Flow like water

Having read a blog post recently (can’t remember the exact article….) from a cyclist who claimed he didn’t like to be called part of traffic as he was able to move (at least during the rush hour) at a much higher pace then the motorised traffic it got me thinking of how best I could convey this myself.

I personally don’t mind being called “traffic”, I am a road user and on occasions when the motorised traffic is particularly heavy I am left at a standstill. I take pride in my filtering ability, something which I’ve had plenty of chance to build up with over 4 years of riding in central London, but there are occasions where I just can’t safely fit through any gap. In these cases I’ll wait patiently for a safe gap then get on my way, jobs a goodun!

Then it struck me the other night as I was nipping between the slower moving cars and trucks on The Highway heading towards Tower Bridge, I’m (or the collective “we” for most cyclists in fact) are more like water flowing round rocks. It’s just in this case though the rocks are actually big metal boxes and they can roll forwards themselves. We don’t tend to hold up the traffic, in fact I think my journey times would improve greatly if I woke up tomorrow and all the motorised traffic had been removed from the roads! I often find myself having to ease off as I get stuck behind a slow moving motorists due to the sheer volume of traffic 🙂

Take this evening for example, I pulled up alongside one particular company van on Albany Road as I waited to turn onto Camberwell Road. I didn’t think much of it at the time until I caught up with and eventually overtook the same van on Streatham High Road, some 4-5 miles later 🙂

So for my motorised brethren who think bikes are slow…..just remember we can go with the flow, all whilst you are staring at the rear window of that vehicle in front 😀 Maybe one day you’ll make the change, stop being part of the problem and become part of the solution.

This also brings me to another point

Can we improve the driving license?

I was muling over some ideas in my head whilst doing the dishes this evening if there was any way to get drivers to understand why they have a duty to drive responsibly on the roads?

Having watched the bad drivers program on channel 5 over the last few weeks I’ve started to spot a theme with the really dangerous drivers – the ones who speed, use their phone, eat at the wheel etc. They all come out with something along the lines of “I know I should slow down/not use my phone but….” It’s as if they don’t seem to grasp the responsibility they bear when they are in charge of 1 or 2 tons of metal capable of high speeds on public roads. Roads that are used by other responsible motor vehicle drivers, cyclists, pedestrians et al.

Part of my musings reminded me of the restrictions imposed on motorcyclsts which are summed up nicely here

As you can see it’s very specific and limits the rider to a certain engine size and power when they start out, unless they can take the relevant tests and training to prove they are capable of handling the larger bikes.

I’ve had a look to see if there is something similar for the driving license and guess what? There doesn’t appear to be any restrictions bar vehicle weight! But why is this?

Could it be to protect the driver/rider? After all if someone who has just passed their test has an accident it’s generally going to be the motorcyclist that comes off worst of the two. The driver at least has a metal box to cushion their lack of experience….

So why don’t we have a similar scheme for car drivers? I mean at the moment I’d imagine the biggest barrier to a new driver getting a high powered sports car is insurance but then if you have enough cash to throw around (or a disregard for the law, but that’s a whole other kettle of fish….) then in theory it’s doable. Here’s the keys to your new Ferrari Mr New Driver 🙂

Another idea I considered was making bicycle training part of driver training. It may help them realize how vulnerable cyclists are and could possibly (I know it’s a long shot!) change their attitudes towards them on the road. Also maybe if they understood the “mechanics” of using a bike in traffic they’d also realize that cyclists generally don’t hold up drivers! Yes you may have to wait a few seconds until it’s safe to pass or not arrive at the back of the next queue for another 10 seconds but is getting past the rider ahead really worth risking potentially seriously injuring another road user for? Relax, your blood pressure and wallet will thank you 🙂 Better yet, get on a bike and become part of the solution and not part of the problem (to traffic jams that is!)

Now I have no idea how any of this could be implemented or if it’s even feasible. In an ideal world it would be impossible to drive without a valid license and insurance, which in turn could be used to restrict which cars you are able to drive.

I guess at the end of the day it all comes down to enforcement. Laws and regulations are only as good as the enforcement used to back them up and unfortunately there is far too little where unlicensed and uninsured drivers are concerned which in turns means having neither of these isn’t really a deterrent to some people, so for my suggestions of restricting drivers to certain vehicles I think it is actually the attitudes of road users that  need to change rather then the system that governs them.

The 4 minute mile

That’s the rough rule of thumb I can use for getting around town on my bike. Not bad eh? Compares rather well with the other modes of transport for getting in and out of London! That’s a proper door-to-door time as well so it accounts for waiting in traffic and at red lights (yes believe it or not the majority of cyclists do obey them….). My 10 mile commute this morning was completed in just shy of 40 minutes.

There have been occasions where this is a bit skewed, I had a horrendous time getting along Chelsea Embankment once due to sheet volume of traffic and when the last Harry Potter movie came out my progress down Hampstead Road, Gower Street and on towards Trafalgar Square was more a case of filtering practise then fast riding.

I think the only thing that has done a more consistent job of slowing me up is the snow in which case my journey times approximately double, which is still about twice as fast as motorised transport…..

So at 4 minutes per mile that gives me an average journey speed of 15mph, which is about right as my moving average is usually high 16’s/low 17’s so the small loss is expected once I account for time spent sitting still. Compare this to a car in London which apparently only averages 7mph according to some research carried out by Citroen.

So anyone who wants to complain about bikes holding them up should maybe have a look around next time they are sitting in a traffic jam. See all those things sitting around you and not moving? Yeah……..that’s what’s holding you up, not the cyclists who is disappearing off down the road.

London Bikeathon 2011

Last Sunday I accompanied a couple of work colleagues on the London Bikeathon.

It is a charity bike ride  raising money for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, a very noble cause. The ride itself offered a variety of routes with different distances, 13, 26 or 52 miles, divided between a “scenic” route, heading west from the central London start and the “city” route which headed eastward. The Challenge ride took in both of these and it was this one we did. As a fairly experienced rider I wasn’t too worried about the distance but it was the first time I’ve done these sort of distances with relatively inexperienced riders. Heck the first time I did the Bikeathon about 4 years ago I was only down for the 26 mile city route and I was nervous about finishing that 🙂

As such I knew I’d be fine finishing but what was truly remarkable was the amount of non-regular cyclists taking on the challenge ride for whom this actually was a challenge. I don’t think this really hit home until we’d re-grouped at the finish line (I’d got ahead as we joined Emabankment heading back towards Battersea, the traffic was far too heavy for hanging around and I’d switched into commute mode!) and I could see how exhausted both my friends and the other riders where! 52 miles of London roads in 26c heat is hard work! This combined with the very moving messages being displayed on the main TV screen in the finish area brought a lump to my throat. 1/2 century rides are fairly easy for an experienced rider to knock out and I’d even go so far as to say that most regular cycle commuters wouldn’t have a problem with the distance. The course on the whole was pretty flat with the worst hill being Sawyers Hill in Richmond Park and that was only tricky as it fell in the later half of the ride so you already had 30+ miles under your belt!

Another interesting point was the other riders apparent lack of road sense, clearly an event like this will end up attracting people who don’t ride on roads that regularly but some of the behaviour I saw was just a lack of common sense let along road sense. I think the worst example was when we got stopped at a level crossing (Barnes?) in the westbound leg. The first group of riders sat either in the queue or near the barrier but as the road was also blocked in the opposite direction it meant riders started filtering up the “wrong” side of the road only to find they couldn’t fit in at the front and so waited on that side of the road and this built up quite a sizeable group.

Of course you can imagine what happened once the barriers went up. Chaos. The cars who had been waiting to come down the road now couldn’t proceed properly as their path was blocked by a few dozen cyclists. Our lane was slow going as well as we had to let those who had been waiting in to let traffic move! ARGH!! I think the situation could have been handled a lot better if some more marshals had been on hand to try and control the other riders. A similar situation happened when we left Richmond Park. Very narrow streets with barely passing room between cars yet still some riders insisted on lane splitting between the two, forcing drivers of oncoming cars to stop.

There where also some routing “problems”. Nothing that lead us to go off course but having done a few guided rides now I know it can be very easy to miss turns. This is all well and good on quiet country roads but not so good on central London’s busy streets! As such a bit more warning that I need to move over to the right for a turn would have been appreciated! I mean if I’m concerned about the little amount of notice I’m given for a turn I’m sure the more inexperienced riders could easily have come unstuck! For me shoulder checking and signalling is second nature, however I did see a few riders just dart out from the left of the lane to the right when they did see the “turn right” sign, who thankfully where being followed by patient cars! Luckily tho the sheer number of riders did make it easier at some points.

Unfortunately sheer volume of riders, even when all wearing clearly emblazoned brightly coloured t-shirts, doesn’t  stop some people being impatient little shites. A good few times I witnessed some rather aggressive driving with people tooting their horns to hurry us along or the idiot driver who overtook a car that was patiently following the riders up the hill in Richmond Park and tried to cut back in amongst a group of riders. Bear in mind this park has a 20mph limit, is very popular with cyclists and it was very busy with bikeathon and social riders this sort of driving is just plain dangerous!

On the whole tho it was a very enjoyable ride. It gave me a chance to see a side of London I don’t always get to see and at a more sedate pace 🙂

I did capture some footage at various points around the ride and this can be found here I hope you enjoy watching it almost as much as I did filming it 🙂

Living outside the box

One of the great things about cycling is you are much more connected to your surroundings. I think I first realized this many years ago after I’d been cycling a lot more then I had to drive somewhere. I was in my car heading back in towards a rather awkward junction in Streatham in the pissing rain in the dark. I felt as if I was blind!

Suddenly I had these pillars blocking blocking parts of my view. The small piece of window I could see of was frantically being cleaned by my wipers and I couldn’t hear a damn thing! It was then that I think I realized how much I rely on ALL my senses whilst travelling by bike, even in the pouring rain I’m much more aware of what is happening around me then in the car. I feel disconnected from the road in there. But when I’m on my bike I feel very much part of the traffic, I can hear it breathe around me and have nothing obstructing my view.

Another great advantage of not being hived off in a little metal box is that it’s much easier to interact with your environment and other road users. I know you can sort of do this in a car (heck you have enough time whilst sitting in queues to look around) but I’m talking about those “moments” when you make a brief connection with another human being.

One of these happened was earlier this week as I was heading up the ramp from Wandsworth r/b towards Tooting. It’s not a long hill but you certainly feel it and I was slogging away up it and sensed another rider behind me. He swung out to the right side and I hugged the left. I looked over and we exchanged a knowing smile 🙂 He then commented “Windy today” and we both just smiled and dug a little deeper to keep up…….also earlier in the ride I’d had a chat with another cyclist who asked had I heard her swore (as if I’d care, I could make a sailor turn red with my mouth……) it turned out some kids at the bus stop thought it would be funny to “pretend” to push their friend into the road in front of her. Hilarious I’m sure if the cyclist had fallen off, I’m sure they wouldn’t be laughing when the police arrive however.

Then the following morning as I was heading up Queenstown Road towards Battersea and I arrived at a set of traffic lights. Stopped alongside me was a chap with a kiddy trailer on his bike. I smiled as I love seeing people using bikes to transport kids! As the lights go green the young boy in the back yells “Go Daddy!” and promptly kicks the rear wheel 🙂 All meant very kindly but I couldn’t help but smile at this funny and wonderful little moment, I’m hoping the helmet cam caught it so I can post it up!

That evening I was doing my usual job of not racing along The Embankment when a rider (who I had already overtaken previously) came past drafting a scooter! Now this is basically like a red rag to a bull for me! I set about chasing him down and once he’d lost his wind block he slowed up a bit. We then managed to form a small peloton of 4 as the 2 of us caught another couple of riders. Once the traffic snarled up he hopped onto the pavement and slowed up ALOT. I carried on down the road and again gave him a glance and we exhanged a knowing smile. Although we didn’t acknowledge it earlier we both did now 🙂 One of the tennants of Silly Commuter Racing is not showing any signs of actually being in a race….something we both clearly missed as we responded quite clearly to each others accelerations 🙂 I then had a bit of a filtering fubar and got hemmed in behind some vehicles before Battersea Bridge. The cheeky sod only rides past on the pavement and says “Your stuck now!” before dropping off the pavement at the front of the queue just as the lights go green. I didn’t see him again after that, the traffic was fairly heavy and he was far enough ahead for me to lose sight of him. Damn shame…..

I guess what I’m trying to say really is humans are social animals. Cycling gives me a chance to connect with and interact with other riders that driving doesn’t. I think it’s the happy endorphins that are released during exercise that sparks it off as if you tried to stick up a conversation with a stranger on public transport you’d probably be seen as a mental case! Not that those who are listening to their iPods and have their heads buried in a smartphone would know about that. They don’t know what their missing 🙂

Another cyclist on the road

Well not on proper roads yet….just the one outside the house but it’s certainly a start. The best part is she did it “properly” – a little wobbly but that’s excusable when it’s her first time without stabilisers 🙂

The she I’m referring to here is my 3rd eldest daughter and it’s quite frankly made my day! It’s a difficult feeling to explain, but one that most parents of cycling children will know all too well, that feeling of immense pride as they roll off down the road or park path without you 🙂 I was smiling from ear to ear as I looked up and realized that no sooner had I removed her stabilisers she just ridden off the drive and “got it”! She still needs to master the push off but I think it may be remedied by using a different bike, the current one has a rather small gear which means she’s barely moving on the initial crank turn and barely has a chance to get her foot on the other pedal to carry on riding! Of course now she has gained her cycling wings it means I’ll be taking 3 of them to the London Skyride this year….it was bad enough last year trying to keep an eye on 2 of them, hopefully this year the eldest can be trusted a bit more, either that or I’ll have to rope in some assistance – 9 miles, evenly taked slowly, could be a big ask for a 6 year old.

The best part is I think it was her younger sister who prompted the removal of her stabilisers as she asked for her’s the be taken off whilst on the way back from a friends party today. Nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to kick them a kick up the arse! I also don’t think it’ll be long before I pen another post when she eventually figures “it” out and joins her 3 elder sisters racing around outside which brings me nicely to my last point. The fact that the children now have their bikes and a suitable place to ride them at home.

Before we moved we just didn’t have the room for my bikes and theirs. We had no access to the garden at the rear from the street which meant any bikes that needed to be taken out there for storing would have to be wheeled through the house. Hence my bike was stored in the hall, on the floor during the week and then suspended (most!) weekends from a Lidl bike hoist – possibly the best £5 we ever spent! Such a simple way to reclaim floor space 🙂 The road we lived on also wasn’t the safest and most conducive to children playing out. With a tyre shop/hairdressers and popular chip shop at the bottom combined with us living just before the first side road this meant we where on the stretch that was often used as a racetrack by those wanting to turn around! We now live in a house with gated access to the rear which means plenty of room to store both mine and the kids bikes (and my mum now has her garage back – thanks for the storage!!) and our location at the top end of a cul-de-sac with an abundance of children means there is very little traffic and those that do drive expect children to be playing and running around so drive respectfully. As such the kids can play out or ride around with each other the other kids in the area, relatively safely 🙂

I still have fond memories of cycling around as a child, afternoons spent riding round the local neighbourhood with other local children – calling instructions back down the line as we braked or turned 🙂 Then there was the summer holidays before I started running for my local athletics club, in an effort to build up some fitness and out some muscle on my legs I’d regularly ride 10 miles each day (such is the joy of bike computers!). I can see the same enthusiasm in my own children, the eldest already has a bike computer and loves to tell me how far she has ridden or how fast she managed to go 🙂 Even this afternoon’s downpour didn’t dampen their spirits, after all what are raincoats for if they can’t be used to keep you dry!

I once read that cycling was one of the few activities you can do as an adult that makes you feel like a child again and no one (well not many….) people will think you need locking up 🙂 I consider myself extremely fortunate to be in a position that lets me continue to cycle as a means of getting to work, not many people I’ve spoken to outside of those cycle-commuters, have said they look forward to their journey to and from work 😀

I also have 3 more little cyclists to raise which means 3 more chances to get that warm fuzzy feeling – I can’t wait 😀

A change for the better!

Just wanted to post a quick update since the last 2 articles – mainly the one regarding going carless as it’s kinda fallen on it’s face.

Originally when I wrote that post we lived in a small 2 bed house, relatively close to 2 major supermarkets and 10 minutes walk from the kids school. Going without a car wasn’t going to be a complete ball ache.

Since then however we have had a rather fortunate turn of events. We have moved house! This may sound like something that we *should* have been aware off but due to us being housing association tenants and being overcrowded it was kind off thrust upon us! It was literally 2 1/2 weeks from us finding out about the new property to us moving in! Luckily it feel over the extended Easter break but what that did mean was my planned 11 days off work with the kids and wife turned into a mad cap session of trying to pack up 9 years of accumulated junk from 8 people and move it 4 miles across town!

Thankfully we had an incredible support network of friends and family and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those who helped us with the move. The final Sunday with the hire van was probably the most tiring day I’ve ever experienced, give me 127 miles on the bike any day! I can say hand on heart we couldn’t have done it without you and I’m eternally grateful.

Asides from a small hiccup with a couple of appliances going walkies the first night(you thieving bastards!) we are starting to settle in to our new home. We now have 4 bedrooms and the kids have plenty of room to play and grow. Once we finally have everything sorted I’m sure we’ll be set for the next decade and chapter in our family 🙂

It has however meant we need to keep the car on for the time being. The children are still in their current school – it’s unlikely we are going to find spaces for 4 children across as many year groups at a single school atm, so we’ll most likely look into moving them in September. A real shame as their current school is one of the best in the old borough 😦 As such the car is still needed for the school run. Getting 6 kids across town on 2 buses isn’t easy at the best of times. Try this during the school rush hour and it’s a recipe for disaster!

I’ll also admit the car did come in useful for the move itself. The fact that with the seats in the right configuration it turns into a small van meant we could shift quite a bit of our stuff in the car and also become rather friendly with the staff at the local tip as a result of clearing out 9 years worth of stuff we didn’t really need to keep 🙂

Why do we tolerate it?

The Independant today started a campaign entitled “Save our cyclists”. On the front cover they had 20 pictures. Those 20 people are no longer alive as they have been killed over the last 18 months whilst on their bikes. Yet this seems to be “accepted”. After all they chose to cycle around and everyone knows how dangerous that is…..

Whilst there are now regulations coming into force that mean that lorries will be required to have additional mirrors and sensors to detect cyclists who venture into their blindspots, I can’t help but think if those 20 people had been in cars and died as a result of collisions with lorries the laws would have been changed in a matter of months……as it stands the current EU safety legislation won’t come into force until 2013. Better late then never I guess except that is still going to be a bit too late for the next cyclist that finds themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time between now and then.

Reading through their article I was gobsmacked to read that a bus driver was cleared of killing a cyclist through dangerous driving as according to “expert” evidence her view could have been obscured by cab fittings? Surely this must be a joke?? Aren’t these people professional drivers? They are entrusted with very large and heavy vehicles that operate on both extremely busy roads and residential streets. They are trusted to carry members of the public, yet I have encountered a few who seem to put ensuring their bus is running on time ahead of the safety of other road users. Overtaking cyclists just so they can pull into a bus stop or plain ignoring pedestrians on zebra crossings. This behavior isn’t limited to bus drivers though, other road users also show a similar dis-regard for the safety of those of us on two wheels.

But why do they do it? Pent up frustration? Maybe they think it’s funny to terrify people? Maybe they are just a bully (it’s amazing how much confidence 1 1/2 tons of metal cage can give someone) or it could just be through ignorance. Most will probably tell you that cyclist shouldn’t be on the roads. Understandable really as cars where clearly around a long time before bikes……and it’s not like us free-loading cyclist pay anything towards the upkeep of the roads that those cars, vans and HGV’s are constantly pounding. I mean I’m sure I cause an awful lot of wear, with a fully loaded bag I reckon me, my bag and bike must easily weigh about 85kg 🙂

But then all cyclists are lawless idiots aren’t we so surely we deserve the abuse? Clearly I must be seeing things when I pull up at a set of lights in London and have 10-15 other riders around me and 5-10 riders carry on through the red light. I personally find it a bit difficult to judge the true amount of red light jumping cyclists as I often find I see the same ones at each set of lights (get the hint here RLJer’s IT ISN’T QUICKER…..). It may also surprise some other road users and pedestrians that those of us that do stop for red lights and do our best to obey the traffic laws tend to get quite annoyed by the riders who don’t follow the rules. Annoyingly getting some of them to change their ways is like trying to get blood from a stone. For me the worst part is that their bad actions tend to mean the rest of us get tarred with the same brush. Just the other day I was heading down Charring Cross Road when a older lady was crossing on a zebra with her mother (I think!), I had seen them over the cars so started to slow down to let them finish crossing. Now I know this could be a natural reaction from the pair but it genuinely looked like they where expecting me to race on past them assuming I hadn’t seen them or I’m just plain ignoring them. After all cyclist don’t pay attention to the laws of the road – shouldn’t I have just raced between the two of them? Possibly scattered the pair of them like skittles for good effect? No. I’m a road user, therefore I play by the same rules as any other road user. The fact that I’m on two wheels and not four and that I’m powered by my legs rather then petrol doesn’t mean I’m any different. Yes I can filter into some smaller gaps and don’t get held up that often but I’ll still stop for pedestrians and red lights, after all I’ve got plenty of time to spare 🙂

So why can’t we all just get along? I mean I’m pretty sure no one is out in a car or on a bus during the rush hour for fun (unlike me on my bike :-)). We are all just trying to get somewhere so why can’t we just show each other some respect? All I ask for is a bit of space. If that means I delay you taking a corner by a few seconds I am really sorry. Can’t wait a few more seconds to join the back of the next traffic jam? Ah diddums, just drive patiently along behind me – I can do a reasonable speed if given some room and once we get to the back of the queue I’ll disappear up the road and you can sit there and stare at the vehicle in front. All the while thinking “Bloody cyclists holding me up”…….

Is going carless careless?

I’ve been meaning to get this post done for a while now so here goes….

This blog was originally setup to document my journey to completing the Magnificat last year and so riding my first century. This came and went relatively easily compared to what I along with my family are about to tackle.

The question is this: Is it feasible for a family with 6 children to get by without a car?

It may sound a little silly at first but hear me out 🙂 Our current family vehicle, a 8 seater Toyota Emina Lucida is really not practical to run anymore. The MOT is running out shortly and he have been told it will need some work completing to pass this. This involves spending money we’d rather use elsewhere. The rising cost of petrol means we are now having to put in £15 a week as a minimum to just complete the few short errands we use it for. Once you also account for VED (£220) and insurance (est. £700) you can see why it may be finacially viable to get rid of it!

Myself and my wife have given this some thought and we reckon it’s workable. A few lifestyle changes will be necessary, which may be difficult to adjust to at first but we CAN do it.

We are rather fortunate with our location, which has helped massively. We live 5-10 minutes walk from our children’s school and have 2 major supermarkets (one being a 24 hour Tesco) within 10-15 minute walk. We can get our main monthly shop online and thus get it delivered courtesy of Asda (something we have done a few times before, it’s just so much simpler!!) and it we do need to get a big shop locally we recently purchased one of these:

It’s a garden trolley from a local store (Clas Ohlson), rated for a load of 250Kg it’s more then sturdy enough to have the 2 eldest in along with the various other items 6 kids need. It also means we have somewhere to put the younger members of the family when we head out for a longer excursion as they can’t walk the whole way. We are considering purchasing folding micro-scooters for the elder ones to make the long journeys a bit more enjoyable for them and to cut down on arguments about who gets to rid in the trolley 🙂

The rugged design also means it doesn’t mind being taken to the park and dragged across the grass – the chunky tyres handle it very well and so far pretty much everyone we’ve seen has commented “Very cool” and I don’t yet know how we haven’t caused a car crash as drivers tend to stare rather then watch the road……the other intended use for it was larger shopping runs between the main monthly delivery, something we did use it for a few weeks back after a visit to a local park. It’s rather handy as the shop didn’t mind us taking it in (after all we are freeing up a “proper” trolley for another customer by using this :-)) and it made everything a lot easier. We have also tried to account for times when the security guards won’t let us in and have invested in some security chains for it. This is mainly for when we are out with it solo as if we are out in a group one adult can wait outside it with.


Another positive of using the trolley and walking around is that it forces you to take everything in. In some ways this is similar to when I’m on my bike, the slower nature of the travel compared to a car means I can enjoy the scenery (not such a boon in town, but it does have it’s moments…). It also means spending more quality time with the children and hopefully as they get used to the walking they won’t moan as much 🙂


So far the excursions have been relatively small. A walk to the local park and a visit to my parents who live about 2 1/2 miles away. A journey that would normally take 10-15 minutes in the car that now takes about an hour. Not that it’s a bad thing it just means adjusting timings a bit. Besides I’m sure we aren’t quite walking the most “efficient” route and we have plenty of options for re-routing with some that include play parks for the kids to “have a break” in 😉


For anything longer then a walk we are going to be relying on public transport and bikes. Again we are rather lucky in that we have 2 mainline rail stations within an easy walk of the house and I’m already quite happy to ride around all day. The 2 eldest are more then capable of putting in reasonable mileage (both have done the 9-10 mile Skyride with me) so asides from the obvious cost saving we also have a nice health benefit – I for one can’t wait until I start reaping the benefits of pulling the trolley around. It’s good workout for the legs doing the hills and the arms get a nice stretch as well. Just as well we are saving about £60 a month on fuel for the car as I can see the food bill going up to compensate!


Bearing all this in mind I shall now try to report back on how successful we are with our little experiment. I do remember this did come up in a “discussion” a while back on a bike forum I often use. Another member said I didn’t need a car and instead wanted one. A friend then commented something along the lines of “Don’t be ridiculous, of course he needs one look how many children he has!”. Guess we’ll find out who was right soon………

A quick joke….

I found this online earlier and it’s a bit too long to share directly via Twitter or Facebook so I put it on here 🙂

A farmer named Bill was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Scotland when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust..   The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the farmer, “If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?”   Bill looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, “Sure, why not?”   The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASA page on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo .   The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany .   Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.   Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the farmer and says, “You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves.”   “That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves,” says Bill.  He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the boot of his car.   Then Bill says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?”   The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”   “You’re a Member of Parliament aren`t you”, says Bill.   “Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”   “No guessing required.” answered the farmer. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of pounds worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don’t know a thing about how working people make a living – or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep…   Now give me back my dog you prick.

Posted from WordPress for Android