Friday, December 17, 2010

Cycling News snippets - it's not all about the bike (except it is really!)

The freezing weather continues, it was -3.7C when I checked the temperature outside the house this morning. although the Weather monitoring at the University indicated it got down to around -4.8C on their roof. It was cold enough to put me off fixing the puncture on my Marin bicycle. Generally bringing in dirty bits of bicycle is frowned upon, but I think I could have gotten away with bringing in the wheel - but it was too cold to wash it really. So I cheated and went to fetch a newspaper on one of my other bikes. It always surprises me how different they feel when I switch and yet how quickly I get that sense of familiarity. Mind you my Marin is also in need of some new brake blocks whereas my Longstaff (which I used today) has the brakes set up to work with barely a twitch - which did surprise me a little as I negotiated the icy roads.

The subject of bikes prompted a study of the difference when commuting using a light-weight carbon-frame bike compared with a steel bike - it's not about the bike. The study was undertaken by a cyclist who also happens to be a Consultant Anaesthetist and so the got published in the British Medical Journal. As you might imagine the study also throws up lots of comments. The "executive summary" is that the weight saving (around 4Kg) had little effect. Now before you ask too many questions about the methodology and implications check out the paper. The two bicycles were similar apart from being made from different materials and the author does go on to discuss some of the variables. Ultimately if you want to go a bit faster then it might be better to lose weight.

Mind you the two bikes I use most of the time are a Marin hybrid with flat handlebars and a Longstaff tourer with drop handlebars so I find that my average speed tends to be higher because when crouched down there is less wind resistance. The Marin's handlebars are also very wide which creates even more frontal area to increase wind resistance further.

On the subject of trials - the Cambridge Guided Busway Trials were a success apparently. The journey time from the Cambridge Science Park through to St Ives took 16 minutes (and is scheduled to take 20 minutes when picking up and dropping off passengers). There are 12 junctions and the CGB has priority over other traffic at them. Here is a video of the bus in action. (Or should that be inaction). The reporter does mention how smooth the journey was and also how evident the flooding on the maintenance path is. Which he goes on to say means that it will "clearly be some time before cyclists get the route they were promised".

And finally the road works over the Hill's Road Bridge about about to be completed after five months. it is not a route I use very often, there are more pleasant routes when I head South - which I tend to only do for leisure rides. So I must give it a try and add to the over 4,000 cycle trips made each day over the bridge.

No comments:

Post a Comment