In the mid-noughties I spent a year living and working in a german town just north of Nuremberg. Even for Germany it’s quite a special place from the point of view of cycling and at that time had a modal share of 33%, meaning a third of all journeys in the town were being made by bike. One of the first things to strike me, other than the bikes when I strayed onto the cycle path, was the sight of men riding bikes with baskets. Years of social conditioning caused my cultural compass to spin everytime I saw a basket not paired with the fairer sex. What was it all about?
Although I say so myself I’m pretty good at assessing the risks. The reason I’m pretty good at it is because I’ve got a lot of data to work with. Over the years, and I’m getting on a bit now, I’ve developed a fairly good idea of how likely it is to happen, which injuries I’m likely to sustain, and how bad they’re likely to be. And yes, I can confirm that alcohol increases the risk considerably.
To date, statistically, the chance of something really quite nasty happening to me is highest when in the shower. I take precautions but I still do it. Obviously wearing a helmet isn’t one of them.
Getting a kettle installed in the Palace of Westminster is a big ask of either the antiquated wiring, the modern procedures, or both. Whatever the reason, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson now appears to be in the home straight when it comes to getting a cup of tea into the office without running the risk of spilling it. Winner of 11 paralympic gold medals in successive games, Dame Tanni was appointed as a crossbench ‘People’s Peer’ in March last year.
We’re both early for the APPCG meeting entitled ‘Disablity cycling – how to increase participation’; Tanni’s the speaker. Resting on the green leather bench outside room five I’m glad of the chat, calming my nerves after having barged in on the Coastguard ten minutes earlier.
Westminster Palace is so popular with visitors this afternoon some of the attendees are stuck in a long queue for the security check. Luckily I’d been fast tracked and given a guide to pilot me round the circuitous step free route to the committee corridor – shortcuts for which Tanni, over several months, has now got memorised. Anyway, the rooms are in constant use so Co-Chair Julian Huppert, MP for cycle friendly Cambridge, makes a start and introduces the Baroness.
Derek and I went to watch the British Human Power Club racing at Shrewsbury Sports Village yesterday. There were many interesting machines on the track including this pedal and hand cranked trike. It’s a homemade design which presumably requires quite a lot of lung power if all limbs are functioning!
We also saw Tim who joined the google group recently. He’s currently looking into crank shortening options for his Trice QNT to better match the differences in his legs. My Brompton has a variation of this called a swinging crank which I bought from Highpath Engineering about 4 or 5 years ago and is still working well. They do a number of crank and pedal adaptations as well as machining chainrings.
We spotted a Mike Burrows’ Windcheetah with a Schlumph Speedrive fitted too. There are a number of Schlumpf drives available to increase gear range for different situations and I’ve often toyed with the idea of tidying up my triple chainring on the Brompton with one. However, the mechanism to change gear relies on tapping buttons with both ankles meaning I can only change up or down – not both. The owner of the Windcheetah said the designer, Florian Schlumph, is very helpful so I’m about to write to him and see if he has a solution for the uniped 😮