Category Archives for "Sustainability"

Ladies bike

Ladies Bike

11 tips for a ladies bike

Ladies Bike  11 tips to consider

I rode to work for 20 yrs through the centre of London. I have to say not always on a ladies bike, but on occasions. (Elswick 1936 ladies bike ). Cycling is quick efficient economic and pollution-free. I learnt a great deal, of what to do and have and not do and no need to have. That is why I have put together these 11 tips for a ladies bike together.

When starting out it can be quite a daunting task to choose the right bike. I have not listed a series of bikes you could buy. No, my list is comprised of the aspects I would consider before buying the bike. It would be similar for a man’s bike or a ladies bike. Each of these tips are serious considerations. Often learnt the hard way. So, please don’t just go for the name on the frame, think the whole thing through. The most important tips from 20yrs

20 yrs of cycling through London

bike riding in Lonon
14 miles a day

  Below are the most important things I learnt. 30 yrs ago when I started cycling to work very few others were doing it. I would cycle in all weathers, all seasons. From Parliament Hill, Hampstead to South Kensington. 7 miles there 7 miles back and it always took 1 hr each way. ( by car, bus or tube would take the same time, if not longer)

My journey would as far as possible avoid the big roads, using cut-throughs in parks and cycling along the canal paths. Not rushing, not getting up a sweat, just a steady tootle.I had no special clothing and had my cycle clips to keep my work trousers from becoming covered in oil from the chain. I would arrive at work calm relaxed and feeling refreshed. It is surprising but in London it really doesn’t rain as often as you think. Hardly ever would I arrive soaked through.

Here are my top 11 tips for a ladies bike.

Bike lights are essential
Good lights are essential
  1. Have good lights on your bike.

Re-Chargeable are best, You don’t want to be buying batteries all the time and it is not very eco-friendly. You need to be seen all the time. The brightness is important.
My lights cost me more than some of the bikes I bought! For after being knocked over, in dramatic slow motion on a winters evening in Regents Park by a taxi cutting in off Prince Albert rd, I realised that he just had not registered my dim lights. That’s when I got a serious amount of Lumins front and back. I still have my trusty Cats eye volt 700 which cost around £90, 15yrs ago. ( Prices have dropped since then ) but it is a rugged bright beam and USB rechargeable.

2. High vis jacket and well-fitting helmet.

I didn’t always where High vis but after the Regents Park episode, I changed my mind. Being seen is a good idea and never take for granted that the driver in the car has seen you, for they usually haven’t.

Good bike breaks are essential
Coaster break
in rear hub

3. Have good brakes.

To be able to stop well is a great asset. In the last 20 years, the technology has improved so again spend on the brakes. All-weather brakes are a must. The old block brakes really will not stop you in the wet, and that’s quite scary. ( I am still alive to tell the tale). The best is the rear wheel coaster braking system. Where you use the pedals to engage the rear brake by backpedalling, they are inside the rear hub and work well.

4. Have good locks.

You need to have locks for your bike. The great thing is that with a bike you can park anywhere, but you need to secure your front wheel, your back wheel and your frame altogether, with equipment which is going to deter the casual bike thief. The serious thief will have hydraulic cutters and sorry but you can say goodby to the bike if they are around. ( I had 12 bikes stolen in 10 years Central and East London.)

puncture free tyres
Puncture free tyres

5. Have puncture-less tyres.

This saves hours of hassle and walking. Riding on a bike, unless it’s a bike path, you tend to get edged into the gutter where all the glass and shrapnel live. If you have thin normal tyres, you will pick up punctures, this can be very demoralising. A good reasonable price make is schwable, I use them and find them reliable.

6. Have mudguards on your bike.

When I see bikes without mudguards I cringe. Mudguards keep you dry more than any other single piece of equipment, I believe all bikes should be sold with mudguards.yuck a dirty wet back from a damp road is gross.

7. Have carriers fitted at least on the rear.

Going to work? You will have your laptop tour lunch, your, books and on the way home the shopping. Goo solid carriers are a must they are indispensable for otherwise you have to carry everything on your back and guess what you will get a hot and sweaty back so arrive at work or at home really soaked. Use paniers not backpacks.

Ladies Bike  11 tips to consider

8. Carry lightweight waterproofs

Enter the untrendy rain poncho, it was always my first choice as it just covers all of you and the rain goes straight off you, or some 100% waterproof jacket and over trousers. But another reason for the poncho you will get hot cycling in the waterproofs, and they take time to put on and take off. The poncho is 20 seconds and your dry and the air circulates well. Trust me a sturdy plastic poncho does the trick. Some worry about the wind flapping etc, seriously its not the Tour de France, it is getting to work dry, slow down in the rain and be careful.

9. Don’t have too many gears

Simple is best and it is not a race. In the town or city, you really don’t need many gears, 5 is almost too many, but if you live up a hill then make sure the gearing ratio is adequate to give you the ability to do a hill climb.

10. Don’t have a hugely expensive bike

But have good wheels and breaks. The weight doesn’t really matter especially if you are carrying shopping or laptop etc. Treat your bike like a workhorse, not a fashion accessory. Quality yes, but not fancy.

The main reason is that bike thieves know a good bike when they see one and if you park it every ay in the same place don’t be surprised  if you come out of work one day and it will be gone. Tip: ( Add your bike to your household insurance, it makes the loss easier to take).

11. Make sure it fits you

Your leg length, get a bike which fits you well and is easy to ride and you enjoy riding, you could be doing 2hrs a day on it.

The last thing is you don’t need to wear lycra sports gear, that’s for the MAMIL’S. (Middle Aged Men In Lycra.) Don’t try to look trendy, dress practically and comfortably in everyday clothes. ( but hey, that’s just my opinion).

The traffic and the traffic lights and the road works will slow you down more than your clothing! Wear what is comfortable, (clogs as footwear are not a good idea, back in  the 70’s I lost one of my clogs going round Old street roundabout,   but that’s another story)

  • in my following blogs, I will break down in more detail each of these aspects of getting cycling in the city.
eco friendly car obituary

Eco-friendly car obituary

Is this the end of the eco-friendly car?

 Eco-friendly car obituary e bikes for the family
The trike to like

Has the car had its day? Is this the end of the eco-friendly car?

In urban situations, cities and large towns, things are changing, as we look into the future we can see that the pollution generated by traditional petrol and diesel cars, trucks, taxis, and busses is definitely an unacceptable health risk and environmental pollutant. The main exhaust pollutants being CO2, NO2 and micro particulates PM2.5 .

The urban health risk

The Eco-friendly car, as wonderful as it may seem, is it any better than its petrol or diesel cousins or is it just another green car wash? what is the real impact on our health and on our environment of electric cars? Emissions.

Exposure to the PM2.5 emissions from diesel can affect both your lungs and your heart. Numerous scientific studies have linked particle pollution exposure to a variety of problems, including:

  • premature death in people with heart or lung disease
  • nonfatal heart attacks
  • irregular heartbeat
  • aggravated asthma
  • decreased lung function
  • increased respiratory symptoms, such as irritation of the airways, coughing or difficulty breathing.

People with heart or lung diseases, children, and older adults are the most likely to be affected by particle pollution exposure. (www.epa.gov)

The eco-friendly car?

Electric cars are seemingly clean, however, their power source, the electricity needed for propulsion has to be generated from somewhere. At present all national grid UK electricity is a mix of the coal and the nuclear the gas plants and renewables.

Analysts at EnAppSys has found that between January and March 2020, In the quarter, 44.6% of power came from renewables and 29.1% from gas-fired plants. The remaining power came from nuclear (15.3%), and coal plants (3.7%).

Indicating that less than 45% of the power for your electric eco-car is powered by renewables indicating that 55% of the electricity you use is generated by carbon or nuclear sources. The emissions may not be in your back yard but they are pumped out into the environment.You just don’t see them.

Eco-friendly alternative is the bike.

Beners-Lee in his Carlisle, 27 Sept 2018 presentation of his book ‘There is no planet B’, makes this rather astute observation. That a solar-powered e-bike gives the best return from renewable resources and totally ideal for urban and city dwellers.

Eco-friendly car obituary
E bike is best

In spite of all this, the human desire for independence and freedom is so well encapsulated in having the car always available outside, the keys in the pocket and a full tank of fuel. This habit will be difficult to change.

Solar powered electric bikes

eco-friendly car obituary
the urban family ride

With the extra power and help of 250-500wh motors and a range of 40-60 miles, these new additions to the biking range make it both feaseable and enjoyable to get to work, or go shopping with ease and Zero environmental impact.

Urban transportation for the urban lifestyle will need to be reassessed. Either through the intelligence of each individual taking upon themselves not just to do the recycling, but to really consider how they would like their environment to be and how they live our lives. But also through state intervention, investment and taxation.

Eco-friendly car obituary
the carry all bike
Carry it all

It will be a lot more rewarding, It will not be a case of having to do without, far more of having an equitable community-based responsibility for the way we live locally, how we source our food, our transport, our schools and housing. The privately owned car will be replace by the community car share, the tram,the train, the bus and the bike. Empowering the individual to have rapid efficent clean transportation around the towns and cities.

Looking forward eco-green

They will be wranglings over the next few years about the money economics, production, employment, GDP, the welfare state and the list goes on. The singular perspective is that things will have to change if we are going into to avoid a global environmental crisis. We may only see the beginnings of the effects at this moment, soon it is only going to increase.

By ignoring the symptoms, the illness does not go away. We’ve seen that with covid-19 in the USA and Brazil. Collectively, Homo sapiens is pretending that everything is ‘ok now’ and believing by ignoring the warning signs of climate change, the deforestation, the degradation of land, the overfishing, the pollutants, the plastic, will all just go away. It reminds me of the 2 yr old who hides behind their hands closing their eyes and believes that you can not see them.

Ask the economists and they will repeat the mantra of the environmental Kuznets Curve. ‘Growth will eventually fix the environmental problem that it creates’. If we make more money, we continue to grow with more profits and then we will fix the environment. Not true.

The solution will come through interconnected ideas and appreciations to solve it will take joined-up systems thinking, logic and action. Limited linear economic thinking will always fall short.

The future looks good. Is this the end of the eco-friendly car? Urban Transport will be 100% renewable electric community cars, electric bikes, electric planes, all powered by solar, wind, heat pumps and waves sources. We will be able to look after the environment, the climate, the biosphere, the wilderness, the forests, the rivers, the lakes, the seas and our selves.

Humanity will flourish, together with all life. Homo sapiens is growing up from the 2 yr old into an adult. Taking responsibility and the consequences for all our actions.