perlmonger: (cycling)
shoppingFirst bike ride of non-trivial length for months yesterday, and my legs (and crotch) are feeling it. Better than last night, when various leg muscles were cramping, twitching and giving way under me in quite an alarming fashion.

The idea was to do a bit of shopping, but being as the first port of call was the Sweet Mart, I decided to carry on up NCN4 to Warmley. 11.8 miles, 741' up and 712' down. Straight back down to Easton for lentils and some veg, then to the Eastville Centre for a dozen overpriced little tins of catfud for the convalescing Aliss (who is doing much better, thank you, but might decide to have a relapse if the Special Fud stops being served). Then to Sevier Street and the wholefood shop for Greens cheddar, barley flour and dishwasher tabs; Gloucester Road for a wine kit; home via the closed-to-cars Clifton bridge and Ashton Court. 14.6 miles, 1007' up and 1043' down. Which means (if Bikely and Google are to be believed), I ended up seven feet lower than when I started. In a box, possibly, and I'm hallucinating this post.

Anyhow. I am clearly not as fit as I have been (even taking into account the weight of the shopping coming back); unsurprising, considering how sedentary I've been of late.


Jun. 17th, 2008 01:52 pm
perlmonger: (cycling)
Renovo Hardwood Bicycle

I'm not normally seduced by SHINY! but beautifully crafted hardwood bike frames are beyond my terminal squee! threshold. Renovo wooden bicycles have to be the most beautiful things I have seen in $LONG_TIME and (leaving aside trivia like not being able to afford one) I want one that meets the principles in the article on economic relocalisation from On the Commons that I found them in; one made to their pattern in the UK from English oak. The pony would be nice too, but I haven't anywhere to stable it.

More photos from BikePortland, who have a review online.
perlmonger: (cycling)
I took my bike trailer out for its first proper run yesterday, to North Street[¹] and Sainsbury[²]. A smidgeon over 7 miles. My tentative methodology - buy small stuff first and put in backpack that I can wear between shops and take into Sainsbury - worked well; the only (and anticipated) hassle was parking the bike/trailer combo: it's long. A lamp post on North Street did me well, but the bike racks at Sainsbury were too close to the wall really, with only two positions I could have used at all and the front of the bike sticking out slightly anti-socially even in one of those. Manoeuvring backwards takes some getting used to too: the tow bar has very little sideways angular freedom, so it's actually more difficult than backing a trailer on a 4-wheeler.

Coming home, I certainly noticed the extra weight both up and down hill - it would be very easy to run out of brakes if careless in descent, so I'll make sure I don't do that :)

In the afternoon, I set off again (sans trailer) to CostCo[³] in Avonmouth, via the Avon Gorge leg of NCN41. 10.2 miles each way, and I was feeling it when I got to the climb up from Bower Ashton to the Ashton Court car park on the way home. The nicest part, though, was that just as I started climbing the Avonmouth bridge on my return into a brisk and cold head wind, the sky started drizzling on me. And I was too hot in the morning: we get weather more than climate in this country.

[¹] thin and round rye crispbread, 2xconc. apple and blackcurrant juice, breadflour, dishwasher tabs, smoked paprika, pumpkin seeds, G&B almond choccie from the Southville deli; ginger root from the greengrocer

[²] plain and spinach lasagne, 2x24 bogrolls, sliced ham and beef, milk, soured cream, marmalade, binliners, jaffa cakes, plain chocolate Bahlsens

[³] 2 packs of kabanos, 2 packs of bagels, a pack of part-baked demibaguettes, 2 packs of butter, a wheel of brie


Jun. 6th, 2008 09:20 pm
perlmonger: (uncle)
TrailingThe bike trailer that [ profile] ramtops found and ordered for me on eBay (from this retailer) arrived this afternoon from Germany. A small w00t! at least is in order; I've been wanting such a device for quite some time, and it means that pretty much all of our shopping from now can be done without firing up the car. The thing even has a waterproof cover so, within reason, weather can be disregarded.

It weighs 7½kg, and you hardly know it's there when pulling it (empty at least; the load limit is 40kg :) though it's a bit of a pig getting through bollard chicanes. I took it for a test run along the village cycle path and up Glebe Road, which is enough of a hill to judge how much work the thing is going to be in practice: I dropped a gear (middle 2nd AOT middle 3rd) getting to the junction at the top, but it really isn't nearly a gear's worth of extra effort.

It's really well thought out: it folds flat when it's not in use and is remarkably simple to set up and collapse. You pull it along with an articulated tow bar that mates with bracket that sits neatly inboard of the back wheel quick release, held on with a pin and circlip (and emergency strap). My only minor quibbles (apart, of course, from the beast being utterly insecure: order of shopping is going to have to be taken into account) are that the knobs holding the crossmember in place are irritatingly overendowed with thread and there's no strap or other mechanism to hold the folded trailer closed, or its detached wheels to the rest of the machine. Oh, and there's nothing to hold cargo in place, but a suitably sized bungy spider will fix that.

Turns out, of course, that we don't actually need anything bulky from the shops this weekend, but its time will come soon enough…

perlmonger: (uncle)
I've not posted anything for a while - not even about last weekend's rather fine Eurovision-fest with [ profile] agc, [ profile] purple_peril, Pat'n'Dave WANOLJ joining [ profile] ramtops and me - so here's a completely pointless post to prove to anyone reading that I'm still in some sense alive.

Today, [ profile] ramtops and I went to the garden centre in Cleeve, for hanging basket plants and basket liners, and some herbs. They had sold out of 16" liners, which we need for the largest basket that's going to be filled with strawberry plants, normal and (Blessed Be!) metsämansikat, we bought along with a whole raft of other herbiage from D the LibDem. So, we stopped at the Brockley farm shop on the off chance they had some (they didn't) and walked out with a punnet of strawberries, a tub of cream (we already have chocolate cake; these will be combined later tonight :), a small loaf of bread-with-roasted-peppers, some sossidges and a pack of locally sourced pig bits which we're going to consume tonight.

We stopped to drop some of Mac's surplus shoes (yes, you read that right) at the village charity shop and discovered a small but perfectly formed crisis as we got back into the car: it turns out that Mr Rodda is less than conscientious about the fastening of his tubs of cream (bad bear!) and about a third of the tub had redistributed itself in the bag, on the floor of the car and on Mac. Thankfully, home was only a few hundred yards away, and cleansing wasn't too traumatic.

The bread, which was exceeding good, was consumed for lunch, with apples and cheese.

This afternoon, I cycled home » Ashton Court » chocolate path » centre » Slavers Quarter (where I sent water filters for recycling at Dyers in the Galleries) » Easton » St Pauls » St Werberghs (refilled washing up liquid bottle, buy more Greens cheddar, porridge and dishwasher tabs) » Ashley Hill » Montpelier » Gloucester Road (apple and blackcurrant juice, round rye crispbread (but no thin rye crispbread, and neither did the scoopshop up the hill)) » Redland » Cotham (yay! thin rye crispbread, and some green tea) » Clifton » Leigh Woods » Ashton Court » home. Weather: hot and humid; your correspondent: likewise.

Minor mishap on the cycle path through the village: I had to stop quite suddenly to avoid ploughing into two people just round a blind right angle bend; I stopped, went to put my feet down, and found that I hadn't stopped and in fact continued gracefully sideways with my bike onto the path. All most undignified (and down to not taking enough account of a raised centre of gravity caused by my fully loaded backpack), but no real damage to me, bike, shopping or (concerned!) pedestrians.

Tonight: food, wine, Dr Who and likely more West Wing (we've finally got a couple of DVDs into S4).
Tomorrow: gardening, lots of.


May. 9th, 2008 09:54 pm
perlmonger: (cycling)
"He stole a bicycle!"

Well, I said I needed a cycling icon.
perlmonger: (pete)
I've spent this afternoon going to most of the wholefood shops in Bristol, in search of a bottle of decent concentrated apple and blackcurrant juice.

Long Ashton -» Ashton Court -» Leigh Woods -» Clifton

Fresh and Wild: Crazy Jack 6% homœpathic only
Wild Oats: Crazy Jack only
Cotham: Suma 10% (purchase one; I also picked up dishwasher tabs and rinse aid)

Cotham -» Gloucester Road

Shop 1: Crazy Jack and… Meridian 12%! (purchase one, and a jar of tahini)
Shop 2: bugger all
Shop 3: Crazy Jack and Meridian 12%

Gloucester Road -» Montpelier

Farm shop: bugger all
Grocery on the corner: bugger all
Italian Grocer: bugger all (though they had both A&B and Blackcurrant at decent concentration, but sweetened: why?)

Montpelier -» St Pauls -» St Werburghs

St Werburghs: Crazy Jack only (but I bought a hunk of Green's unpasteurised, organic, Somerset cheddar)

St Werburghs -» Easton

Sweet Mart: Crazy Jack only (but I bought some coriander and two tubes of squit)

Easton -» railway path -» Temple Quay -» Redcliffe -» Cumberland Road -» Southville -» Bower Ashton -» Ashton Court -» Long Ashton

and home, and an apple, and a pot of TEA.

And no sign whatsoever of the Meridian organic good stuff with a sensible proportion of blackcurrant juice in it.
perlmonger: (pete)
Transforming a linear park joining communities across the city into a linear wall splitting them apart.

The Bristol Cycling Campaign meeting next Tuesday, to start a campaign group protesting the routing of a new guided bus route along the Bristol-Bath cycle path, has outgrown its initial venue and will now be in Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Street. Starts at 7:30, and you don’t have to be a cyclist to attend (plenty of Ordinary Non-Lycra-Wearing People use the cycle path and are as threatened by its desecration).

Be there or be somewhere else, but if you’re in the Bristol area (or Bath; the same sort of thing is threatened at the other end of the line), come along if you can. And sign the petition if you haven’t already.

Bus lanes and guided buses, yes, but not at the expense of cycle and pedestrian access, or with the destruction of community space.
perlmonger: (skydancer)
SOHI was going to post this yesterday evening but events conspired against me )

I pootled off on my bike yesterday, going a significant distance for the first time in months: across Ashton Court to North Street and a bit of shopping, then to Temple Meads via Victoria Park and on up the Bristol-Bath cycle path as far as the far end of the Staple Hill tunnel. Then back: my legs getting slightly rubbery and my pace almost glacial by the time I got to our end of the Long Ashton cycle track. Today, my perineum is offering a degree of protest; I suspect my leg muscles will follow suit tomorrow.

Synchronistically, [ profile] ramtops pointed me at a post on [_], the Brissle Noo Meeja mailing list, telling of the latest lunacy from Bristol City Council and associated business interests: “The West of England Partnership, composed of local councillors, plan to use [ the Bristol to Bath railway path ] for a rapid transit bus route from Emersons Green to Ashton Vale, one of four in the scheme. The Bath end of the path is under similar threat.” The guided bus route, if it happens, will apparently be alongside rather than replacing the track, but would inevitably make the thing far less pleasant to use and, as Sustrans[PDF] point out, likely lead to many people returning to their cars instead of walking or cycling.

Presumably they’re counting on cyclists, walkers and ordinary punters using it to walk to the shops in Easton having less clout than the road transport lobby, who would be less than supportive if this sort of thing was tried on, say, Fishponds Road. Anyhow, if you’re remotely as furious about this as I am, there’s an online petition you can sign and, if you’re a sad geek, a Facebook group you can join to offer some registration of your protest.

ETA that Bristol Cycling Campaign have a meeting on this at the Cornubia Pub, Temple St BS1 Easton Community Centre, Kilburn Street (note relocation) on Tuesday 5th February 2008 at 7.30. Come and have a rant about First Bristol City Council.


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