Tag: cycling

Cycling back to fitness

Mont Ventoux

Tommy Simpson rests on Mont Ventoux. The cyclist died (on my birthday – 13th July) while attempting this stage of the Tour de France in 1967. One passes his memorial on the way to the top with only 1 kilometre to go. This fact became particularly salient as I passed it while experiencing chest pain on 29th July 2017.

After a further 500 meters, I had to stop due to the chest pain. Sitting astride the cross bar, gasping for breath, I could look up and see the weather station at the summit which was a mere 500 meters away, including a hairpin bend with a 20% ramp. I had completed this ascent just the day before and so I knew what I was up against. My friend, Sean, was already up at the top no doubt enjoying the views. We had already cycled from Chartres down to the Alps (via Alpe D’Huez, Izouard and Galibier) and therefore had quite some miles in our legs. After about 10 minutes, I cracked on to the summit.

Angina. Chest pain. When coronary arteries become ‘clogged up’ they no longer can deliver enough blood to the heart itself when demand rises for oxygen during exercise. A complete blockage will bring on a heart attack as blood flow becomes occluded resulting in cell death. Angina can be a precursor, a warning, if you like that something is wrong with your heart. Being told by your GP that you might have had a heart attack and being prescribed drugs to address the issue, is a life changer. In my case, scans revealed the extent of the occlusions which meant that I needed an angioplasty with the insertion of a stent to improve blood flow to the heart.

Now I am in need of returning to fitness after a 7 month rest from cycling. This time however, the challenge is very different given the new medical condition. Few of you reading this will be in the same position as I am. You hopefully do not have a heart condition. Before I comment on getting back to fitness, i need to outline the medical bit just so that you are aware so as not to make false comparisons. I am 59, now overweight coming in at 12st 6lbs. I need to take the following for the heart: Clopidogrel (only for 12 months following the angio as a blood thinner), Aspirin (same but now for life), Bisoprolol and Ramipril (to slow the heart and reduce blood pressure) and finally a statin to reduce cholesterol. My resting heart rate is 50, and my blood pressure has been reduced to about 125-75.

The challenge is training using heart rate zones. Normally we can estimate my maximum and threshold heart rate to set up a training plan using something like training peaks.com. Grant (Cycle for Fitness) provides these structured plans using training peaks. A problem is that my heart rate zones have been reduced by 30 bpm by the the NHS’s cardiac rehabilitation team due to the medication I am taking. My new zones are 64-101!   This in practice results in a very very slow regime of exercise. You might already know what level of movement will take your heart up to 80-90. believe me, it is not much.

I am now finding cycling to those zones to be a nonsense. It is for me a non starter as far as training goes. The plan now is to complete the 8 week very gentle exercise regime given to me by the medical team before I make plans to whizz up Mont Ventoux.

A lesson here is that we should not under estimate what having coronary artery disease is, the effect of having a stent inserted, the effects of the drugs and the time it will take to recover. I have heard stories of bravado – men rushing back to work only to find fatigue setting in. Honestly, just don’t do it.

At one point in January, before I had seen the cardiac team to set down new heart rate zones, I thought I’d go for a cycle. Feeling great along the flat, I pushed the heart rate up to 135-140. I suddenly felt dizzy and had to stop for 10 minutes. Knowing now that my new upper limit should only be 101, it is not surprising that I felt ‘off’. I have had 1 more episode of dizziness while merely sat at the table.

So, for all you macho types that want to blast away getting fit again..great. Just don’t rush it. Discuss this first with your cardiac rehab team…then access Cycle for fitness to co create a training plan right for you but you must do this with your medical team.

Having a stent, an angioplasty, is not the end of your life on a bike. Well, I hope so because I have plans to return to France. First, I have to lose the weight gained and get fitter. I’ll be posting progress.

 

 

Redruth.

Jewel of the West, Pearl of the Orient (if you are in St Just) and darker than the blackest hole of Calcutta’s fetid sewer. However, there is a light to guide the weary traveller and the foot sore pilgrim. The station cafe serves a bacon sandwich the likes of which would turn an orthodox Jew into a slabbering, salivating apostate quicker than George Osborne shouts ‘welfare cuts’. So, suitably loaded with pork based victuals, we await the 1023 to Paddington.

Loading two bikes should not present too many problems.

Loading two heavily laden bikes with the handling characteristics of a hysterical toddler with ADHD and a caffeine habit, is another matter. We are in danger of holding up the train and thus causing First Great Western’s timetable to go into meltdown. The ‘Dispatch Team’ (one bloke with a white paddle, a grievance and a whistle) begin to wobble, fearing for his job no doubt if FGW’s management learn of late departures. And they will, because they are watching. There is a bloke in an office in Bristol sitting at a bank of screens monitoring every train dispatch from every corner of FGWs system. He saw us getting on at Redruth and with finger hovering over the ‘fire’ button of his weapon system, was ready for any tardiness. Luckily for us he dropped his cheese butty just as the train was leaving and so, momentarily distracted, we escaped his wrath. He has a calendar on his desk, but it only has one year: 1984.

The trip up to Plymouth was gloriously uneventful, if slow. I believe there are such things as ‘high speed trains’ up country. I believe there is discussion about building more high speed lines to connect the metropolis of London to ‘sorted’ Mancunia via Brummegen. I will also believe in fairies if it ever takes less than two and half hours from Penzance to Plymouth on the ‘drekly’ line. Never mind. I suspect that if a Cornishman does anything quickly it’s only to rubbish the quality of a Devonian cream tea.

Did I say it was raining in Redruth when we left? Mind you, you could have guessed it really. This is the default meteorological condition in Fore Street. There could be sunshine and tea treats in St Ives but the glowering granite bank of Carn Brea gathers the clouds up on its shoulders like little children who then need a pee over Camborne and Redruth. Anyway, those clouds followed us to Plymouth so that we completed the journey in liquid form. At one point on the train I heard children, which prompted a flash back to a train to Preston and poo. Not my poo of course. However, and to our immense relief, these children were well trained. I did not even smell a fart.

The Copthorne is our first hotel of many and is only a short 5 minute bike ride from the Station. And so to rest, to check last minute equipment needs. Note to cyclists: you know what ‘butt cream’ is for but refrain from asking your companion if they have their butt cream while walking into the corridor of a hotel in earshot of the cleaning staff. They might get the wrong impression and may not be able to sleep at night.

 

0700: A seagull awakes me, singing like cat trying a gregorian chant at 78 rpm•. Its friend joins in. Otherwise it is very quiet considering we are in the city centre. I can just about hear the gentle hum of tyre on tarmac as the odd car drives by. Only just. The hotel is next to a Sainsbury’s car park and I would expect a cacophony, but no. Plymouth is as quiet as a mid week church. There is a fan in the ceiling that has been on all night. Reminds me of the opening scene in Apocalypse Now but without the drinking, underpants and sweat. It, too, hums gently as the blades travel in a weary circle above our heads. The next sound I hear is an extended fart in what I think is in the key of A sharp major, a bit like a trombone tuning up. it should really be accompanied by a clash of cymbals. Sean sleeps the sleep of the contented.

Today we head for France. The ferry leaves at 1500 from what I believe used to be Millbay Docks. I think the area is being ‘gentrified’, a euphemism for cleaning out working people whose only possessions are pots for pissing in and replacing them with slightly more wealthy white collar working people who have two pots for pissing in, both of which were financed by Northern Rock or RBS and are in negative equity, and if interest rates rise would need to be sold. You would then see pissing pots being sold in the pannier market for ‘affordable’ prices to Rich London Plutocrats who think Millbay would be a great place to base their mistresses. Thus the cycle of prostitution in Millbay would be complete. Plymouthian streetwalkers being replaced by the uber rich’s tarts in fur. This is a metaphor for modern Britain; we replace long established, if old fashioned, dirty work with nouveau riche foreign parvenues providing services. The only difference is a thin veneer of respectability and Russian blood money. I could of course be making this up, but we’ll see.

Breakfast will be big. A plate the size of the Harvest Moon. I ordered free range corn fed chicken eggs; freshly cured, smoked pig; croissants; flatulence free beans, coffee in a bucket and fifi trixie-belle to serve it.

The ship is the ‘Armorique’ which in Breton means “of the coast”. I’d rather it remains ‘of the sea’ as in my experience ships and coasts make uneasy bedfellows, a bit like a turd and your custard: to be kept separate. The captain, I’m assured, is not Italian and always keeps the bow doors shut. See what I did there? Two oblique Maritime disaster references for the price of one. Mind you the Armorique, when launched, was originally named differently. If you look closely at the present name on the stern, the blue letters on a white background ‘Armorique’, one can see a faint trace of the old name: ‘Le Titanic’. Sense of humour, the French. There is a fake iceberg anchored off Drake’s Island just for effect. It is made of the frozen tears of Plymouthians’ dashed hopes and regrets they were not born in Kernow, after all a ‘Dewdney’ is not a ‘Philps’. Anyway, the sailing is at 1500, so we’d better be ready. Bon Voyage!

*sigh, I guess I have to explain to the ‘youth’ that 78 refers to the speed of vinyl, or was it hard plastic like bacolite, record turntables.

 

“Isn’t it nice to be cycling without having to wear our wet weather gear”.

The morning sunshine was indeed warm in Plymouth as we made our way among the throng on Armada way towards the Post Office. The first task was to pick up Euros before another visit to Evans cycles for last minute ‘stuff’.

Yes, it was good not to have to wear the high viz jackets. Nicer still would be if we had them with us. Before leaving the hotel room we had both looked around just in case we left anything behind. I even remarked that this was something I am wont to do. Satisfied that all kit was safely stowed we checked out. Except it wasn’t. Two wet weather high viz jackets were safe in the wardrobe rather than on our bikes. So, back I went while Sean continued to get his Euros.

Another fine mess avoided.

So, then off to Rocksalt for Breakfast. As mentioned Millbay is being gentrified and this little gem of a cafe, bistro, restaurant is a real find. There really was only one choice on the menu – the full Rocksalt English.

Two sausages, made with the finest pork from hand reared pigs.
One egg, kissed by a maiden as it was laid to ensure its nutrient value.
One slice of toast, grilled to perfection fit for a Greek God.
Tomato. Just. Heavenly.
Slice of black pudding made from the blood of the sacred cows of Valhalla.
Black striped Char grilled bacon whose smoke infused flavour knows no equal.
Beans individually picked and sorted, marinated in a rich tomato sauce for 24 hours.
A succulent almost sweet mushroom.

The salt was served in a scallop shell. To serve it, a mussel shell to scoop the grains onto the tomato.

There are better breakfasts. But none you will find this side of existence.
A couple of hours later we are sat outside the port o’ call cafe with a mug of tea overlooking Millbay harbour. The Armorique sailed into view to dock and unload. That was our cue to go. Just before we got up, a lady sat at the table next to us and enquired as to where we were going. It turns out she was also waiting for her husband. He duly arrived. The lady informed him of our plan, he turned towards us with a bit of gapless toothy grin. His hair was a grey bird’s nest. The bird was still in it. As he stood, he wobbled slightly. He was thinking of saying something but there was a disconnect between thought and speech, so he thought some more, thought about it again and obviously decided that talking was beyond him.

Right next door to the Port o’ call cafe is a pub. I think this is a clue as to this gentleman’s current predicament viz a viz talking. He mumbled something to his wife (?) and they both left. About ten feet away was a car. I somehow had the feeling that he was heading for it. Sure enough the wobble took him towards it, keys produced, both got in a drove away. I don’t think he got it out of first gear as he proceeded down Millbay road at walking pace. This was very probably a common occurrence. I fleetingly thought about undertaking my civic duty and calling the police, but in astonishment I had singularly failed to note registration number or make of car.

If you watched Spotlight this evening and a news item was about a car running amok on the pavement on West Hoe Road, you heard it here first folks.

We left for the ferry in the opposite direction, posed for pictures taken by Steve from the safety of his balcony, and queued to embark. We only had to wait for about 20 minutes in the sunshine and chatted to a couple on a tandem who were heading for the Dordogne, camping on their way down.
Compared to flying, catching a ferry is a complete joy. No security checks; no taking off of shoes, belts or pride. No orifices were searched, fingered or otherwise interfered with. No unpacking of bags, bottles or breaches of etiquette. No bomb jokes, queues or tantrums. Bikes were easily secured by helpful crew thus facilitating the early vending of chilled beer on the top deck in the sun.

So far, this cycling lark is a ‘piece of piss’, as they say in Germany. Tonight is Roscoff, arrival is about 2130 UK time. The hotel is about a 10 minute cycle maximum. So, early to bed before our Grand Depart to St Brieuc 67 miles away.

A bientot !

 

St Austell.

Nows there is a place one does not expect to mention on a journey in France.

We arrive at the Hotel Regina in Roscoff at the same time time as several cyclists and an Italian couple on a BMW motorcycle we met on the Ferry. Its strange how we all have booked the same place for this night’s sojourn. With bikes safely locked and stowed in the cellar, and accompanied by the high pitched notes of swifts on the wing, we decide to go for a short walk into ‘centre ville’ and a nightcap. At the Cafe Ty Pierre we order two ‘pressions’ and sit outside to watch the world. It is 16 degrees and very pleasant.

At the next table sit two gentlemen smoking and enjoying a drink. As I am in France I fancy a cigarette and so purchase a pack of Lucky Strikes from behind the bar. This pack of 20 should last the whole trip. The bar does not sell matches or lighters. This is like buying pasty but without the meat. I then ask the man sat at the next table for a light, and in good english he obliges. It is then he asks where we are from.

Not only does he know Cornwall, but he tells us his story of when as a young man he cycled to Cornwall and ended up in Galway. He fondly remembers St Austell and being taken in and dried off. Camping in Cornwall when it rains is hard, but the reception he got from the locals as they looked after him has left a lasting impression. So, there we have it, to hear a good word said about St Austell, you have to come to France. Oh the irony!

 

Ben and Sean’s excellent adventures

1000 miles in about 10 days in France for the `cornwall air ambulance’ see www.justgiving.com/benandsean.

what follows are ‘home thoughts from abroad’

 

Laurel and Hardy, Ant and Dec, Love and Marriage. What have they got in common? Nothing.

And that, I suspect, is what we’ve got, given our approach to packing.

Yes, that time has come when the bikes need loading, the planning is complete and loins are girded. Sean’s approach to ensuring that all necessary equipment is required, and my approach, resembles that of Scott and Amundsen. One amiable gentleman with faith in simply being British to carry the day, the other engaged in Nordic analysis and planning. We know how that all ended. The difference this time is that Scott and Amunsden are joined as a team. This ensures that success is upped by a factor of 0.01%. This random figure is about as mathematically sound a method of prediction as astrology. The fly in the ointment and what actually is in common in the above pairings, is comedy. Except for Love and Marriage, which are as funny as piles on your birthday, only less rare.

With weeks to go, I had a list of items to be taken in the panniers, cognisant of weight and utility being criteria to be applied to any item. This list I shared with Sean, in the vain hope it now appears , as planning is as Alien a concept to Sean as ‘ecumenicalism’ is to Islamic State, the only difference is that ‘The Caliphate’ can spell ‘ecumenicalism’ while ‘planning’ , I suspect is ‘what other people do’. Scott did not get to the Pole without meticulous planning, oh wait a minute…! That’s right, if I recall, a trip saved only by a good quote and gin and a typically British disregard for adequate resources, knowledge of the terrain and a map. For every Nelson, there is a Mr Bean, for every Wellington there is a Frank Spencer and for every Queen Elizabeth there is Philip. Glorious amateurism, joined with enthusiasm and a comedian’s nose for order will combine to make our own Tour de France a beacon of British civility, self delusion and misplaced grandiose ambition.

On our way to Plymouth:

Redruth.

Jewel of the West, Pearl of the Orient (if you are in St Just) and darker than the blackest hole of Calcutta’s fetid sewer. However, there is a light to guide the weary traveller and the foot sore pilgrim. The station cafe serves a bacon sandwich the likes of which would turn an orthodox Jew into a slabbering, salivating apostate quicker than George Osborne shouts ‘welfare cuts’. So, suitably loaded with pork based victuals, we await the 1023 to Paddington.

Loading two bikes should not present too many problems.

Loading two heavily laden bikes with the handling characteristics of a hysterical toddler with ADHD and a caffeine habit, is another matter. We are in danger of holding up the train and thus causing First Great Western’s timetable to go into meltdown. The ‘Dispatch Team’ (one bloke with a white paddle, a grievance and a whistle) begin to wobble, fearing for his job no doubt if FGW’s management learn of late departures. And they will, because they are watching. There is a bloke in an office in Bristol sitting at a bank of screens monitoring every train dispatch from every corner of FGWs system. He saw us getting on at Redruth and with finger hovering over the ‘fire’ button of his weapon system, was ready for any tardiness. Luckily for us he dropped his cheese butty just as the train was leaving and so, momentarily distracted, we escaped his wrath. He has a calendar on his desk, but it only has one year: 1984.

The trip up to Plymouth was gloriously uneventful, if slow. I believe there are such things as ‘high speed trains’ up country. I believe there is discussion about building more high speed lines to connect the metropolis of London to ‘sorted’ Mancunia via Brummegen. I will also believe in fairies if it ever takes less than two and half hours from Penzance to Plymouth on the ‘drekly’ line. Never mind. I suspect that if a Cornishman does anything quickly it’s only to rubbish the quality of a Devonian cream tea.

Did I say it was raining in Redruth when we left? Mind you, you could have guessed it really. This is the default meteorological condition in Fore Street. There could be sunshine and tea treats in St Ives but the glowering granite bank of Carn Brea gathers the clouds up on its shoulders like little children who then need a pee over Camborne and Redruth. Anyway, those clouds followed us to Plymouth so that we completed the journey in liquid form. At one point on the train I heard children, which prompted a flash back to a train to Preston and poo. Not my poo of course. However, and to our immense relief, these children were well trained. I did not even smell a fart.

The Copthorne is our first hotel of many and is only a short 5 minute bike ride from the Station. And so to rest, to check last minute equipment needs. Note to cyclists: you know what ‘butt cream’ is for but refrain from asking your companion if they have their butt cream while walking into the corridor of a hotel in earshot of the cleaning staff. They might get the wrong impression and may not be able to sleep at night.

 

Ferry at three.

0700: A seagull awakes me, singing like cat trying a gregorian chant at 78 rpm•. Its friend joins in. Otherwise it is very quiet considering we are in the city centre. I can just about hear the gentle hum of tyre on tarmac as the odd car drives by. Only just. The hotel is next to a Sainsbury’s car park and I would expect a cacophony, but no. Plymouth is as quiet as a mid week church. There is a fan in the ceiling that has been on all night. Reminds me of the opening scene in Apocalypse Now but without the drinking, underpants and sweat. It, too, hums gently as the blades travel in a weary circle above our heads. The next sound I hear is an extended fart in what I think is in the key of A sharp major, a bit like a trombone tuning up. it should really be accompanied by a clash of cymbals. Sean sleeps the sleep of the contented.

Today we head for France. The ferry leaves at 1500 from what I believe used to be Millbay Docks. I think the area is being ‘gentrified’, a euphemism for cleaning out working people whose only possessions are pots for pissing in and replacing them with slightly more wealthy white collar working people who have two pots for pissing in, both of which were financed by Northern Rock or RBS and are in negative equity, and if interest rates rise would need to be sold. You would then see pissing pots being sold in the pannier market for ‘affordable’ prices to Rich London Plutocrats who think Millbay would be a great place to base their mistresses. Thus the cycle of prostitution in Millbay would be complete. Plymouthian streetwalkers being replaced by the uber rich’s tarts in fur. This is a metaphor for modern Britain; we replace long established, if old fashioned, dirty work with nouveau riche foreign parvenues providing services. The only difference is a thin veneer of respectability and Russian blood money. I could of course be making this up, but we’ll see.

Breakfast will be big. A plate the size of the Harvest Moon. I ordered free range corn fed chicken eggs; freshly cured, smoked pig; croissants; flatulence free beans, coffee in a bucket and fifi trixie-belle to serve it.

The ship is the ‘Armorique’ which in Breton means “of the coast”. I’d rather it remains ‘of the sea’ as in my experience ships and coasts make uneasy bedfellows, a bit like a turd and your custard: to be kept separate. The captain, I’m assured, is not Italian and always keeps the bow doors shut. See what I did there? Two oblique Maritime disaster references for the price of one. Mind you the Armorique, when launched, was originally named differently. If you look closely at the present name on the stern, the blue letters on a white background ‘Armorique’, one can see a faint trace of the old name: ‘Le Titanic’. Sense of humour, the French. There is a fake iceberg anchored off Drake’s Island just for effect. It is made of the frozen tears of Plymouthians’ dashed hopes and regrets they were not born in Kernow, after all a ‘Dewdney’ is not a ‘Philps’. Anyway, the sailing is at 1500, so we’d better be ready. Bon Voyage!

*sigh, I guess I have to explain to the ‘youth’ that 78 refers to the speed of vinyl, or was it hard plastic like bacolite, record turntables.

 

 

 

Sustainability, Health and Cycling ‘on yer bike’

Sustainability, Health and Cycling.

 

Following the success of cycling at the London Olympics, which has propelled Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton into the limelight, and two successive Tour de France wins by British based Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins, the Great British public are getting back on their bikes and not just to find work. At the mass cycling event ‘Ride 100’ held in London this summer,  even London Mayor Boris Johnson (17 stone) took part, commenting that he was no “chiselled whippet”. Boris is of course also known for the introduction of the Boris bike in the capital. He stated: “The truth is it’s not that hard, and I’m here to prove it. I am 17 stone, I’m by no means fit, and I got myself round that (100 mile) course in a perfectly respectable time. Not supersonic, but perfectly respectable…The message we’re trying to get over is this is for everybody”.

The Department of Transport has produced figures on walking and cycling by local area based on a survey in 2010/11. The key findings include 10% of adults cycle at least once per week but this varies a great deal by area (from over 50% to less than 5%), 11% of adults cycle for at least half an hour at least once per month but again with huge variations (35%-4%). Perhaps unsurprisingly, Cambridge  reports 52% cycling at least once per week and the highest rates are reported in cities and boroughs within cities. Why do we cycle? The survey suggests that 16% do so for utility purposes and 77% for recreation. The Cycling Touring Club (CTC) reports cycling is up by 20% in the last 12 years from 4 billion kms in 1998 to 5 billion kms in 2011.

So this is good news. For society, a shift from cars to cycling may bring about reduced air pollution, reduced greenhouse gas emissions and increased physical activity. For the individual there is an increase in exposure to air pollution and risk of road accidents. The health benefits of cycling are well understood. According to the NHS choices website these include helping you to lose weight, reducing stress and improving fitness. The example of calorie burning is given: someone weighing 80kgs (12st 9lbs) will burn more than 650 calories in an hour’s riding. As a keen road cyclist I can burn 1500 calories on a weekend ride. Of course there are concerns about death and injury on the roads, even Bradley Wiggins has been involved in a collision back in the UK after winning the Tour de France. Department of Transport figures for 2011 indicate that 107 cyclists were killed, but this figure is declining from 2004. However, combined figures for deaths and injuries show these steadily rising to 19,215 in 2011. What of course we really need to know is the relative risk of cycling compared to say horse riding, other forms of motor transport or any other activities. We need to know how many deaths per 100,000 kms of cycling and then to ask, whatever the number is, is cycling beneficial despite the risk?  Depending on who you ask, the health benefits of cycling do seem to outweigh the risks. Hartog et al in their study (2010) argue “on average the estimated health benefits of cycling were substantially larger relative to car driving for individuals shifting their mode of transport”.

Cycling is not just an individual issue, it is a social issue and perhaps a political issue as well. Both Denmark and the Netherlands have higher rates of cycling than the UK. This might be obvious given the geography, but the story is not as simple as the relative lack of hills, it is also down to political and urban planning decisions taken and active policy decisions by politicians over decades to make the countries cycle friendly, to get people back on their bikes.

In ’The Energy glut – the politics of fatness in an overheating world’ Roberts and Edwards (2010) argue that fossil fuels are making whole populations fat/obese. We have replaced food with fossil fuels as our main energy source while at the same time we are eating, if not less than we did, then certainly no more. We have become sedentary, replacing walking and cycling as active transport with mechanical modes of transport, mainly the motor car. Whole societies are using the energy oil has given us to replace physical labour. The upside is the construction of advanced civilizations and huge increases in food production, and the ability to buy stuff, the downside is that as countries develop and begin to increase their car use, whole populations get fat, and experience death and injury on the roads that make cycling injury statistics seem small. Did I mention the contribution to climate change?

Cycling as active transport is a positive sustainability issue, but it is also complicated in that in achieving positive health gains and reducing carbon emissions on the one hand, we have to also consider the carbon footprint of cycling. This includes the manufacture of cycles and  their transporting around the world. Raleigh manufactures in the Far East and my own Bike, a ‘Merida’, was shipped to the UK from overseas. Then of course there are the clothes and accessories and the taking part in weekend ‘sportives’ which may involve driving to events across the country. I have not calculated the carbon footprint of my own cycling interests nor have I calculated yet how many car miles I have not done as a result of cycling. I have to confess that I am one of the 77% who cycle for recreation, having not yet bitten the bullet on commuting. My only excuse is a 20 mile round trip to work on an A road in West Cornwall at , yes even in Cornwall, ‘rush hour’ where far too many drivers seem not have yet woken up and speed by far too closely.

My value system approves of cycling, I believe it has health benefits as well as risk but the risks could be far better managed if UK policy makers went even further in their plans for cycling. Am I about to sell the car though….?

 

 

 

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