Monthly Archives: January 2009

Progress at Whitechapel

Just back from cooking breakfast at the Whitechapel Mission for people who are homeless in London. It is good to go and see old friends, some of whom I have known for over seven years now. I do believe that my skills in frying eggs have improved over that time :-)

It is also good to see the improvements that keep being made. We were there only a month ago and yet there have already been a number of improvements make to the facilities, all to provide a better service to those who come. Today there were some new frying pans, better signs for slippery floors, …

Just makes me wonder what improvements have happened at your church in the last month, last year etc.

Thrapston Hope 09

I have written about the wonders and excitement of Hope 08 in Thrapston before and the many events that took place. Well now it is all getting underway for Hope 09.

Two things in particular that I want to share now.

Firstly, on Shrove Tuesday (24th February) from 7:30pm at Thrapston Methodist Church (Market Road, opposite the car park for the catlle market) we are having one of our open Hope update and planning meetings (this time with pancakes). So come along to hear updates on what has already happened, find out what is already planned, add your own thoughts and get involved with all the things that excite you. Everyone is welcome.

Secondly, in another example of how Hope 08 has brought Christians Together a whole buch of us met last Thursday for a Chilli supper at June D's, I think there were about 12 of us, representing all the churches. Basically everyone who had been involved in the prayer week before Christmas was invited and a great time was had by all (great food – thanks June & family). Not only did we enjoy each others company and sharing our experiences of the prayer week we also got busy on what comes next. The fruits of that will be available at the meeting on Shrove Tuesday (see above), but I for one found it very very exciting.

As many people who hear me preach will testify, I can't count, especially I can't count how many points I am going to make.

So here is another one. On the first Tuesday in March and continuing on the first Tuesday of every month Aboda starts at the Nene Centre, Thrapston from 8pm to 10pm. Many more details to follow, but Aboda is a Fresh Expression of Church for people in their 20's and 30's using a contemporary and accessible style. The Nene Centre is where the town swimming pool & gym are and it is very busy at that time of night.

Finally, (I told you I could not count) there is an exciting Lent Course for Thrapston. All the Churches are fully involved. These year the theme is God's Big Picture. The five meetings are in Thrapston Baptist Church lounge at 7:30pm on each Thursday in Lent (not Maundy Thursday).

Online fundraising scandal

I refer of course to the scandal that currently I have collected more offline sponsorship for my Coast to Coast ride for Christians Against Poverty than I have online.

The offline figure is inflated by the fact I have included the payment I am making to cover all the costs (so that every pound each sponsor gives goes directly to Christians Against poverty). However, even without that amount the offline figure is still greater than the online total.

So while I offer my grateful thanks to those who have already donated generously to the online total I want to ask what has happened to the rest of you? This is especially true as I only got the paper sponsorship form on Thursday and have only taken it to two meetings so far!

If you read anything about the economy then you will realise that the work that Christians Against Poverty are doing (to help people who can't cope with their debt and to provide training for the rest of us to avoid getting into debt at all) is more important than ever.

So reach into your wallets, visit Justgiving – Dave Warnock's Fundraising Page and donate (debit cards, credit cards and paypal all accepted).

Remember that if you are a UK taxpayer then for every £10 you give Christians Against Poverty will get £11.90 with no costs taken off for the Coast to Coast ride. I you are not a UK taxpayer then the £10 will have a small transaction fee deducted by Justgiving, but it is small and Christians Against Poverty get the help they need directly into their bank account – again your donation is not being used to paay for accomodation or anything else for the Coast to Coast ride. Any donations towards new bikes should be send directly to me :-)

Urban Assault Vehicle

Tonight I got a chance to try out my new bike. See 42: A bike for the Coast to CoastGiant-yukon-fx2 which explains how I ended up with a Giant Yukon FX2. After quickly fitting lights I took it in the back of the car (one of the nice things about a Citroen C8 is that even with 5 seats in a bike just fits nicely in the back, much easier and more secure than a boot or roof carrier) when I took oldest son to Concert Band rehearsal in Northampton.

So I got to spend 3 hours blasting around Northampton (well apart from a while in Pizza Hut having some sustenance.

First impressions are that full suspension is not needed in an urban environment (well what a surprise) and that I need to fit less knobbly tyres for use on the road (again no surprise). However, there is a sense of security that comes from riding something that does not care at all about potholes with an upright riding position and wide handlebars. I guess it is the cycling equivalent of driving a SUV. Just looking at the width of the front tyre as you go along is a amazing for someone who has been riding road bikes. It makes you feel that you have more road presence.

One other thing that I liked was the way the high handlebars meant that my (very powerful) front lights go straight into most cars. So I can aim bright (2 halogen headlights from Lumicycle) lights at either wing mirror or light up their dashboard fro them. Makes me more confident that they are going to notice me.

No idea how fast or far I went (extra mount for my Garmin edge 705 should arrive tomorrow). I am confident that it is much slower than my normal urban bike – my Pearson fixie.Pearson-touche

As a comparison I was riding my fixie in Cambridge today. For that it is lovely as it is such a quick and nimble bike even when you are in no hurry and are just tootling along.

One of the many things I love about my fixie is the way it works in stealth mode. With a fixed gear and slick tyres it is almost silent, no clicks, clangs, bangs or any other mechanical noise (and that is on a bike that gets almost zero maintenance).

I have made a few changes to my fixie from this picture. First adding mudguards and a rack which make it more practical. Secondly,Pearson-touche-straight-bar I swapped the handlebars for a "courier" style.
That also meant changing to a shorter stem for comfort. I find these really comfortable as the drop was a bit low for me.

But when riding the fixie you are very aware of the quality of the road surface. It has nice wheels and 25mm high pressure tyres (largest that I can fit mudguards around) which mean you do notice terrible road surfaces a lot and need to avoid the worst bits.

A bike for the Coast to Coast

In 42: Good start when writing about my upcoming sponsored ride of the coast to coast (you can still sponsor me at :-) )

next step is going to be working out what bike I am going to ride for
the event. despite owning what some people consider an obscene number
of bikes I don't actually have a mountain bike or even a hybrid
suitable for some of the off-road sections of the route.

Needless to say I am excellent at avoiding procrastination when it comes to looking at bikes.

It did not take me long to be certain that I did not want to ride my lovely Trek Pilot, the wheels are just too nice to risk on the terrain the C2C includes. I would spend much of the ride worrying about the bike rather than enjoying the countryside.

There seemed to be three options (I was going to say sensible options but decided that was a step too far).

  1. A hardtail mountain bike. Perfectly capable of doing the whole route (maybe requiring caution on the most off road downhills – but then I am not an experienced downhiller so would be unlikely to test it's limits. Can easily fit a rack for flexibility. Cheap. However, I was able to convince myself that it does not add a great deal of versatility to our stable of bikes. So I sort of ruled it out (going for the obvious and cheapest solution seemed a bit tame :-) )
  2. The one is definitely not such an obvious choice. I looked in a lot of detail at a Yuba Mundo work bike. Mundo_red_800
    This may well seem to be odd. However, it is a bike that adds a great deal of value to our fleet. It is also very very strong with huge floaty tyres so would be more capable than a hybrid bike on the off road sections. The main disadvantage on the C2C would be it's weight and limited gearing options which would make the very steep uphill sections a real challenge.

    This would be a great bike for shopping and for carrying large loads around for work. But for those tasks and for the C2C it would need much wider gear ranges than it is supplied with. Currently you can get it singlespeed (as pictured) which is clearly no use for us. Or you can get a six speed dérailleur version, that is still too limited but it can be upgraded to 18 speed by switching to 3 chainrings and adding a front mech – however, you then lose the chainguard which is so handy for riding in normal clothes.

    I looked into buying a single speed and fitting it with hub gears (a combination of 5 speed workbike rear hub gear and a Schlumpf Mountain Drive – a 2 speed gear in the bottom bracket) but I would have lost some of the workbike strength as it normally comes with a 14mm back axle but all the hub gears would require a change down to a 10mm axle thus reducing the weight carrying ability significantly. So the best option seemed to be to add a Schlumpf Speed Drive (gears up instead of down) to the six speed dérailleur version. With a wide range cassette and carefully chosen chainring size a wide range of gears should be possible without losing strength or the chainguard. Unfortunately all the 2008 bikes are sold and the 2009 bikes are not due until March and so I was getting a little concerned about the timing.

  3. A full suspension mountain bike. Sadly a more expensive option (but then the Yuba was starting to get expensive with the cost of the Schlumpf gear). I bought a magazine and visited all the shops I could (the Specialized store in Fort Dunlop in Birmingham had some lovely ones including one discounted to only £1,200). I am very aware that cheap full suspension bikes are heavy and the suspension does not work yet wears out quickly. In the end though our local bike shop (AJ Cycles, part of Express Autoparts in Rushden) offered us a really good deal on a Giant Yukon FX2. Giant-yukon-fx2
    That deal included an upgrade to Deore brakes and while the price could have been beaten by an online retailer I wanted to support my local bike shop (who are moving to larger premises in the next month).

    Now I know that I do not need a full suspension bike for the Coast to Coast. I know I have paid more to have full suspension and for the same cost could have got an excellent hard tail. But we decided that having a full suspension bike that three of us can share would add more fun to our bike stable. While the weight (33 lbs) will not make the uphill bits of the coast to coast a delight it was not very different to the hardtail bikes I looked at (as I would have spent less on a hardtail rather than go for the equivalent money). As the coast to coast is a supported ride I won't have to carry anything other than needs for the day so the lack of rack won't be a problem.

So there you have it. We now have a gimicky full suspension bike to play with and the first ride indicates it will be a hoot (see separate post).

Which group endangers pedestrians the most…

Which group endangers pedestrians the most…

"Cyclists or drivers? If you believe the tabloid press, it’s often
the former. But the statistics tell a different tale. According to figures released this week
there have been 364,082 pedestrians injured by drivers over the last
ten years, compared with 2,623 injured by cyclists. The same data shows
that, as a pedestrian, you are 263 times more likely to be killed by a
driver than a cyclist
– this despite the fact that cyclists and
pedestrians often share the same space and much of motor vehicle
mileage is made on motorways, where pedestrians are prohibited."

From the CTC Newsnet (members only), my emphasis.

Good start

A good start, within just a few hours the first donations have come in for my sponsored cycle ride for Christians Against Poverty.

You can see progress and more importantly sponsor me at Dave Warnock’s Fundraising Page (note you can pay by credit card, debit card and paypal). Also Justgiving automatically collect gift aid for your gift (UK tax payers only) and so for every £10 you give Christians Against Poverty get £11.90 after all costs have been deducted – cool isn’t it!

The next step is going to be working out what bike I am going to ride for the event. despite owning what some people consider an obscene number of bikes I don’t actually have a mountain bike or even a hybrid suitable for some of the off-road sections of the route.

Oh well sorting that out will provide me with some enjoyable hours :-) And no I did not decide to do the coast to coast just to get another bike – I did not think about it in advance (honest).

Time to give

OK time for everyone to cough up real money.

I want your money!

On May 2nd to May 4th I will be riding the Coast to Coast Ride for Christians Against Poverty.

This is 135 tough miles in 3 days.

I am collecting sponsorship at my initial target is £500 and all that £500 is for Christians Against Poverty. I will be paying all the costs (transport, food, accommodation etc) so that every pound of sponsorship goes directly to Christians Against Poverty.

I think the work of Christians against poverty is vital and essential I want your support to help them help even more people whose lives are being destroyed by debt.

So get over to and give! Now! Move that sponsorship off zero quick with some big numbers :-)

By the way you can see what else I have written about Christians Against Poverty via a google search of 42 here.

My idea of a great evening.

A great evening is when your wife decides to prepare a special meal. Roast Lamb and roast potatoes!

And then she goes out for the son taxi service job.

Then 5 minutes before I serve the lamb, potatoes and veg a call from Mother-in-law. Turn off oven, go over, call ambulance.

5 hours later I get home because Jane has taken over at casualty. Then a couple of hours later back to the hospital for 1am with clothes and wheelchair to bring her home again. False alarm, no heart attack. One now very chirpy mother-in-law in bed eating some supper.

Well maybe it isn't quite my idea of a great evening. But wow it could have been a lot worse! Off to bed now.