Wednesday 31 August 2022

Need for speed

20 is plenty

I was awoken from an afternoon kip on bank holiday Monday by the sound of a motorbike being ridden at speed not far from my house. I often hear car drivers doing the same. It got me thinking about a post a made from 2020 called 20 is plenty. I use the same picture as I did back then, because nothing much has changed. 

Most drivers admit to speeding, the media don't take it seriously. Car and motorbike ads still push speed and performance. Reviewers encourage driving aggressively, especially on country lanes. These are statistically the most dangerous roads, especially for vulnerable users. Until attitudes change so that it is seen in the same way as drink driving; our roads will continue to kill almost 1800 people every year, that's around five a day. 

There is technology to stop speeding. But the new laws mandating limiters allow an override; why? 

I occasionally watch those fly on the wall police programs, they usually include a high speed persuit. Always deemed dangerous; they would be very much safer, or not happen if the driver couldn't exceed the speed limit.

My local councillors and MP's are a mix of it's not my responsibilty and not interested. 

There are other measures that can be taken to make our neighborhoods safer: altering side roads to prevent them being used to avoid main roads, (rat running). Stop pavement parking. Setup school streets to encourage alternatives to the car school run. Organise groups of children into cycle buses. Play streets. Safe, secure storage for bikes. Unfortunately these will need those who can implement them to have more determination, and not be persuaded by a vocal minority. London boroughs have installed some of these schemes, and councillors have been re-elected, saying they will keep them and install more. So residence want them.

Police forces need to be more consistant in their treatment of bad driving reports, and be better funded.

Courts have to acknowledge the part they play. Harsher sentences and stop accepting undue hardship defences. 

Figures from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) show that neary 9,000 drivers still hold a licence despite exceeding the 12-point threshold.

Britain’s worst offender to still be legally permitted to drive has 68 points but a further six have more than 50 points and 39 have between 30 and 50 points.

Tuesday 16 August 2022

I said I wouldn't but I did

time trial bicycle

A couple of weeks ago I did my first time trial. Finding time for it in on a Tuesday evening isn't easy. So I was happy to put my racing career on hold.


And this will please Russell, the Oxted CC chairman; I may be hooked. By the Thursday I was eager to do it again, and couldn't wait eight or nine months. So I booked an afternoon off work. And started looking for a time trial specific bike, I couldn't help myself. I didn't buy one though. Not sure I could justify such a focused bike.

I arrived a little earlier, and did a longer warm up ride. I covered a greater distance, varying the intensity. 

It seems to have worked; my time improved. Taking into account that I had to slow down to pass some horses on the fastest part of the course, and come to a complete stop at a junction while three cars passed. I am very pleased being seventeen second quicker at 28:42.

It felt less windy too, which helped. I wasn't at my max heart rate for anything like so long.

heart rate

I tried to adopt a lower riding position, and really push hard away from junctions. 

There is only one more chance this year, I'm not sure I can get to it. Watch this space.

Wednesday 3 August 2022

Against the clock

TT against the clock
My plan was to sample competition this year, TT's to be precise. I didn't fancy the cut and thrust of group racing or track events. Hill climbs are another discipline, but they don't run until the end of summer going into autumn.

The course I choose for my debut was 10 miles, with a target time of 30 minutes. I have often ridden the roads so I had an idea what it would be like. Pacing was the main unknown. Going too fast at the start could mean I'd be exhausted quickly. But not pushing enough would also produce a slow time. 

There is more I could do to the bike and what I wear; but that's for another day. And will depend on how seriously I take it. This time I just wanted to see what's involved. The season will finish before I can attend my second event.

Arriving early to sign in and do a warm-up ride helped control the nerves.  Russell, Oxted CC chairman, was also competing. He does a lot of these and took me through the prep. A ride around the course to stretch the legs and open the lungs. It gave me a chance to checkout the lanes, paying attention to the junctions. I didn't do too bad, posting a time of 28:59. 

How do I improve it? 

I was at my max heart rate for nearly 90% of the time.

heart rate

So I can't increase that very much.

There are eight junctions; I could attack them harder. And accelerate out faster. 

The human body causes most of the drag so a lower profile position is more aerodynamic. A bike designed for speed would also be an advantage. 

Stronger legs would get me up to speed faster, and allow a higher gear. As would a lighter bike.

It seems like I'm talking myself into buying another bike doesn't it? That will have to wait for quite some time, unless a premium bond number comes up.

For now I will work on free improvements: strength, position and technique.