Welcome to the Bike Jumbles website. The main purpose is to publicise the events variously known as bike / cycle fairs / jumbles. I have no commercial interest in either the events or with the organisers of the same. (The co.uk domain was all I could get in the early days). I produced the site because I recognised that it can be difficult to find out when things are happening, especially when you are an occasional jumbler, are limited by distance, don't read the "comic" (Cycling weekly) or just want to go to events you can cycle to!
I am keen to build in general interest aspects to the site. To this end I would welcome submissions from anyone.

The website has been going for nine years now and is No1 hit with Google, Firefox and Yahoo search engines.
It is only as good as the information I can obtain. I am pro-active regarding compiling the events calendar and don't just copy the Cycling Weekly adverts. I also appreciate information from any source and will check the accuracy as best I can. If things change or there are errors, I cannot accept personal responsibilty. Event organisers should check what appears on this website on their behalf, and buyers confirm details with the organisers if they are in doubt.
I've got info on 45 known venues and have reached the stage where organisers can and should use the listings to avoid clashes. I would welcome requests for links to others, details of events, feedback and any odds 'n' sods items of interest. Please contact me. Even snail mail would do. Address on the contacts page!
This page is "blogstyle" in that the latest items are first. I periodically delete some of them when they go out of date. Others I leave in for reasons like heritage, timeless interest, my laziness, to convey the spirit of cycling or (in the case of the Brookes advert- she has a nice bottom).
Thanks, Stuart Collins

Passage of time

I have had a forgettable 2019 and, I regret, the website hasn't been dynamic, to say the least. It seems the jumble scene has been "fairly steady" after a few ebbs and flows over the last 10 years or so. The website has been down for a while - but I didn't know about it. I always appreciate being told as from my end I don't get the same picture as you out there in the global data super-highway. One dot out of place and something may not appear
I have had / have heart problems, and broken kneecap, to cap it all. I have not been able to get out on the bike much but I hope that the summer will see a few miles done.

End of the Track for Wally Happy

Hi Stu,
Just to thank you for all you have done to help in the rebuild which is now brilliantly finished. Makes the likes of me a bit of an 86 year old jumbler an embarrassment. So it is time to say goodbye.
I have been around there since a kid in 1947 then as a team organiser and on to 2 x National Team Pursuit wins. Even raced a madison against Reg Harris when an RAF NSMN in 1955. During my 22 years in the Royal Army Dental Corps my visits were less frequent, but when I returned in 1981 I worked as Clerk of the Course, and promoter under the strict but fair Eddie Wingrave as Chief Judge. (it being instrumental in his gaining of an MBE).
It's worth a visit now with a posh club room sponsored by Exudos Travel and a flouring training schedule, meaning the facility is in use every day. There is an almost all-weather surface and even floodlights now!
Traffic became so heavy for our return drive on Saturdays when the 80 minute drive up, could take us 3 plus hours to return to Hampshire.
I'm sure others feel attachment to their favourite tracks, but for me Herne Hill has been magic.
Wally Happy VCL, Ripley Road Section VCC

I can add little to the wonderful, passionate goodbye message from Wally, above. Through thick and thin he has journied long to put on twenty years or so of bike jumbles. The impact on these has been both socially and funds enhancing to get the track from being unusable and derelict to today's modern venue. On the way there have been fights with officialdom, councillors and a chronic lack of financial support. Very many locals have veiwed the venue as "past it" and / or land which could be built on. It is now a smart place, with floodlights, a good surface and with supportive facilities. Serving the whole of south London and parts of Kent, Sussex and Surrey. Reg Harris and the 1948 Olympians, including Gold medallist Tommy Godwin, and a wonderful team pursuit gang who are amongst the most famous of very many riders who have graced the venue. Wally has, for some years, nursed his wife, and strange to say his, own health as he he has gracefully departed the Spring chicken category. I will re-promote an article, which Wally provided from earlier days.

At the moment there are no bike jumbles at Herne Hill. Perhaps there is a reader out there (or anyone for that matter) who might have a go at running a jumble.

June 2018 mid-summer (now old) news

It is a long time since I published anything, apart from Jumble event calendar updates. I lost my wife earlier in the year followed by two personal health issues of my own. Cycling and this website have been in the backwater, but I hope to enhance the website ...... and get some miles done, soon. Meanwhile do enjoy my guest-writer, or ghost writer, conveying his tiny thoughts. I like the idea of people being able to use my website to give their views - mister Clarkson included.

Picture perhaps indicates a need for exercise.
Maybe some cycling in London would be in order.
No,no. Out of order, more like.

On this occasion cycling proved useful. Here I
am escaping the paparazzi after my trial for
punching this socialist film director.
JC was not provided with the right food on set.
Had to teach him a lesson
The trial cost £1 million +. Peanuts!?
I have to wonder who paid the bill, who cares?
I now have have some "time off", and perhaps
I could used this for a cycling holiday!?

* Heading Not mis-spelling. Means hypocritical and sanctimonious talk.

Addendum - June 2019
I wonder if Mr. Clarkson has read the above? Recently he has been advocating cycling, and what's more has been travelling on two wheels. He is said to have lost about 3 stone / 18 kilos. Not much can be done about his arrogance but it is a start.


I'm leaving the next two items in but, alas, they have both more or less been made redundant. As I write (March 1st 2019) the new owner of the pub at Graveney no longer welcomes cyclists. Even cyclists have friends and I am sure they will pass the message around to cycling or general friends, to grant the new owner his wish to not have any of them stop there.

Graveney back

During the last couple of years there has been regular jumbles and mass inhabitation of a pub called Freewheel, near Faversham.
The pub has become a developed cyclist habitat on the North Kent coast, with Sustrans Route 1 passing by its door. It has changed ownership but, fortunately, the new owner is keen to carry on with encouraging self-powered, two-wheeled driven customers. There is a miniposter in the events section and there will, hopefully be a return to the holding of regular jumbles and cycling gatherings.

L'Eroica Britannia 2018 was a damp squid, but this was nothing to do with the weather. The numbers of attendees was very much reduced, the Thornbridge beer-tent was absent, the bands were like the one that continued to play on the Titanic and the bikejumble was priced out and little-visited. "Exotic" food stalls were in abundance, but quiet, and not giving much change for a £10 note per person. An announcement in January suggested that there was to be a one day / ride only L'Rroica, from Bakewell. On offer so far has been an invitation to express an interest - presumably to devine whether there is enough to warrant a "go-ahead". It sounded quite expensive, especially when compared with just going for 65 mile ride on a day of your choosing.

L'Eroica Britannia 2018 < posted June 30th >

I have just returned from L'Eroica and the power of my cycling legs is still to return. At the finish of "the ride" I was greeted by the slightly over-flattering "It's Stuart Collins one of the greatest icons of Eroica Brittania" announcement. I had merely gone for a separate casual ride and helped a few cyclists out on the course, assisted with 2 repairs and did some ad-hoc marshalling at Parsley Hay where the confluence of three L'Eroica courses, plus many other cyclists, had caused chaos. Icon??? Not so but .... Some thoughts on the event, now I am nothing to do with the organisation. The attendance was well down on 2017. It was always likely that the somewhat remote (but excellent) site at Friden was going to be less appealing than Bakewell.
The 2016 event at Bakewell was a weather-caused disaster. The site was a swamp and the field parking was impossible. The entries were 50%+ more than 2015, and essentially, there were too many to cope, if other factors were to be adverse. They were VERY adverse. The A6 was gridlocked from Matlock, 6 miles south. The Showground was utter quagmire. On the next weekend there was to be a dogs show. Only mountain rescue dogs would have coped. Canine Wellington boots would have sold out.
Returning to 2018 (which many didn't) there is a factor of other L'Eroicas being launched. When "Britannia" started there was only 7 others - now there are many more. It is not for me to say, but for many years the events were precious because of their rarity. Like many examples of expansion and syndication, the preciousness gets diluted.
This year, there were tell-tale signs. Not many people took any notice of the music. You could get into the event centre (Britannia tent) quite easily. There was no Thornbridge marquee, which was a great hub in the past. The loos were always available. The Bike Jumble, many people's "vote" for the most popular L'Eroica aspect, consisted of large stalls and relatively few of them. 16 or so versus 38 in 2015. None of the cycling organisations, Vcc, Pedals, CTC or cycling museums, nor any of the small dealers, could afford a stall. There was lower number of the likes of frame-builders or cycling accessory stalls. What was in abundance was faux-exotic food stalls. You could get anything from Mongolian goat burgers to African tiger's testicles on toast. All costing approaching £10 - but would leave a peckish cyclist still somewhat hungry.
The new site has excellent drainage. There was a massive cloud-burst about 6pm on Friday, soaking many (luckily it missed me). It was quickly absorbed by the sand-based ground. As ever, the event was well organised, and I wish it well. But I fear for it.

The revived York Bike Festival is this weekend 22nd June - 24th. Please consider going. The weather is going to be good and the event has long been a staple of the non-racing cyclist.

March 2018 news - Event cancelled

I am shocked to see how long it is since I posted any news. I hope to get the website more interesting and up-to-date. Though I'm never sure how many people do read this section, or any of the rest of the site, to be honest.

The event at Llandrinod Wells due for the 3rd of March has been postponed. I know a lot of people ride there and there is a untimely reminder of what the British winter should be like. Please convey the news onward via bush telegraph, if at all possible.

December notes - date change

Please note that the Chalfont event of the 28th of April 2018 is now to be a week earlier i.e on the 21st April.
This is to avoid a clash of an event in Surrey which is organised by a bloke who will not post his dates on my website.
Whilst the situation is nice for him, he should realise that the diary is used to avoid clashes. But he is a very rude man, so sod him.

November news

With family illness I have not been on the Jumble scene for a while. The Jumbling does seem to be ticking over, with signs of decline but not the death of .... yet. And you always think that there might be a revival as Carbon Fibre is getting a "bit boring" nowadays and there is a definite move back to "steel is real"..


I have learned of the death of Jack Alexander. He goes back a terrific long way in cycling and jumbling. In 2013 he decided to organise three jumbles in places where there had never been one. This involved lengthy discussions regarding the possible damage to parquet floors, whether bikejumblers were atheists or a branch of Hell's Angels or the devastating impact of a few dozen "foreign" vehicles around so early on a Sunday morning. He operated with the time-honoured accounting tools of biscuit tin, scribbled notes and later, he hoped, some money. That he said he took less than would buy a pint of beer amused me, but not him. I think he meant it. It would not have alerted the antenae of Inland Revenue. He was very dry, quiet, kindly, helpful person who had a profound knowledge of, and love for, cycling and cycling folk.

As an aside, which I know he would appreciate, can any readers honestly say that they have heard of all the places? They were not to become epicentres of the bikejumble world.

Good news from Simon Ekless that over £2500 was raise by the 2 Chalfont jumbles of 2017. Much of the money went towards sports team kit for epilepsy sufferers. Simon used to work for the oganisation but remains a valiant fund and awareness raiser of a rather forgotten-about affliction. Well done him and his team.

Last one of 2017 / extra event announcement

I have two notifications to share with you relating to extra events in the south east following successful seasons.
Further details are in the calendar page of this website.
Graveney / Faversham / Gravesend / North Kent coast area event on 21st October.

Herne Hill extra event on the 4th November

Early posting of cracking event to be held on 3rd March 2018
E-mail from freda davies: Cycle jumble 3rd March 2018
13/10/2017 18:24
freda davies To Stuart Collins
Could you please put a mention on the website regarding the following ?
Cycle Jumble / mini auction for surplus items in the National Cycle Museum stores, will be held on Sat 3rd March 2018 at the Royal British Legion building, Tremont Road , Llandrindod Wells , Powys LD1 5EB
Tables for cyclejumble sellers £7 , set up from 8am , public admission from 9.30am- 12.30pm -, £1 charge . Auction of surplus stores cycles at 11.30am. Free parking on site , refreshments on site . Contact Steve Griffith on . griffith531@hotmail.com to book a table or for enquiries
Thank you very much : Freda Davies - trustee

Death announced of Luciano Berruti

Though his name might not be familiar, but his appearance was well known. I say was because he died on 21st August 2017.
Luciano had a collection / museum of bikes which many consider to be the finest anywhere. He rode L'Eroica Britannia in 2017 and very many other L'Eroica rides, as well as other heritage rides.

Below is a tribute from his great friend and mentor Giancarlo (The originator of L'Eroica itself).

" Luciano Berruti was always breaking away, from banality and conformism, from modernity and superficiality, with which he often reproached the youth of today. He, who didn't know anything about social media, was the most photographed, most posted and best loved cycling man in the Eroica world because of his appearance which was retro but never old. People flocked to his side because they loved to hear the stories he told, stories of life and sport, of joy and suffering. He was often hopeful for a better future, based on life's most important values".

Here's Luciano, on the bottle

Giancarlo Brocci

Video clips

Two videos of the Strada degli Eroi area of Northern Italy
Awsome rides in Italy, well off the beaten tracks of the Giro and of most peoples tracks
First one is slow to start - action from 1 minute onwards
Nice road route
Terrifying MTB journey
[Make sure you are strapped into your computer chair for the last one]

Two natters with Harry Hoban - 2015 and 1973

L'Eroica 2015 / Briancon , Tour de France 1973

After doing a talk at L'Eroica I went to one by Barry Hoban. His talk was about the times (6 mentioned) that he had beaten Eddie Merckx. He was justifiably proud of these and gave a few outrageous demonstrations of Eddie puffing his cheeks out in a vain attempt to outwit Barry in a sprint. This demo was a surprise and amusement to those who are used to Eddie’s normal expressionless look and Barry’s normal gurning on the finishing line. It was a great talk delivered with all the gusto he would have needed for those half dozen victorious efforts.
When he had finished I waylaid him, and recounted a great half-hour natter that we had in the main square at Briancon during the 1973 Tour de France. Amazingly he remembered me, the chat, and my name as well! In those days there were no barriers or cordoned-off areas. Riders mingled with fans and members of the public. Nor were there any team buses or support teams - the riders rode themselves to the assembly area. He had confessed to me that he was “bricking it” and it would be a "backs to the wall" day for him (may have used more explicit language). As engaged as we were, nattering away, he was suddenly aware that nearly all the riders had departed for the start. He bade me farewell, extended his hand and I responded by wishing him good luck. "I'll effing-well need more than that - but thanks for the chat Stuart, it took my mind off it a bit". First, it was the Col d’Aubisque, then the Col de Port and several “minor” passes en route to Digne le Bagne. .
After the warm glow of a lovely meeting, a Faema orange car pulled into the now empty square. Instinctively I realized it was Eddie Merckx who was decanting from it. He spoke to the driver who was unhitching his bike from the roof rack. I made out "demi-centimetre" - I knew this to be a direction regarding saddle height - it was a known foible of his. The soigner waggled a spanner near the seat pillar but made no adjustment. Merckx mounted his bike and steamed off, in what was certainly an overly high gear, up a 1 in 4 path alongside the furnicular railway. After 100metres or so he turned and absolutely bombed downhill, exiting the square in pursuit of the rest of the riders. Television showed him 100 metres behind the back-marker as the neutral zone ended. He stormed past everyone and left the field in his wake, even before leaving the Briancon environs. He took the stage by more than 5 minutes to nearly double his lead. After this, the 11th stage, he had converted the ’73 tour into a race for second place. 19 minutes was the lead in Paris - I think it was the greatest ever winning margin.
Back to Barry and my L'Eroica meeting, I tested Barry's humour by pointing out that he was a long way from beating Eddie that day. To weigh in some more, I added my recalled detail that he was 30+ minutes in arrears on that stage alone, and had finished last. "Aye, but it were 2 minutes inside the cut-off time!!!". In truth Barry did later win two successive stages that year, which clawed more than two minutes back on Eddie the Cannibal. Though the final difference was nearly 3 hours, Barry had made his mark. Only one other Brit, Mark Cavendish, has ever won back-to-back stages. Not meaning to denigrate Mark’s double but he had a train to lead him out with military precision, including Captain Mark Renshaw. Barry’s victories would have been launched by an expletive equivalent of “Tally ho” through gritted teeth and sheer bloody-mindedness. Everything that Barry achieved was a off his own back, for a foreign team, in alien territory. He had lost his “oppo” Tom Simpson as well, and other Englishmen abandoned Europe. All those who followed owe him a massive debt. He showed what was achievable.

Above - two of the times

Cycling in the UK has got what it deserves. With very great traffic density there was always a need to make cycling high on the do-list of strategic planners. Quite simply, it never happened. In the earlier days the CTC fought against the car lobby. At various stages they fought themselves, usually the attitude toward the motor car was the cause of the differences. Gradually they became insular and resigned to a minor role, being "a jolly good lot", organising group rides, producing good publications and, like many of their members, aging gracefully. Their new identity is We are Cycling with pastel coloured material to accord with their gentle acceptance of defeat and pacifism.
British Cycling has always been a pigs ear of an organisation. It seemed to have so many strands and so many agendas. Was it to do with British cycle racing? Where did Sky fit in? Should they have contravened the rules by having Brailsford in charge of BC and Sky at the same time, fudging on how much he was paid, and by which outfit. And was it legal? There was muddle - as mixed as the nationalities featuring in their pro team. All of their recent problems stem from a hardening and ruthless attitude feeding on success alone. Personel-wise it was a power-drift from Ellington and Peters to Sutton and Yates. They like to get their logo on adverts of local events and to try to soften their image. They are in no way serving cycling as transport or a recreation. Nor a defender of cycling rights.

Belated attempts to get Parliament interested

2013 was nearly a seminal year in UK cycling. Thanks to the energy, enthusiasm and knowledge of dapper Liberal MP Julian Huppert a debate was launched about the health-giving yet dangerous nature of cycling in the UK. It was on Monday 2nd September 2013. Being Monday was a pity. Trains are expensive on Monday and MP's seem to need a rest after a weekend mingling with their constituents. The debate spanned nearly eight hours. Speaker Bercow was seldom there (perhaps off for a ride?). Never more than 60 MP's were in attendance. There was a trend of speaking when able to cut in, yeild, then cut in to complete reading their speach and then depart the chamber for good. It was hailed as the most important debate ever on the topic. Many PM's puffed out their chests as they opined how the local Coop had had a single bike rack fitted, and such-like. Some others were mouthpeices for overtly nasty anti-cycling lobby who "needed to have their views aired". The usual motorist bile was bandied in formulaic form. No lights, riding on footpaths, riding on roads where there was a bikepath, no bell, no helmet. no rights, no insurance - ad nauseum. They usually chimed in somewhere with a final note of "balance", revealing that cycling was good for one. However "one" wasn't necessarily the MP him / herself. With many a gut and jowl on view suggested that they had never put this into practice.
Cycling for fitness was recommended to the chronically lardy (then) Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Eric Pickles. The remark solicited a restained chuckle from the floor. Not from him though - he wasn't there. The irony of his being "on his bike" at the time is unlikely.

On the serious side the seeds were sown of some belated government action.
A campaign called GET BRITAIN CYCLING was launched.
Two of the main tenets were to get :-
  • 10% of journeys done on a bike by 2025
  • 25% of journeys done on a bike by 2050
There was also some non-specified aims to get the roads improved and more bike paths created.

If you click on the icon below you will be able to hear every word. Make sure you have a take-away ready and have a vat of coffee to keep you awake. You won't want to miss a word. Before you click on the icon, look at it and you will see what a "full house" of two-wheeled enthusiasts looks like.

Update June 1st 2017

Now some election policies have leached out. Only the Liberals and the Greens were supportive of the GET BRITAIN CYCLING becoming law and would fund it. It is said to require 5% of the transport budget rather than less than the 1%, at present. Labour and the SNP do not mention GET BRITAIN CYCLING ( probably didn't know of it, though J.Corbyn cycles regularly ) but did at least mention cycling. Meanwhile, from UKIP and the Conservatives, not a word. In many ways, saying nothing says it all. Probably the Conservative election planners have decided that action-man stunts by David Cameron, Boris Johnson and Andrew 'Plebgate' Mitchell (tax avoider) weren't vote-winners. Then there was Simon Burns, once transport minister now a Sir as well as surly. He mowed down an Army Officer cyclist who was proceding down the pedestrianised Birdcage Walk. Best not to mention cycling eh?
Post-election funding seems destined to be 1% for cycling, at most, and not 5% specified in GBC. So the metaphor will be the pothole patching, just bits and pieces, and is not properly done. Julian Huppert is no longer MP for Cambridge, and all looks hopeless. Cycling participation will stall or decline. Soundbites from Chris Boardman alone won't suffice.
Meanwhile the 10 years old Highways Agency has morphed into Highways England. Private Eye magazine notes that the new department were bequeathed 30 road inprovement schemes to be accomplished in the financial year 2016 - 2017. They only completed three of those. So what chance of any improvement of the cyclists lot?

Bad news

On the 14th April the very great John Woodburn passed away at the age of 80. There are so many stories of his amazing and unlikely feats. I would guess that his lifetime mileage must be an unbelievable number. It is certaimly true that no English cyclists has achieved so much over a massive span of time, from small-wheeled races to the Olympics.

Wonderful picture of 2 truly heroic pioneer figures of British cycling
Harry Hill & John Woodburn
link to a biography of him I did for another website.

The other bad news is of my wife's health issues. I will not be "round and about" on the Jumble circuit but still keeping this website up to date.

Links - Video

The animation above is the Google Whatsit of the 6th May 2017 in celebration of 100 years of The Giro D'Italia. Rather nice I think.

The animation above is a tribute to the riding skills of Peter Sagan. He has done a great deal of cross country riding, is an opportunist sprinter, double World Road Race Champ and extremely cool guy. This shows him on the time trial in Switzerland in April 2017. He was timed at 42KPH and was on the tribars - no chance to brake. The comment made on Eurosport (and in the last frame of the sequence) was surely from Brian Smith. I don't think that anyone else since David Duffield is capable of such terrierble stuff.
If the video has stopped you could press the F4 key (top row)

I don't support commerciality in this website, but I am moved to recommend a large series of cycle-topic short videos. In the GCN series of video tutorials many a myth is debagged, some well researched factual stuff gets an airing and much of the advice makes you think. Embedded into all the videos is some "humour" delivered with suitable embarrassment. (no, not quite Smith or Duffield level). Click on the picture above (which shows the "fill the tube with grass emergency techique" in progress).
There are also very many videos for those willing to turn their pedals for hours and go nowhere. I think I'd appreciate a video to explain why.

There is another video phenomena called spinning. It is popular in the USA and Canada where it can get much too cold for cycling. The sound of the video encourages you to sprint, change gear, ease down etc. to simulate a training ride I was filmed on the Alp D'Huez in 1999 by a Canadian Mr. Ed Cohen (remember Mr Ed the talking horse TV progamme?). I was asked to decend, which was handy as I was at the top at the time. I did it slowly and temerously as there were many laden lorries coming up. I was then interviewed whilst competing volumewise with the roar of the said lorries. I was lightly piloried for having a handpainted Townsend steel, but you couldn't hear that anyway. This part of the video was shown whilst the "spinners" towelled themselves down.
My only reward was to be celled a "true cyclist". Yer, I'll settle for that.

The above combines two photos I took from the same vantage point, on Triumph Road, Nottingham in about 2001. The gatehouse was to be "saved" by an injunction to halt its destruction. It was the only bit left of the entire, massive Raleigh factory. It got knocked down next day "by mistake". Some protesters tried to intervene but the were assaulted and found guilty of obstruction.
The Raleigh Social club still does exist, but with no Raleigh connections. Every single vestage of Raleigh, Triumph, Brookes and Sturmey Archer has gone. A small Humber building has survived. A Raleigh brass name plate went for £550 in a Nottingham auction in 2016.
Below is an airial view of the Raleigh empire. They made one million bikes in yyyy only to fail through a market changing faster than Raleigh could cope with.

The first picture (below) is from about 1955 and shows most of the Raleigh empire. The second is as it is now. Most of the top half of the red-outlined part is now an ultra-modern second campus of Nottingham Jubilee University. A singular plaque can be found recording what was once there. None of the halls / building bear the name of Raleigh.

Any material from readers is welcomed.

Pothole News 28/April/2017

An occasional look into potholes which have overtaken car wing-mirrors, the Landranger, Maria Sharapova and 25Kg hire bikes (fomerly known as Boris) in the hate parade of cyclists.

Government commits £100M for pothole repair

Just announced :- the government is to embark upon a mass program of repairing potholes. For the claimed 943,000 potholes it works out at £52 per pothole - quite a bargain. Surely some "two for's" would help the budget. I assume there is a British Standard definition for a pothole. If so, it is a remarkable coincidence that there are exactly 943 thousand of them. I wonder if a long sunken channel where pipes or cables have been put in, with inadequate packing, counts just as one. The sunken grating seems not to have its own category - it surely deserves one. I am nervous about this. I fear that we will have to await a trumpeted Sunken Grating campaign after a few more deaths. Then there is the already repaired patch which is so proud of the surface as to be danger. Moreover there are the pointless curbs which riders have to limbo over - oh dear, don't get me started.
Three of the council areas won't get any funding because they have solved (or not) the problem through PPI schemes. Crapita, Serco, Bojo et al. can be trusted as they are experienced at plugging financial holes at a mere 2000% annual rate of interest. Instead of calls relating to "government boiler-replacement scheme", "1000 sq.m solar panels" and "buy a deisel car - it pollutes less" you could be offered a genuine hole for your savings by sponsoring a pothole.

Follow up - a true story

Some 20-odd years ago, a Nottingham ex-miner got an enterprize allowance to do road repairs. I think he was called Alf. He fabricated his own cart which consisted of a brazier, a vat of tar and some roadstones. The whole considerable weight was lugged around the rather hilly north Nottinghamshire on a robust Raleigh bike. He sought no money, he just did it. So good were his repairs that he was given a grant by the then Mansfield Council. After couple of years the whole issue rumbled round the council meetings (Elf and safety, Alf and safety, was it taxable income, was it insured etc.) The money was chopped. No more was he seen. Pity.

The hole picture

Whilst the news of pothole fixing might cause anything from glee to extreme scepticism, it is worth looking to see if it is possible to do at all. As the whole country is being reminded repeatedly, every journey reminds one of the scale of the problem. It is useful to look into the causes. The most obvious one is the scything of county and large city budgets. Also it is a traditional policy to relegate cycling right down the feeding chain. There are, however, statuary requirements which have to be satisfied. There is probably apathy in council chambers where there isn't likely to be an active cyclist "bastard within" to put forward a case for expenditure. Sustrans was launched to keep cyclists from feeling outcast. They now get thrown a few scraps and are seen as a rather gentrified and unchallenging body. My own council Nottinghamshire have zero cycling budget and sacked their sole cycling officer in 2011. He was only apportioned one fifth of his time for cycling matters. In the five years or so during which potholes have reached crisis levels, there has been the mildest such period ever. Freeze/thaw, salt and other factors have been minimal. Councils expect potholes to be reported (often to ignor). It does seem that they should be getting round looking for and mending the very obvious holes.
It is to be expected that much of the fixing equipment and expertise no longer exists. How on earth are the potholes going to fixed? and by who? and by when? Mr Cameron (remember him?), during his brief and embarassing conversion to the cycling cread, stated that £75M was going to assigned to pothole fixing. Did anyone notice it being done?? No. It didn't get done at all.
As well as a lack of machinery for the pothole campaign, how are they going to magic up out-of-practice pothole fixers?? I suspect they will call on the dreaded private initiative companies to help. Many of the labourers they might use will have scarpered off to those European countries from whence they came. For a pothole repair to last, it has to be undercut, have a generous coating of very adhesive tar, stones of the right size used and considerable force used to compress. It needs to be flat and not proud of the road surface, as most repairs tend to be. I just cannot imagine that this standard of work is going to be applied.
I saw a "repair" being done last week. Man 1, on back of tipper truck, hurling hot tarred stones from vaguely towards the hole. Man 2 sweeping it in towards the hole. Man 3 with what I think is called a damping tool, bashing the stuff down. The versitile Man 2 then sweeps the residue towards the side of the road. Pure magic. The results was about 10% of the potholes "repaired" in the area, and not the worst 10% either.
A pothole situation is a metaphore for the country. What a hole, we are in.
Late pothole news A group of road lobbyists have just suggested that the roads would take £1.2 billion to return to previous standard.

April titbits - This and that

Splendid cycling, beer and food. And a Jumble

News just in of series of events at The Freewheel, a cycling pub (yes, you've read it correctly) at Graveney, near Faversham, on the North Kent coast. As well as being a great meeting place they also hold a monthly cycle jumble. I would guess it would make a good days rider from London, along the excellent North Kent cycle-path (part of Sustrans route 2, which goes right round the UK coast).

Surprize verdict

Supposedly newsworthy report suggesting that people who cycle to work are a lot more healthy than those who don't. At long as they survive the journey(s). I didn't look but in the same paper, but there may have been the declaration that the Pope belongs to the Catholic faith.

Faversham revolting

The burghers of Faversham have protested long and hard to get rid of, or limit, traffic throught its one main street (once the A2). No soon as it was completed, flagged and pedestrianised up came the "no cycling" signs. Quite naturally the local cyclists are miffed at being directed down a narrow, congested by-passy highway. Many have pointed out that no pedestrian has ever been killed by a cyclist. Maybe they have, but it all illustates the views held by folk who wouldn't be seen dead on a bike, have a monster 3 litre diesel engined car and become councillors.

News has just come to me that an new festival is being launched in Lichfield. I hope it goes well and repays the organsisers efforts. The Cathedral is staggering and the Erasmus Darwin Museum well worth a visit.

At least one folder too much / a Brompt reaction.

The title alludes to a £20 note in Cockeney slang. I have noted that a puncture repair at Evans Cycles (once FWEvans) is £5 plus inner tube. I assume they don't attempt tube repair. However if you are a Brompton owner, and thus a presumed rich so-and-so, you have a priveledge of paying £20 (plus inner tube). Naturally the Bromton tyre size will be a "special" and more costly. Whether hub gear, deraillier or single gear, I wouldn't say that wheel removal with the Brompton poses much of a problem. Were it a Brompton front wheel, the leaflet does not give a quote. On the reverse side of the leaflet, it states that a Gold Service costs £110. As you may be anticipating a Brompton Gold Service sets you back more, in fact £65 more. For this you get a replacement rear hinge and a seat sleeve. Both of these parts decline with age but not within a service cycle. You do get new decals but the need for them seems rather unlikely.
FWEvans was a very good shop in South London.

Profile of Cragg Vale

This has been posted for a long time. So long, that the Tour de France in Yorkshire has been all but forgotten.
There were so many "stories" in 2014 that it was hard to keep up with them. Much of the coverage related to the Vale being the longest continuous climb in Britain (sic). However there are a few more obscure stories about Cragg Vale. The Vale bottom is in Mytholmroyd on the Calder Valley. The road goes up Cragg Vale on the B6138. The climb ends at the reservoir just before a junction with the A57, from Halifax to Rochdale, via Rishworth Moor. Early on there is a gentle rise then a very gentle fall where a sign declares that ahead is the longest continuous climb in the England. I suspect many folk think they know of a longer climb, but possibly not continuous. They may well know of a more severe hill but this isn't the point either. They may know of a climb gaining more height - ditto.
It is pretty certain that if you keep going you will feel it is long enough. The temptations are there to make a stop. There is a stand-pipe, a seasonal cafe and two pubs to divert you. Many an old building tugs at you to stop and examine. Don't forget you might feel you have to ride continuously. At one pub, The Cragg Vale Hotel, you would find much interest, detail and photography of the local community. Topics range from both about its coaching inn heritage, highwaymen and connection with the Cragg Vale Coiners (more next). All I can say is that I have been up there quite a few times and, unerringly, when I get to the top I am always "cream crackered". As the gradient eases it promises relief but this never seems to be forthcoming. There will likely be a south-westerly wind to greet you.

The Cragg Vale Coiners

For many years these bandits have languished into story-telling and folk-song lyrics. In the period around 1760, a loosely linked gang, with ulteria motives, set out to forge coins of the realm. Many of the coins were made of gold. They were moulded quite crudely and were stamped and finished off quite poorly. The coiners employed quite a few methods.
  • Coins were trimmed a little - the trimmings were made into artifacts or new coins
  • Some were melted down and recast with addition of other alloying metals
  • Somewhat surprizingly, some were traded in western Europe.
  • Some coins were made from scratch from a "home made" mould.
  • These might be alloyed or thinner as they wanted to earn something from their deviousness.
The leader was "King" David Hartley, a resident of Cragg Vale. The Calder Valley was a little cut off from the rest of the country and lawlessness was both the cause, and the result, of this isolation. The legally-made coins were obtained from local ale houses (there weren't any real shops in the area). The counterfeit coins were usually passed back through landlords, who were mostly in on the scam. There is little doubt that all of the funny business was righteously felt to be a tax on travellers. There is no doubt that attempts at policing were both dangerous and problematical.
Scotland Yard regularly sent inspectors up on tricky, risky and unsuccessful ventures into the hostile "Wild West" Yorkshire valleys. Any doubt about the dangers was eradicated when Hartley and his brother Isaak planned the killing of William Dighton, the local revenue inspector, who they considered was gathering together a good case. Gang members Normanton and Thomas did the deed by luring Dighton into an alley in the Bull Green area of Halifax and shooting him dead. One of the team grassed and the two murderers and David Hartley were captured. Hartley was hanged in April 1770 at Tyburn, near York. Many more of the gang were caught and given sentences for treason, forgery and other sundry charges. Isaak, for obscure reasons remained free, and died of natural causes in Feb 1815 at age 83, after evading capture. Amazingly, David Hartley was given an engraved and flagged grave-stone in the Heptonstall graveyard. Close to that is the grave of Silvia Plath, the poet and tragic wife of fellow poet Ted Hughes. Another David Hartley (9th generation) is now the default historian of the affair. Plays and films have been mooted and a book has been written, but generally the events have faded into a rather tainted past.

Another ascent of Cragg Vale did not generate as much interest as it deserved. Dave Nelson, local classical pianist was hauled up by some Mytholmroyd muscle, whilst playing a new, specially written sonata called Piano Cycle

It was done by the TdF leader in approx 18m 30s!

Distance Altitude Percentage Place
Km Metres Climb name
0 96 0 Mytholmroyd
0.5 93 -0.6  
1 100 1.4 Bridge (Hoe Hole)
1.5 134 6.8  
2 149 3  
2.5 156 1.4 Cragg Vale Pub
3 182 5.2 Cragg Vale Church
3.5 222 8  
4 244 4.4  
4.5 274 6  
5 294 4 Road crossing
5.5 304 2  
6 320 3.2  
6.5 327 1.4  
7 355 5.6  
7.5 371 3.2  
8 382 2.2  
8.5 387 1 Blackstone edge
Average Gradient  = 3.42% [S.Collins]

TdeF Cragg Vale ascent : time

for 8.5km

Speed Time    
Km / hour Mins Secs  
16 31: 53  
20 25: 30  
24 21: 15  

It was done by the TdF leader in approx 18m 30s!

Most miles in a year record - End of the year report

What started as a "boys own" heroes tale of stoicism, stamina and bloody-mindedness has declined into awe and thunder. The original challenge was to do a distance in a calendar year to surpass the 80 years-old record of Tommy Godwin (of Stoke). Whilst there hasn't been recrimination nor much contact between the two combatants there has been a lot of what nowadays is called "noise". American Kurt Searvogel has happily taken draughts from vehicles, has done one-way rides ahead of a good wind, been "paced" by other riders, has ridden bikes such as a recumbant and has been served hand and foot. He even got married latterly (I assume to his managager / soignier - the service must have been good).

Briton Steve Abraham, meanwhile has been an independant spirit. This has been, in part, to do it "Tommy's way". Also it was "just Steve" a determined and self-sufficiant individual.

On the 31st December Kurt had done 74277 miles, 788 miles short of the Godwin calendar year standard. He started on the 7th of January so in his terms he ended up with 76076 miles and holder of the HAMR world record. Steve had done
63568.2 miles in 2015. He has continued on his revised year to August (and allowed by HAMR). At this point he has to average 226 miles a day. The whole saga has been muddied a bit by a New Zealander Bruce Berkeley. He has coughed up 300 American dollars to register with HAMR to make a new attempt. He has declined to give them another 30 dollars so they have banned him. He is also unwillingly to shell out on the tracking device (Garmin I think) because he doesn't want folk to know where he is. I assume he believes this will give him unwanted attention and cause him hassles . However "knowing where he is" is rather much the idea of the HAMR's validation methods. Bruce has opined that his record will be under the Guinness Book of Records regulation (as all the long past attempts have been). A few years back that organisation said that they considered the pursuit to be too dangerous, unhealthy and extreme. (So that was where HAMR came in) It does seem curious that an organisation (Guinness) which recognises Guinea-pig jumping has expressed a renewed interest in cycling.
Bruce has knocked out 4475 pan-flat Australian miles in the first 21 days, at an average speed which would just crack Tommy's record.
It's soon going to be like boxing with multiple "World Champions". For my part I have recorded the year, with updates.
My own view, admittedly not very important nor binding, is that the legitimate target was to ride the most number of miles in a Calendar year. Both Steve and Kurt commenced in early January. Different reasons, injury and indifference respectively, meant that on the 31st of December neither had surpassed Tommy Godwins' record. To my mind the Tommy Godwin record is intact. If you want to read more of the two attempts go to the Steve pages.
There is a new book covering all the long-distance "year" record attempts. It is by Dave Barter and is called "year" - that should make it memorable.

I will be doing an illustrated talk on the same topic at this years L'Eroica.

Weekly mileage record Steve (red) and Kurt (blue)

Spot the differences

Sold by "Fred Perry"
Tattoo optional

A bridge too far????

The animated picture shows a bridge
over the East Coast railway near Rotherham. It is also the Pennine Cycleway and two other numbered Sustrans numbered routes.
There were no warning signs at all. The approach to it could be ridden, without warning or protecive barriers!. There were no lights. The line separates factories and houses so journeys in the dark would be common. Of course, if you look carefully you can see the metal channels for your wheels (arrowed).
With a bit of perfecting you could ride down relatively safely, avoiding those nuisance steps.
It is an old picture (I hope it has been altered!?)

Two photos of me in wild places
Left Halifax at age 4 : Right Sahara aged 26

Dim View | Back to the black

[posted 27th October 2015]
In a town called Uppingham, whilst pausing during a ride, a man started chatting to me. After admiring my bike he asked what so many cyclists wore black. I fudged an answer but he told me that he found cyclists in dark attire very difficult to see. He then pointed out that more had seemed to wear flourescent clothing a while back. I replied that black was a problem in the "Henry Ford" era of only one colour (or color to them, and black specifically) but I did concede that he had a point.
He was not hectoring, but it made me think. I had a bright yellow top on, fortunately. A quick spot of computer browsing and I came up with some evidence, but not the reasoning behind black. One or two of the people shown are quite well known, therefor role models, and all are in publicity seeking situations. The female rider isn't famous but was the first and only cyclist I captured on Google Street View.

This chap advertising new "Vulpine" blends nicely into his background

It may be good to be seen (in the fashion sense) in black, but not in the visibility sense!!

Whatever became of the be seen campaign??

Another visibility problem

The picture above shows a different visibility problem. The face-masked female cyclist
was passing through Tianamen Square in late November. The pollution level was measured as
17 times the dangerous level.

Rather contrasting picture. Taken from near same place. Touristic picture, in 2007, nice weather, seemingly little pollution ..........and with a cyclist.

Going back further in time. 4th June 1889. Weather irrelavent. "Quelling" of the Student protest. Many ex-cyclists.

Not unconnected - another visibility problem. [posted 28th October 2015]

Even though the nights are drawing out again, many have to complete their journeys after dark. I have encountered an increasing nocturnal hazard. My recent experience was on an already well-lit bikepath alongside the A52 in Nottinghamshire. Three times I was so dazzled by the lights of cyclists coming the other way, that I had to stop. They were all festooned with lights. As can be seen from the cycling press, one can get lights up to several hundreds of lumens + or - a few. It might be that a lumen might correlate with boasting rights at the Lycra Cafe. "Huh, 20 lumens? I've got one of 240 - and it cost a mere (as much as ) £240". The lumen is a tough one for the layman to comprehend, but suffice it to say lots of them make for bloody bright light which is quite troublesome to a cylist or pedestrian coming the other way. They probably annoy motorists as well and they might conclude that it is a revenge campaign upon them. The new lights use LED or super LED technology and most of them are not finely focussed. To state the obvious, they are not necessary on a well lit bikepath. A secondary pound shop light or a knuckle light would enable them to be seen, and that is all that is needed. PS's none of the three cyclists seemed to realise why I had stopped / seemed to notice me / acknowledged me. All had earphones in. All were attired in 100% black.

Filth in the Wirral - (nothing to do with Chris Boardman)


A couple of years ago I made my debut visit to the Enigma Cafe on the borders of the Wirral. Famously, Chris Boardman was once a regular there, fueling himself towards becoming a world famous rider.
I examined the wonderful photos of yesteryear but couldn't see any of CB. Then I spotted three of them low down, leaning on a wall by the servery. I wondered if he had complained about the bacon butties.

Halfords Cycle Republic (including 2019 update)

Big city dwellers might well have discovered this store. They started about 8 years ago but they didn't catch on, and closed down. About 2 years ago it was deemed that it was time to give it another go, and perhaps avoiding the pitfalls of the previous launch. They seems to have been thorough in staff selection to employ real bike enthusists. "We tend not to mention our Halfords connection", I was told by a Nottingham store person. This seems indeed to be the case when you look at their heading (below left). However when you choose something from their website you soon encounter the message (shown below right) which leaves you under no illusions.

Another burgening store who are operating on uncannily similar lines to Cycle Republic. They do have a great number of bikes on offer. Many have the "Boredman" logo on them. He must have been a very busy chap. Regarding "difficult" spare parts there seems little option but to go on-line where an excellent range is available. They will post, naturally. Otherwise they have a "click and collect" for next day or the day after. Most of this can be said for Evans and Decathlon and they both have a larger stock in-store.
In truth they are all trying hard but are so similar, and nothing like the old single-owner bike shop of (mostly) yesteryear. In 2015 Halfords announced a double digit percent quarterly decline in cycle-associated sales. Does this include City Republic, I wonder? Either Halfords have just given birth to a troublesome cuckoo or they have gone again for expansion at a difficult time.
A spokesman said (that's is how bad news is made guilt-free) "profit margins had been squeezed by more shoppers than expected snapping up its cut-price promotions". How strange! I'd have thought that that made the promotion a success. Read more: http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/markets/article-2152918/Downturn-washout-puts-spoke-Halfords-fortunes.html#ixzz3ntmZH9dq Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

P.S. 2018. The town and city centre "battle of the bikes shops" came to a head with Evans Cycles encountering the buffers first. This called for the most desperate of financial situations - being "helped" (taken over) by the flabby Mike Ashley. Since his Sports Direct workers were docked pay for toilet visits the transformation from a wonderful London bike shop to a failing workhouse selling blisterpacked goods is not what enough people want.

Bike Jumbles - the current scene

It is true that the enthusiasm for bikejumbles is waining. In the ten years of this website's life the last year has shown the most change. The reasons are many, but it certainly seems that the carbon fibre and Lycra-clad cyclists have more funding. A stereotype is that they have just one or two bikes, with little interest in how they work or how to fix them.
They will be happy riding their Chinese-built "Bianchi" without ever being aware of the incredible heritage of the company. For Bianchi, read many other famous names.
In many ways the changes have been gradual in the bikejumble scene. Bike Jumbles never have seemed to attract many under 35's. The popularity lies with an older age-group. Alas they are getting older, at the consistant rate of one year per annum. Sadly, some pass away. Departees from the conveyor belt of life are not being replaced by enough folk who have enthusism and relative youth. I must reach for my armchair.

Planet X

Definitely new boys on the cycling scene is the Sheffield / Barnsley-based company. They are like no other, but have made a great impact on the British retail cycling scene. A visit to them is an adventure but not one to do if you are in a hurry or have an impatient manner. One of the notable things they have done is to resurrect the Holdsworth brand. They are made in steel (appropriate for Sheffield) using traditional methods and even many of the original jigs and tools. Expensive, but beautiful. Unlike the other web-using companies their website is very dynamic and doesn't have a "try to stock everything" content. The pricing is low end and seemingly computer driven. All the components are new-style. Prices can vary by the day (depending on stock levels and sales data I assume). Outrageous bargains can be had. Unlike the Little Britain TV program threaded sketch the computer usually says "yes". The company is unashamedly modern and bullish( so testing times for Halfords, Evans, Decathlon et al ). Erratic they are but their mail service is unerringly good and prompt. Emailed product enquiry is done well.
Added a year on, they too are struggling.

A snippet of news from the dark world : [posted 2nd June 2015]

  • News that will warm the cockles of cyclists (and capitalists throughout the land) will thrill Cycling Weakly. Evans Cycles have been sold by Active Private Equity to ECI Partners (another private equity company). I know that readers (both of you) will be full of uncontained joy over this development. Evans was bought for £35 million, (pedals extra) and sold for £100 million (or a bit less if you trade in an old shopping bike). All this stuff is in the un-appetising world of offshore accounts, tax-avoidance (sorry, evasion) , hostile takovers, insider dealing and pension-fund raids and pursuit of the growth god. No doubt this will have been legit affair - it has been known that Evans were after a new buyer. I deny cynicism but it would seem that the sellers have milked it for all they could and the buyers have discovered a new teet. Expansion is anticipated, so many unemployed graduates, who say they like cycling, might get a few (zero-type) hours. Having looked at ECI website I was unable to detect any interest in cycling within the company, but why should that matter?

    Evans' growth has been aided by Sir Chris Hoy grinning in adverts and seeming to endorse bikes he wouldn't ever ride. The adoption might have been inspired by the Halfords / Boardman partnership. Clever!
    Even with full-service costing a mere £130 and stores occasionally having more customers than staff it must be a better business than selling false teeth.

  • World distance cycling record latest - [ posted - 6th August ]

    The enigmatic Steve Abraham has had more than a few hickups recently on his quest to cycle the most miles in a year.
    After colliding with a moped he sustained 2 broken bones in his ankle. He was put in a cast and didn't ride for 15 days. He has been loaned a recumbant-ish trike and is riding more miles, albeit slowly (understandaby so). He's now nearly 4000 miles behind what had done at this time by Tommy Godwin and some 7000 miles behind his advisor's target.
    He now needs to ride 16 hours every day at 15MPH to break the record. His helpers have target-set to give him a 82000 mile distance. He was up with this but now beating the record by 1 mile would be miraculous.
    He has shown that he has what it takes to break the record. That is what he will take "as a positive" (as they say in defeat at football). Not that he has been beaten; or has abandoned. He is an indominable "boys own magazine" hero. There are moves afoot to do some sort of deferring but the January 1st to 31st December is held by very many to be how it should be. (Even though this favours Australians)
    Have a look at my Steve Abraham page.

“La vie c’est comme la bicyclette : quand on arrête de pédaler on tombe.”
- Albert Einstein

Einstein Jumble - relatively recent announcement

[posted 22nd January 2015]

Albert Einstein had a very bright mind, wild hair, a chaotic lifestyle and a shambly appearance. Much in common with me, apart from the bright mind bit.
Amongst many things he was an avid cyclist, albeit with a reputation for erratic riding. As he didn't wear socks his trouser turn-ups were liable to get tangled in his chain. He did not, and would not, drive a car. He was concerned with particles travelling at a speed much faster than a car. His famous formula was e = mc2 which is useful to know as you eat your cornflakes.
In honour of the 60th anniversary of his death on the 18th April 1955 I held a bike jumble in Radcliffe on Trent, Nottinghamshire. Please do not think that I booked the hall and then used Wikipedals to find out who was born, or snuffed it, on that day. Perish the thought.
He made up a lot of very apt sayings. The one that I like is in French. I decline to translate it - a visit to this website should be a little intellectual. Or you could ask Mr.Forage to help.
“La vie c’est comme la bicyclette : quand on arrête de pédaler on tombe.”
- Albert Einstein

[posted 18th December 2014]

Here are some links to the very charming olde world of cycling
(who said that nostalgia is not what it used to be?).
The clips are from the remarkable British Film Institute (BFI) Archive.

Very odd cycling sports day in Manchester - The Muratti Cup - 1901 (silent)

"Race for a bride". Early example of unusual prize - and it seemed legal for amateurs.
(last bit missing) You'll never quess the outcome. 1922 (silent)

"Herne Hill - puddles and cycling" - 1927 (silent)

Cycling proficiency 1949 - absolute hoot (Not silent, but might have benefitted
from some silence)

Look out for the 3 occasions when editing was needed. Email me them, if you like.

Probably CTC film - 1956 - enviable images of cycling when motor car free & stress free.

How Nottingham aspired to be cycle friendly city in 1973 (it failed)

"Racing Cyclist 1966" - seems like a promo for Barry Witcomb (referred to here as Harry)
Barry was the son of Ernie, who created Witcomb Cycles in Deptford, London.

"Six days in Romandie" A colour film from so long ago that the team (Raleigh)
existed, as did the company. (whatever happened to them??) 1983

Once you're into the archive you can explore for the whole of the Christmas

[posted 15th December 2014]

Closed season news

Froome Kenyan Mission (should be)

Just read a very interesting article in the Guardian about the attempts of the Kenyan Cycling team to progess in world cycling (as their distance runners have). A year ago they lost their top rider John Njoroge, who was hit head-on by a motorist proceding recklessly the other way and against against advice. This was in the Philippines. The Kenyans require only £100,000, or so, to run the team for a year (30 minutes "work" for Wayne Rooney) yet they are pushed to raise this. I wonder how Chris Froome is fixed?? He reportedly is on £3m per annum and the tax-rate in Monaco is trifling. He might be too busy planning which major tours to avoid, where they are catering for his strengths. Chris, Money transfer doesn't take long. You might recall once being Kenyan.

Meanwhile, another Chris, Mr. Boardman (whose surname might, phonetically, be becoming apt) has not endeared himself by advising general cyclists against wearing helmets, and being in favour of riding black cycle clothing. It may be a choice made by an individual for their own reasons, but surely it is irresponsible advice from a cycling icon to a mass and doting audience. Perhaps he has forgotten that the Boardman helmet, at £80, lines his pockets nor has he read this review on the Halfords website

High speed crash - Boardman helmet build and quality a definite life saver

"Every time I see an adult on a bicycle,
I no longer despair for the future of the human race." - H.G. Wells

On the other hand there is the seeming slow death or hibernation of Bob Jackson. Upon my visiting their shop in Bramley, Leeds a little while back I found the shop closed and a single notice giving little information. They have a repair shop upstairs armoured with an unlabled steel security door, with not a word of when they operate. Their website gives hours but elsewhere suggests phoning first. The answer was provided by a garage owner downstairs who said "when they feel like it". Oh dear.
Their website gives hours but elsewhere suggests phoning first.

TheTandem group (owners of the Claud Butler and Dawes brands) have just published their annual report moaning that they have not been beneficiaries of the "British bike boom" engendered by the TdeF, the Kenyan, sort of British, C.Froome and the cruely banished Mr. B.Wiggins etc. I am not mentioning ##y. Tandem say that there have been better sales at the high end (ie little-ridden show pony bikes bought by the monied as trophies) and not "their end of the market". The also cite the heat as a reason for moderate sales. Really?
Perhaps, just perhaps, the following might be relevant to their evident chagrin. Few buyers are fooled. When aspiring buyers see a "Claud Butler" bike either they have never heard of Claud or they know it is just a name borrowed from the past. Either way, what they often see is an inferior machine with hotch-potch components chosen simply on (cheap) cost or job-lot availability.
An estimated 5 million bikes from the past are mothballed in sheds and outhouses. (probably no use is made of mothballs). The bikes might look sad and needy). With a bit of research, elbow grease and ingenuity they can be renovated to some condition and make the owner proud of the results. There is steady increase in this restoration trend. Cycle jumbles are great facilitators of this, with real expert advice and 1000's of vital bits-and-bobs not encased in blister-packs. And, yes, there will be many a frame to size up and buy. Some will be REAL Claud Butlers and Dawes.
It is Sunday. Here endeth the lesson.

Scanning a Harrogate firms' website for a TA chain-ring I found a 60 tooth one @ £72. If nothing else it demonstrates why cycle jumbles are so popular. To the shop the ring would be premium because of its rarity whereas a jumble seller would say "who would want this?" and sell for £5.

Whilst the tour was still going I visited Sheffield on a Saturday (via most of the TdeF route). The tourist office was having to close early. They still had nearly 500 official TdeF tee shirts which were overpriced / unsold. The office did / does not open on Sundays. Clearly the TdeF caused a boom to Yorkshire but a mere tremor Sheffield.

Not that they would care about my views but I do wonder about the ##y team. Dave Brailsford said in response to the recent Froome / Wiggins furore that he was very mindful of his being leader of British Cycling. In what way is that manifested in a team with riders whose nationality causes you reach for an atlas? His sacking of Wiggo has puzzled the British. It has put a huge smile on the face of all the other cycling teams who have only had to mark one not-really-English ##y rider for as long as he is astride his bike. And that isn't for long.
Another downside for some, but upside for ##y, is the considerable sale of black team gear. How good is it to have 1000's of mobile human bill-boards and you charge them £100 or so to do that for you? The grand tours are one thing but the general need of those who dare to ride on the open, pot-holed UK roads is to be seen. Bright clothing really comes in here. Some also forget that ##y is part of the Murdoch empire who have priced football and many other sports out of most peoples' reach. They have ignored cycling on their sports channels and have been phone-hacking like fury. They are a good bunch apart from that.
Final gripe. The decision to not field a woman entrant in the World road time trial because "nobody could have a chance of winning". Lizzy Armitstead took a long time to reach the (overworked) "world standard status". She had to learn how to conquer her demons and learn to win. There are not so many prestegious races for females for an opportunity to be spurned. Black marks - to match the kit.

A great cycling friend of mine, John "Barrie" Key recently sustained serious head injuries after a low-speed tangle with a partnering cyclist. He had a helmet on. It transpires that the helmet caused the problem, the rear rim dug into the back of his neck. It makes you think - and I am thinking of him.
P.S yesterday (1st/Oct/2016), some 2 years after his accident, I rode with him yesterday. (he has to have someone with him, in case) I was struggling to keep up. He is 76 years old

[posted 29th Aug 2014]

Late School holiday reading - two new contributions

Bike selling-speak. A decoding of some verbal cliches
By Paul James (slightly edited)

Disclaimer : Jumble Sellers don't really employ these (often). They have probably all been used sometime by someone. It is satire! But how is Paul so familiar with them?

It’s worth that all day long
That's what the price it will continue to be.

The paint job's got to be worth that alone

wasn't really worth getting painted was it?

Now there's an interesting story behind this frame

I'll bore you into buying it.

It’s whatever you want it to be

I’ve peeled the Townsend stickers off it.

It’s a simple 'utility bike’ for hacking around

this is a cheap piece of rubbish.

You won't see these anymore

If you don't see the 5 more in the back of my van

Have a look, I’ve only just picked it up yesterday and just quickly chucked it in the car today

I’ve had this frame hanging around for years. I'm hoping you'll miss its faults so I can finally offload it.

I bought it for 80 quid

it's worth 60 quid, I over-paid for it

It’s a lovely ride, it just goes where you point it

it's a bike like any other

I’m selling this for “…insert name”

I’m not going to let you haggle.

Genuine Patina



a brand-name that somehow is given mythical status; but was always indifferent

Shimano wears-out but Campag wears-in

They both wear out.

This was one of the first frames this builder ever made

It was cobbled together before he got any good.

He only made a few frames

He gave up when he realised he didn’t know what he was doing.

Interesting lugs - possibly 'X'

Even if this had all the original decals and paint on, there's still a chance I’d have failed to identify it.

This is rare

It may or may not be. However it's not worth any more or less because of that.

Please let me just get unloaded

Will you stop pestering me like a bunch of mad zombies.

I won't start to sell until 9am

But if you'd offered me a better price I would have.

You'll double your money with that on Ebay

I don't have a computer.

I'd get 50 quid for it on Ebay.

OK I'll pay 15% fees plus pay tax on the income and end up with c. 35 quid)

I make money building-up / doing-up bikes, but value my time as worth nothing)
I'm a prat

Brilliant tale of a cycle jumbles encounter
From the book "Bikie" by Charlie Wood

Because we are still equipment fetishists at heart, another prized sortie is to cycling jumble sales. We go out early of a Saturday morning to join the queue at Giggs Hill Green Cummunity Centre - next to where the Milk Race used to start- in early January for the first event of the new year. They are curious affairs, these one-day sales, almost entirely a vet's preserve, both buyers and sellers being of a certain age. The whole promotion has the effect of reversing one's youthful experience of bike shops. At jumbles the customers are in the majority; we descend mob-handed on these makeshift malls and the sales assistants are welcoming and eager to please. They have laid out the fruits of their labours, they want you to fondle admire as much as to buy. It's all their own work, they are artists of the found object and its arrangement in the same way more conventional practitioner might hang his pictures in gallery. They are well disposed to confer with a knowledgeable and appreciative public - qualities which have difficulty in surviving the first ten minutes. For our part, once the doors are opened and we get a whiff of that intoxicating bouquet of grease, oil, old leather and rubber, sweaty knitwear and yellowing paper plus the redolent undertones of various metals, our nostrils flare and we are seized by a bargain hunter's frenzy. The stallholders must look on in dismay as this jostling horde mills around with downcast gaze, poking and rummaging, weighing and measuring until something else catches their eye and they dart off.

After that first mad hour, the furore settles; the bargains have been snapped up and tea taken, perhaps with a slice of homemade cake. Old friends are greeted and chance acquaintanceships struck up; intention has loosed its grip and in that relaxation the senses are more alert. It is then that the real work of the morning may commence, the more measured second circuit when we can allow ourselves to browse at leisure; we are looking for something but we don't know what. We are still under the impression that the search is for some vital accessory, but what really draws us back is the call of memory. These jumbles are also archivists' conventions; a whole seam of history is collected together piecemeal in the form of artefacts, a vast memory bank is laid out to tease individual recall.

I contacted the publishers Mainstream and got no reply. They seem not to exist, have seemingly been bought out by Random House and titles discontinued.
I bought the book from a pound shop. Even worse insult to Charlie (who sounds a great bloke) was that is was on a shelf marked 2 for £1

[posted 20th Aug 2014]

Losing it????? (sadly) a true story by web-"muster" Stuart Collins

A few weeks back I completed a ride on the route of "tour de France days 1 and 2" which has become a tribute ride. I landed in Sheffield at midday after a rather poor nights sleep. I had ridden Holme Moss in moonlight (still a swine) and decided to camp on the summit. The lonely pass became a Bhangra festival and later some high winds and light drizzle moved in for my enjoyment.
In Sheffield I wanted some batteries and also "something else". I locked the bike to railings outside a Poundland shop and bought the batteries and something else (but not what I had gone in for). As I unlocked the bike I remembered what it was. I locked the bike up again and entered the portals of the pound shop. In there I looked around but could not recall what it was I'd gone in for. I bought a drink and returned to the bike. I searched my pockets but could not find the key. I returned to the emporium to look for a key on the ground or where I was served. Nothing doing.
In a slight moment of inspiration I chose a mini-hacksaw with 3 extra blades. I commenced to attack the chain but after a little progress the blade became completely blunt. The second blade snapped early in its campaign due to over-vigorous sawing. The third blade didn't have one of those little pins to fit it into the saw. I tried to get a little use of it but merely bloodied a finger. Ah, at least I had a fourth blade! As I attempted to fit it in the saw it flicked out and flew into the road. At that moment a bus came along. After the bus passed I went into the road, only to find that the blade was gone. It must have got picked up by a bus tyre and was on its way to Hillsborough.
I now considered that the solution involved buying "proper" hacksaw blade of some quality. I walked some distance to the local Wilco's and returned with a high tensile blade 24 hardened teeth per inch. When I arrived back I was interveiwed by a seated man who had found entertainment in watching me for the last half hour. I didn't feel like explaining anything. With very few strokes of the blade the bike was free. I then remembered what I really wanted in the Poundworld. But I no longer had a lock. I put the interviewer man in charge of the bike and went on the 4th expedition into Pound Universe. I bought a new lock but a search for the "important item" was in vein as it was the wrong pound shop (needed Pound Galaxy, probably).
I set off towards Chesterfield. I stopped at a food shop. Do you know what? I had lost both keys of the new lock. I haven't got the "important item" yet as I still haven't recalled what it was. Probably a restored brain is required but you just don't see those advertised.

[posted 25th july 2014]

Dietary advice from blog-land

Road C.C is a riviting blog-site and generally has advice about riding "racing" bikes in all facets, including rivits.
There are independent reviews, intermittant race reports, sane views (free of campaigning over-zeal) and some oddities
In the latter category is an article by a man called Stanley who did what I have done - "ride the tour". It could have been done pre or post. Many did it, I am sure. It was better to look back on than to do - too many main roads. Anyhow read on, but don't choke.

ok here goes, for all you healthy cyclists

for years now since i can remember me and my bike have gone everywhere so when the tour came here and living in yorkshire it seemed natural to pedal it.


for the first time reluctantly i went out and bought the bird seed energy chocolate flavoured energy bars, the energy gels that taste like they have been in nappies and the fizzy zero cal drinks high energy get you up them hills tablets that taste like alka seltzers.

i went around the stage two from york to sheff on my bike.on a steady road bike i have to say. i ate a bananna two hours before, did the right warm ups etc and went around in about 8 and half hours, a couple of comfort stops. i felt like crap afterwards, sick dizzy and really really ill.

did the very same trip two weeks later same bike clothes hair had curry night before and two pints of stella, set off on a full english and jumped straight on saddle, apple and blackcurrent squash from asda (double stregth), four mars bars, stopped for fish chips peas bread cake or tea cake with a can of coke, had crisps and an ice cream and did it 45 mins yes 45 mins less and i felt great. no tiredness nausia etc. weather conditions before you ask same

now i think some marketing company is having you lot on. that calorie free biscuit and extra whammo zammo drink is just expensive rubbish. its hyped up junk. nice bike comfy clothes and your off. take a selection box with you not those pretend chocolate flavoured bird seed biscuits the size of your thumb and those gels are just rubbish.

get some proper food down you and get over them hills.

oh and plenty of salt and vinager on your chips

happy riding all stanley 53 still pedalling strong
Click to this article in Road CC - and read more stuff
On a lighter note I bumped into super-jumbler Pete McLeod on the L'xxxxxx ride from Bakewell. I believe he has recently got married and that his wheeler-dealer days are restricted. That can change a man. He is now on the hi-tech trail and has invested heavily in an early naughties-style £5 Samsung flip-flop mobile phone. Don't scoff - this is great progress.
I case you don't believe this ........

[posted 29th May 2014]

Some very sad news .....

The death has occured of Mike Clark, a very long-standing Kentish Jumbler. Until recently he ran an average of three events a year at Appledore in the very centre of the Kentish countryside. Before that he had a bike shop in Ham Street, East Kent. He had the misfortune there of the theft of all his bikes via a vehicle which made its retreat across country, through hedges and fences, to avoid being seen.
In his earlier life he worked for THE F.W.Evans, when it was a real bike shop rather that the frachised cash-cow for middle-east venture capitalists it has become (and name recently changed to Evans Cycles). I remember him from those days, 40 years ago, when I retreated down the Old Kent Road from London and got my cycle bits and bobs en route. He was known for his supreme knowledge, honest verdicts and his very helpful nature. He died of a heart attack on the 25th of May. He will be a great loss to Beryl, his partner of many years.
There will be a service at Charing Crematorium, Kent (On the A20, half way between Maidstone and Ashford) at 2pm on the 12th June. No flowers but donations to William Harvey Hospital Intensive Therapy Unit if anyone wishes to. Anyone can attend.

[posted 29th May 2014]

The "Selfie" is not new!

It seems to be the current fad, or trending, to use glib / Twit speak
However here is an example from 1971!!! A young lad in light clothing (let's call him Marco) is posing for a picture as he is watching the Tour de France. Then, all of a sudden, this upstart cyclist comes along to get into the picture.
Marco has gone on to being an organiser of L'Eroica but the cyclist does not seem to have made much impact on the cycling world.

[posted 10th May 2014]

Unimportant bits of news .....

I've just been on two gentle bike tours. The first was to Corfu. The bike I hired was probably the only one I could have got which wasn't a mountain bike. It has suspension fore and aft. The aft one was of the sprung seat-tube kind. With your weight (and definitely with mine) the tube compresses fully as soon as you sit on it. Thereafter, when you hit a bump you are propelled into the air, only to come crashing painfully back down again.
Generally the island was still in hibernation. Even the dreaded Kavos had empty streets so you could see it in all its glory. The only sound was that of the saw, hammer or Greek expletive. It was impressive riding with road surfaces ranging from superb to Ahhhh, but mostly good. The driving standard was excellent compared to the UK (vis-a-vis cyclist awareness). I believe the UK standard is the worst in the world for this (though I am told on-road New Zealand is most dangerous). There are far too many motorists who hold (and quite often release) a hatred of cyclists. Not very many know how to overtake properly. Many use their horn as an audio version of "two fingers".

After a few days in the UK I was off to Malaga. Corfu temperatures had been mid-20's but it was 30 each day in the south of Spain, with not a cloud. I hired a bike from the brilliant Malaga Bikes, run by Kay Farrell and a very friendly team. I was fitted up with a "robust" bike, quite a bit better than my Corfu machine. All their bikes bore the names of famous people. I resisted riding Beyonce and was fitted up with "Sir Bradley". It's probable he wouldn't have approved of the kick-stand. I did 440 Km in the 4 days involving six passes of over 1000 m. Nothing special, that, but I suppose OK for an old 'un. Kay was so amazed that I was immediately put on their Facebook page. My face was very red by then!

I watched the Tour of California today on TV. The real Sir Bradley was no doubt inspired by my Spanish riding on "his" bike that he crushed the time-trial field, including Taylor Phinney, Segan and Cavendish. We must continue to cherish his talents, we probably won't see his like again.

Tour fever strikes a note in Yorkshire

Lest it was taken as an April Fool silliness, I delayed posting this item. Now I am putting it up and, alas, it has already take place and I have no news of how it went.
What am I on about??? read on ....

Yorkshire is going mad (and bust, reportedly) over the Tour de France. Calderdale (a south-ish part of West Yorkshire around Halifax) has an on-going festival called Countdown 100. The master-plan is to have an event on every day prior up to July 6th. The race itself will serve as a minor 101st event on the 6th July. The notable part of the day 2 course is "longest continuous climb" in Britain, at 5.5 miles and known as Cragg Vale. Before the TdeF choose it, the place was famous only for the "coiners" - a rough gang who nibbled bits off gold coins and made on extra coin per 12 pared coins. One detective was put on the job but got shot in the back for his troubles. Eventually the coiners paid with their lives, by hanging. Their gravestones are in the churchyard of Heptonstall Church which overlooks both the Calder Valley and the TdeF course. A local man, Dave Nelson, has become a concert pianist of some note. Today, he was hauled up Cragg Vale by a team of 18 cyclists whilst playing a special composition mysteriously called "Piano Cycle".
Below is a link to a 3 minute video made before the event (or click picture above)
click for video
In a few days I will post details of how they got on (though I think it might be national news so we forget about Maria Miller MP)

P.S. I imagine many people have only heard of Calderdale through the lovely "Last Tango in ..." TV program. Unfortunately this features no Yorkshire actors for the 4 main parts and is almost entirely filmed in Lancashire. This fact might yet lead to the next war of the roses. However Lancashire has got none of the TdeF route, so it serves them right!

Below, you will find some statistical stuff on the Cragg Vale climb. You will draw your own conclusions but whilst in might be a chance for a "nipping off" type escape for a KOM point or two, I think it is not likely to be decisive, nor make many struggle.

Having done the climb more than enough (once) I have been asked what gear I would be in. That depends. Could I make it all the way to the top in one go? Probably I could. Would I. Probably not, if the Cragg Vale Hotel was open. This too might just be Bradley's fatal moment of weakness.

P.S 2 It is little known that Cycling and Yorkshire has been also linked as recently as 1949 in a feature film called "A boy,a girl and a bike". It was later spicily re-named "Love on a bike". I assume some dismounting took place first. It arguably launched the acting careers of Diana Dors, Anthony Newley, Honor Blackman, Walter Greaves (the record-breaking militant "one-armed" cyclist) and a Jimmy Savile. All are now deceased; the first three stars were southerners and struggled with accents and repairing punctures. Several bikes were sold as a result of the film, which was released later in colour. When the smog-bound locals of Halifax saw the film, they didn't know what colour was, and certainly were not convinced by the authenticity of such good weather existing.

It's all uphill

Another event planned is a time trial up the Buttress. The route was believed to be the road linking Hebdon Bridge and Heptonstall in medieval times. The course is approximately 1 mile only and has an average gradient of about 10.6%. The bad news is that it is all on really course, rounded and rutted cobblestones with great gaps in between (for drainage?). Worse news of all is that the first 400m has an average gradient of 22% and there is one bit of 31%, plus there are several lateral gutters. After all of 10m of level tarmac, the rest of ascent gets less and less steep but still averages 7%. It is unlikely that the latter part will seem easy. What will seem easy is slipping a pint of beer down the neck at one, or both, of the 2 pubs. Nearby is the grave of Poet Sylvia Plath, tragic wife of Ted Hughes. Had they done such a challenge it is unlikely to have evoked a romantic poem.
Above are two splendid pictures; Taken by Russell Burton for Cycling Plus.
Both capture the beauty of what is anything but ...
[posted 8:30am 1st April 2014]

Disastrous North Korean Jumble

My jumble today in Pyongyang Village Hall was regretably not a great success, to say the least. I heard on the news (Radio China) that North Korea and South Korea were having one of their periods of cultural and armament exchanges. The latter involved a few rocket launchers and guided missiles. I can only think that the jumble attendees must also have got wind of one of these periodic slight disputes, and decided not to attend. When I arrived at the hall I was confronted by several police. I thought were there to stop jumblers getting in early, buying the best stuff, not paying admission and scarpering. Instead they asked me to remove my missile proof helmet and examined what was underneath. Some hours later, at the airport I learned that I was being deported because I had the "wrong" haircut (see photo below) ie not like that of Kim Jung-Um. I do hope that nobody was put out by this problem. It was all due to (what should have been) foreseen circumstances.

Next years April 1st event will be in another interesting location.

Brand new, exciting jumble Venue

After 2 admittedly poor turn-outs at my April 1st Jumbles in Vladivostok and outer Mongolia. I have decided to try out a new venue. It will be in Pyongyang, North Korea. I gather they are very willing to accomodate any cultural events, like bike jumbles, and to be seen as a friendly bunch.
Stalls are 700 won (KPW). You must apply for an entry visa. This should be done 7 to 9 weeks ahead of your visit (in other words, do it now, no time to lose). The Visas are done in China and sent to you with a container convoy of non-working satnavs, with instructions in Cantonese. There is a travel weight limit of 10Kg so don't bring knackered Sturmey Archer 3 speed hubs or similar tat to sell.
Because of the surprizing difficulty with direct flights the journey requires stop-offs at Niarobi and Pingpong. I was quoted $2300 for the flight but thanks to a party booking, it is a bargain $1999. Please don't delay in contacting me, it is strictly first come first served!!!
I feel I must encourage you not to read too much into the darstedly vilifying of its great leader Kim Jung-Un. He has been criticised by over-sensitive left-wing, interfering foreigner busybodies of ordering the execution of his Uncle, Jang Song-Thaek. Mr Kim described him as "despicable human scum, worse than a dog" - surely that's just too bad. K J-U has also seemingly been responsible for "disappearing" a previous girlfriend. He must have had his reasons. Despite this, the country is open, friendly and welcoming to tourists. There is very little danger to you as you have two ever-present "guides" to look after you. Best not to mention the rumour of his Uncle Jang being killed and eaten by hungry dogs, just in case.

Photo below
The Hall, rather nice and quite spacious
Evidence of security which will re-assure you.
Funpark next door
The Korean flag, the correct one, unlike the London Olympics version

[posted 10pm 1st April 2014]

Essex event - date change

Robin Johnson has phoned tonight and wishes it to be known that his event at Leaden Roding,
Essex in November has been switched to 6th December. This is to avoid a clash.

[posted 14th March 2014]

More Tour news

Meanwhile the prepararations for the tour gather pace. Bradley Wiggins is steeling himself for an appearance in the Archers (should the term steeling be more "carbon fibreing"). Perhaps he will get dietry advice from Peggy Archer, along the lines of eating more meat "and our organic meat too". Is Peggy still alive??? Or has she died from foot and mouth????

[posted 1st March 2014]

A few things to watch on those (still) dark nights

Firstly, below is a link to a rather nice regional (Yorkshire BBC) tv program relating to the Tour de France. Watch it soon as it will dissappear from iplayer by mid-march. Latterly it features Dean Dowling, son of master-jumbler Ken and brother of fellow professional cyclist Russell.
below is the link [update, program no longer available, you had a month to watch it]
But below is another link to a short video of a climb by Sue
click for Tdf short video

I was very pleased to see Ken over the weekend wearing his Campagnolo pinny and the old smile. He has recovered well from recent health problems. I gather from Dean that Ken is giving him the run for his money during early season training runs in the Thurcroft area!.

And a few things more things to watch

x Boris bike on Mt. Ventoux Challenge Norwegian pass descent done backwards. Bonkers??? Martyn Ashton - Road Bike Party - 1st crazy video Martyn Ashton - Road Bike Party - 1st crazy video A DUCK A slow, steady, untechnical descent in Valparaiso, Chile The same boring descent, by following camera A DICK A small amount of Mike Burrows bike philosophy Graham Obree on his 2013 speed record attempt Troublesomely saccharine history of Raleigh, ignoring the total collapse, massive corporate incompetance and the fact they don't make anything at all. A DONKey Silly ridge riding on mountain bike in Utah Spectacular crashes 46 minute version showing the claimed fastest speed on a bicycle, achieved by Dan Martin.

A great, varied selection - safe to watch at least

My top ten + 2 more
it's homage to Microsoft Windows 8 "advent calendar look"

After 20+ years of dominance, billions of dollars development and
version after version, they have produced what a 4 year old could have managed.
(Except the fours-year-old's version might have worked).
Enjoy! Stuart Collins

[posted 23rd February 2014]

Eureka,Eroica and new events

If you have got this far you have missed the L'Eroica article at thge top of this page.

An event at Chailey, Near Lewis is making a comeback and is listed in the calendar. A new event at Barnard Castle is also on-line (in more ways that one).
Meanwhile has anyone seen a Borisclays bike actually being ridden??? If anyone remembers the old I-Spy books (designed to keep children quiet) I think you would have got 50 points for spotting anyone riding the 22kg monsters.

[posted 3rd February 2014]

Tour de France jumble announced

Harrogate's normal busy time is for the annual International Crime Writers Festival. I assume all readers know what is occuring on the weekend of 5th / 6th July!? And there is a mega cycle jumble. To book tables (and don't delay ) ring 07961 806248 or email harrogatecyclehub[at]gmail.com (replace [at] with @) to make bookings and enquiries. Paul Jeffrey is the man to ask for, if needs be.
As you will see from the following mini-poster there is a great deal going on. It all looks like a great place to be, doing this and that, and meeting fellow cycling addicts. In this section of this website I will carry all the latest developments. The ground is but 5 minutes walk to the start (but I wouldn't leave it too late or it might be an hours walk, or never get there).

[posted 3rd February 2014]

Product news

Here is the latest saddle which (mark my words) every male will be using very soon. It promises to sweep away the short lived (120 years or so) preference for Brooks leather masochistic saddles.
This one is the fruit of extensive chiropractic research. At last, using computer aided design, a true model of men's bottoms (not sure of the sample size) has created a perfectly suited sit-upon. No more those crushing pains on the pelvic bones, but now replaced by a soft tissue red soreness and heart shaped bruising. You'll love the Infiniti!
If you are female I suggest you jump to the next article.
Now chaps...... the slight problem might be that your undercarriage might not "conform". Not to put too fine a point on it, it might be that various bits might dangle through the hole. This could cause a problem when dismounting. I am wincing as I type this but I am sure you get the drift.

I am cynical. I always assume that magazine reviewers are pleased to retain and use their lavishly praised product. I'm not sure they would in this case.

[posted 3rd February 2014]

Pop Up Bikes pops up in Manchester

I am pleased to plug a great-sounding, newish cycle emporium in Manchester. Apart from being a secure cycle store (near to Piccadily Station) you can get your bikes fixed and / or serviced for a small amount of money. And consume lashings of special coffee.

Read article about Pop Up Bikes

[posted 13th December 2013]

What is it about Cycling and Government?

Warning ..... May contain politics -
In the wake of the British / Froome-dominated Tour de France's we have heard the word heritage quite a lot, and much has been made about the value of cycling.
Very steadily the mileage of cycle paths has approached 5% of that of Holland. Mr Boris Johnson has enthusiastically introduced bikes to hire which are even known as Boris bikes, despite the scheme being the brainchild of his predecessor Ken Livingstone. (and Ken probably nicked the idea from Sweden). The real problem lies, not with having a bike to ride, but the very real danger of death riding one. The risk is surely greater with the 23 Kg (51 lb) BB jugernauts. Given that the hirers of the Boris Monsters are probably unfit, a little mad and likely lacking cycling experience, it seems folly to let them loose on roads of the capital. Yet remarkably :- The stats do amazingly suggest that the carnage of BB's is less that of other cyclists. It could be that BB riders abandon to the nearest cafe, and hardly go anywhere.

I've just mentioned capital and that brings me onto the next issue. The fact is that there is perceived capital to be gained by politicians riding a bike, demonstrating they are "one of us". They probably don't really want to enact this proletarian activity. So it is best to alert the press and get your exposure quickly; then return to the taxi, chauffeured car or first class compartment.

Mr Cameron ably demonstrated the folly by swishing through London Streets from his second home. During his ride he was filmed going through red lights, going down a one-way road the wrong way. Further, any street-cred was somewhat lessened by the sight of a following government car, carrying his gear.
A few days later he ventured alone into a Notting Hill market and chained his bike to a bollard. You might have heard this story, but if not, you could easily guess the outcome. Mr C didn't. The Daily Mail featured a front-page splash, some days later, about "finding" Dave's bike and proudly announced that they were returning it to him. (When they did so, the Mail cameras duly enjoyed their gift-wrapped photo opportunity).

Mr Johnson, golden locks sprouting from under his helmet, is very pleased to be seen on his bike (rather than a BB). He is often shown clowning, which comes naturally. After recent "paternity problems" satirists have wondered what use was been put to his bike. That reminds me a of joke concerning a vicar who is reciting the ten commandments to his flock. When he gets to no 8 he stammers a bit when he remembers where he left his bike.

Much has been said about "Plebgage". I just can't understand how calling someone a "pleb" (denied) is thought to be worse than saying "you're supposed to f###ing help us" (admitted). Meanwhile the legal and other costs are moving close to half a million pounds and I don't think this includes the cost of paying suspended policemen. Mr Mitchell does, at least, enjoy cycling and does so regularly in London and, with more time on his hands, his Nottinghamshire constituency.

In the last day or so "colourful" Simon Burns has suddenly "resigned" from his junior transport ministry, thus cunningly avoiding the "sacked" listings, in the recent shuffle (It is not a reshuffle). His cunning has well rehearsed. In 2010 he was exiting the house of commons in his car, onto Birdcage Walk / Parliament Square. He knocked an Army major off his bike and caused him serious injuries. On the day he was due in court (less than a mile away from the "house") he was at a highly trivial working committee, connected with law! There, he uttered just 108 words (unusual reticence) yet still got a rebuke from the chairman for trivialising proceedings. At some point he changed his plea to guilty. This cost a great deal as the case had been allocated a slot. However, he had avoided being asked what, apart from driving, he may have been doing as he hurrying away to collect his son. A fine of £400 + £200 costs is about what he was paid for that day.

His first ministerial post (a real "poison chalice") was junior minister for health (including the health of injured army majors) when the Staffordshire hospital situation blew up. Mr Jeremy Hunt, (who was then the senior Health Minister) had probably got fed up of the flack, and was soon to leave to enjoy his false expenses and tax-avoided house. Mr Burns's neck was placed in the hands of John Humphrey’s of the Today program on Radio 4. Mr Burns survived 8 minutes without saying anything explanatory or relevant. It was a convincing case of pleading ignorance. It was a rare 0-0 grilling scoreline. Geoffrey Boycott would have been proud. I don't think his bosses were, because .........

He was very soon moved to Transport (despite continuity at Health being vital, given that Hunt had just moved on). Blessed with a good rail service from his home in Basildon to London, he decided to go via chauffeured car. This cost the state £80000 in one year. Transport also includes cycling and on his personal website he praises the "innovative" bike-storage facilities at nearby Chelmsford (the first such, he mistakenly claims). He surely would have mentioned it if he had actually used it, or even had ever ridden a bike.

Blessed with a "good" rail service (76% of trains on time) from his home in Chelmsford to London, he decided instead to go via chauffeured limosine. Not for him a taxi, as the Daily Mail map suggests. The Government car cost the state £80000 in one year. He could have got a 1st Class annual season ticket for under £7000. Also he might have had the benefit of a 2 mile bike-ride to the station. Under fire, he then had to use the train. As you can see in the lower picture he does not look too pleased.

He was left to defend HS2 favoured by Mr. Cameron (also, by fudging). If this job was another "chalice", albeit and empty one, it was soon filled with poison by George Osborne's public cooling on the scheme. So S.B. was once more on his bike, though only metaphorically.

His party surprizingly endorsed his application for the role of 3rd deputy speaker. This would surely have been a hat trick of "landmine" jobs. It would involve working under the Speaker John Bercow, who Burns has called a "stupid sanctimonious dwarf". Left-wing labour people are "Neanderthals" and that passive rights campaigners 38degrees are Zombies. He has been said to be a mixture of "Frankie Howerd and Caligula". There's no reason to question anything that the Daily Mail says.

Mr Boris Johnson said that cycling in London was booming, backed by figures suggesting there were 93% more cyclists since the Olympics. The probable source of this claim was Transport for London figures, which claims 570000 "cycle journeys" as against 280000. This was a physical count at observation points of cyclists pottering along on two wheels. There was no verification of these figures, and a bit of rounding. Meanwhile the National Travel Survey 2012 has shown a large increase in "average distance travelled". Another TfL survey was done by stopping cyclists and asking, amongst other things, how many journeys they make a week by bike. It turns out that they are, on average, doing more rides (roughly 93% more???). More rides, longer journeys but proabably not more cyclists.
ot such good news for Boris, then.

There has been further stick given to Boris for allowing his "flagship" east - west cycle superhighway to be marked with light blue without that colour ever having been given legal status. A cyclist on the blue has been killed already. As London cyclists know, and others suspect, cycling in London is extremely hazardous and dangerous. In the period 1986 to 2006 the average annual deaths was 17.3 per annum. The fluctuations are within normal variance. However it has been rising since 2006. But much worse is the increase of 22% in serious and fatal injuries to over 500 in 2012 as reported by the NHS. There is no indication that bike-lanes, better lights, congestion limits, helmet wearing or the Olympics have changed anything positively. More analysis is surely needed than the tally-ho, back-of-a-fag-packet instant policies designed to lever B.J. to prime-ministership ( a failed strategy in at lease three ways ).

[November update] After being asked on London FM radio about a spate of 6 deaths in 2 weeks Mr.J opined that it would be "the cyclists own fault" and went on to condemn cyclist who wore headphones. Was this the same person who in 2004 said that no one would ever stop him from using his mobile phone whilst cycling? Sadly, there seems to be scant evidence of Labour politicians being photographed on a bike - it must be part of their policy not be caught.

Here, in the interest of balance (political, clearly not riding style) is a picture of Mr John Prescott. It was taken at a time when he got called two jags and he decided it would be better to be called two jags and a photo- opportunity on a borrowed bike

There are about 100 All-party Parliamentary Groups at Westminster. They have no power and no funding. It sounds like they are just talking shops if they meet, but they don't even have to. There is a Cycling Group (and, excitingly there is also a Chagos Islands group). Regrettably none of the politicians above are members.

Some might like the groups because they can get a word in, which they don't normally get in the chambers. They are, I am told, all cyclists. There are no published minutes. We will never know what, if anything, goes on there. They might hold races round the much-vaulted "corridors of Parliament". Perhaps there is a "bike repair night", who knows? Maybe chairman Dr Julian Huppert could explain the methods of spoking rear wheels, Lord Berkley show how to get Osgears working whilst Ian Austin tells stories of 70's bike tours in Finland, with a girl he met at Skegness.

As a bit of an aside, I have read that Dr. Huppert is the only MP with a science degree. Is it any wonder that Britain has gone down the list of industrialised countries and scientists are not being valued and rewarded properly? He is also the only noted really keen cyclist in the house, apart from Mr Mitchell (now he is back riding after his Plebpate sabatical).

Part 2 - the wholly serious bit

Oddly I delayed the writing of this, but am now pressing on in the wake of the recent loss of life of five cyclists in London in the five day period of the 3rd to 12 October 2013. Three of the accidents were in the Bow area and near to the East - West Cycle "Superhighway" mentioned earlier. It has been painted light blue which is to do with Barclays Bank - but the colour is not legally recognised as a cycling guidance colour.
The deaths have got cyclists very annoyed and frustrated and not at all mollified by Boris Johnson, who when asked on LBC to comment replied "Some of the cases that we've seen in the last few days really make your heart bleed because you can see that people have taken decisions that really did put their lives in danger".
There is a brilliant You tube video
The problems go back a long time (even to 1920) but the tipping point was about 2008 where cyclists were getting very unhappy with their lot, fighting against an exponentially growing number of motorised vehicles, and without any provision for their safety. Bike lanes were called for and the government set targets of so many Km of bike path to be provided in each town and city (proportional to their size). The result was the use of a tape measure and a white line machine. We all remember how stupid some of them were and how they just disappeared where the road was deemed to be too narrow (i.e. where the cyclist was the closest to traffic and in more real danger). On the rural scene Sustrans were set up to investigate, implement and map cycling routes. Their nature rather matched their steering committee, lots of civil engineers, barristers, dignitaries and do-gooders (i.e. no one who was likely to be too bolshy or have too much zeal). Their budget was huge and I feel they could have done a lot more. They excellently cherry-picked old railway lines, byways and former industrial feeder roads. They produced maps of a good, and style-making type for major bike routes - though changes, post publication, were quite common. They were also very expensive and with no provision for up-dates (e.g. via the internet) Smallish (3.5" x 3") signs were put up fairly randomly and were quite hard to spot. Destination signs, on posts, often could easily be turned round by nare-do-wells as a "joke". An opportunity was lost to set up a highway-code-type set of warning signs (some possible examples shown) I don't think they were value-for-money at all, but they did salve the consciences of the authorities. When they had spent their money there was no renewal for them or for any other organisation.
"Job done" - no, not at all. They did popularise cycling a little but the safety of cyclists was not increased at all. Some of the "interfaces" with trafficated roads were very dodgy and both cyclist and motorist were not made sufficiently aware that they were just about to share the same space. Hazards, such as gates and bollards often seem unnecessary and seldom adorned with light-coloured paint nor reflective markings, as if they weren't to be used at night or winter. The final drawback of the whole bike-path network is the allowance of some vehicles, pedestrians, dog-walkers to share. The latter often aren't "in control" of their dogs, as advised where, (rarely), there is guidance. Cycle paths are certainly not safe-havens for cyclists and often require some discouragingly technical riding skills to avoid falling off and injury. There seems nobody to contact if you wished to report some danger - where would you start???
There are 2 main problems with cycling provision.
What is lacking, arguably, is an effective Cycling Tsar (I hate that word) within the department for Transport. Don't say "Transport" - Mr Hunt, who was shunted there recently. He is far too busy with HS2 and making his fortune via any means, foul or fair. Has he ever ridden a bike? Has he mentioned the word cycle in parliament??

  • In 2007 Gordon Brown assured the nation that there would be no visible drain-covers within 2 years.
  • A while later and he was going to ban bull-bars (50% "success" rate of killing a pedestrian at 17mph, 92% at 30mph, ).
  • Late in 2012 David Cameron said that the government was granting £100m extra to fix potholes. The result of this as pure bull is evidenced on any journey. My local Authority has heard nothing.
  •   David Cameron made a (nearly) impassioned statement of the launch of a "new" cycling initiative in June 2013. ( just like one post-Olympics, nothing happened )
  • >  These four "announcements" were in Prime Ministers Question Time where anything will be said by the PM, in the heat of the moment, and hope not be reminded of it.
    I can imagine a few gatherings. The leafy suburban pub with a group carping at the Lycra Mafia, who don't even pay road-tax. MP's saying that nobody who has "made it" is going to ride a bike, it's just for losers. Besides car-drivers generate a great deal of money. Taxi drivers comparing notes regarding pissing off cyclists. Bus drivers comparing notes and victim details .......

    What needs doing???? Here is my mandate :-
    • Standardised, large cycling-related signs for cyclists and drivers where they share the highway.
    • Advanced boxes at every junction
    • Prevent drivers turning left when cyclists can be there (cyclist traffic lights controlled)
    • Cycle lanes of one definite, bright colour, no variants - and made to last, not surface markings which wear away
    • No discontinuous cycle-lanes. I'm afraid this would remove at least half of routes but it is the inconsistency that is a problem in itself.
    • Severe warning given to (or even preventing) cyclist proceeding along a very dangerous road
    • Prosecution of motorist encroaching or parking on a cycle lane / advanced box
    • Sentences for errant motorists to match other offences where life is endangered
    • Cycling specific signs for cycle / mixed-use paths (examples earlier)
    • Very clear diagrammatic signs where a cycle path ends and a road interface is encountered

    During proofreading of this article another London cyclist has died and one in Bath also. Today (12th December) there has been two major political "noises". Firstly Barclays have said that they were pulling out of the bike hire and other inititives designed to promote the banks "good guys" image. Meanwhile there is to be a "tactical withdrawal" of the trans London Superhighway with the ludicrously tagged Cycling Tzar (really cycling commissioner) Andrew Gilligan agreeing that much more needs done regarding safety. Soon, east west routes are to be recommended only, and likely based on the "quiet Roads" created by the defunct GLC. (Cut to Ken Livingston having a quiet chortle)
    Probably unconnected is the silence of Boris Johnson on this issue. A blessing in disquise, maybe? He was always under fire, as Barclay's sponsorship was done on a "nod and a wink" basis, involving his buddy Bob Diamond ( who railroaded the bank into the PPI and Libor scandals ).

    [Final word 12th January] Barclays are backing out of the Boris bike scheme. They are not to be drawn on why, but it doesn't take much imagination. Companies are like polititians; they will do anything to get into the "bright lights", but when the lights dim, they're off. In some cases they turn the lights off as well.

  • [posted 6th October 2013]

    Latest news

    This relates to the event Ken Dowling was organising for the 24th November. It was to have been at Thurcroft Nr RotherhamAs you will read lower Ken has been struck down ill. The good news is that he is making steady progress but he cannot do the planned event. All the best to Ken.

    This cancellation make my event in Radcliffe, Notts the last of the year in the midlands area. I'd be happy to sell more stalls and make it a bumper event towards the memorial fund of Kath Lynch

    [posted 16th September 2013]

    Two of examples of cycle jumble lore.

    • "My biggest fear of dying is that my wife will sell off my bikes for what I have said I paid for them." by Lee.
    • "When going to buy at a jumble there are two watchwords
      want and need
      It is probably useful to know the difference." by me.

    Sad news

    The death has occured of Kath Lynch. She and her husband Tony are well known in the east midlands as very, very keen cyclists and a highly sociable pair; they had been married over 50 years. After Kath first got cancer 3 years ago Tony bought and begged bike stuff to sell at jumbles to raise money for cancer research. He is approaching £5000. - he will, of course, continue. She had seemed to have recovered well and certainly looked wonderfully well. In the heartlless way of the disease it returned in early 2013.

    The funeral was at Bramcote Crematorium at 2pm. on Monday 9th September
    All monies from my Event of the 26th October will be in aid of Cancer Research in memory of Kath.

    Not quite so tragic. but worrying, is the illness of the popular South Yorkshire man Ken Dowling. Both his sons are refusing to show signs of aging and are still very active and competative on the road. I hope that their dad is on "on the road" to recovery soon.

    Sun dwindling - Autumn Jumble season is upon us.

    News of 4 new events [posted 6th Sept + updated]

    • Announcement today, by post,of an event in a quiet (jumble-wise) area, that of County Durham. It is at Ferryhill, just off the A167. Apart from the main road there looks to be some nice cycling in the area if prefered. 1/4 of takings are going to the Dave Rayner Fund. Most folk know this but Dave was gregarious character and was considerd to be a rider of massive promise. His life was ended by a knifeat the age of 25. The Fund is to assist young riders to scale the heights reached by Dave, and who knows, beyond. There is a plain but touching memorial plaque dedicated to Dave in the centre of Gargarve, N.Yorks, on the north bank of the bubbling River Aire,

    • There is another new event in Broadbottom, between Hyde and Glossop. As with Ferryhill, it sounds a good area and with a couple of cities nearby. The details are in the calendar - please note, this event is nigh!

    • Not a totally new event but an interesting one for those hemmed in by the North Sea and the Humber.
      Cyclemania has a new venue at Cottingham. Sean welcomes you there. Artwork below is from a matchbox. It strikes a good note!

    • A completely new event is to be on th 10th October, near Manchester. It is being run by an organisation called bespoke, who recycle cycles and also people. In the latter case it is to support people with various sorts of trouble in their past;
    Bespoke website

    Further details on the calendar page.

    Manchester Beer / Bike / Band extravaganza

    I went to the event at Manchester Velodrome on Bank Holiday weekend. It was a jolly outdoor jumble event, with a chance to meet up with jumblers from all over, favoured by great weather and with a superb beer festival. There was a band trotting out "covers". Unfortunately the singer's range was under an octave and not a note was even nearly hit. They played lots of numbers I hoped I'd heard the last of. Pity was that they showed signs of musicality and ability to do more than note-for-note copy-catting. Not even my beer consumption helped. Later I had scary moment on the bike. I had a green light to cross the 3 lane A57, despite traffic on that road tearing both ways at 50mph. No, it wasn't the beer!

    Pictures from Manchester Velodrome - August 2013

    [posted 21st July]

    Festival season - now been and gone

    Cycle Live Nottingham Cycle Event

    Races, trials, Great Nottingham Bike Ride (Long established, 3 course lengths)
    There were a lot of stalls and lots of promotion of the bike as a form of transport and fat-shedding. See website :-

    Oxford Bikefest

    All sorts of things were going on, including a Bike Jumble.
    For more details, see website :-

    I have only featured the 2 events but I imagine that there is trend, and as good one, of getting the public interested, inspired and informed.

    And, sadly, an event which did not take place :-

    York Cycle fair / Rally - Important (and sad) announcement [22nd May]

    I regret to have to advise you that next month's 2013 York Cycle Show will not now be going ahead. Last year's awful weather depleted attendance, and confidence has not returned this year, as reflected by very depleted advance trade and visitor bookings.
    Paul Hepworth - chief organiser

    Very bad news. I know Paul has made very great efforts to re-kindle the very famous and long-standing event. If you know of anyone who was thinking of coming, please tell them it's not to be (but it might have been if they had booked!)

    The Bikejumble "virus" spreads [ Posted 27th April ]

    And yet another new venue is to appear on "circuit". It is at Chichester. It is in support of two charities:- Stonepillow, a charity to help the Homeless, and ChiCycle, a Cycle Campaign in Chichester which aims to send bikes to deprived areas of the world. They will be selling some of their restored old bikes on the day too, for the causes. 15th June (see calendar for details)

    Ramblings [ Posted 13th April ]

    Live text rundown of Radio Nottingham Jumble plug attempt

    To follow my "beloved?" AFC Halifax Town I often have to follow them on live text, agonising about missed chances which happened several minute earlier.

    The icon to the left suggests that clicking on it you may hear something. Alas no. I was contacted by Radio Nottingham regarding my jumble of tomorrow. "Would you be willing to come on talk about it? Between 8am and 9am". Of course I replied "yes". Worth risking sounding like a prat to get a few more people through the doors.

    Alas, phone not going, as deadline 9am is being reached. Then an item comes on about a Scottish farmer colouring his sheep to entertain passing motorists. Songs like "Barbara Anne", "Purple Haze" and "I'll never find another ewe" filled the airwaves. This was followed by listeners punning away from Pinxton (geddit?) and Mansfield (whose citizens seem much more chipper, post-Thatcher). It seems like the end of my broadcasting career. How low can it get than being ousted by dyed sheep. Only dead sheep to go!

    Passes 9am, phone quiet. New DJ. Subject changes to bras and breasts. Can't see me being consulted about this topic. I never could get the hang of those clasps.

    Then, suddenly at 9:40am I'm phoned and on "live" within 5 seconds. Didn't have recorder ready so I will see if I can get a recording and make the radio icon, above left, serve some purpose.

    Later on..... it is over. Wanted to conclude with something like "thanks for squeezing me inbetween the breasts" or if it had gone really badly "I feel a right tit". I didn't so they might have me on again.
    I did get to record it. The result can be heard (if you turn those speakers on and click on the tasteful icon below)
    It uses the BikeJumbles listen again and wince [TM] technology.

    It's all over now, Sunday 14th April pm

    Arrived to open up the hall at 7:55. Sellers awaiting and international early-bird vultures sloping off. The hall was truly full up, a gratifying range and quantity of stall and all great people. Would-be buyers dribbling in. One of them asked me "What happened with Radio Nottingham?". I had to ask him. Here's what he told me. He got up fairly early on Saturday and heard, several times, that there was a bike jumble that day. He phoned his mate and they headed towards Radcliffe Scout Hall by car. They had halved the distance when they heard my voice saying there was bike jumble tomorrow Oh dear!!!!

    Again got complaint of illegal trading in the car-park.

    An off-beat book - Bikie by Charlie Woods. (Sadly going more off-beat)

    I have come across this book in a £1 shop. Worse, it had a label 2 for £1 on it. It was alongside several books ladling praise and worhip of a Mr L.Armstrong. He doesn't seem so popular nowadays, for some reason. The publishers, Mainstream, are winding up. This is a shame as they have produced some marvelous off-beat tomes covering topics that just have no chance of making a mint.

    This one is a rather patchwork story of Charlie who, for sure, wanted to become a Bradley Wiggins. Despite failing in this respect, his unallayed enthusiasm has never been quenched and his story of the "rough road" is passionately and touchingly expressed. All readers of this, I am sure, will be a "Charlie" at heart - a real cyclist. I recommend trying to get hold of it. It has an all-yellow cover (the jersey colour we would all have liked to wear). I don't like advertising but I got mine at Poundland. Don't let the side down by paying £6 to a firm who pay no taxes.
    The following is a passage about bike jumbles (c 2000)

    Because we are still equipment fetishists at heart, another prized sortie is to cycling jumble sales. We go out early of a Saturday morning to join the queue at Giggs Hill Green Community Centre - next to where the Milk Race used to start- in early January for the first event of the new year. They are curious affairs, these one-day sales, almost entirely a vet's preserve, both buyers and sellers being of a certain age. The whole promotion has the effect of reversing one's youthful experience of bike shops. At jumbles the customers are in the majority; we descend mob-handed on these makeshift malls and the sales assistants are welcoming and eager to please. They have laid out the fruits of their labours, they want you to fondle admire as much as to buy. It's all their own work, they are artists of the found object and its arrangement in the same way more conventional practitioner might hang his pictures in gallery. They are well disposed to confer with a knowledgeable and appreciative public - qualities which have difficulty in surviving the first ten minutes. For our part, once the doors are opened and we get a whiff of that intoxicating bouquet of grease, oil, old leather and rubber, sweaty knitwear and yellowing paper plus the redolent undertones of various metals, our nostrils flare and we are seized by a bargain hunter's frenzy. The stallholders must look on in dismay as this jostling horde mills around with downcast gaze, poking and rummaging, weighing and measuring until something else catches their eye and they dart off.

    After that first mad hour, the furore settles; the bargains have been snapped up and tea taken, perhaps with a slice of homemade cake. Old friends are greeted and chance acquaintanceships struck up; intention has loosed its grip and in that relaxation the senses are more alert. It is then that the real work of the morning may commence, the more measured second circuit when we can allow ourselves to browse at leisure; we are looking for something but we don't know what. We are still under the impression that the search is for some vital accessory, but what really draws us back is the call of memory. These jumbles are also archivists' conventions; a whole seam of history is collected together piecemeal in the form of artefacts, a vast memory bank is laid out to tease individual recall.

    The real thrill of the morning is when your eye falls upon some obscure glint of recognition, some shine, even some blank opacity which leads awareness towards one of those dark vaults of forgetfulness that then opens in a flash and a fragment of your past is delivered up whole and vivid. Beneath the roof of the community centre we all become Proustians in search of lost time, and those shoe-boxes of pitted chrome and dulled alloy, those moth-eaten jerseys and faded start-sheets are our madeleines.

    Then of course, there is the sideshow of characters: the old boy with the handlebar moustache who is a dead ringer for Maurice Garin, the first Tour winner; the chap in a Norfolk jacket and knickerbockers who might have just alighted from an Old Ordinary; the Frank Patterson look-alike in baggy plus-fours smoking a straight-stemmed pipe and the senior citizens in washed-out trade gear from the Hinault era, bent by years of crouching on the drops, whose faces beneath their pixie caps have been lined by countless headwinds - they form a huddle like garden gnomes in a lawnmower commercial. Here and there some pukka racing man hobbles by in his clog-soled silver dreamboats. Everywhere the near-decrepit jostle with the suavest of smart casuals, evidence that the bike appeals to all manner and conditions of men. And women. They are there too, but mainly in a subsidiary role, as back-up to their husbands and minders for the kids - whole families have turned out. But this is predominantly a bloke's affair, although overall it presents a vision like one of those old masters depicting a teeming medieval fair. The ruck, the turmoil, the things you missed and should have bought, the impulse buys that you now regret, the whole head-swimming whirl - when it all becomes too much you totter doorwards to emerge dazed and confused into the grey midday.

    And there, parked against an outside wall is an old, resprayed H.E. Green with original transfers giving the address in Dawes Road. Chris takes down the number with a view to seeing what has replaced that ancient landmark cycle shop - his office is nearby. Further examination reveals brazed-on cantilever brakes - surely a rarity when it was built - with an unbored fork crown to confirm the intent. What is that down by the front drop-out? An even more whimsical touch - a tiny, belt driven cyclometer! Our cup runneth over. Eventually we reel away to the car, giddy with a kind of drunkenness.

    The jumble leads on to my own small promotion - what else but a filmshow? I had worked the queue beforehand to distribute flyers and once inside flypost where I could.

    From "Bikie" by Charlie Woods ; Published by Mainstream Sports Publishers 2001 : ISBN 978-1-84018-657-4

    News [ Posted 6th April ]

    LATE NEWS There is was a bike jumble at Hay-on-Wye Castle next Sunday (14th). Thisis was part of the inaugural HAY BIKE FEST. Go along?? View the Website
    Details of the event are in this website's Calendar. Addendum [29th April] Did anyone go? I'd be interesed to have a short report of it

    News [ Posted 1st April ]

    I have just returned from Bakkov Beyonde in central Siberia where I am afraid to report an equal-record breaking low turn out for my annual jumble. The attendance was actually 2. One was me and the other was a camel-herder who came to find out what was going on. I told him, but he didn't seem to understand. I had thought that getting there via there via the Trans-Siberian Express would prevent jumblers from having to use their cars and white Comma vans. I think I'll have to change my strategy, even though nobody tells me when I have bad ideas. The Vodka was good though and the Doctor tells me I should get restored liver function soon - I just need to keep flushing my system with Coors Lager. I might go "cold Turkey".

    Whilst in Siberia (Ok. The new Wetherspoons in Bingham, Notts on a cold day) I was reading the text under a picture of Lord Carnavon, a great pioneering car enthusiast and lothario.
    "The Lord was roaring past pedestrians and cyclists at terrifying speeds of up to 20 mph". Only a little has changed. Having courted death by auto-crash or at the hands of lover's husbands, he died of a mosquito bite. To wonder about a moral is not very apt - he seems not to have had any.

    Whilst on a long bus journey last week I decided to try out my new toy all-singing all-dancing device including a satnav. After turning on, choosing the cyclist option and then going for show map. Sure enough it sprung to life. A voice belted out from the speakers in an agitated foreign tongue. I needed the volume option but discovered the Voice option. I thus discovered that I had been hearing the default voice, of Nikos the Greek. (they know about defaulting). I hastily selected Thomas the Englishman and returned to the map. T. blurted "Going too fast", "breaking the speed limit", " Who do you think you are, Mark Cavedish". OK I made the last one up. I found, to my fellow passenger's relief, that you just held down the power button to disable it. "Thomas" did sound horribly like Michael Gove and we were at the time passing through Tibshelf, a former mining village. I didn't feel too much guilt after years of learning about other peoples sex life via their mobile conversations. At £28 it is a good buy, providing minutes of endless fun. It even plays a mean game of Chinese chequers, even though it does have a considerable advantage.
    NB this is true and not connected with April 1st, honest.

    New event - very soon

    There is an event in the centre of Manchester on the 20th April. It is being run by Paul, who has been running the Manchester Velodrome events recently. See Calendar page for further details.

    News from deepest Wales.

    The wonderful National Cycle Museum in Llandrinod Wells has had a radical re-organsition. More later, but meanwhile have a look at the . website
    PS they do sell some quite rare parts and the money will go into the cause.
    It is run by volunteers and is a charity. For years the whole collection could never find a permanent home. I remember seing bits of it in London, Dover and Lincoln. Visit recommended and you'll find yourself in a beautiful, quiet part of the world

    2013 proceeding - day by day

    [Posted March 15th]
    • I have nearly completed a new website called Cycle Threads. It is designed to be a good evenings read. Most is written by me but I would like it to be otherwise. It will have a blog / forum. So, if you have any tales to tell, probably of the funny, ironic or satirical nature, I'll be pleased to put them up. Cartoons and novel pictures welcomed.
    • Meanwhile here is an interesting read comparing cycling in 1948 and 2012 (Olympicly connected) from a brilliant website produced by Jack Thurston
    • New charity event in the Manchester area on May 11th - see Calendar.
    • Doug Pilkington is holding another Warehouse sale on the 23rd of thi s month - great for scavengers! [ Addendem 29th April]: it was snowed off!!! See Calendar for June replacement.
    • A recent trawl of the internet I noted that Brookes Proofhide prices have escalated. It is a fact that you can get Harrods exclusive Frescobaldi Goose Paté for less. However I'm not sure the latter would be a useful substitute or would be entirely satisfactory. After a few days you might attract chasing canines as well as clearing your favourite cycling cafe.

    [Posted March 1st]
    An event has just occured at Ferryhill in County Durham which makes it the furthest north event since the demise of an event in Elgin. I wonder how it went.
    Jumble at Long Eaton went well, I haven't heard much else on events past - I always appreciate hearing!

    New event - just happened, and to be repeated in June.

    The Dronfield / South Yorkshire debut event on the 6th January went very well. Organiser Barry had a few difficulties, noteably with loosing his original venue the having to change days. It was a damp foggy day and I am sure many decided to jumble rather than ride. There will be another event at this venue on the 23rd of June. Details soon. Photos below are from the event.

    Left - the hall, new and large <> Right - One seller was well connected!

    New event - forthcoming.

    Like cycling itself, cycle jumbles are getting popular. The latest new event is at Cobham, Nr. Gravesend, Kent. The area was often visited by a Mr.C.Dickens. I'm sure his pub-crawls would have been made easier by using a bike though , seemingly, he "liked a few" so riding on the A2 might have shortened his writing career. It's rather a case of him being ahead of his time. The event is on the 10th February - details in the calendar.

    Newly discovered pre-historic biped

    It is quite amazing that after so many thousands of years a new pre-historic creature is dug up. In this case the creature was discovered in two places at nearly the same time in 2010- St Mary's at Muswell Hill and St.Mary's at Sheffield.
    no doubt the vicars at each place would have liked it to be called St.Marysdactyl. However it is to be known as the Hudsonisaurus. To the right is an "artists" impression. If you look closely you will see that it has two heads. It is said that two heads are better than one. The creature does seem to be delivering a somewhat dubious gesture with its two digits.

    Brilliant winter listening

    I thought I'd share with you the availability of a high quality radio program called "the Bike Show". It's not on Radio 5 live (which has a highly disappointing monthly cycling program) but Radio Resonance 104.4 FM. It is on FM in the London area but you can listen, and catch up, over the internet.
    The content is quite excellent history of Raleigh in two parts, David Hockney, extreme tourists, cycle politics and about cycle jumbles (with my slight input) and many more subjects. All episodes are available. The program has a London bias but it isn't particulary regional. It is the brainchild of Jack Thurston who has great curiousity and an enviably good interviewing technique.
    Click on the radio - (linked in new window)

    And some reading

    During the boring time over the winter (when you and your bikes are locked up) might I suggest some reading??? It is here on this website.
    I have just put, more or less, the final touches to a 7 year campaign unearthing the story of Walter Greaves. It is no mundane tale. Walter lost an arm as a 14 year old and yet rode over 45000 miles in 1936 to break the world endurance cycle record. He helped start the BLRC, organise the Tour of Britain, took part in it, was a vegetarian, stroppy and an extreme socialist, frame-builder, busker, storyteller, friend of a controversial DJ ....... Sod it. I'm giving the game away!

    Link to The Walter Greaves Story. - Do come back here

    Below is me posing with a bike whose King of the Mountains frame was made by Walter Greaves in about 1948.

    Competition Solution

    For some time I have run a "can you tell what is yet?" featuring unusual bike parts. It has not been a homage to Rolf Harris - nor to Reg Harris either. I have had about 8 solutions for the one shown below, left. I have acknowledged all succesful entries but have not put their names here as "winners". So sorry about that but thanks for your responses.
    The bits, either steel or alluminum, were used to carry one or two wheels nutted to the front wheel. The purpose was to carry racing wheels for use in road race or time trial. Of course it harks back to the time when the motor car was not owned, affordable or wanted by many cyclists. The picture on the below right shows the devices in action.

    Recent events - [November 4th 2012]

    BSA plastic pump gone on Ebuyextortionately for £133.32. Postage of £5
    What do they say about fools and their money?

    The Sheffield event on the 3rd November went very well with a healthy increase in visitors. The cycling folk of Sheffield have been quite reluctant comers. Since it is held in a church it is possible to have a quick pray and an odd cog, all in one visit. At about midday the muttering, fat-chewing and chattering of the latter part of the event was broken by someone who must have been a town cryer in a previous life. "Everything I've got left is a pound!" he announced. I didn't hear the "oh, Yeh"
    Paul (shown left) was there like a long dog. He is shown with the prizes of his sprint. His speed and awareness of youth is, in effect cheating. He needs to be cautioned.

    Interesting quote from 1995 Guinness "Cycling - facts+feats" about Lance Armstrong who was under-achieving at that time.
    "With youth on his side, he still has time to reassert himself as a winner"
    Seems to have felt that he needed more than youth on his side. "Reassert" has a strange conoctations.

    My Jumble at Radcliffe on Trent, Nottinghamshire went OK as you can
    tell from the cheerful expressions in the photos below.

    P.S It really was OK and (I'm told) enjoyed. It took many phone-calls, and a technical break-in to obtain the hall keys
    I was relieved when it was all over!!!

    October news and views

    I am very interested in and supportive of Jolerider. They combine activities including sending bikes to Africa where they create real life-changing benefits. They hold bike jumbles on the 2nd Saturday of each month. The next one is on the 10th November. They are planning a change of venue (from a villege called Seagry.
    They operate in the Bristol-ish area and I hope to publish an article about them soon.


    I am fairly sure that a few people visit this website and would welcome some help with technical matters. It would be like gardeners question time without the plants. In this case it would be more black fingers rather than green ones. With this in mind I will kick off with a problem of mine. Perhaps readers may then have some suggestions. Please look below at my 38 tooth chain-ring.
    Since you will likely be wondering what the trouble is I will tell you. The chain jumps now and again. When I went up Alpe D'Huez a few years back it didn't jump once. Ah, lubrication I hear you say. But no. You can see it has lots, in fact great lumps of it. I have heard of changing the chainring round. Don't get that, I'm afraid.
    Anyhow if anyone has any advice (perhaps laced with humour) I would welcome it.

    Late September notes and queries

    IMPORTANT - Change of date for Herne Hill Jumble

    I have been advised that the jumble listed for 6th October has been moved to the next day. There is a race meeting on that day and so will make for entertaiment as well as getting that vital oddment. If you know of anyone who might not have heard, please let them know of the change.

    Cycling Promotions - no more

    Cycling Promotions were a smallish company who held "cycle fairs" in halls and gymnasiums selling "bargain" cycling gear. They last appeared at the York CTC rally. On the whole the sales were quite good and you could examine the goods before buying. I feared some of their lights were of the "seconds" type - in which case the "seconds" aspect could mean likely failure. Also they sold Vittoria tyres which seem to be made for a wheel of a different size - they needed a crowbar to fit. Other tyres were a bit variable and often strange colours. Their trading method was problematical regarding returning defective goods which, after all, is legally required. They employed young temporary staff at their sales who could seldom give you any technical advice.
    The current status of the firm is "liquidation". They have £35,189 in the bank and many debtors (probably those young helpers) and it seems, quite a bit of stock. I am no financial wizard, but it doesn't look too good to me.
    However, they were fairly OK and their demise (at a time of a cycling boom) is a loss to some. In respect of Bike Jumbles the news will be celebrated by jumble organsisers.

    Swinderby, Lincs jumble pictures

    The second Swinderby event was excellent and was very well attended, as can be seen

    This display wins the "best in show" award. The award is even more deserved in that it was planned straight after a holiday return and without sleep. Note features like a cog tree and handlebar rack. It probably seemed a shame to sell anything in case it spoilt the display.

    I don't think this message has the endorsement of his wife! This impressive boast has even less credance when you look closely and see CRANKY above the "old guys rule".

    Wanted - Curly Hetchins

    A very nice and helpful friend of mine needs a Curly Hetchins to make his life complete. Appearance not important as long as the curls are in right place. 22" - 22.5" would suit best. Any offers initially to me, please.

    More BBC punditry gone wrong (again)

    BBC made massive investment in deigning to show the World Cycling Road race (highlights) when there was no dominos or darts to show. Poor Dave Millar, reduced to being Hugh Porter's deputy dog, said that Philippe Gilbert had lost his early season form so was given no chance. How wrong. His seasons form has got better after a poor start. He has won a stage in each of the 3 major tours and has won many a Classic. It must have been luck or the BBC "reverse curse" - he won the "Worlds" comfortably. Where was David Millar all season?

    Cycling near number 10 - a guide

    Passing through Plebgate -
    kindly acknowledge the security police
    Here is another arresting way of greeting the constabulary outside number 10.
    [Possibly ill-advised Brooks advert of the 90's]

    News of yet another new jumble venue

    There is no doubt about the fact of an expanded interest in cycling. For some (with loadsamoney) their preferred bike is a carbon fibre jobbie carefully made and logoed to order in the far east. It doesn't make them ride like Bradley Wiggins, but still. There is also a very tangible increase in older machines. In some cases this is connected with the Fixie revolution where "steels" seem de riguer. There is also a continuous expansion of jumbles - I estimate that 10 or so have appeared in the last 18 months.

    The newest venue is in Tewin which is close to Welwyn Garden City and Hertford. Just in case of possible (but unlikely) confusion this is quite different to the intipodean desert island called Tuin. The latter was noteable for being featured in the film "Castaway", as well as a naked Amanda Donahoe. Less edifying was the late Oliver Read in the same state.

    The Tewin Event is to be organised by the Veterans Cycling Club who seem determined to make it a regular event. Whilst a little "out in the sticks" it is readily accesible from London and the A1 and, of course, by bike. It fills in a bit of a gap in the bike jumbles map. It is on Sunday 18th November

    and another There is also new jumble in East Yorkshire on the 4th of November. It is at a village called Newport. See calendar for further details.

    Website - minor fame at last

    Recently this website has had a bit of "good press". It's nice to know it is being read!
    • A few quotes last year in the London Cyclist.
    • Quotes in and background for a CTC magazine article by Jack Thurston.
    • Mentioned in Times Leisure Supplement (aimed at those who have "discovered" the bicycle).
    • BBC researcher Amanda Kennett" I was browsing for information on the 1948 Olympics cycling and your website was the best source". (so thanks to Wally Happy for providing quite a bit of it).

    To read the 1948 Olympic articles click here But do come back here

    The two Mark Hudson Event Organisers "together" -
    combatants revealed at last

    Mark Hudson (London version). Mark Hudson (Sheffield version) The first looks like he went to the Olympics, but on the wrong day. The other looks like he went on the right day, left his ticket in Sheffield and they wouldn't let him in.
    Any reader's captions welcomed!
    MH (Cockney) says "I am the real Mark Hudson, all the others are imposters"
    MH (flat cap and ferret) has replied by despoiling the photos (see below).

    Its is getting so bad that I might have to invite both to "discussion" in a neutral venue (Watford Gap services comes to mind)

    News of new jumble venue

    [too late for August event]
    Alexander Brown @ jole rider Hello to all you mybikejumblers! You will be please to know that our next feast of cycling bargains will be available to gorge yourselves on Saturday (14th September). Our fresh location is at Seagry village hall, Put into Google Maps postcode for a map, or save the pdf attached for a more in depth set of directions. Postcode is sn15 5hd - use this to get a map.
    Click here to get all Jolerider events 2012 and how to get to the new venue. The villagers have kindly allowed us into their lovely village so we hope that you will all come out to spend your cash with us in this beautiful new location. We will have the usual selection of quality clothes, parts and preloved bicycles on sale with mind boggling prices, plus this month sees the return of our much loved 'Brake Pad' café stop! We will have ,freshly cooked for your delectation, local pork and leek sausages served hot in freshly baked bread rolls. Yum! Plus hot and cold drinks to keep you hydrated as you sift through our bargain boxes. We will be open from 10am until 1pm. The entry is still only a £1 donation which includes free entry into our Badgeabike raffle. Looking forward to seeing you all.
    SC note. They raise money to send bikes to Africa - a noble cause.

    "Wiggo" Muttonchops ® products - exclusive to this website

    P.S Due to Mr Wiggins having removed his copyright sideburns without authority, our lawyers are in "discussion".

    Wiggins yes : Wiggle No

    I had a browse recently amongst a few on-line bicycle retailers. Halfords have a store-collect service. I assume they hope people don't use since the staff have to use the computer, confirm your ID, dive into a stockroom, taking minutes, and then do loads of paperwork. And they are usually running the store on their own. They no longer seem less connected with Boardman Bikes.
    Evans Cycles, formerly in the more romantic guise of the excellent F.W.Evans shop in south London, are now part of a venture capitalist group consisting of franchised stores. I went to order something on-line and use their store-collect scheme. I couldn't do this without giving them details such as postal address and phone number. I didn't want to do this and the Data Protection Act is quite clear about only holding necessary details.
    Wiggle was my next port of call. As a result of my browsing I have suffered the most extreme invasive pop-up campaign imaginable. It is not even context driven and works like a revolting virus. Getting rid of cookies doesn't relieve the situation. If I was to Google "Nottingham ladies of the night" I do not expect an eyeful of orangy Wiggle banners! This ensures that I will never buy anything from them. Personally, I think the Cycle Jumble bug is a much better one to catch than orange Wiggle swamp fever.

    Olympics 1st day - Road Race Hell for BBC [posted 28th July 2012]

    When I started this website it was never for venting the spleen. That is what Twitter is for. L.O.L. However I have some thoughts on the Olympic road race to share with you.

    First, the riders. Calamitous. Wiggins spared nothing but he didn't have the "extra legs" to go faster than the breakaway group. Understandable. Froome may have "died" for the same reason, but contributed little. Miller didn't do his share. Stannard was immense but only maintained the gap. Cav was like the bride left at the alter, but why didn't he just go for it on his own when he realised the (team) game was up?? His situation was only like Boonen's had been in several classics this year. He won them all. Lack of radio has been mentioned but what about the good old chalk-board and the loud bellowing voice on each lap of Box Hill?

    Anyhow, it was a very bad day at the office. My main belly-ache is regarding the BBC "coverage". I didn't (luckily) witness the 1000 men and their boats / Centenary / Jubilee celebration thingy ("good excuse for a day off work and to throw the economy off its path"). Surely that couldn't have been as bad as the Olympic Road Races, BBC Sports style?? At least with the former they were dealing with the unknown. So, to present it they chose some second division comedians and Big Brother(TM) "celebs" who are experienced at making prats of themselves. So for the Olympic Road Race BBC chose Hugh Porter and Chris Boardman. Old (and safe?) hands, with great careers as cyclists, mostly on the track. Been there, done it. Sound!?

    Cycle races were started for the media (Tour de France, Giro etc.) and so they felt they had to do a good job covering it. One can still drool at quite stunning, pallid, monochrome photos of suffering cyclists of the 20's which leave you in awe. The BBC camera-work of this race has to have "ful" attached to the awe. As the motor-bike zoomed on at race pace it did give a great impression of speed, but then it zoomed faster still. The resultant back-wards view needed a zoom lens to even see a cyclist. The helecopter must have cost £10000 per minute as there were very few shots, mosty very poor too. None of them were of Box Hill - is it sacred ground or were the National Trust charging for the airspace , like it had with the parking, camping and road-side watching? Or possibly, the helecopter men were possible worried about being fired on by missiles from the roofs of Tower Hamlets, London flats.

    However, my main grumble was the "commentators". Hugh Porter and Chris Boardman have been known for slightly formulaic coverage of track racing, 50 years between them. Eurosport has the excellent Harmon and whimsical Kelly. ITV4 uses "fine old-rugs" Liggett and Sherwin - they make slips but their enthusiasm is unbounding. It is no wonder that bland HP and CB have not attracted those brilliant broadcasters of (mostly road) cycling. Followers of Cricket will know that the TMS team often cannot really see the action well from their box. They have the aid of monitors showing "enemy" Sky TV and wise "spotters" such as Vic Marks and Malcolm Ashton who either correct commentator errors ( especially after "a good lunch") or scribble down crib notes. Or poke fun.

    Back to the Olympic cycling. Firstly Hughchris were witless regarding tactics and insight. The slightly fluctuating one minute-ish gap caused Boardman to swing like a hanging man from "do-able" to "impossible", and back, until it seemingly became the latter and was not discussed anymore. But then we didn't know what the gap was. Here's an idea, Chris. Spot the lead-group passing a landmark. Note down the time. Hope the random visuals show the peleton passing the same landmark. Note down the time. You could probably guess the rest. But you must have a watch. And an idea.

    Even if they only had what we were seeing, they were truly appalling at identifying riders. On a few odd occasions they were bold enough to speculate that the man leading out the peloton was Wiggins, just ahead of the Sky   English   British   GB   Team GB train. Just like he has for the last three weeks. Over an aerial shot showing a rider leading the train bearing Millar's number, Porter opined it was "Stannard again". (I did hunt the internet for the list of riders / numbers / countries / colours. Did the commentators do this? The BBC web-site was quite helpful).

    25 riders escaped in small groups within the last hour. In their ignorance regarding identities they surmised that they were no threat as they were presumed playful minnows, would inevitably implode and in any case there weren't any sprinters to threaten Cavendish in their midst. But you could sense some hedge-betting in that they stopped repeating themselves. Tweedle Dumb and Tweedle Dee were still trying to work out who was in the breakaway group as they approached Harrods. Dramatically Vinokourov and Urán Urán sprang, as if lured by an Mr. Al Fayed chequebook (or brown-paper bag). I can only imagine a muffled "who the bloody hell are they" discussion; but the microphone and the viewers had 12 seconds of silence. Now in any other circumstances that would have been appreciated!
    Here's some help, chaps. Vinokourov has been famous for 15 years, made even more well known because of the horrific crashes and a drugs ban which have scarred him. He has rodent-like features, a jaunty riding style and often sits on the nose of his saddle. He is hyperactive and has an addictive tendency to take off (Armstrong hated this about him). Of even more help to the hapless two is that Kazakhstan's colours are those of the Astana bike team (Astana being the state broadcasters) and unmistakably the same ice / light blue. "Vino" has appeared solely in this livery for ten years! Kazakhstan had only one other rider, Bazayev, and he has never displayed the class nor inclination to spring a break, let alone be anywhere near one when it happened. He was once mentioned in the 2012 Tour de France - that was when he "went off the back" on the first mountain. And he has a beard and swarthy Asiatic features. And he wasn't in the breakaway group.
    Vino's breakaway partner was Columbia's Rigberto Urán Urán (who must have changed his name by deed-pole to dissasocieate himself from the English ex-boy crooners). He has appeared lots for Sky during the last year. Ironic, eh? Were the viewers told that? Did they even know he rode for Sky? He's done a few breaks like he did today - this may have branded him as being undiciplined. He also mucked them up. Like he did today by turning round. He did "show" quite well all season - but not to those on the golf course. He seems to have gone down the Sky rankings a little but might have been a good ally if Cavendish had been near and needy. Stranger things have happened in the maelstrom of national / pro-team allegences. His 2nd placing would not have earned any congratulations from his frustrated Sky team mates and his employers. However he did offer a help to those wishing to identify him. He was the only Columbian rider and so proud of the fact that he mounted his number higher than he should have, so as to display the word COLUMBIA in huge letters. The word Columbia appeared 3 times more on his shirt and thrice more on his shorts, surely exceeding his Olympic logo quota? The remainder of his shirt was the Columbian flag which a clued-up researcher might recognise.

    By the way, I quite fancy him for 2nd in the Vuelta - I said it here 7th August. I hope that he appreciates his surnames being spelt correctly with an acute´ over the a. Most newspapers and websites missed them off. My night-school Spanish course was some use after all.

    At the finish it emerged that at least 4 top sprinters were in the breakaway. The rest were all the expected suspects. They had escaped in almost Noah-style. It seems unbelievable that they weren't identified by HP and CB, just as much as it was unbeliable that Sky should allow so many brilliant habitual escapees to go.

    "Poor" Hugh announced a "sprint for 4th place featuring Cavendish". Nearly 30 riders had already been through by then. He later apologised twice by saying "we were wrong about 4th place statement", thus implicating Boardman. Was that a sound of strangulation I heard as the audio was plucked from the audio-visual?

    What followed was a noiseless, rather frenetic and unavailing chase by reporters, trying to pin down unwilling British cyclists for an interview. There were slight rustling noises. The Team GB proved more reactive then than any time during the race. Were the BBC worried about any post-threshold-type language being heard? Darts, World Strongman and snooker "expert" Jill Douglas was seen (but not heard) interviewing Vino. But silence can be golden, and would have been earlier.

    There is only one conclusion for the Sky falling in. The Team GB management gathered their strategic data from watching the BBC coverage and based their tactics on that.
    That's it at the end of the day .....(last sentence only © H.Porter and C.Boardman)
    Stuart Collins

    Recommended reading
    • "I-Spy book of flags". Check out the difference between the North and South Korea while you are at it.
    • "Olympic book of TV management"
      - Chapter three, "How to change channels on the tele"
      - Chapter five, chapter by Mr.R.Murdoch "How to avoid BBC "
      - Chapter seven, "All you wanted to know about the red button but were afraid to ask"
      - Chapter ten, "Getting out of your armchair"
      - Chapter eleven, "Now to turn the set off and drown your sorrows"

    Road Race Hell - what went wrong? Q and A
    [posted 29th July 2012]

    Interview with a Sky / Team GB spokesman (He said he was. He had the teeshirt)

    Q1 : Was it a good idea to use plan A - codenamed "lay doggo" - with only 5 riders?
    A1 : No - but hindsight is a wonderful thing

    Q2 : Was it a good idea to tell the world your plan A
    A2 : Probably not - but that's the internet for you. Facebook might have been unwise (only 151 hits) - #ourolympicroadracemasterplanA Twitter account is now deleted.

    Q3 : What happened to Plan B?
    A3 : It's not a winning strategy to have a plan B. This infers that Plan A isn't viable.

    Q4 : How is Cav?
    A4 : He's quite philosphical. He enjoyed ticking off Londons' landmarks and seeing the North Downs in all its splendour. As he says "there is always 2016". He got a bit of a buzz sprinting pfor 26th place. It was a bit of a pity that he didn't win that, but he wouldn't mind giving Boonen and Greiple a bit of reflected glory.

    A5 : Is there any consolation?
    A5 : We performed better than the BBC TV team.

    Olympics 2nd day - Womens Road Race
    [posted 29th July 2012]

    The only "uninterupted" coverage of the Womens Road Race was on BBC 3 then BBC3 (red button) then BBC1. With no substitions allowed the Porter / Boardman team were fielded again. (Why no woman? It could have been someone on the "inside"). The PB team had hatched "new" tactics. They cut out the "what's happening" intermitent reflective silences and restored their time-worn two-up verbal assault mode. They showed less fear of "getting it wrong" by, well, just getting it wrong. Boardman was clearly felt let down yesterday by "the technology". "Things went wrong yesterday" he blogged. That was a massive understatement. Much of the travesty was down to lack of spoon-fed data, naff camera-pointing and their own eyesight, lack of research and their remove from the cutting edge of road racing. Boardman was seeking to get his own back on "the technology" and revelled in telling the audience that he was ignoring the GPS-driven time-splits. His own favoured method? Using his watch! Had he read my website overnight? Yesterday the time-splits were rarely displayed, which was hopeless. Today it was put up each minute but each time it appeared CB unerringly broke off from his stream of un-conciousness to warn the veiwer off taking notice of the on-screen timings. He suggested that there would be errors due to "curved roads" - thus exposing a complete lack of understanding of how GPS works. From the admittedly unfraught comfort of my armchair I checked the timings and they were accurate. Most of the viewers were probably thinking that they couldn't recall driving into a field rather than a motorway turnoff due to "GPS error". If your GPS device is "seen" by 12 satellites your position is fixed within 1 metre! Each rider had a GPS transmitter. I believe the satellites remained in place and were not "taken out" by the Tower Hamlets missiles.

    HP went his own sweet way, running a trundling commentary from his monitor screen. It was as if the mystery of people riding machines which have been around for 140 years needed non-stop explanation. We could see what was happening, Hugh. We could also see what you had failed to see. Often, however he was let down by events not obligingly happening as was reporting they had done, or would do. An example was "the Russian (difficult name, don't go there) isn't coming through" as she was doing so. When he got into predictive mode you knew what wasn't going to happen. With fewer riders (66 starters 40 finishers) you would have expected better rider identifying. Er, no, Not really. They got quite good at recognising Dutch riders, but not one in particular, and were quite good with the one black Brazilian rider. The latter had embarked upon the first lone break. We learned her name only as she was caught some minutes later. Emma Pooley embarked upon two breakaway attempts despite actually being at the back of the feild wearing a different number (helpfully British riders were 1 to 5).

    A breakaway of four broke the deadlock and you could sense that the duo were relaxing. Their crystal ball was given a rest. As they drew breath for the first time in 3 hours the camera panned back onto the breakaway. You could see that there were only three of them. Longest silence of the day. Then they noticed! With a little further delay they ascertained who was missing. It only took about 15 seconds.

    Latterly Porter coined the memorable expression "encrusted with action". Shortly after, he vied with Boardman in the speculation that the flam rouge was just round the corner. Pity it was still more than a mile away.

    Soon it was over. Lizzie was quite probably the best rider but the sprint is all - and Vos is a deadly finisher. Vos initiated the break, Lizzie was great in spotting it. Incidentally I wasn't impressed by the road surface nor the protection of bollards.

    Overall, the camera work was much improved. We even saw a map of the course. You couldn't see any detail. It wasn't interactive but you can't expect everything. It was all over bar the shouting! Alas there was no shouting - in fact, no noise at all. Porter and Boardman were just turned off like two dripping taps. I am sure that they were still rabbiting on. Initial relief gave way to disquiet - and then just quiet. We saw great rapport between the riders (except towards the Brazilian). Riders, coaches, journalists and relatives shared with the viewer the spontaneous joy and celebration of what would probably be the best moment of their lives. Interviews were shown but be only appreciated by lip-readers. Poor old Jill Douglas managed to "capture" Vos and Armitstead to add to her tally of inaudible interviews from the day before. After 10 horse-whispering minutes the farce ended - not an apology was forthcoming. Didn't anyone know about it?

    Mr Porter and Mr Boardman might have do do a bit of research this time. Their road race commentary was like their own road careers, a great struggle. Time trials are on Wednesday 1st August. Unless they opt for a monastic vow of silence, we might want to know a little about the riders. Today we learned little more about Lizzie than that she was from Otley (many times), that she had done quite well on the track and she was a "late starter" in cycling.

    After the Olympic dust has settled the Guardian Media Monkey awarded a gold medal, in this case for "Worst TV coverage" for the "abysmal handling of the men's cycling road race". They cited "zero information, worthless helecopter shots and no bike visible, commentators getting placings wrong, etc." They used a metaphor that "they went to the front early and held off al challenges". So the Guardian did give a monkeys.
    Commentators' Star ratings for road races HP CB

    Time trials - less of a BBC trial
    [posted 1st Aug 2012]

    After the road racing things got easier and better for the BBC commentary duo. In the time-trials life was made much easier by having one cyclist in each shot, and a lingering shot at that. There was evidence of some research being done and this was read out quite well. It could be seen that Cancelara was more than 2km behind Wiggins so obviously out of the reckoning. The announcement of the winner was left until it was certain (as Cancelara rode in) - probably a good idea.
    Commentators' Star ratings for time trials HP CB

    BBC gets on track - nearly
    [posted 3rd Aug 2012]

    On the 1st of August the commentary twins were "on track", physically, if not metaphorically. Both of them have great experience of track riding, and dispensed pearls of wisdom with repeats every 15 minutes for the benefit of "new" viewers or those returning from Mars. Their patter format was generally as follows. Porter would pluck something out of his extensive memory bank. Boardman would consider what had been said and then either add some flesh if he agreed, edit what had been said if it was slightly wrong. If was utterly wrong he would either hold his tongue or change the subject.

    On Wednesday after the cycling was over, the BBC did its "turn off the sound" trick once more whilst the camera panned around the arena picking out retreating spectators, warm-downs, undressing riders and soundless conversations. This now seems to be deliberate but still is a bit bizarre. One enigmatic converation was between Pat McQuaid (UCI bigwig) and Dave Brailsford. There was a little sound but it wasn't possible to determine what they were saying. Was it about the Jess Varnish / Victoria Pendleton disqualification? We'll never know. Pity! Where is that fly on the wall when you need it?

    5 minutes of background sound was broken by Hughs' voice "Jill's got a microphone". Ah ha, I thought, at last we might hear those dulcet Scottish tones. The absolute nadir of the subsequent 5 minutes of silent broadcasting was the sight of Jill Douglas interviewing Jason Kenny, in miming mode. When it is all over will we get a program called, perhaps, "Jill D - the missing interviews"? If so will it feature sound? Poor Jill! When we wanted silence we didn't get it, and visa-versa.
    Commentators' Star ratings for track races HP CB
    Jill Dougles - DNS / DNF / DN get heard

    BBC goes BMX
    [posted 10th Aug 2012]

    The BMX races were very interesting in a Wacky Races sort of way. Getting baulked and thrown off seems to be quite easily done. Sliding metres on ones front on very rough concrete is almost as bad as was the closing ceremony. Commentary was informative and well pitched, I thought. Alas the 40 seconds or so of racing might be best served by silence. Like most people, I think a single final race is a not certain to yeild justice in what, in part, is a lottery.
    Commentators' Star ratings for BMX races - Ed Leigh and Jamie Staff

    BBC takes to the mountains (of Essex)
    [posted 12th Aug 2012]

    If Hugh Porter had ridden in Olympic mountain bike races his bus-pass would have fallen out of his back pocket. So the role was given to one Ed Leigh. He obviously really knew the game, didn't need notes and was very good at balancing technical input, race progress and SILENCE. For the first hour of both days Chris Boardman "bingo'd" down a list of technical enlightenments, even though most folk would have watched both days. He covered
    • hard-tail vs full suspension,
    • 26 vs 29 inch wheel,
    • how many tonnes of Derbyshire had been removed to Essex
    • Advantages of an open country race
    • Using canisters to blow tyres up (but they rarely work).
    • The 80% rule
    • Red (purple?) markers within which the riders must travel.
    • Few overtaking places
    • Need to drink
    • Suspensions set to "hard"
    • They travel up to 10 cm
    • Everything is technical
    All pretty good stuff from a man with intimate knowledge. When any slight gap occured he suggested that so-and-so had "gone" when mostly they were taking a "breather". Lactic levels and heart-rate are vital parts of a very gruelling sport, no mention was made of that and how it effects pacing.
    I wonder when cycling will get over the novelty stage and have commentary like most other sports, where it assumed that most of its audience know a fair bit about the sport and equipment. At worst it is like the introduction lesson of a night-school class. As the over-worked cliche goes "it's not rocket science"
    Commentators' Star ratings for Mountain bike - Ed Leigh and Chris Boardman

    My rant is over. No more Amazon Stars to be awarded for another 4 years. Hugh deserves a rest, I fear a long one. I'll tell you the best thing about the Cycling Team GB, they are all lovely grounded people. TheY seemed to say "unbelievable" far less. They believe and thery were "fantastic" (that other over-used word)

    How can you get a puncture on a new track?
    [posted 6th August 2012]

    One really odd occurance during the Sprint Qualification was the New Zealand rider Shane Archibold getting a puncture. How could that be? I have been helped by an eagle-eyed Irish fan called Con Spiracy. He noted that the other rider on the track was Argentinian Perez Walter Fernando. Con's attention was drawn to a small object on the track. He took a photo of it. The blow-up, (right) reveals all. Poor Shane had become an innocent victim of a battle over a few cod and non-existing (as it turns out) oil fields.

    Mensa Flag Test

    Tour de France reflections

    I don't know about you, but I think the British dominance is getting rather unhealthy. It is sort-of British since Cavendish is a Manxman and Froome is from Kenya. The same boundary movement afflicts coverage of Andy Murray (though, in truth he does find himself being more a Scotsman since he cannot win a grand slam). I think that Team Sky are being very crafty allowing hosts France to win a few unconsequential stages.
    PS Whatever happened to German cyclists??

    8th June News

    Details of two events to fill in the void of summer if you don't give much of a fig about the Olympics (apart from the cycling!)
    Below are miniposters of them. Further details in the calendar

    Olympic News : June 4th

    I was darn sarth last week attending a music festival. It was within 1 mile of the Olympic Park (though the weather was so bad you couldn't see the top of Anish Kapoor's thingy ). I had looked up on the internet to find out how I could see or avoid the park by bike. I found the Olympic Greenway to Stratford. Several links failed to work and all I got was a terrible map with flourescent colours. On the ground I followed the signs from Tower Hamlets but when I got nearer the Olympic Park there was a "closed" sign, a very secure barrier, security man and alasatian dog.
    The man pointed out a plasticised document. This suggested it the greenway had been opened, but since had to be closed. One reason was said to it being used a tunnel where athletes get changed. Now I know preparations are advanced but it does seem a bit early to get togged up or stripped off. The Greenway will not be open until December 3rd! I vaguely remember the proud announcements that cyclists would have the joy of seeing the park as it developed. Not, seemingly so. When I look again at the websites there is no mention of the closure nor swine-ish detour along the Lee sewer Canal you have to take to get to Stratford. Meanwhile you might like to see how the park is guarded (apart from by 100 persons / 24 hours).
    The fence might serve to prevent failed athletes (bar pole-vaulters) from throwing themselves in the canal. You might admire the canal-side cycle path in my picture. This is the part visible from inside the park. The rest is very poor quality. All to do with heritage, I suppose.

    (Too) Late May News

    April 1st News

    • I am typing this in the village hall of Bakkov Biyonde, Nr.Zizhniy Novgorodin, Siberia
      After it is done the sheet of paper will go by yak to the Internetski Cafe in Volgograd and reach you via the wonders of valve-driven technology within a few weeks. I am holding a bike jumble here but I regret to say that despite seasonally warm temperatures of -10c, nobody has made an effort to get here. The vodka meant for jumbler attendees is, I'm afraid slowly sliding down my ................

    Two new stories in Articles section including superb perspective of the 1948 London Olympics by Wally Happy, with lots of great insights into that very different time.

    Read this first, go back to menu and onto Articles

    Event last weekend in Hackney -
    sounds like they should run the Olympics

    Website of organisation offering camping on Boxhill, for Olympic road race

    Click here or above

    < P.S. Charles has contacted me and said that the picture is NOT him. He suggests that the depicted cyclist is a "fast man" and Charles vehemently denies he has ever been such. Sorry for the slur, Charles. The competition above is therefor cancelled.

  • Dave, my ebay-watcher has just reported a campag rear changer going for £1320. Congrats due to Mr. -***a, I hope it changes his life!!
  • That's all for now - don't forget my April 1st event in Siberia. Be there, I don't expect a cold shoulder.
  • News to follow of another bike festival in Nottingham in June. The picture take at Recyclo bike shop, Malaga, shows that Brookes are all the rage in Spain. The fixie revolution demands them. These could be made from Spanish bulls-bits though!?
    Meanwhile it might be time to again reproduce a cheeky advert of the nineties. Readers might like to email what either of them (ie persons) might be saying.
    I will have to decide if they are printable!!!!

  • Below are mentionings of the Jole Rider events near Chippenham, east of Bristol. They have just had their second successful event. They are new this year and are having one a month.
    I am pleased to be able to tell you of an expansion (explosion almost) of 5 more new bikejumbles in unexpected places - one in February, three in March and one in May.
    x 5
    All further details are on the Calendar page

    Jole rider - Bikes for Africa

    I have been contacted by David Swettenham about a wonderful sounding organisation called Jolerider. Amongst other splendid activities, they are sending renovated bikes to Africa. They are seeking £10 donations to cover the cost of getting them there. There are jumbles planned for the second Saturday of every month.
    They are being held in Stanton St. Quintin, Wiltshire. It is very close to J17 of the M4 and about 3 miles north of Chippenham.
    The next jumble is on Saturday 14th January 2012, and subsequesnt ones will be in the Calendar of this website. It is held in one half of an aircraft hanger - a very novel place to hold a jumble

    See the Jolerider website

    Problem page

    This website is not merely a list of bike jumbles but tries to impart views and information, and reach the heart and soul of all cyclists. It has lacked a problems page but this, too, is about to be rectified

    Dear Sir,
    I write to you as a very worried male cyclist.
    I have great concerns about my wife's conduct. There are those muffled phone conversations, texts from NobbieX, her diligent watching out for the postman. I can never remember all the vases in the house being full, many with red roses (despite, I believe, being out of season). There has been an increasing number of those "girls' nights out".

    On one such night I decided to go and hide in the bike shed to await her return. A car appeared, driven by a man. After a couple of minutes she stepped out of the car. I saw her adjusting her clothes, swatting her skirt with a brush and finally applying some lipstick. She blew a kiss to the driver as he pulled away.

    At that moment, in the dim light of the shed, I noticed a hairline crack on the fork of my Mercian.
    What I was wondering was whether I should get it welded, brazed or should rather get it replaced?

    Yours, Bob

    Dear Agnes,
    My name is Beryl,
    My husband has been acting very strangely. He spends hours on the computer. I have found he has been using something called titter . I know this an expression for laughter but wonder if it has a more lustful connoctation? Anyhow, that is not what I am concerned about, since he has disappeared. He announced that he was off out to get a puncture repair outfit as I had run into some thorns on my way to Lidl. That was six days ago.

    Agnes : How are you coping on your own??

    Beryl : Fine, I've fixed the puncture.

    Photos of some jumbles [posted 25th Nov 2011] - from Memory Lane, if you can remember where it is

    Hernehill track on re-opening day Wally and Pat Happy looking ..... contented
    Eccentrics abound at Sheffield. Mark Hudson (Sheffield version) on clown's bike.
    He does need to develop an inane grin.
    "I'm getting tyred of selling these" Buzzing Thurcroft jumble of 20th November

    A salutary true tale

    The article (left) is lifted from Private Eye and not, as you might think, from Readers Digest,
    The Serb of unpronouncible surname has, no doubt, tried to do what we all have considered doing. "Eating ones hat" is quite normal, and has recently been practiced by Rugby Union fans who thought England were going to win the World Cup (or even play well). Having eaten what he has done, then a bike was a natural progression. He does seem to be a hungry chap. Surely eating a horse would be next, unless he has already been to a McDonalds. Mr Crnogorac would be quite welcome at the average bike jumble where he could save sellers from having to take their unsold stuff home with them.

    Branko seems to have made only one mistake. The picture, which we have to take as a true record, clearly show that he is eating not only a pedal but the crank as well. He should have seperated the crank from the pedal!!! It seems probable that due to a lack of lubrication of the pedal thread before fitting, the pedal was effectively chemically welded (or "f***ing stuck as the say in the trade). The pedal alone would have slipped down like a Whitstable oyster down the gullet of Fred "the Shred" Goodwin. (hopefully choking the latter, if by pedal or oyster, no matter). So, it's all down to maintenance!

    Be warned!!!!

    NB my article has resisted pedaling tyred puns and wheely re-cycled silliness. I could have called Mr B.C. a crank!

    I have just read a story "Cyclist poisoned by Whitstable oyster". I will pass this story on soon.

    Ebay bargain (last of, on this website)

    This possibly represents a quick release of some cyclists' child's piggybank.
    At this price delivery involves a skewerity issue!
    A piece of cycling History. The Worlds first hub incorporating a quick release skewer and - Tullio Campagnolo's first product. The advert shown below appeared in Cycling in July 1935.

    At least the postage was free!

    On the Ebuygum page of this site there is a whole collection of amazingly tempting cycling accessories for the cyclist who has everything - including a very fat fat wallet.
    However this is the last I will be putting up on this site. On the whole I believe that Ebay and bike jumbles are strange bedfellows. I champion bike jumbles. Prices are almost always less, and often drastically less, than E**Y and the social aspect of jumbles is wonderful. More and more jumble purchases finish on ****. Though obviously it happens I don't wish to endorse this process. So no more additions to the >Ebuygum page<
    Thanks to Nick Hando for spotting - and for Nick, Tom and Dave Buxton for other spottings in the past.

    New page - on Aende - exotic Nottingham bike

    New page - on Wards of Bulwell - family made cycles from Bulwell, Nr.Nottingham + interesting story of one man's discovery of an old Ward's bike

    It seems rather unlikely that many spectators will ever see it again. The Sky affair has left a stain and the credibility of British Cycling (whether using capital letters or not) has plumitted. Wiggins has gone, Cavendish is declining gently, and is a very occasional visitor to the UK. Chris Froome cannot defray scepticism of economic migrancy.
    Controversy surrounding Dave Brailsford being a paymaster of a charity-supported British Cycling as well as an overly professional Sky Cycling team, with many fading continental stars, does not go away. Peters and Ellington, brilliant, pioneering and inspirational figures have passed on for reasons not explained. Potty-mouthed Aussie Shane Sutton has used his own form of inspirational with some disasterous results. After the accusations of his flogging 2000+ units of Sky team gear from an attic in Manchester, you'd have thought a low profile might have been a good agenda.