Monthly Archives: December 2007

Happy New Year

Just got up from bed where I have pretty much spent the day to post a Happy New Year message.

Hopefully mine will improve in a day or two. Right now can’t talk and keep coughing which hurts.

The Times incites murder!

On December 27th Matthew Parris, a columnist in The Times incited murder: What’s smug and deserves to be decapitated?

A festive custom we could do worse than foster would be stringing piano wire across country lanes to decapitate cyclists.

Cyclists have already been badly injured by this horrific custom (see Matthew Parris wants you decapitated » Treadly and Me). A mother has written to The Times complaining about this as her son was injured in such an attack.

Personally, I think Mr Parris should be investigated by the Police, he should be fired by The Times who should print a
significant apology and retraction of these remarks and make a
significant contribution to cycle advocacy.

I have just checked The Times Terms & Conditions.

for death or personal injury caused by negligent acts or omissions, we
shall only be liable to you for any loss or damage arising from your
use of the Websites which is a reasonably foreseeable consequence of a
breach by us of these Terms and Conditions.

Clearly The Times has not attempted to reduce their liability when they incite murder or personal injury.

Besides the 130+ comments on The Times story there are lots of good posts on this subject  Matthew Parris wants you decapitated » Treadly and Me has a good selection to get you started.

Note that in the comments many cyclists defend cycling against the accusations. I don’t see the point. Even if every accusation  Matthew Parris makes against cyclists were true (I don’t think any of them are) and even if worse than that were true there is still no justification for inciting murder and injury.

Am I back?

Sort of would be the most accurate answer I suppose.

Blogging came to rather an abrupt end just before Christmas, I never even got the chance to wish everyone here a Happy Christmas! The reason was that on Sunday (22nd) evening I suddenly went down with nasty cold. Just starting to emerge from it today.

That meant that I called on help for the midnight service on Christmas Eve, fortunately Lucy as a Local Preacher in training led the service while Pam & Peter did the readings and served at communion (hopefully avoiding passing the germs onto everyone else). So I just preached and presided at communion.

I survived the Christmas Day service, sadly I doubt if it can have been the best ever. Still one of the wonderful things about the community in Raunds is their support so nobody complained and they nearly all stayed on well after the end of the service sharing the joy of Christmas together.

I think I spent most of the rest of the day asleep at Jane’s Mum’s, it seems like I emerged from bed today (Friday) to go and let the boys spend some vouchers they were given.

Only one service on Sunday and apart from that I am off work until the 2nd. Pity most of it is being spent in bed as we had big plans for all the jobs we were going to get done.

Senior Remote

What a good idea (even if well beyond my skills): HOWTO make a Senior Remote with only five big, friendly buttons – Boing Boing.

We get continual problems with my Mother-in-law as she has two remotes (cable box and TV set). Stupid issues such as two independent volume controls, two independent channel selectors etc).

As she was on a different system before she moved and as aerial coverage is poor here we can’t go for a TV with integrated freeview.


Great idea, in theory

I love the idea of one of these Bushtrekka bike trailer tents. I can see them appealing to people who would otherwise not consider cycle camping (maybe especially if sleeping on the ground does not appeal due to the nightlife – is it important to sleep off the ground in the bush?).

My main concern is that it will be a lot slower than cycle camping without a trailer.

  • 2 (or maybe 4) extra wheel tracks
  • loads of windage
  • about 15kg extra weight (before you add a flysheet to it – which with the current climate is close to essential nearly all year in the UK). Actually you will probably add a lot more weight given you have the space.

It will also be a problem in terms of train transport (maybe even car transport). On the other hand train transport for cycle touring in the UK is pretty impossible for families anyway (due to restrictions on the number of bikes on so many trains).

On the other hand with a very mixed ability family it can be helpful to balance out perceived effort. 18 months ago we had our oldest son towing a 40kg trailer (he had 2 panniers as well) so that he did not go charging off too fast and was satisfied with the distances Mum and Dad could manage (we were on a recumbent tandem trike towing a Trets trailer bike with an 8 year old who took advantage of being hidden behind the luggage to not pedal a lot).

But as a family we did realise that cutting down weight would a high priority for achieving an even better cycle camping holiday (eg I got into big trouble for taking a camera tripod). One problem we had not expected though was the rarity that we passed anywhere selling anything, we ended up diverting to buy basics such as milk, such is the lack of village shops (and garages moving to out of town locations) – so I would expect to need to carry more food than in the past (still we carried far too much anyway).

Of course the Bushtrekker is not designed for a British family in the UK. Maybe for long distance solo campers in the US or Australia it will have a lot of appeal – although that loss of speed (which boils down to less miles and more effort) would make me think long and hard. If off surfaced roads then all those wheels to drag over bumps and loose surfaces is exhausting just to think about.

Still very interesting and innovative, I would love to see one of these. For a retired couple on a recumbent tandem trike a double bed version might be great for long periods of touring – that gives over 20 years for them to perfect the design and halve the weight ready for us to use :-)

Cycling Nurses Help Thwart Hospitalisation

Surely there are places in the UK that could copy this: Cycling Nurses Help Thwart Hospitalisation. You would think that proven cost savings would be popular with UK hospital trusts.

I love that this is good in so many ways:

  • Good for the patients, they get better service at home without the stress and risks of hospital visits.
  • Good for the environment (smaller hospitals, much less driving)
  • Good for the nurses (exercise, more quality time with patients)
  • Good for all (sustainable, human scale, community building)
  • Good for the hospital (cheaper and better performance)

Extending the idea a little. There are many self employed people who work by visiting people (particularly the elderly) in their homes (hairdressers, chiropodists, cleaners). Many of these do not need to carry heavy loads or collect heavy supplies for the customer (like decorators, plumbers etc).

Calculations show that a huge number of the hours that we work are simply used to pay for the cars we drive. Therefore in a reasonably flat and densely populated area cycling between clients might well result in increased profit even with fewer clients.

Its my birthday

Fortunately 42 is not so called because of my age, or today I would have had to rename my blog.

Having a good day.

The family gave me a unicycle (with lots of protective gear) and so I have been grabbing spare moments and nipping down to the Raunds Chapel, when the chairs are cleared away it makes a great place to learn to ride a unicycle. Well except I got the WI coffee morning a bit worried, they were downstairs and could obviously hear some of the loud crashes.

My record so far is nearly all the way across the church, had to stop because I was heading for the grand piano and can’t steer yet :-)

The pads for knees & elbows plus wrist guards with gloves and helmet all work well but they do not protect ankles or balls which all seem to be quite vulnerable.

Going hoarse

Well I am not (fortunately) but all the leaders at 2nd Raunds Scout Group were this evening. I got off lightly by just going to the last half hour of the Scout Group Christmas party. With something like 110 kids for 3 hours it was pretty loud and there will be many leaders with no voice tomorrow.

I had to judge competition entries between 6 teams who had created 3D Angels from newspaper and then enjoy a gentle (not) rendition of the 12 days of Christmas.

Hopefully our multi-purpose sanctuary will look a bit different for the Communion Service in the morning if sadly somewhat quieter and less enthusiastic.