging nettles to add spice.

There I was turning right off Chickerell road onto Prince of Wales road (A steepish pull) holding a strong road position - mostly because there was no traffic coming; the lights here alternate east/west traffic along Chickerell road because the bridge is single track. Anyway back on track as it were... I turn left off the road onto the feeder path for the Rodwell trail and, as you can see, I am forced to ditch in the nettles by a rider coming down the wrong side of the path. He did yell a brief "sorry mate!" over his shoulder. If you are in anyway concerned about the nettles - they only got my left calf a bit and weren't hurt at all. Leg itched a bit though!

The Rodwell trail is like the wild west - pedestrians (who should be off it when I am using it - after all I share it with them for the rest of the day) everywhere, dogs on invisible black leads, dogs off the lead, drunken people, Bike Shaped Objects, Tiny bikes, Hoodie propelled bikes, pushchairs etc. so I expect to be wary but, as in this case I am travelling uphill at a whole 2 mph, I feel the downhill racer could have at least been on the correct side of the path!

Your opinion may be different, dear reader, but really is it unreasonable to expect people to at least try to be on the right side of the path - rather than being wrong by riding on the right?

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Overtake if you must....

Well here I am back again after a long absence... an absence for which I have no real excuses other than nothing exciting happened when riding the Orca and also I kept forgetting to either attach the camera to the helmet or to charge the camera so that even though it may have been attached it was useless.

Today I was proceeding in a southerly direction down Portland road when I became aware of a White Van in the process of over taking. Actually I was aware of him before he started his manoeuvre by use of my bar end mirror, but anyway...

I was tanking down hill at a fairly leisurely 23 mph (37kph as indicated on my incredibly accurate bike computer) and only 7 mph under the speed limit I guess an overtake was deemed necessary by WVM.

Having been cycling on the roads for 32 years now I thought I had encountered every sort of overtaking style (motor vehicle vs bike) but today this WVM added another to the list... overtake then stay just in front of the bike - a style not uncommon in car on car overtakes especially on motorways) but in this instance even more surprising because the road was completely clear in front of us - save a set of traffic lights.

Oh well - none so queer as folk, they say, and definitely none so queer as folk in white vans!

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Hazard Perception

First today I apologise for the quality of the above video - condensation on the camera owing to fog. As I was descending the ramp from the Rodwell Trail I noticed stored gas pipe so slowed to take evasive action. It transpires that I was wise to do so as the gas board have dug up the road and sealed one lane with traffic lights. I expect the dump truck driver was surprised by the 'bent and the snaking path I took to avoid everything was fun - even off road the Orca is OK!

Second, I present another video on the same subject... hazard perception. Luckily I had a hunch about this car as I saw it approaching the roundabout stop line, so was well prepared to avoid a collision and not use any expletives in my shout. The only slight mitigation in her favour was that the sun was almost directly behind me so I may have been a little difficult to see. Possibly. If you are feeling really generous. Oddly enough the other car at the give way failed completely to hit me or otherwise impede my progress.

For those who can't make out my shout I say "Get out of it! What are give way signs for!?" the latter referring to the lines on the road commonly found at traffic roundabouts. What are give way signs for? decoration? daft mare.

I am fairly confident she heard me because I shout loud anyway and she had her passenger side window open.

Oh well, no more cycling till Tuesday now. See you all (both of you, dear readers) then.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Shared path

As most of you know by now, I use a shared path for a length of my commute. The usual meaning of the word shared is "to use something with someone else"... so why on a shared path, do people consider standing in the middle of a junction to be sharing?

The Gent on the right notices me and winds back his hound on an extendible lead (black cord is just so visible and suitable for use on a path on which bikes are a common feature)the woman on the other hand - she of blog posts passim complete with skittish mad greyhound - is totally oblivious to the imminent arrival of a cetacean on the scene.

Oh look, the dog runs off and, rather sensibly for a greyhound, a breed not known for their smarts at the best of times, it hops off to one side of the track to let me past.

What was so important to talk about that the path had to be blocked, when a little bit of thought on the dog owners part would have rendered their conversation uninterrupted? why how to avoid the traffic chaos that is the roundabout outside ASDA and the edifying comment which I added as the title sceen of the clip...

Ah well - best wishes dear readers, until next time.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


Dear reader, it has been a while hasn't it? well here is a video to pass the time and I probably won't be posting another until Monday or Tuesday because I will be driving tomorrow.

Anyway, back to the video. You will remember that I ride along the Rodwell trail as part of my commute. In the last weeks I have met all sorts of other traffic - pedestrians (how dare they use my road?), joggers, school children, dog walkers, maintenance trucks, a grass mower and now, adding colour, a mountain bike actually riding up the steep path off the trail at the marsh.

I take my hat off to the gentleman - not only did he ride up the slope, he passed me almost casually. no fuss or bother!

Anyhow TTFN dear reader, more next week I hope.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Dear readers, today we have a longer than normal video (showing off my elite video editing skills..... or perhaps not!) which illustrates the thorny issue of overtaking on a bike, or scalping as it is called by the commuter racing fraternity.

Climbing up the hill by the Kingswood Hotel I wonder why my Orca is making unusual noises and, much to my surprise, a Brompton folding bike creaks past about 1 or 2 mph faster than I. Ho hum thinks I and pick up the pace, as I would do normally at that point on the hill, expecting the Brompton man to be streaking off into the distance.

I was mistaken. He pottered along about 5 mph slower than I normally cycle along that particular stretch of road... that is the boring bit of the video - which I took the liberty of speeding up to save you from terminal boredom.

As the traffic eased and the road widened I took my chance with a swift glance to the right I streak (yes ok... I know!) past the Brompton using the hill and my 120" top gear to my full advantage much to the disgust of the tendons behind my knee. I neither hear nor see Brompton man again.

Now I don't overtake unless I am sure I can stay well in front; this applies in my car as well as on the bikes - why should someone be slowed by my inability to keep up a reasonable pace? Surely I am not being unreasonable if I expect the same courtesy from other riders? Waiting behind till we got to the top of the hill wouldn't have killed Mr Brompton man would it?

Oh well - he better watch out if I catch him on the flat or down hill...

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Cycle cycle cycle cycle..... Junction junction... Aargh! Bus! a Buuuus!

Dear readers, remember back in the mists of time, when being taught the green cross code, the admonishment to look right, look left, look right again?

This video shows just why that is important. As I was approaching the junction I looked right, then left then right again just as the bus miraculously appeared out of the morning sun. I didn't fall off either.

This morning was an unsettling commute - nothing went wrong as such but things just didn't flow - by the time the bus turned up I was ready for anything to go not quite right.

What went not quite right? all sorts of things, listed here in no particular order...
There were pedestrians using the shared path (how very dare they!) in clumps so I had to use my bell;
Said pedestrians were accompanied by loose dogs;
I had a bit of a wobble at the end of my road for no apparent reason;
The traffic lights on Portland road started changing when I was 2 meters from the line travelling at 30mph or so.

That sort of thing - nothing major yet the whole was greater than the sum of the parts

I hope that my journey home will be even less eventful and more relaxed - if it isn't you will be the first to know.

p.s. in case you didn't realise the title of this post pays homage to Weebl's Badgers
p.p.s. Yes I know that isn't the original; it is the new live action version and no Weebl hasn't fixed the synch issue!

Monday, 10 May 2010

Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre

Well dear readers, here we have Weymouth's first example of someone who didn't listen to his driving instructor. There I was minding my own business, about to join the inside left turn lane, for a left turn surprisingly enough, and R832FKN decided to join me - without waiting for me to get past or even indicating his intention.

This driver isn't, I am glad to say, typical of Weymouth - else you would be watching more similar videos - however he does illustrate the reason why I treat all drivers with suspicion when I am on any bike and especially the Orca.

Oh well - it looks like being a nice day tomorrow so perhaps the traffic will be worse! I have to say that the morning traffic is much better behaved than the homeward bound stuff; must be something they eat during the day I guess.

On a slightly sombre note - whilst out in the car (yeuck!) this evening, on my way along part of my commute, I noticed an ambulance parked outside the house of a couple of elderly eccentrics who greet me enthusiastically every day I cycle past them. I do hope nothing has happened to the one who wasn't outside the ambulance. If there is only one of them on the road tomorrow I will stop and find out what was going on.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

They will never catch on

This morning's commute was full of the usual mundaneness... as I was riding I was thinking that the novelty of the recumbent has worn off for me and it is almost like riding an upwrong in as far as it seems normal. Obviously that doesn't hold true for the other inhabitants of sunny Weymouth; the other day, whilst out on a ride with Morgwen, I heard someone saying "Look dad, that bike comes past my bus stop every morning!" anyway back on track as it were...

I am descending the hill towards the cycle path when I notice a member of the local constabulary (PCSO or PC I am not sure which) approaching the on/off ramp... and holding his position to the right of the track (I always thought we cycled on the left in this country but never mind). I slow right down - because it is a fast descent - and join the path narrowly missing said upstanding member of the community and as I pass he chuckles and says "they will never catch on!" I reply "they will eventually" and proceed on my way.

If that is as exciting as it gets on my commute I may have to find a more interesting route to work, however that is probably tempting fate. So far I have had few mishaps though yesterday on the way to the locksmith shop in park street I did manage to lock up the rear wheel and slide to a halt by some traffic lights - it should have been on film but the Muvi was discharged or having a bit of a paddy for some reason and so the most exciting thing to happen in a week of cycling was lost for ever.

As always, dear readers (all two of you), I must leave and hopefully have an eventful ride home.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010


The most exciting bit of my commute today - a really slow speed 'Sorry Mate, I didn't See You' incident. Riding up the road the White Van man probably has his mind on other things when he starts his 3(ish) point turn manoeuvre. If I had been a car he wouldn't have pulled out from the kerb however I am 'only a bike' I guess, so should expect to give way to everything else on the road - luckily the gearing on the Orca is very low so I can quite easily cycle slowly.

If he had waited for me to pass, the total delay to his journey would have been just less than the length of the video - possibly 30s in all but, as we have seen previously, 30s is a really long time when you are waiting for it.

Aside from the white van man the commute toady was uneventful - even though I started out rather later than usual due to a dose of fail last thing last night when switching off the phone - I forgot to switch on the alarm!

Monday, 26 April 2010

Falling off workshop III

Today I had a nearly fall off the bike incident down to me forgetting that my feet were attached firmly to the bike. Low speed, lots of wobble, one profanity and I suppose you would like an explanation - cos the video doesn't make it very clear.
To begin with it is a normal day. Approach a queue forming behind the bus, the last vehicle in the queue being the tanker you can just see at the beginning of the clip. No problems so far. I point forward for the bus driver to carry on in front of me (I may be a bit optimistic that he can actually see me but I am fairly sure I could see his mirror)

Things now start to get interesting because it transpires that the tanker has failed to position himself in the road for the right filter lane in which he is parked, causing the bus to stop rather than proceed ahead through the green light as I expected it to.

I slow down to below walking speed but that isn't enough to avoid the rear of the bus; I try to put my foot down still clipped in to the clipless pedals (yes, apparently clipless pedals are attached to your feet by clipping in to them. Don't ask me why - I am as confused as you dear readers.) so I wobble madly and during the wobble manage to unclip my feet from the pedals.

So only a little falling off, not a spectacular all over the road version.

I must be getting more relaxed about the whole recumbent/clipless pedal thing if I can make a silly mistake like this... can't wait till it is all as much second nature as riding the upwrong.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Fame at last

Well what have we today... I was cycling through Hope Square in Weymouth (not Melcombe Regis - that is the touristy part with the beach and the Georgian buildings) when I heard some hair driers following me - something must have amused the riders because they were laughing so much I could hear them above their machines.

I thought no more of it after they had passed and turned left at a roundabout that I go across... however as I was minding my own business hauling up the hill to the traffic light gnome I heard them again - as indeed you will dear reader (I know there is only one of you :) ). As they pass the lead hair drier pilot does nothing untoward, however I notice that his wing man is riding single handed and not looking where he is going because he is videoing me on his phone. I wonder if he noticed the head cam?

hey ho - I guess I will be all over Weymouth (and indeed Melcombe) via phone and perhaps even on YouTube. Such is the price of actually enjoying riding and being extremely laid back about the trip.

More tomorrow; I doubt you can bear the excitement or suspense until then but, pray, don't hold your breath else you may be an interesting shade of purple by the time I get around to posting.

Monday, 19 April 2010


By special request, a video containing knees! well not really - I suspect you, dear reader, are hoping for accidents, close calls and general falling off the Orca. Sadly, unless you really were hoping for knees you will be disappointed on all counts.

Today was uneventful, except for this minor queue of cars I encountered at probably the worst place possible on the commute route home. A queue of cars is not usually a problem (idiots aside of course - see videos past) however this queue of cars was on the steepest hill and was also completely stationary. Arrrgh! time to dismount - a task made slightly more difficult by the firm attachment of my feet to the bike by the SPD cleats.

Having ridden 10 miles in the cleats this lunchtime I figured a trip home couldn't be hard. To quote a famous program consisting of three blokes cocking about "How hard could it be?" and indeed it wasn't. As the pedals are set at almost the loosest release, I manage to release my left foot without much trouble and no trouble at all for the right. I hop off the Orca and push it up the hill - and take a new route home - on which nothing remarkable happened so I have no video of that.

Well that seems to be all for now dear reader, I hope for more mirth and hilarity tomorrow.

Sunday, 18 April 2010


Here is an image of my first race on the Orca as photographed by Rhiannon. us reckless high speed racers disdain the use of  helmets or even a race track - I was using the road and the lad was safe on the pavement - safe for whom I am not sure... anyway a delightful evening getting used to not worrying about what my feet were doing was had by me along with a couple of races up and down the road - even  when the lad had a head start I managed to scrape a win.

Clips - well cleats really. I get all these different terms mixed up in my head... toe clips we are all familiar with, indeed I used them for years until I moved to the dark side.

The Shimano MT42s are 'clipless' however attaching them to the bike requires clipping in so some people say the SPD system is a system of clips... oh dear... my head fair spins with the confusion. So some people when saying clips are referring to the SPD system and others to the traditional toe clips.

Never mind, what ever they are - clips or clipless or cleats - I am fairly sure I can arrange not to fall off too much and needless to say I will video my attempts at disaster and you, my dear reader, will be the first to know how I get on tomorrow whilst I commute.

Monday, 12 April 2010

12-16th April

The management would like to apologise to our readers for the lack of blog during this period.

This is a result of bikelessness induced by being in Salisbury, rather than cycling, digging out 46 years of rubbish from the parent's house to enable the creation of a downstairs bed-sit-bath for the aged father who is recovering from a stroke and currently entertaining staff at Salisbury District Hospital with his wit and repartee.

Regards until next week

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Traffic Management

Here we are making progress along North Quay in Weymouth... I travel this way every day, so why you may ask, is this video on the blog and not any others? Observe the left side of the picture and you can see the upright looming structures of Weymouth Town Bridge - a bascule bridge; the link provides more information than you may want but also a webcam mounted on the north quay offices of the local council.

Anyway, back to the point... I left work later than usual tonight and so caught the bridge lift. My initial reaction was 'oh no - a traffic queue!" but every cloud has a silver lining... with the bridge up it means that there is no traffic crossing it (if there is I would be in lots of trouble) and the right turn over the pedestrian crossing and down the harbour side is simple as opposed to a rather nervous wobble across the possible oncoming traffic hidden by the rise of the bridge on ramp.

Perhaps later is better? who knows... I am sure I will find out.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


Back after Easter and a gentle cycle to work... more other users of the Rodwell trail than usual and I had a feeling that there was trouble ahead as I left the top of the embankment (just before the point at which "they" are sometime going to add a bridge and incidentally change my commute again) so I drifted down the steep slope wondering what was going to happen. I didn't have long to wait to find out.

The chap in black went on his way along the bottom of the embankment, all well and good. The woman in blue seemed to be on one side of the track whilst trying to control her dog by remote control or something. Lucky I was paying attention because, having seen me, she stood right in the middle of the tarmac for no apparent reason. Oh well, none so queer as folk as they say. A few yards further on there was a pedestrian and cyclist interview station which completely failed to stop me - perhaps they though that the Orca isn't a bike?

I think that 'they' are going to be rearranging the cycle paths etc. in Weymouth before 2012 so that there is at least a veneer of greenwash so that the local authority ticks the boxes for the Olympic Committee. We shall see... no doubt I will explore the new farcilities once they are in place - expect comments between now and then!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Sunlight is bright

Stating that sunlight is bright may seem a bit obvious to most people but sometimes I forget. This morning the sun was particularly dazzling - and in the video you can see about as much as I could - the footage from the head cam reflects pretty much what I can see. You can see the car coming the other way just about as well as I could as well - which was a little unnerving to say the least as the descent to the Rodwell Trail was completed in double quick time today. Well not quite double quick but nearly.

For those that are interested, I join the path at the other end of Wyke Regis halt to the camera position for that link and cycle towards Weymouth (away from the camera).

Two things are apparent from today's experience....

1. I must get the sun glasses out of the car so that I can use them on the 'bent
2. On the upwrong I could move my head so that the visor for the helmet (camera mount) got in the way of the sun so sunglasses are not essential. On the Orca this dip of the head is not possible as I am lying back (well duh! it is a recumbent....) and my neck, in common with most humans, is not goose-like.

It is a long weekend so probably no blog tomorrow or Monday - too busy sorting things out and being dad.

A merry new Easter to all my readers! (yes, both of you. you know who you are!)

Monday, 29 March 2010

Bike Shaped Object

Monday 29th March 2010... the day I overtake an electrically assisted bike shaped object which looks a bit like a mopped but isn't.

I had been following this machine up the Rodwell Trail and decided that I just had to try out my 'bent legs and their new found muscles... as you can see in the video, the pilot of the electric device pedals to help the batteries get her up the 1:50(ish) gradient of the old track bed but to no avail - mere electricity is no match for a pair of finely tuned 'bent legs!!!

Given all the extra effort one would have to put in to move the battery weight around when the charge drops I often wonder if there is any net benefit at all in these machines.

Bike Shaped Object (BSO) is a slightly (well OK very) derogatory term used for the <£100 machines you can get from national chains - they tend to:-

be heavy;
have full suspension for no apparent reason;
not particularly well made or finished;
be and ridden for 3 weeks until boredom or in the worst cases actual pain - from the completely bad setup - sets in.

A BSO is technically a bike because it has two wheels... however the rest is mmmm well you probably get the idea by now.

As an aside I find it a trifle odd that this point in the commute is about 50% of the way to work, yet takes 1/3 of the time taken for the whole journey.

Friday, 26 March 2010

Traffic on the trail

What ever next? Pedestrians using a shared path? how very dare they? it is only shared after I have finished using it!!!!

Well actually it was a bit of a comedy of errors.

Woman stops to empty her dog at the rubbish bin just by the junction.
I pass her and start the descent off the embankment. I notice the chap in Hi-Viz struggling up the hill and manage to control a fishtail - the rear wheel locked up and slid on the white paint of the give way sign - he fails to decide exactly where he is going to walk until almost too late...

Today was the first day that there was any significant traffic on the Rodwell Trail and it just had to be at the most awkward section (from my point of view) though earlier on I had met a council truck driving along emptying the rubbish bins... getting past him was fun and I was glad that the Orca is much narrower than the upwrong handle bars.

All in all good fun and no harm done to anyone. Just after this I was caught out by the 30s lights - they changed much more quickly than I was expecting which makes a change.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

30 Seconds

Just how long is 30 seconds anyway?

This is a terribly boring video where nothing much happens, though at about 15s in I comment about the lights....

One second is scientifically defined in wiki for those that are interested.

My personal definition of 1 second is 1/30 of a lifetime spent waiting at traffic lights. This is the first time using the Rodwell trail commute that I have been held up (though not by much apparently) at these lights.

I suspect that a lot of road rage comes from the time distortion effect of the road - things that actually are insignificant (in this case a delay of 1/2880th of a day, 1/6th of a 3 minute egg or 1/100th of a Dr Who Episode) are magnified to a problem which only total annihilation of the cause will solve.

Humans are funny creatures at the best of times, and the act or travelling seems to make us more animal than necessary.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Test for Lois

Well Lois wanted a link to the blog post, so I Googled around a bit and found Twitterfeed it is a service which posts each blog post to my facebook wall and provdes a link as well.
All being in order there should be two updates about this post, one from blogspot email which will just say "[Me and My Orca]Test for Lois" and the other will have a link in it I hope.

Wet II

No video for this one, cos it was so wet I had to take the camera off the helmet before setting out - relatively cheep though the Muvi is I wouldn't want to have to buy a new one just yet.... one can get a waterproof housing for it but at £30 it is rather rich for me.

Anyway back to the erudite prose... rain. I have a love/hate relationship with the vertical wet stuff... I love it when it is happening to other people, or the outside of the building/tent/wherever I might be but I dislike it falling on me when riding any bike and the Orca particularly...
"Why so?" I hear you cry... well I know you only get wet once but the rain seems to bring out the worst in car drivers so they tend to pass rather too close (not on camera - see above!) and they also tend to drive rather more unpredictably. The other reason for not liking it is that I notice my feet slipping around on the pedals rather more than is comfortable and for a while I was pedalling with my trainer on the wrong side of the M324 SPD pedals.

What to do about the slippery shoes? For my birthday I will be buying some Shimano MT32s (or 42s) unless of course someone recommends another SPD compatible shoe that works well as a trainer as well, even with cleats attached.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Rodwell Station

Rode through here on Tuesday and attempted to post the video about 3 times since then. i will add meaningful txt sometime.
This is Rodwell Station

Sunday, 14 March 2010

How rough is a road?

In the case of Lanehouse rocks road in Weymouth the answer is Very. It is uncomfortable enough on the upwrong and it feels worse on the Orca.

The camera shake, once I get past the keep left bollard, is almost completely down to the road surface which has been getting worse and worse over the last year or two.

The other side of the road isn't much better - in some ways it is worse because it is marginally less bumpy however there are 'tram line' type defects in the road surface.

The road surface in both directions is why I have doubled the length of my commute - and got more opportunity for video footage.

We will see what happens in the next year or two as the 2012 Olympic sailing is taking place in Weymouth bay with the marina in Portland Harbour being the base for the sailors. Lanehouse is one of the designated Olympic routes so should get a refresh as far as the roads are concerned.

I am not holding my breath.

Friday, 12 March 2010

How Much Road?

The Highway Code Rule 163 says that drivers, when overtaking cycles, should leave at least as much room as they would when overtaking a car. I assume that the Silver boy with leaxarse lights leaves a couple of inches between him and any car he overtakes...

Later on he seems to need rather more road than anyone else... and overtaking him I return his earlier compliment.

As he was the only driver who seemed to have a problem with my road position and filtering I wonder how big he thinks his rather small car actually is?


Rain is inevitable - this is the first rain for a fortnight here.

Typically the precipitation decided to start as I was approaching Snipe Gate - and had the road been flatter, or at least downhill all the way to the industrial estate, I would have escaped it all but no - with two 1st gear hills in between me and the dryness of work I was bound to get damp.

Near the end of the ride I come to a traffic lighted junction - just outside Chickerell Camp. Not usually a problem. However some car driver thought it would be an idea to try to overtake me where the lanes are clearly painted on the road... I held my ground and he fell in behind as he should have done in the first place - completing his overtake a couple of seconds after the video stops...

What is so important that a 5s delay means you have to abandon sense and any adherence to the highway code?

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Leaning in to the curve

Just a short video from near the end of the lunchtime run out to Snipe Gate. Whizzing down a gentle slope, I come across a mini roundabout. Up till today this has been a bit of a slow point but for whatever reason I relaxed and rather than slowing down I just went for it - and got a decent lean in to the curve. Seems like I am getting a bit more confident... This may be a bad thing.

No Video :(

For some reason the camera failed to record the trip to work today. Sad days because I had my first ever bizarre behaviour by a car/driver on my commute by Orca.

Three lanes of traffic approaching a roundabout... nice big arrows on the road ( Abbotsbury Road Roundabout... Google StreetView )
I was positioned just to the right of the line separating the straight on arrow from the left turn arrow - for I was going up the side of the lake rather than into Abbotsbury road. A white van over took correctly and I thought no more of it, then I hear engine noise to my left... "Hello" thought "I what's going on here? that doesn't sound like he is going left..." As I entered the roundabout the car on my left crept along side me and left the roundabout by the straight on exit....

Sigh - is there any hope for car drivers like that? there are even great big arrows painted on the road to help them work out where they are meant to be. S225 HCG I suggest you get your eyes tested and read the highway code - I know you are not a locally registered car (CG is a Southampton area VRM... the Parents used to own HCG192S many years ago) so perhaps not using the clearly indicated lanes is endemic to Southampton?

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

The Traffic Light Gnome

The TLG is a rare creature, usually found looking the other way when cyclists approach traffic lights. This gnomic inattention causes the lights to invariably be red against the cyclist.

As you can see, right up until I get to the lights, the gnome is indeed ignoring me or indeed taunting me by cycling the lights to green and back when I have no hope of reaching them.

By some miracle he looks in my direction and I spy the lights for the other (main road) stream of traffic going amber/red so I actually speed up - only a little... this is a 'bent and I am going up hill! - in mild panic just in case the gnome changes his mind rather more rapidly than usual.

Just after the left turn the main road goes up hill quite a lot - however after the stress of the normally red lights I usually don't notice the hill!

P.s. if this appears twice in the blog I will delete the one I think most appropriate - I have already posted this once from YouTube but it is showing a marked reluctance to appear.


There is something about cycling that encourages competition... especially when going up hill.

For various reasons recumbent bikes are not so quick uphill as upwrongs - however that can change if the 'engine' puts it mind to it. As this particular engine has only recently been transplanted into the 'bent world I reserve my final judgement - ask me again at Christmas or there abouts.

I was quite quick at hills on the Marin Fairfax, however the Orca brings me back down to size somewhat... I usually make hills at something approaching walking pace so 2 or 3 mph.

The upwrong rider did bid me good morning as he flashed past at high speed up the hill... I didn't have the heart to point out that it was, in fact, afternoon.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

First Time Nerves

Simon is a colleague from head office. Apparently there has been much scoffing at the Orca so he thought "how hard can it be?".
Riding a recumbent is, initially, very like falling off a bike, repeatedly - well on two wheeled recumbent bikes it is anyway. At least one is close to the ground and falling off doesn't hurt that much - to his credit Simon doesn't fall off.

Why SPDs?

This short clip shows why I am definitely going to get some MT32s. I got the wrong gear when cycling up the hill and spun out. As I was going slowly at the time there was no major calamity though I was lucky that all the traffic in the world didn't decide to pay a visit (see blog entry passim) though a truck did pass by shortly after. Can't wait till the birthday, then a whole new field of falling off will become available to me as I forget to clip out or fail to clip in properly!

Monday, 8 March 2010

Falling Off Workshop II

Yes, this is the second time I fell off the Orca. The first was in the dark and the helmet cam didn't pick up too much detail.
This falling down moment is much better lit and shows what happens when you are travelling slowly on the 'bent and pull on the tiller and are in a slight panic about all the traffic.

Speaking of traffic, why does it always wait until I am about to do something tricky before making an appearance? Roundabouts, uphill sections, T Junctions. No traffic at all until I get there then all hell breaks loose. Just have to get better at riding the 'bent I guess.

A Bit Close Mate!

Two cars overtaking... The first seems to think that I am about to get out of his way, or something equally silly; the second is much more typical of the overtakes I am experiencing at the moment.

I suspect that, over time, motons in Weymouth will get used to the recumbent and treat me like any other bike. Until then I have the luxury of wide overtakes and a deal of wariness from the petrol driven population.

My First Ride on my new Orca

This was the first time I took my own Orca for a ride. Down the lane behind Future Cycles in Forest Row, round the car park and back. The video is jerky because the camera was wobbling about on the helmet.

New Bike - New Blog!

Well here we have another mundane addition to the blogosphere - a blog dedicated to my adventures on my Orca

No, an Orca isn't just a species of dolphin but a very capable - if a trifle heavy - recumbent bike designed in the Netherlands and imported to the UK through Future Cycles

This blog will attempt to catalogue my 'bent biking experiences until I get bored with blogging about the new machine.