To say that there’s a tension on the road between cyclists and other road users is an understatement – at times it feels like Mad Max out there! For us cyclists the roads can be an intimidating place. It often feels as if it’s only a matter of time before someone drives too close, cuts us up, squeezes us in or vents some violence in our direction.
But to be fair, an equal amount of the blame lies on the cyclist. There will be plenty of whinges about this post, but as a cyclist trained to teach others to ride in the city, I can assure you cyclists need to wise up!
Here’s 5 things cyclists never do:
Cycling holidays are an increasingly common way to discover the world, and South-East Asia never ceases to captivate travellers who take to two wheels.
So, whether it’s looking for a dreamy honeymoon hotspot, searching for that cultural icon, or seeking out its adrenalin-induing activities, it’s got to be on your list.
Across this swathe of land, from the hidden temples of Burma to the wild beaches of Bali, the landscape shifts and shapes, from polished skyscrapers and balmy rainforest to plunging waterfalls.
Get into the spirit of this year’s sporting extravaganza and do a two-wheeled tour of this fascinating region.
If you’ve recently taken to cycling and want more than the British summer can offer, in Ravenna there’s a ride waiting for you…
In January I started the Evolving Cyclist Project to see what an average commuter could do with some support in a season spent training for one event.
The event was to be a Gran Fondo (classic long distance Italian race) and the location Emilia Romagna.
Well, after earthquakes shook the northern Italian region to its core and ‘Le Tour’ took centre stage, it looked like the dream had ended.
And then I got the email…
There aren’t many better feelings on a bike than getting to the top a gruelling climb. It might feel like searing hot pokers are being jammed into your thighs and that a particularly cruel and invisible giant is squeezing the air out of your lungs on the way up.
But when you get to the top, it’s almost always completely worth the effort. Plus, you get to ride back down again.
Getting the miles under your belt on the flat with a nice tail wind is all well and good. But the best cycling holidays are all about achievement. And being the king or queen of the mountains is about as good as it gets.
Cuba’s relationship with bikes goes back just a couple of decades. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the 1991 oil crash left the island with little choice but to reduce their dependency on cars.
In doing so to cycle became more commonplace and all across Cuba people turned from motor-vehicles to bicycles, producing around half a million bikes in-country and importing a million or so more from China.
Although transport by car is more common now, the two-wheel legacy still lives on and many Cubans still travel by bike today, leaving the roads relatively traffic-free.
Bike lanes and safe places to park are common features in Cuba and much of the country is flat, with decent-enough road surfaces.
And with private car ownership extremely rare during the oil crisis, or ‘special time’ as it’s known in Cuba, Cubans have developed an ingrained culture of respect for cyclists, with motorists still remembering the era when bike travel was the norm for everyone.
Long gone are the days of the old torpedo-style bike lights working off a dynamo (apart from the odd retro hipster type you see on their rusting old Dutch bikes). In one way it’s a shame because try buying cheap bike lights and you’ll soon find massess of brittle plastic and boring designs.
Those old chrome lights did have a lot of charm. The charm usually lasted about three weeks before the rust set in.
Then there was the fact the light they cast was about as bright as the combined casts of TOWIE and Made in Chelsea. And if it rained, you could forget all about it working at all.
So, what is there that will light your way and fit in your pocket without emptying your wallet? Hello Knog Frog Strobe, time you got reviewed!
Cycling in the UK has soared in popularity in the past few years, encouraged by the cycle to work scheme, the development of our National Cycle Network and investment in bike-safety education within schools.
But no matter how much money and positive press we throw at the situation, British family bike tours will never compete with similar French offerings.
It’s a sad fact, but Britain is not a good place for cycle holidays, and certainly not for family bike tours, when safe, stress-free cycling is essential.
Quaint country roads sabotaged by fast cars; cycle lanes that ‘end’ without warning; abuse from other road users: cycling on home soil is a challenge. We have some superb cycle-paths that are perfect for commuting and fun for weekend rides but, unless you’re into hard-core off-roading, you’ll soon peddle into busy roads and bolshie motorists.
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