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Dealing with drivers

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Better routes to work

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Cycle training for traffic

Issue #10 ÂŁ1.95 where sold

Spring/Summer 2013

Success Storey

Paralympian Sarah Storey: inspiring more cycling

Economic cycles Save up to 42% on a new bike & kit

Pssst! Flat tyre tactics How to deal with a puncture

51 FEA TUR ING

TOP CYC LIN G PR OD UC TS

n n n

Bikes n Helmets Luggage n Locks & much more!


SMOOTH EFFICIENCY THE GIANT SEEK HAS THE GO-ANYWHERE ATTITUDE OF A MOUNTAIN BIKE AND THE MANNERS OF AN URBAN ROAD BIKE. Featuring a lightweight, tough ALUXX alloy frameset, Seek is a fast and stylish city bike that combines the stable positioning of a mountain bike with powerful disc brakes. Seek keeps you rolling through thick and thin. Learn more at giant-bicycles.co.uk


U T. ALL ABO

Contents

..

Welcome to Cyclescheme

5

How the Cycle to Work scheme will save you money

6

How Cyclescheme works, who’s eligible to take part, and how you go about getting the bike

Issue #10 Spring/Summer 2013

Why getting a bike through your employer makes a whole lot of sense

22

F E AT U R E S

How to: communication

16

Flat tyre tactics

21 

Training for traffic

38 

How to signal your intentions to other road users

Pssst! Deal with a puncture in under 10 minutes

Cycle training can turn novices into capable cycle commuters

Route masters

How to plan the quickest or most pleasant route to work

The Cyclescheme 7: Claire Hooper Travelling to work by folding bike and train

54

BIKE ROUND-UPS

56

The Paralympic champion talks about encouraging cycling

Road bikes

22 

Folding bikes

30

Flat-bar road bikes

42 

Trekking bikes

50

Fast, light and fun, road bikes suit sporty summer rides – and the kind of commute that's a Lycra-clad workout

Sometimes called fitness bikes or city bikes, these tarmac-only hybrids offer a sporty ride without the racer's drop handlebar Practical hybrids with a good range of gears suit leisurely pedalling on city streets and country lanes alike

TOP PRODUCTS & ESSENTIAL KIT

Stuff

12

Helmets

27

Locks

35

Luggage

47

The best gear for your commute and beyond

62

Go online to get more from Cyclescheme

Wearing a lid can limit bumps and scrapes Every commuter needs a good bike lock

Cyclescheme is part of the Grass Roots Group Published for Cyclescheme by Farrelly Atkinson www.f-at.co.uk Prices correct at time of going to press. E&OE. All content © Cyclescheme 2013

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42 If you want a bike for train journeys or just don't have room to store a full-size machine, you need a folder

My life on bikes: Dame Sarah Storey 59

My Cyclescheme

30

Bags to carry on your bike rather than your back

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

3


Perfect to cruise the urban jungle TAKE THEM FOR A RIDE IN THE CITY

Scan Download

Scan this page with the free layar app and enter the CUBE world! Live the new mobility in the city with our new urban Urban Life Series. Clean, understated looks and low-maintenance components support the no-nonsense philosophy. Lightweight frames with rigid forks let you accelerate effortlessly- cruising through the city was never easier. Traffic jams no longer slow you down, and when you arrive there’s no time wasted looking for a parking space. Just ride straight to the door.

For more information on CUBE and our bikes please visit: www.cube.eu | info@cube-bikes.co.uk www.twitter.com/cubebikesuk Stay updated about all CUBE news via : www.facebook.com/cubebikesuk


Welcome

About

Cyclescheme... Cyclescheme is the UK’s leading provider of tax-free bikes for the Government’s Cycle to Work initiative We offer big savings on the best bikes and safety equipment. Dealing with Cyclescheme’s network of over 1,900 local bike shops also gives you the best experience, with the expert personal service, convenience and choice that larger multiple retailers just can’t match.

T

he Cycle to Work Initiative is a salary sacrifice scheme that gives you the chance to save on the cost of a new bike, as well as security and safety equipment to go with it. The way salary sacrifice schemes work is that you give up part of your salary and receive an equivalent benefit that is exempt from Income Tax and National Insurance. What does this mean in practice? Well, technically it’s your employer who buys the bike. You hire the bike and equipment from your employer, and you pay back the cost of the bike from your gross salary. You save on Tax and NI payments, lowering your payments over the hire period. Cyclescheme has partnered with over 1,900 independent bike shops throughout the UK giving you access to a massive amount of choice and expert advice on equipment selection. To locate your local store, go to www.cyclescheme.co.uk/partners and use the postcode store locator. You are not limited to any brand

of bike or equipment and so you can choose the best for quality and value for money. This results in the best package of bike and safety equipment for you. Cyclescheme runs schemes with the BBC, Google, and Rolls-Royce, as well as scores of police forces, councils, universities, blue chip companies, and many government departments. Hire Agreements are written entirely in accordance with government guidelines and this service is free to employers, including an online tool to generate promotional literature.

Who’s it for? Want to take part? Great! If you’ve received this mag from your employer then they’re probably already running a scheme, so things should be straightforward. There are some limits as to who can take advantage of the tax breaks, though. The most important ones are:

• • • •

You need to be a UK taxpayer via the PAYE system You need to be 18 years of age or over to comply with Consumer Credit Act legislation 16 to 18 year olds may be eligible for Cyclescheme enrollment with the aid of a guarantor If your earnings are equivalent to the national minimum wage, you may be able to benefit from a discount as part of a net arrangement with your employer www.cyclescheme.co.uk

5


Spring/Summer 2013

How the Cycle to Work scheme will

save you money!

Why getting a bike through your employer makes a whole lot of sense…

G

et a bike and safety equipment through Cyclescheme as part of the government’s Cycle to Work initiative and you’ll save yourself a whole lot

of money. The savings are made because you’ll initially hire the bike from your employer, and your hire charges are made via a salary sacrifice scheme. Your gross salary is reduced to take care of your payments before any Income Tax or National Insurance (NI) has been deducted, so you pay less tax and NI. Overall you save about a third of the cost. Plus, at the end of the hire period, most employers are able to offer you ownership of the bike at a fraction of its original cost.

Here’s how it works… Once your employer has set up a programme with Cyclescheme, you choose a bike and any safety equipment from one of more than 1,900 independent bicycle dealers throughout the UK (go to www.cyclescheme.co.uk/partners to find your nearest Cyclescheme Partner Stores). Then your payments cover the hire of the bike and equipment from your employer, usually for 12 months. What happens next? Simple. Read on… 6

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Maximising your savings! Do you want to keep the bike that you have? NO Send the bike back to Cyclescheme

YES

Do you want to pay as little as possible?

YES

NO You pay 18% or 25% of certificate value* to take ownership of the bike


Saving money through Cyclescheme What happens next? The Government has published the table below to calculate the market value of bicycles and safety equipment at the end of the hire period: Age of bike

Acceptable disposal value % (inc VAT) Original value under £500 Original value £500 or over 18% 16% 13% 8% 3%

12 months 18 months 2 years 3 years 4 years

25% 21% 17% 12% 7%

Cyclescheme’s market leading End of Hire process ensures attractive savings for all participants. By following Cyclescheme’s recommended option (entering into an Extended Use Agreement at the end of the hire period, see flow chart below) your savings are protected.

Example savings? We’ve put together the tables below to show you an example of the savings available for a basic rate tax payer, using both a £500 and £1,000 example package. £500 example package Original value NI saving Tax saving EUA deposit Total saving

£500 £60 £100 £15 £145

£1,000 example package Original value NI saving Tax saving EUA deposit Total saving

£1,000 £120 £200 £70 £250

What happens if I move jobs? If Cyclescheme are notified of a change to your employment status during the initial hire period, we will contact you with the End of Hire options. During the extended use period, if you change jobs the agreement is still valid as it’s an agreement with Cyclescheme, not with your employer.

Can I start a new scheme during the extended use period? Yes. The Extended Use Agreement is entirely separate to the Hire Agreement, so you’re free to participate in future Cycle to Work schemes with your employer while you’re still in an Extended Use Agreement with Cyclescheme.

Here’s how to get the best possible saving at the end of the hire period... You pay a small refundable deposit** and sign an Extended Use Agreement with zero payments

YES

The agreement YES ends after 36 months, when Cyclescheme may offer you ownership of the bike

* Current HMRC advice for bike values (inc VAT) after 12 months: 18% for bikes under £500, 25% for bikes over £500 **3% for bikes under £500, 7% for bikes over £500 (inc VAT)

Do you still want to keep the bike?

YES

NO Send the bike back to Cyclescheme, the deposit will be refunded

Cyclescheme retain your deposit and confirm you as the owner of the bike. Enjoy using your bike!

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013

News Accessories only on C2W

C

hanges to Cycle to Work regulations by HMRC mean that you can now get accessories only on your Cyclescheme agreement; you don't have to get them as part of a package with a new bike. The new rules came into force on 1 March 2013. So if you got a bike last year, you can set up a new agreement this year to purchase safety equipment for it.

'Safety equipment' is a fairly broad definition, including not just helmets but also lights, locks, mudguards, bags, multitools, reflective clothing, puncture kits, and much more. Even child seats are permitted, although trailers and tagalongs are not. As with the bike hire agreement, you're ordinarily limited to a maximum spend of £1,000 – with a minimum of £100.

£84.9

Abus Gran 9 X-Plus 230 it 54

£6

Lez 9. Driv yne M99 e (p icro air)

RRP

£152.46

Basic rate taxpayer

Higher rate taxpayer

£14.17

£12.08

1 End of Hire payments

£7.50

£7.50

Percentage saving

29%

39%

Total saving

£72.43

£97.51

12 monthly hire payments

tin At Agu rum Pla Quo

8

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Cyclescheme Price

£177.54

£249.97

.99 Bag 0 £94 tache um 66

The rules for safety equipment are the same as for bikes: you pay through salary sacrifice, making savings on income tax and National Insurance, and then purchase it at the end of the hire agreement for a Market Value payment. That's a little as 3% for bikes or equipment costing less than £500, if you take advantage of Cyclescheme's Extended Use Agreement. The new ruling means that commuting cyclists can benefit each year from Cycle to Work savings (normally about a third of the cost price). Previously, participants tended to take out just one agreement, as most didn't need a new bike each year; only one in five of Cyclescheme participants signed up to repeat agreements. 'Offering participants the chance to obtain safety equipment only allows the other 80% to re-enter the scheme to obtain all the essential kit they need for their commute, or that they perhaps missed off on their original application,' said Cyclescheme director Daniel Gillborn. 'Giving participants the tools to be able to cycle more frequently and confidently is an important message and one that safety equipment only packages will help reinforce. In turn, this will help to ensure participants have a safe, comfortable, and enjoyable commute.'


News

Better commuting with

British Cycling

W

hether you are a seasoned commuter or are just starting out, check out the Insight Zone on the British Cycling website for useful advice on bike set-up, guidance on how to use your commute for training, and tips to improve your riding. Visit: britishcycling.org.uk/insightzone. British Cycling members have full access to the Insight Zone. Become a member today and get 12 months membership for the price of nine (normally £28), and enjoy: l Up to £10m third party liability insurance – peace of mind insurance to keep you covered every time you ride your bike l F  ree legal support and advice

l

l

l

– access to our expert team who can help you in the event of an incident An exclusive weekly members' email – packed with offers, news and top tips from the British Cycling experts Discounts on cycling gear – from Wiggle, Evans Cycles and Halfords And lots more too!

Join British Cycling today at britishcycling.org.uk/membership, quoting the Cyclescheme Promotional Code ‘CS13’.

BikeMiles®: miles more rewarding More than 2,000 Cyclescheme participants now record their Bike Miles® to and from work, logging their journey using a smartphone app and the MyCyclescheme online hub. As well as showing you how far you've ridden, how many calories you've burned, and how much money you've saved compared to driving, BikeMiles® earn rewards similar to air miles. The more miles you log, the more discounts and vouchers you'll get. Here are just a few examples: if you log 25+ miles in one week, you'll get 15% off any Howies product; log 40 miles and you'll get 20% off all Raleigh products; and if you log 100 miles, you get 10% all cycle clothing from Cycle Surgery. Two Cyclescheme participants did better yet: the man and woman who logged the most miles in January each won a Merida Crossway 100-D bike in the BikeMiles® 'January Journey' competition. This was run in conjunction with Merida Bikes and Primera Sports, with the aim of motivating Cyclescheme participants to ride through the worst of the winter – as well as promoting the BikeMiles® scheme, which launched at the end of 2012. The winners were Mark Davison from Surrey and Fiona Invest from London. So far more than 300,000 miles have been logged on BikeMiles®. For details, or to sign up, see www.cyclescheme.co.uk/bikemiles www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013

Bike Bath returns

M

ore than 1,200 riders are expected for the second Bike Bath event, which takes place on the weekend of 22-23 June. There's a choice of sportive rides on both days: 100 miles, 60 miles, and a newly introduced 20-mile ride, sponsored by Cyclescheme and aimed at commuters, novice riders, and youngsters. Those wanting to ride both days can sign up for The Gladiator (100 miles on Saturday and Sunday), The Double (2x60 miles) or The Commuter Double (2x20 miles). All rides set off from Bath Recreation Ground, and the Saturday rides will all pass through the newly opened Two Tunnels, the longest cyclepath tunnel in Britain. Along the route you'll find clear signage and feed stations, with first aid and mechanical support

on hand. Michelin starred chef Rob Clayton will prepare the post-ride meal. Event entry costs from ÂŁ17 per ride on the day, with discounts for online entry and two free places offered for entry by a team of ten. Registration will open from 7.30am each day. Saturday evening will see road.cc's Celebration of Cycling event, where you can hear bike and training tips, plus a talk from cycling psychologist Dr Ian Walker, from Bath University. The team from Cyclescheme will be organising an 'introduction to electric bikes', giving Bike Bath visitors a chance to hear more about the technology and test ride a range of electric bikes in the safe confines of the Bath Recreation Ground. For more information, or to enter, visit www.bikebath.co.uk.


Spring/Summer 2013

STUFF Bringing you the very best cycling gear for your daily commute and beyond

Abus Dryve Messenger Bag £99.99 Crank Brothers Speedier Lever £5.99

Just the right size for a laptop, plus tools, sandwiches and spare clothes, this 16-litre shoulder bag is well padded, well organised with pockets, and – crucially – completely waterproof. www.zyro.co.uk

A lever that removes and refits tyres without risking the skin of your knuckles or the possibility of pinching the innertube. Well worth considering for road bike tyres. www.2pure.co.uk

Lezyne Power Drive XL £84.99 Lezyne's little LED headlight emits an impressive 400 lumens on high power. That's ample to see by on unlit lanes. Run time is up to 5.5 hours, and you can recharge it at your desk via USB. www.upgradebikes.co.uk

SKS Raceblade Long £44.99 Give your racer proper spray protection with these full-length mudguards, which are designed for bikes with 23mm tyres, short-reach brakes and no frame eyelets. They're quick release too. www.sks-germany.com 12

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Stuff

DZR Jetlag Women's SPD Shoes £79.99 The Jetlag is just one model in DZR's range of urban riding shoes. They look and feel like trainers off the bike, even when you fit a recessed cleat for efficient, clip-in pedalling. www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk

Trakke U-Lock Holster £12 This fabric strap attaches to your belt, so you can carry a U-lock accessibly on your hip instead of burying it at the bottom of a bag, saving you time whenever you park. The D-ring is for keys. www.trakke.co.uk

Green Oil Chain Lube £5.99 Look after your bike and the environment at the same time with this biodegradable chain oil. The 100ml bottle contains no petrochemicals, PTFE or Teflon. www.green-oil.net

Endura Photon Jacket £69.99 Despite being waterproof, the Photon is a very lightweight jacket that you can easily stash in a pannier or jersey pocket. It has a rear pocket and reflective trim, and it comes in a range of colours. www.endura.co.uk

Schwalbe Marathon Plus Tyre £33.99 Punctures? What are they? These heavyweight commuting tyres will almost always shrug off glass, flints, thorns, and more thanks to their thick layer of springy rubber. Available in all common sizes. www.schwalbe.co.uk

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013

How to

Communi When drivers know exactly what you're doing, and vice-versa, cycling in traffic becomes easier and safer

M

irror, signal, manoeuvre is the drill that's taught to drivers. It's different on a bicycle, which lacks a car's presence, but the underlying message is the same: you need to be aware of what's going on around you and to broadcast your own intentions unambiguously. It's not a war, it's negotiation. Sometimes careless people – on four wheels, two wheels or on foot – will do something foolish. By and large, 'traffic' is a collection of reasonable people just trying to get where they're going. If you act like traffic, politely and assertively, you'll be treated like traffic.

Road position This is the most important thing you can do. Do not ride in the gutter. Ride a metre out from the edge, so you're in the traffic stream. This tells drivers that it's your road too and that they will have to overtake properly to pass you instead of squeezing by. Where necessary, take the lane instead: ride down the centre of your lane. This tells drivers that it is not safe to pass. While this may frustrate drivers who don't understand why you're doing it, you'll still communicate the 'stay back' message.

Looking around Don't change your position on the road without checking behind you. It's possible to glance back while keeping both hands on the handlebar. It helps to look down and back rather than try to twist around, as you're less likely to veer out. For a proper look, take your right hand off the handlebar so you can twist your upper body around. Looking over your shoulder like this is a signal to drivers that you're about to do something.

Indicating You're not asking permission by indicating but 16

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Commuter Skills

cation telling other road users what you're about to do. Signal boldly, arm horizontal. If there is following traffic, stare at the driver nearest to you. Has the driver seen you? Is he or she reacting? When you get a reaction, or you have enough space to get a reaction in good time, begin your manoeuvre.

Understanding drivers Indicators are obvious clues but don't depend on them. Where is the driver looking? If the driver hasn't looked directly at you, assume you haven't been seen. What is the car doing? If it's slowing to give you space and you've eyeballed the driver, start to take that space. Drivers often yield priority by

flashing their headlights. It means 'after you'. Some will wave or point, which can be confusing. Only go when you're sure it's safe to do so.

Courtesy and control If a driver has patiently waited behind you or has yielded or acknowledged the right of way, there's no harm indicating your thanks. A nod and smile, a brief wave, a thumb's up sign – any of these things let the driver know that you're grateful. Be wary of encouraging drivers to pass you by waving them on; if they can't see past you, they ought not to overtake. On the other hand, if you've seen an oncoming car and the driver behind hasn't, don't hesitate to hold your arm out, palm towards them like a policeman: 'stop!'

Listen carefully Avoid using an MP3 player on the road. In normal circumstances, you'll often hear a vehicle before you see it. Engine noises can tell you whether a driver behind is slowing down or about to overtake. (Note that you are almost silent and that many pedestrians will start to cross a road based solely on what their ears tell them…)

Make yourself heard Bicycle bells are useful to alert pedestrians but can't be heard inside vehicles. Some electronic or highpressure pneumatic horns, such as the Hornit db140 and the Air Zound,

are plenty loud enough. Remember that they're for alerting others and not venting frustration, and that using a bell or horn can delay evasive action. In an emergency it's often better to shout – a simple 'No!' or 'Look out!' can freeze someone in place. A polite greeting or spoken warning, such as 'good morning' or 'cyclist behind', alerts pedestrians and horse riders in other circumstances.

See and be seen A bicycle mirror is a useful addition if you have hearing problems or struggle to look over your shoulder. They're pretty useful anyway to keep an eye on following traffic. It's still preferable to look over your shoulder as well if you can, as this will give you a better field of view and will cue drivers that you're about to act. Electronic indicators for bicycles are pointless unless you're unable to make hand signals. Hi-viz highlights on jackets and gloves, however, can emphasise your arm signals at night. www.cyclescheme.co.uk

17


Š SCOTT SPORTS SA 2012 | PHOTO: FRED LEISER / DANIEL GEIGER

SCOTT SUB 20

I N N O VA T I O N TECHNOLOGY DESIGN

SCOTT SUB 10

The SUB 10 is designed for commuting, trips to the shops, and just getting around town. Frame and fork eyelets make it easy to mount the Urban-Kit rack and fender system, so you can transport your bags with ease and stay dry doing it.


10 Flat tyre tactics 10 Minute Maintenance

minute maintenance

Pssst! Dealing with a puncture is easier than you think, so long as you pack a spare innertube, a pump and two tyre levers If you get a puncture on the way to work, it's quicker to replace the innertube than to fix the hole. You can do the repair later – at home. These instructions assume your bike has derailleur gearing. If it doesn't, practise removing and refitting the rear wheel or see the Prevention, not cure box.

1

Preparation

To get even a semiinflated tyre past a rim brake's pads, you may need to undo the brake. Sidepull brakes have a lever on the calliper to open it out. With V-brakes, the J-shaped 'noodle' unhooks from the yoke. With cantilever brakes, the cable unhooks from one brake arm. Disc brakes can be left alone. For a back wheel puncture, click up the gears until the chain is on the smallest rear sprocket, turning the cranks by hand. Then turn the bike upside down.

2

Remove wheel

Front wheel: Note which side the quick-release lever is on. Undo it. You'll need to partly unscrew the knurled nut on the opposite side as the fork has 'lips' to stop the wheel falling out accidentally. Rear wheel: Undo the lever. Pull the derailleur back out of the way and lift the wheel up and out.

3

Remove innertube

Insert one tyre lever under the edge of the tyre (the bead) and lever it off the rim. Hold or secure this lever while you insert the second lever 10-15cm away on the same side. Lever up the tyre, then run the second lever around the rim, lifting the tyre bead completely away on one side. Remove the innertube's valve cap and locking ring, if any, then pull out the tube.

4

Locate puncture

Unless the source of the puncture is obvious, inflate the innertube. Feed it past your ear, listening for escaping air. Hold the innertube against the wheel, matching valve with valve hole. If you didn't flip the innertube, the hole you've found will line up with what caused it. If you don't find anything, run your fingers carefully around the inside the whole of the tyre. Remove any sharp object(s).

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

19


Spring/Summer 2013

5

Fit new tube, refit tyre Pump a little air into the new tube to give it some shape. Fit the valve in the rim, then feed the rest of the tube into the tyre. Now tuck the tyre bead back into the rim. Starting opposite the valve, work both hands around the tyre in different directions, tucking the bead in with your thumbs as you go. Most of the tyre will soon be fitted, with a tight line running from 'ten to two'.

6

Fit last section of tyre

8

Refit wheel

Front wheel: Make sure the quick-release lever is open and the wheel is the same way around as before. Fit the axle into the dropouts – and, if need be, the disc rotor into its calliper. Push down to seat the wheel. Tighten the axle's knurled nut so that the lever starts to snug tight when it's half closed. Closing it fully should require firm pressure. Rear wheel: Pull the derailleur back, align the smallest sprocket with the 'top' run of chain (i.e. nearest the ground, with the bike upside down) and guide the axle into the dropouts. Press it home, then do up the quickrelease securely. Put the bike the right way up, reconnect the brake you undid, then rotate the cranks by hand to check the chain is running as it should. Done.

PREVENTION,

NOT CURE Avoid using levers, which may pinch the innertube. First let the air out of the innertube. Then, while one hand holds the tight section, work the other around the fitted section, pressing the sides together and forcing the tyre down into the central well of the rim. This will win you some slack so you can push more of the tight section over the rim. Repeat as necessary. Eventually you'll be able to lever it on with your thumbs or roll it into place with your hands.

7

Inflate tyre

Press the valve up into the valve hole to check the innertube is not trapped under the tyre bead. Pump the tyre up a little to give it some shape. Spin the wheel to ensure the tyre is mounted evenly. If not, you'll need need to push and pull the tyre from side to side until it fits neatly. Sometimes the tyre pops into place in the rim only when it's fully inflated. Do that next.

20

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Firmer tyres Firmer tyres puncture less often. Keep your bike's inflated to the pressure that's stamped on the sidewalls using a floor pump (track pump). Thorny issue A thorn that's stuck in the tyre usually plugs the hole, so air seeps out slowly. If it's practical, leave it in, top up the tyre with air, and continue. Tyre sealant Puncture sealants like Slime coat innertubes with a liquid that plugs and hardens to fix smaller holes. Some air escapes, so it's worth carrying a pump. Puncture resistant tyres The toughest tyres are called 'something' Plus, such as Schwalbe Marathon Plus or Contintental Touring Plus. They're harder to fit but but are near impregnable. Solid tyres Avoid. Solid tyres are slow and uncomfortable, and make your bike handle poorly. Get puncture resistant tyres instead.


Spring/Summer 2013

Merida Ride Lite 88 ÂŁ499.99

In detail

Merida's entry-level road bike is more recreational than race, so it has a taller head tube and a somewhat relaxed riding position. It's impressive for a ÂŁ500 bike in having a carbon-bladed fork. The SunRace R80 8-speed groupset is, by SunRace's own admission, 'value oriented', and it's a rare sight compared to Shimano, Sram or Campagnolo. But it works fine for day-to-day commuting, and it's compatible with Shimano cassettes. The existing cassette goes to 25, so bottom gear isn't as low as it might be. On the plus side, the sidepull brakes have room underneath them for full mudguards. www.merida-bikes.com

22

The fork has carbon-fibre composite blades, which is unusual and welcome on a bike costing a penny less than ÂŁ500

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

SunRace gearing is more functional than fancy, but that's not a bad thing if the bike will be used for the daily grind


Round-up

ROUND-

UP

R AT ED R I D ES

Road bikes Fast, light and fun, road bikes suit sporty summer rides – and the kind of commute that's a Lycra-clad workout

R

oad bikes put the sport into transport. They're fast for several reasons. The riding position is stretched out and athletic for aerodynamic efficiency and to enable you to apply power to the pedals most effectively. Narrow, high-pressure tyres glide over good roads with minimal drag. Bike weight is low, so they're easy to accelerate. And the gears are higher, so you'll be more likely to attack climbs. Most road bikes with a three-figure price tag have an aluminium frame, as this builds into a light bike at an economical cost. A few have steel frames, trading a slightly higher weight for a subtly different look and feel. The fork might be steel or aluminium, or part aluminium and part carbon fibre; the latter is most common as you pay more, as it saves weight and may damp vibration slightly. Road bike frames and forks are seldom designed for mudguards. Even if they have the fittings, and many don't, there's scant room to fit a mudguard safely underneath a short-reach brake calliper. A few road bikes have deeper drop (57mm reach) brakes that will accommodate mudguards. The other option, for close-clearance road bikes, is to use specialist road bike mudguards such as the SKS Raceblade Long (see page 12). Road bikes are rarely designed to carry any load except the rider. You might use a handlebar bag, a beam rack, or a very large saddlebag. Most riders will use a backpack or courier bag for their commuting gear and change of clothes. Almost all modern road bikes have integrated brake and gear levers. Brakes work in the normal way. Gears work by swiping the brake lever sideways, by swiping a paddle behind the brake lever, or by pressing buttonlever on the brake hood. Shimano, Campagnolo, and Sram all have their fans but they're variations on the same theme. The main issue is that they're not ordinarily cross-compatible – although Sram and Shimano cassettes are. Having brakes and gears easily accessible from the brake hoods is handy in traffic and not just in a race. If you're not a racer yourself, you might run out of gears on climbs. Look for a cassette with a big bottom sprocket – 28, 30 or even 32 – if you have a hilly commute. Or consider a bike with a triple chainset instead of a double. Road bike wheels are lighter than others, with narrower rims suitable for tyres from 23-28mm. Some road wheels have fewer spokes to reduce weight and aerodynamic drag. If you're not light yourself, you might find yourself breaking spokes. Heavier riders are better served by 32-spoke wheels. Road bikes don't often come with clipless pedals, but they're worth adding. Double-side mountain bike pedals that work with recessed cleats are more convenient for commuting, as they're easier to engage at junctions and are easier to walk in.

Trek 1.2 £700 A carbon-bladed fork and a decent aluminium frame are what you'd expect at £700. It's available in lots of sizes, so you should be able to find one that fits comfortably. Like the Merida, the head tube is taller to sit you up more and put less strain on your back and neck. There are fittings for mudguards but the brakes are short-drop, so clearance is tight unless you use something like SKS Raceblades. Gearing is 9-speed Shimano Sora with a compact double and a cassette that goes to 28. It's also available with a triple chainset for the same price. www.trekbikes.com

Felt Z85 £925 Described as a sportive bike, the Felt Z85 is designed for longer distance comfort and not just efficiency – hence the higher front end. The aluminium frame has a carbon-bladed fork with a tapered steerer, which should provide bigger riders with a more robust steering feel. Gearing is 10-speed Shimano 105, which is as nice as any work bike needs. A 12-30 cassette is a bonus, giving a wider range of gears, not just more steps. Short reach brakes require specialist mudguards. The own-brand tyres have a puncture resistant layer, and the 25mm width suits UK tarmac better than 23mm. www.saddleback.co.uk

JARGON BUSTER 8-speed, 9-speed… Bikes are described as 8-, 9- or 10-speed based on the number of sprockets on the cassette. More 'speeds' cram more cogs into the same space, which means less space between each and a thinner chain too. Most bikes will have two or three chainrings. A 9-speed bike with a compact double chainset actually has 18 gears, and will be more expensive than an 8-speed bike with a triple chainset (24 gears).

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013

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This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period.

RRP

Cyclescheme Price

£498.71

£432.23

Basic rate taxpayer

Higher rate taxpayer

12 monthly hire payments

£37.68

£32.14

1 End of Hire payments

£46.55

£46.55

25%

35%

£166.25

£232.73

£664.96

Percentage saving

Total saving

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

24

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


If you need just one bike to get you around town, carry the shopping and allow you to enjoy the countryside at the weekend, then a Crossway is for you. The Crossway range can be fitted with mudguards, pannier rack, bags and a bike stand. As with all Merida bikes, they come with a life time frame warranty up to a rider plus equipment weight of 120kg (just short of 19 stone) which should be plenty for the majority of adventures. bike shown: Crossway 900D - £949.99 – Lightweight hydroformed aluminium frame, 30 speed Shimano SLX / XT drivetrain, remote lock out fork, hydraulic disc brakes.

And why not get your new Merida bike tax free through Cyclescheme.

WWW.MERIDA.COM www.facebook.com/meridauk


Essentials

ESSENTI KIT

AL

HELMETS Although they're not compulsory, cycle helmets help reduce bumps and scrapes if you fall off your bike

C

ycle helmets are designed primarily to absorb some of the impact energy to your head in the event that you bang it. The expanded polystyrene (EPS) that they're made of compresses and crushes. A crashed and battered helmet is therefore a damaged helmet that should be replaced; some manufacturers have a helmet-replacement guarantee. For a helmet to work properly, it must fit. Try for size and adjust the internal cradle that holds the back of your head so that the helmet won't move about. Then adjust the straps so that the V of each meets just below your ears, and so that it's snug enough when buckled for only a couple of fingers to fit under the chinstrap. Don't wear your helmet on the back of your head. The brim should be only a couple of fingers' width above your eyebrows. All helmets are ventilated. The harder you ride, the more ventilation you'll need. Conversely, it's worth wearing a stretchy Buff underneath your helmet on cold days, if only to keep your ears warm.

Alpina Panoma £44.99 The Panoma is a mountain bike style helmet with a peak, which is useful when commuting to keep rain out of your eyes. It's an in-mould helmet, like most at this price point. That means that the EPS and outer shell are fused together in the mould rather than being made separately and then stuck together. It's more durable, saves weight and allows more vents; the Panoma has 23, making it nice and airy. The front vents have insect mesh to keep out stinging insects. Colours: black/anthracite, blue/lime, white/print, white/prosecco. Sizes: 52-57 and 57-62cm. www.alpina-helmets.co.uk

Abus Aven-u £49.99

MET 20 Miles £49.99 Another in-mould helmet with a removable peak, MET's new 20 Miles lid is specifically aimed at commuting cyclists. There are reflective stickers across the back and sides of the helmet, and the dial that adjusts the cradle at the back of your head incorporates an LED light. For those who want to stand out in the daylight as well, it's available in hi-viz yellow. The front vents have insect mesh in them and the anti-allergenic pads inside the helmet are easily removable for washing. Colours: white/blue, 'lady white', black/ red, black white, yellow lux. Sizes: 52-58, 59-62cm. www.met-helmets.com

Compared to rib-design helmets, skate-style lids trade greater head coverage for less ventilation. It's a worthwhile exchange not just for kids doing tricks but also for steadierpaced commuters. The Aven-u is an in-mould helmet that's lighter than it looks at 278g in medium size. It has the usual dial-adjustable rear cradle and removable internal padding. With 14 vents it's not as hot as you might expect. In the cold, you can add Abus's 'winter kit' (£14.99): ear warmers that fit to the straps. Colours: snooker, white, asphalt flowers, binary black, velvet black, pink, red. Sizes: 53-58, 58-63cm. www.zyro.co.uk

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013

Catlike Tako £39.99

JARGON BUSTER Safety standards Regardless of cost, all cycle helmets sold in the EU must pass the EN 1708 safety standard. Many meet other helmet standards as well, for other countries or organisations. These tests are similar and involve dropping a weighted helmet onto a variety of shaped anvils. The most stringent tests are those of the Snell Foundation.

Catlike's Tako takes its design cues from the company's Whisper road helmet but is aimed squarely at commuters. It's much cheaper and there are fewer vents, although 23 is nevertheless ample for UK conditions. The front ones have insect mesh. A dial at the back allows easy fit fine-tuning, and there's a removable visor so you can choose between a 'road' or 'off-road' look depending on your bike… and whether it's raining. Colours: black or grey. Sizes: 54-57, 58-62cm. www.i-ride.co.uk

BioLogic Pango £100 Unless they're on your head, cycle helmets aren't the easiest things to carry. BioLogic's Pango is much more portable: it folds up. When folded, it takes up about half as much space as a conventional helmet, so you can easily slip it in a bag. Sturdy construction (it's 515g) means it's unlikely to get damaged by anything else rattling around in your bag. Unfolded, it works like any other helmet. It passes EN 1708 and ventilation is fine. It could be just the thing for London's 'Boris bike' riders. Colours: black or white. Size: 55-61cm. www.paligap.cc

Carrera Luna Ladies £49.99 It's the styling that defines this as a women's helmet. In terms of sizing and features, it's basically the same as the gent's Carrera Hillborne helmet. Both are in-mould construction mountain bike helmets that you could readily use for anything else. Cooling is good for a budget helmet, with 24 substantial vents – the front ones with insect mesh. The lining is washable in the event you do get sweaty. Interior cradle adjustment is straightforward, and night-time visibility gets a boost from the built-in LED rear light. Colours: black or white/turquoise. Sizes: 54-57, 58-62cm. www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk 28

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Specialized Street Smart £40 As its name says, the Street Smart helmet is designed to look less like a race lid and more like urban headgear. Its peak is removable, and there's an adapter for attaching a rear light. The straps are reflective. They're easy to adjust, with a 'TriFix' divider that stops them cutting in under your ears. The rear cradle is adjustable for circumference with the usual dial and can also be set at four different heights, to cup different head shapes better. It meets the tougher Snell B90A helmet standard. Colours: black or silver. Sizes: 50-58, 54-60, 57-63cm. www.specialized.com


GERMAN ENGINEERED

www.focus-bikes.com /focus.bikes


Spring/Summer 2013

Birdy World Sport £879.99

In detail

The Birdy has a more refined ride than most folders, thanks to front and rear suspension and a hinge-less main frame. That means it's bigger when folded, but at 79×61×36cm it's still compact enough for a train commute. The World Sport is the only Birdy model under £1,000. It's equipped with wide-range 8-speed derailleur gearing and V-brakes, and even has mudguards and a kickstand. Other Birdy accessories, such as luggage racks, will also fit. If you want to upgrade the 18-inch (ISO 355) tyres for something faster or tougher, Schwalbe have a fair range in that unusual size. Weight: 11.9kg. http://en.r-m.de

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Front and rear suspension gives the Birdy the comfort and efficiency of a biggerwheeled bike

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Undo a few quick release levers, and the Birdy transforms from bike to luggage in around 20 seconds


Round-up

U ROUND-

P

R AT ED R I D ES

Folding bikes If you want a bike for train journeys or just don't have room to store a full-size machine, you need a folder

A

folding bike is the easiest way to combine cycling with other forms of transport. Given 20 seconds to undo catches and flip wheels, a folder will fit in a train's luggage rack or the smallest car boot. Then you can unfold it for the final few miles to work. It's possible to mix car or train travel with a full-size bike. But you may to remove one or both wheels to fit a normal bike in a small car, and train companies have their own rules about how many bikes will be carried, what times they will be carried, and whether a reservation is mandatory. It's less restrictive and less stressful with a folder. A folder can theoretically be charged for on a train if it's bigger than 90×70×30cm and refused if it's bigger than 100cm in any dimension. In practice, if it has wheels no bigger than 20-inches and will fit in an end of carriage luggage rack, you won't have any trouble. Good folding bikes fold or unfold in about 15-20 seconds. This is important. For one thing, you might be dashing for a train. For another thing, you'll be folding and unfolding the bike a lot as it's much easier to push an unfolded bike than carry one folded up. Since most folders have very long seatposts, they can be adjusted to fit almost any height of rider. Different stems, seatposts or handlebars may be available, which is useful for tall riders or those wanting a different riding position. All folding bikes must compromise between rideability and portability. Hinges and smaller wheels will allow a compact folded package but hinges can flex a little and smaller wheels sharpen the handling; some folders require care to ride one-handed when signalling. Small wheels suffer if a road is badly surfaced, as bumps have a bigger effect on speed and comfort. You need to be alert for potholes. Fatter tyres or suspension mitigate this problem. Most folding bikes have either an internal hub gear or a single derailleur at the rear; a few are single-speeds. One, two or three gears is fine for flatter city riding. A wider range is better for hills and longer journeys. Brake and gear cables follow twisting routes on a folding bike, which means more cable friction. Keep brake and gear parts clean and well lubricated, and get your local shop to fit new cables if they become stiff or slipshod. Mudguards are vital on a folding bike, as you'll probably ride in normal clothes. Many folders will carry bags – small panniers, a rack-top bag, or a dedicated luggage system. It's worth testing the bike's fold in the shop with lights attached; some clip-ons get in the way. One accessory you may be able to do without is a lock. Wherever you go, a folding bike can go with you. Most have an optional bag to stash the bike inside if you need to be discreet.

Brompton M3L£865 The Brompton is the iconic British folder you'll see at rail stations everywhere. It folds smaller and neater than any other rideable folding bike, with the rear wheel tucking under and the front half of the frame folding back on itself, putting the oily chain 'inside'. The 58.5×54.5×27cm package will go anywhere; it even has luggage wheels for rolling into place. There are countless à la carte options, including an excellent front luggage system. This M3L is the classic model, with a 3-speed hub gear, upright handlebars, and mudguards. Single-, 2- and 6-speeds are also available. Weight: 11.7kg. www.brompton.co.uk

Tern Verge Duo £775 Tern's 2-speed is a minimalist bike with just one cable – for the front brake. The Sram Automatix hub changes gear automatically as you go above or below about 11mph. The rear hub has a coaster brake too: you pedal backwards to brake. Once you're used to it, it's a convenient, durable solution. The bike has 20-inch wheels and a very solid central hinge, so rides well for a folding bike. It packs down to 72×79×35cm and weighs 11.6kg. It comes with mudguards and a kickstand. Like the Brompton, a bag can be attached above the front wheel. www.ternbicycles.com

JARGON BUSTER Wheel sizes Wheel sizes are quoted in inches but it's better to use a different measurement – the ISO number, which is the diameter in millimetres at the rim – when you need a new tyre or innertube. For while 20-inch wheels are generally all equal at 406, there are two incompatible 16-inch sizes – 305 and 349 – and '18-inch' is only 6mm bigger than 16-inch at 355!

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013

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This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period.

RRP

Cyclescheme Price

£746.21

£646.73

Basic rate taxpayer

Higher rate taxpayer

12 monthly hire payments

£56.38

£48.09

1 End of Hire payments

£69.65

£69.65

25%

35%

£248.75

£348.23

£994.96

Percentage saving

Total saving

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

32

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


the perfect mix Welcome the new Discovery Sport range from Dawes Cycles. Urban bikes generated to combat mixed terrains quickly and comfortably. The entire Sport range boast fast rolling 700c wheels built on strong double wall rims and utilizes suspension forks for added comfort. Add to this super light hydroformed aluminium frames and you have a winning combination. The Sport 5 is our star model and your perfect partner with 27 Shimano gears and sure stopping Shimano hydraulic disc brakes. There is a Discovery Sport to suit a variety of budget’s all with quality core features so be sure to head to your local Dawes stockist and try one for size.

Discovery sport 5

- Sizes: Gents 18, 20, 22� - Dawes Dynamism hydroformed alloy hybrid frame - SR Suntour NVX suspension fork, 75mm travel with mechanical lock-out - Shimano Alivio 27 speed gears - Shimano chainset - FSA Aheadset - Shimano hydraulic disc brakes - Alloy double wall rims with QR hubs - 700x42c tyres

To view the complete Discovery Sport range from Dawes Cycles or find your nearest Dawes Dealer visit:

www.dawescycles.com


“A modular set that riders can mix and match to create a customized waterproof setup for touring or the everyday ride.” – Bike Biz

365 RIDES , ONE CARGO SOLUTION. WATERPROOF

COMMUTING

EXPANDABLE

TOURING

/paligap.cc Axiom products are distributed in the UK by www.paligap.cc

MODULAR

GRANDTOUR SERIES

RIDE MORE & LIVE BETTER

axiomgear.com


Essentials

ESSENTI KIT

AL

LOCKS A good quality bicycle lock is something that every cycle commuter needs

W

ith time and the right tools, a determined thief can break any lock. A lock isn't a guarantee against theft but a deterrent. The more expensive your bike is, the more deterrence it needs. Police recommend spending at least 10% of a bike's value on security for it. That will mean a hefty shackle lock, better known as a D- or U-lock, or a thick chain. In a high crime area, use both so that thieves need more tools and more time. Good locks are expensive and heavy. Weigh up what you're prepared to carry around against the level of protection your bike will need where it's parked. Check the lock's Sold Secure rating. And check the fine print of your cycle insurance. Lock your bike to a solid, immovable object whenever you leave it, even if only for a minute. Lock it in plain sight, not hidden away where a thief can work uninterrupted. Periodically spray WD40 or similar into your lock to stop it seizing.

Knog Bouncer £37.99

Abus Granit 54 X-Plus 230£84.99 One of the toughest D-locks you can buy, the Granit 54 X-Plus uses a 13mm hardened steel shackle whose parabolic shape causes serious problems for cutters, pry bars, or bottle jacks. On this shorter version, there's less room in the shackle for a thief to fit any tools in to begin with. Even with an angle grinder, the thief would need to cut both sides of the shackle as the square section can't be rotated in the lock body. It uses a double-locking mechanism and has an illuminated key. Rated Sold Secure Gold. www.zyro.co.uk

It looks unusual because the 13mm hardened steel shackle isn't simply sheathed in plastic but rather embedded in UVresistant silicone. There's quite a bit of spring in this – hence Bouncer – so even if you clunk it hard against your bike frame by accident you're unlikely to mark it. The disc lock is difficult to pick, and there's a double deadlock in the crossbar to stop the shackle being cut once and twisted open around the uncut side. It's fairly compact at 185×125mm. Various colours available. Rated Sold Secure Bronze. www.todayscyclist.co.uk

Squire Stronghold SS50S/G3 £89.99 This sturdy chain is made from 10mm-thick hardened boron-alloy steel and is locked with a solid, hardened steel padlock. It comes in 90, 120 or 180cm lengths, giving you the option of locking multiple bikes, running the chain through one or both wheels, or using as an anchor point any item of street furniture you can find. It's treated against corrosion, and the synthetic covering makes it comfortable to carry over your shoulder. Rated Sold Secure Gold. www.raleigh.co.uk www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013

Squire Hammerhead 230 £49.99 It's also available with a 290mm long shackle. This shorter one is easier to carry but limits locking options to those stands or railings you can get your bike frame right up against. Both sizes of lock use a 13mm-thick hardened alloy steel shackle, a hardened steel body, and an 'anti-pick' doublelocking mechanism. It comes with a carrying bracket to fix the lock to the bike frame, if you don't fancy toting it around in your bag. Rated Sold Secure Gold. www.raleigh.co.uk

OnGuard Brute LS U-lock £52.99 The hardened steel shackle on this U-lock is 16mm thick, making it difficult to cut or crop. On this version, the shackle is 260mm long; there's also a 202mm option if you're happy to look harder for places to lock it to. Its Quattro lock mechanism secures the crossbar to the shackle at four points, which makes it harder to pull apart. It comes with five keys, one of which is illuminated, and a frame bracket. Rated Sold Secure Gold. www.todayscyclist.co.uk

JARGON BUSTER

Master Lock Street Fortum Gold D-Lock Reflective £44.99 There are reflective panels on the body of this lock, giving it its name and adding some nighttime visibility if you carry it on your bike using the frame-bracket that's included. The short shackle is 210mm long and 110mm between each side, enough to span most things you'd want to lock it to. It's made from 13mmthick hardened steel. The lock mechanism is disc-key operated, so it's difficult to pick. There's a dust cover to keep muck from getting in too. Rated Sold Secure Gold. www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk

Sold Secure Sold Secure is a company owned by the Master Locksmiths Association, a not-for-profit trade organisation. It independently tests and rates cycle locks. Those that pass are rated Bronze (will resist a thief using simple tools for a minute), Silver (three minutes against a thief with a wider range of tools) or Gold (five minutes against a thief with an armoury of tools).

Hiplok V1.50 £69.99 If you'll be hopping on and off your bike rather than just riding from A to B, a lock that's accessible will save you time and dissuade you from leaving your bike unlocked 'just for a moment'. The Hiplok is always at hand because you wear it around your waist. It's made from 8mm hardened steel chain, with a 10mm shackle. It's available in a range of colours, including ones with a warp-around reflective logo, and fits waist sizes from 24-44 inches. Rated Sold Secure Silver. www.hiplok.com 36

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


UGRIP PLUS 501

For further information and to find your local retailer, visit

www.zyro.co.uk


Spring/Summer 2013

traffic Training for

There's more to cycle training than balancing and steering. It equips you with the skills needed to ride confidently on 21st Century roads

Image: CTC

I

t's like riding a bike,' we say. Proverbially, cycling is something you never forget how to do. But there's a world of difference between being able to ride a bike and being comfortable riding a bike in traffic. That's what puts some people off cycling to work: traffic is intimidating if you don't know how to deal with it. Cycle training gives you 38

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

the skills to deal with it. Greg Woodford is the Senior Cycle Training Officer for CTC, the national cycling charity. 'Although we can teach you how to balance a bicycle, cycle training is essentially about skills development,' he says. 'Have you ever been cut up by a driver whilst cycling? Training can help to prevent that – or at least help you to cope with it.'

Not just for kids Today's National Standard cycle training syllabus is very different from the cycling proficiency that you might remember doing at primary school. Branded 'Bikeability', National Standard cycle training is also taught to schoolchildren and some of it still takes place in a traffic-free environment. The difference is that it


Cyclescheme 7 extends far beyond that. And it's not just for kids. 'Cycling proficiency varied across the country and often took place off-road or on quiet roads,' says David Dansky, Head of Training and Development at Cycle Training UK. 'It may have been delivered by people who didn’t cycle. People were tested and could “fail”. People could even be put off cycling through a focus on danger. 'The aim of Bikeability is to get more people making trips by bike by giving them the skills and confidence to do this. The training is in realistic conditions, on roads with people in cars, and focuses on awareness and cooperation. People aren’t tested but assessed on an on-going basis and progress at their own pace. You cannot fail National Standard training.'

The aim of Bikeability is to get more people making trips by bike by giving them the skills and confidence to do this Bikeability's three levels National Standard cycle training was developed by over 20 organisations, including British Cycling, CTC, Sustrans, the Department for Transport, and Cycle Training UK. It was launched in 2005. 'It is built upon similar principles to training for motorcycle riders and car drivers,' says Simon Mundell of the Department for Transport. 'It teaches the importance of assessing

the likely risks faced by road users. It was updated last year to focus more on understanding driver blind spots – particularly those of large vehicles – as well as more training on route planning, cycling safely in poor weather conditions, and sharing the road with other cyclists.' Bikeability is simply the public name for National Standard training. It divides the training into three levels, as Greg Woodford explains: 'Level 1 teaches bike skills in a traffic-free area. Level 2 covers simple road positioning and how to ride on quiet roads. Level 3 deals with advanced road positioning, busy roads and complex junctions.'

Image: CTUK

Assessing your needs While there are colour-coded badges available for completing the different levels, which will appeal to children, the training itself is equally applicable to adults. You don't have to go back to the playground and start at Level 1 either. A training session can focus almost exclusively on Level 3, which covers the advanced skills that cycle commuters need. Your instructor will assess your bike handling first, and then work with you to see what you need to learn. 'You may be surprised that even as an experienced bike handler you learn some tricks to make your basic control even better,' says David Dansky. 'When did you last perform an emergency stop at speed?' Bikeability training is detailed, since it has to cover a wide variety of scenarios. Yet for existing cyclists it's not like learning to drive, where you start from a baseline of nothing. Consequently, you won't have weeks of training ahead of you. 'Most lessons will start off-road, or sometimes on very quiet roads,' says David Dansky. 'You then learn basic on road manoeuvres on quiet roads and

Image: CTUK

Image: CTC

www.cyclescheme.co.uk Image: CTC

39


Spring/Summer 2013 progress to busier roads as you skill up. By the end of Level 1 you will be confidently riding on busy A-roads. If you are already pretty confident you might finish the three levels within a two-hour session.'

Gaining Training Image: CTC

Focused training Different cyclists will progress through the different levels at different rates. 'The amount of time a person will spend on each level will depend on their skills set, David Dansky acknowledges. 'For example, Mrs L, aged 72, wished to ride with her grandchildren. She hadn’t ridden since she was seven years old. She spent around six hours improving her basic bike control skills (off-road) before riding on road, which she “got” in two hours because she is a confident driver, understands how roads work, and knows the importance of getting seen and communicating. 'On the other hand, Mike, a 15-year-old lad, had pretty good bike handling skills but little road experience. He demonstrated good enough confidence at Level 1 and began Level 2 on road within an hour. After a further two hours he was confident to ride on any road and had planned his commute from college to his house in Hackney.' That's the ultimate goal of Bikeability training. It's not about riding around cones in a yard; it's about gaining the skills and confidence to cycle safely wherever you want to go on today's roads. Cycle training is a shortcut to the skills that might otherwise take you years to pick up. 'A lot of work and development has gone into the National Standard,' says Greg Woodford. 'You can learn information in just a few hours with an instructor that might take years to acquire yourself – things like correct road positioning.' 40

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Bikeability cycle training takes place all across the country. To find an instructor in your area, go online to www.dft.gov.uk/bikeability. The Bikeability website lists NS cycle training providers by area, including sole-trader instructors who have registered with the scheme. As well as a database of instructors, the website has more information on cycle training generally – for example, how to become a cycle trainer. (Only 17 organisations, including British Cycling, CTC, and CTUK, are accredited National Standard training providers.) How many hours of training you will need very much depends on you. It might be a single twohour session or you might benefit from several sessions. Your instructor will assess you in your first session to discover what training you need. The cost of a session will depend where you are and whether or not it is subsidised by your local authority. 'The price range for a two-hour session ranges from nothing or a small contribution such as £5 or £10 to up to £30 per hour,' says David Dansky. That might be for one-to-one tuition. You can often save money by receiving cycle training in a group. 'CTC runs a Commuter Tutor course that fits in with your workplace and can train up to five adults to Level 3 in three hours,' says Greg Woodford. 'This is cost effective as there is a greater trainee-to-instructor ratio.' To find out more about what different organisations can offer in terms of cycle training, visit their websites: British Cycling: www.britishcycling.org.uk CTC: www.ctc.org.uk London Cycling Campaign: www.lcc.org.uk Cycle Training UK: www.cycletraining.co.uk

Image: CTUK


Pocket smart.

Cycling specific and organized. It will keep your smartphone, credit cards, and money safe and dry. THE PHONE WALLET. £17.99 available in black or grey.

www.lezyne.com

Proudly distributed by Upgrade Bikes Ltd. upgradebikes.co.uk 01403.711.611


Spring/Summer 2013

Specialized Vita Elite Disc ÂŁ750

In detail

Unlike the rest of the Vita range, the Elite Disc is equipped not with V-brakes but hydraulic discs. These offer powerful braking that doesn't depend on grip strength, and the levers are shorter reach ones to suit smaller hands. The rear calliper is on the chainstay so won't get in the way if you fit a rear rack. The aluminium frame and fork have eyelets for mudguards too. Gearing is from Shimano's Sora and Tiagra road groupsets, with a compact double chainset and an 11-30 cassette. Specialized's Body Geometry saddle and grips provide good contact-point comfort. The 28mm Specialized Nimbus city tyres have decent puncture resistance. www.specialized.com

42

Specialized's Body Geometry saddles shift your weight from sensitive tissue to your sit-bones

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Tektro Draco hydraulic disc brakes still work well in bad weather, and they don't slowly wear the wheel rims away


Round-up

U ROUND-

P

R AT ED R I D ES

Flat-bar road bikes Sometimes called fitness bikes or city bikes, these tarmac-only hybrids offer a sporty ride without the racer's drop handlebar

D

rop handlebars offer a variety of hand positions, including the option to hunch down into a more aerodynamic tuck. But not everyone finds drop bars comfortable or convenient, especially when riding in traffic. Hence the flat-bar road bike: a lightweight hybrid with narrow tyres that blends efficiency with easier handling. Unlike other hybrids, the flat-bar road bike is designed for riding on tarmac pretty much exclusively. Higher-pressure slick tyres only 28mm or so wide roll effortlessly on road but offer little grip or shock absorbency off it. The fork is always rigid too, usually aluminium or steel, sometimes carbon fibre at higher price points. The frame will be aluminium and subtly more practical than that of most racers. While they're invariably sold without accessories, most flatbar road bikes have fittings for a pannier rack and mudguards – and more room to actually fit them. That's because they're likely to have V-brakes or discs, neither of which limit the space above the tyre like a short-reach sidepull, and because the frame itself will be longer. That means more space between your toes and the front tyre. Women's versions of flat-bar road bikes aren't much different from men's. They're smaller, of course, and will have a wider saddle to suit a woman's wider sit-bones. Some models put the handlebar a bit higher or closer to the saddle, on the basis that some women have shorter torsos relative to their height. You might also find a narrower width handlebar, slightly shorter cranks or shorter-reach brakes. Do try different bike models in the shop: a gent's version might suit you just as well. At lower price points, many flat-bar road bikes come with the trekking gears you find on other hybrids. Beyond £500, it's common to get road bike components, which means a compact double chainset (50-34), road derailleurs (such as Sora or Tiagra), and a road cassette. Occasionally you'll get a mountain bike rear derailleur and a bigger cassette, which gives lower gears for hill climbing. But road cassettes are increasingly available in larger sizes these days, and one with a bottom gear of 28 or 30 teeth will be sufficient for many riders, especially those who travel light or don't have huge hills to tackle. One side effect of a flat handlebar is that it locks your hands into one position. As the tyres are narrow and hard, that can create tingling or numbness in your hands on longer rides. It's not difficult or expensive to solve, however. Invest in good, dual-density grips with a bit of shock absorbency, or get ones that flare out to support more of your hand. Alternatively, fit bar-ends so you'll have another hand position.

Scott Metrix 20 Solution £849 The more you spend on any road bike, flat or drop bar, the less you get – in terms of weight, that is. The Metrix 20 tips the scales at less than 10kg, as its aluminium frame is fitted with a carbon fibre fork. V-brakes are lighter than disc brakes too. Gears are 9-speed Shimano Sora throughout, with a compact double chainset and an 11-30 cassette. The tyres are 28mm Continental Ultra Sports, which roll quite well but aren't the toughest, suiting rural summer rides better than glass-strewn commutes. There are fittings for mudguards, although you'll need P-clips if you want to fit a rear rack. www.scott-sports.com

Pinnacle Neon 3 Women's £500 Pinnacle's Neon 3 is noteworthy for its price: £500 is a good deal for an all-aluminium hybrid with 9-speed Shimano Sora components and good quality wheels with Shimano hubs. Frame and fork are ready for mudguards and a rear rack, and like most flat-bar road bikes are designed for V-brakes. The fork has more offset than most, which helps keep the handling snappy in the smaller frame sizes and stops the front mudguard snagging toes on tight turns. The saddle is a women's model. The biggest sprocket on the cassette is 27 teeth, which might be an issue for riders in very hilly areas. www.evanscycles.com

JARGON BUSTER Fork offset The main factors influencing the way a bike steers are the wheel size, the head tube angle, and the fork offset. A steeper head tube angle and/or more fork offset gives a sharper steering bike, as does a smaller wheel. A shallower head angle, less fork offset, and a bigger wheel makes the bike more inclined to go in a straight line. Good bike designers tweak these things to get the steering characteristics they want.

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

43


Spring/Summer 2013

ita 50 ed V £7pecializisc S te D Eli

9 9.9 ead 230 4 e £ quir erh S

9 et 9.9 ock ket 6 P £ ra ac

mm Ha

9 4.e9 e XL 8 £ yn riv

j u Alt cket Ro

Lez wer d Po

This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period.

RRP

Cyclescheme Price

£716.29

£620.77

Basic rate taxpayer

Higher rate taxpayer

12 monthly hire payments

£54.12

£46.16

1 End of Hire payments

£66.85

£66.85

25%

35%

£238.68

£334.20

£954.97

Percentage saving

Total saving

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

44

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Essentials

ESSENTI KIT

AL

LUGGAGE Riding more than a few miles? It's comfier to carry your bag on your bike than your back

P

utting your commuting luggage on your bike means less weight pressing down on your saddle and handlebar and fewer sweat patches on your shirt or blouse. You'll need a rear carrier rack fixed to your bike's frame. Then you can attach a pannier to one or both sides, or a rack-bag to the top. With lighter loads, a single pannier is fine. Heavier loads are better carried centrally in a rack-bag or divided into two panniers so they don't skew the bike's balance; office stuff in one bag, bike stuff in the other is a good system. In terms of capacity, 10-20 litres is usually enough. How that's best distributed in terms of shape and pockets depends what you'll have to carry. If in doubt, take critical items – such as a laptop – to the bike shop to check fit. All good panniers have security fixings so they can't leap off if you hit a bump. Protection from weather is important too. Showerproof might be fine for shorter trip; longer journeys warrant a rain cover or seam-sealed waterproof construction.

Agu Attache Bag Quorum £94.99 Platinum 660£94.99 This slim pannier is specifically designed to carry a laptop: there's a padded pocket inside measuring 37×28×5cm, plus a velcro strap to keep the computer in place. There's room for other bike or business items too – capacity is 13 litres. It fits to the bike with Rixen-Kaul's KlickFix system. The hooks have sprung retention clips that retract when you push the red button, so the bag is both secure and easy to get off the rack. There's a shoulder strap for use off the bike, as well as a carry handle. A waterproof rain cover is included. www.i-ride.co.uk

Carradice Super C A4 Pannier £50 This office pannier is made from cotton duck – essentially, waxed canvas. It's very tough and surprisingly weatherproof, with dampness appearing at the seams only in heavy, sustained rain. It's shaped specifically to fit A4 files and documents, which can get dog-eared in some bags. It measures 44×29×14cm. Carradice's C-system hooks have simple secondary hooks that ratchet around most diameters of pannier rack rail. There's a mesh outer pocket, a clip-off shoulder strap, and a bit of reflectivity. www.carradice.co.uk

Altura Night Vision 20 Pannier £49.99 Lots of reflectivity makes this 20-litre pannier really stand out when car headlights shine on it. Welded seams and waterproof fabric mean that it's completely rainproof too, so there's no need to stop and attach a cover if you get caught in a downpour. Inside it's essentially one big compartment, although there's a mesh pocket to keep some things separate. The bottom of the bag is reinforced so that it won't scuff on the floor. It fixes to the rack with Rixen-Kaul Klickfix hooks, like the Agu Attache Bag. There's a detachable shoulder strap. www.zyro.co.uk

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

47


Spring/Summer 2013

Ortlieb Front Roller City £65 pair They're called front panniers because you can fit them to a front rack not because you have to. Using two small panniers at the back will balance your load. It also solves the heel-clipping problem of big bags on shorter bikes. The panniers are waterproof, as they use a rolltop closure, welded seams, and impermeable fabric. The bags themselves are simple, without pockets or dividers. The QL1 hooks, however, are clever: pulling up the handles retracts the retention clips, so the bags lift off one-handed. There's some reflectivity too. Capacity: 12.5 litres each. www.ortlieb.co.uk

JARGON BUSTER Litres Luggage size is measured in litres. That's the number of 10×10×10cm cubes the bag will contain. Avoid the temptation to buy a bigger bag than you need. A smaller one will be easier to cycle with and won't get stuffed with non-essentials.

Axiom Charlevoix Trunk Bag £24

This six-litre rack-bag is a good size for essentials like tools, a packed lunch, and waterproofs. It fixes to the rack with stretchy velcro straps, so will fit pretty much any rack available. That includes seatpostfixing beam racks, which you might use on a road bike. It's made of tough polyester that's water resistant; Axiom also produce rack-bags with a waterproof main compartment if you need that. There's a handle on top so it's easy to carry, and the base is padded to protect contents. www.paligap.cc

Union 34 Sleek Shoulder Pannier Bag £89.99 On the bike it's a 25-litre office pannier with a padded laptop pocket. On foot, it's a shoulder bag that looks more businesslike than bikey because the reflective front panel is reversible, and because the main body of the bag lifts away from the part that's fixed to the rack. That means that when it's on your shoulder, there are no hooks to dig into you nor wheel-spray to rub off on you. There's an organiser in the main compartment and a big outer pocket. A rain cover is included. Available in right and left fitting versions. www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk

Avenir Sonic welded waterproof panniers £99.99 pair As the name says, these panniers have welded seams and are made from a waterproof polyurethane/nylon fabric. There's no opening for rain or spray either, as the tops are rolled over and over before being buckled down. While they're big enough for touring, these panniers are intended for commuting too. They have reflective details; there's a removable laptop sleeve included; and they have organiser pockets inside. On the outside there's a good-sized pocket with a waterproof zip, suitable for items that might get damp or dirty. The hooks are quick release and there's a shoulder strap. www.raleigh.co.uk 48

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Get fitter and faster this spring with RIDE FIT

e l a ns

O

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THE ESSENTIAL GUIDE TO CYCLING HEALTH & FITNESS Available from all good retailers or buy online www.myfavouritemagazines.co.uk/cycling FROM THE MAKERS OF


Spring/Summer 2013

Giant Escape City W ÂŁ449

In detail

This step-through frame will suit not just women but anyone who can't or doesn't want to throw their leg over a top tube, either because of clothing or infirmity. Despite the bike's name, it's light and efficient enough that leisure rides won't feel like a chore; an aluminium frame and rigid aluminium fork keep the weight down. It's good to see 8-speed Shimano Altus and Alivio gearing rather than 7-speed at this price. Brakes are the Tektro linear pull ones you'd expect, while Giant's ownbrand 32mm tyres have some puncture protection. A kickstand is a useful addition. Also available in a gent's version. www.giant-bicycles.com

50

A shorter stem puts the handlebar in easier reach, allowing a more upright, unstrained riding position

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

An 11-32 cassette and a trekking triple chainset provide gears for any occasion on road


Round-up

ROUND-

UP

R AT ED R I D ES

Trekking bikes Practical hybrids with a good range of gears suited to leisurely pedalling on city streets and country lanes alike

A

trekking bike is a hybrid that puts practicality ahead of sportiness or rough-track readiness. It's a relaxed-pace city bike and shorter-distance leisure bike that comes factory-fitted with the accessories for either: mudguards, a rear pannier rack, and perhaps a kickstand and a chainguard. It's the quintessential nonspecialised bike. The default riding position is generally fairly upright, courtesy of a flat or backswept handlebar and a shorter or higher-rise stem. Some have an adjustable-angle stem, which lets you easily change the handlebar position. More upright cycling isn't as efficient as leaning forward to cheat the wind, but it's comfortable for short to medium distances and gives you a good view of the traffic or the countryside. Most trekking bikes have an aluminium frame and either a rigid steel or aluminium fork; some have basic suspension forks. A suspension fork reduces vibrations and jolts through the handlebar but adds weight and – at typical trekking bike prices – limited functionality. Unless your journey is especially roughly surfaced or you suffer from pain in your hands, a rigid fork is a better option for commuting. Whereas many bikes come with fittings for accessories, trekking bikes are one of the few types equipped with them. This should save you money, since a manufacturer can buy and fit parts more cheaply than you can. And it means you don't have to worry about compatibility issues. Some more expensive trekking bikes even come with integral dynamo lighting. Gearing is wide ranged, usually via front and rear derailleurs; occasionally, at higher prices, via an 8-speed hub gear. Derailleur gearing will be from a trekking groupset – essentially mountain bike gearing but with bigger chainrings to reflect the higher speeds you ride at on road. It's a good compromise for general use. Don't worry too much whether how many sprockets there are on the cassette. More gears does mean equipment from a higher tier, but the improvements are mostly in weight savings and slicker gear shifts – not things of great consequence on a trekking bike. Having said that, 8-speed is a step up from 7 or 6, as it allows wider-range gearing, easier upgrade potential, and can mean a stronger design of rear hub. Brakes are most often V-brakes, sometimes called 'linear pull'. These offer good stopping power and don't compromise clearance over the tyre. Some trekking bikes come with cable-operated disc brakes. These won't stop you any quicker but they won't slowly wear the rim away, and they still work if the rim is wet or buckled. Tyres (and wheels) are 700C, the common road size, but in a medium width of around 32-37mm. They'll be intended for tarmac roads so will have have relatively little tread; rubber can't press into tarmac. Firm tracks and towpaths will be okay on a trekking bike but don't expect to ride mountain bike trails.

Dawes Tanami £499.99 Dawes are known for their touring bikes – the drop-handlebar, bigger-distance cousin of the trekking bike – and their top-end trekking bike, the Tanami, is clearly more than a city bike. The lightweight aluminium frame and fork are fitted with 9-speed Shimano Alivio gearing, as well as mudguards, rack, and wheels that are little more durable. They have 36 spokes rather than 32, making them about 10% stronger, and they're shod with 35mm Schwalbe Road Cruiser tyres. The stem is an adjustable angle one that you could lower for longer rides in the lanes. Also available in a gent's version. www.dawescycles.com

Bianchi Metropoli Uno Women's £670 Bianchi's smart-looking hybrid also has an aluminium frame and a rigid aluminium fork. Bianchi call it an urban bike but it's only the reflective sidewalls of the 37mm tyres that suggest town over country. It's no heavyweight, and its adjustable stem allows a sportier riding position. Gearing is only 7-speed Shimano Acera. As the cassette is a 12-32 model and the chainset is the usual triple, it's the same overall range as most hybrids only with bigger steps between gears. Lee-Chi linear-pull brakes are lesser known but still effective stoppers. Accessories include mudguards and a rack but no kickstand. Gent's version available. www.bianchi.com

JARGON BUSTER Adjustable-angle stem All handlebar stems can be adjusted. You can flip a stem over (removing and refitting the handlebar) to change the bar height, or move it up or down the fork's steerer tube if that has spacer washers in place. An adjustable-angle stem lets you fine tune the bar position through a greater range and without disassembly.

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

51


Spring/Summer 2013

ity 49scape C 4 £ ant E

W

Gi

9 k bag 9.934 Sleaennier 8 £ on r P

9 9.9 £3gu JacPkoncho

i e Un ould Sh

A ack Tr

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oc .99 cer L 39 Boun

£ nog K

This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period.

RRP

Cyclescheme Price

£464.29

£402.37

Basic rate taxpayer

Higher rate taxpayer

12 monthly hire payments

£35.08

£29.92

1 End of Hire payments

£43.33

£43.33

25%

35%

£154.68

£216.60

£618.97

Percentage saving

Total saving

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

52

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Tax-free childcare; flexibility for the working family

www.childcarescheme.com


Spring/Summer 2013

R

oad signs are a red herring for cyclists. They guide motorists down primary routes, the busiest roads with the highest speed limits. They're seldom pleasant to cycle on. As a cycle commuter, it's nicer and sometimes quicker to use the quietest routes instead – backstreets and cyclepaths, for example. To use these, you'll need to do your own navigation. You'll have a mental map of your local area already. But a mental map created by car journeys shrinks hills, shortens junctionless road distances, and lengthens congested cross-town miles. On your bike, you'll use routes you wouldn't or couldn't take by car – and maybe you didn't know existed.

What kind of commute?

Route

masters A little planning can save you stress or time every time you commute. Here's how to plot a route that suits you 54

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Assertive cyclists may be happy to mix it up with the car commuters on major roads. Although training (see page 38) can make traffic less intimidating, other cyclists may wish to avoid busy roads completely. Are you looking for the shortest route or the quietest? The flattest or, for fitness training, the hilliest? Are you happy to get off and push your bike along short sections of footpath? There's no one-size-fits-all solution to commuting. What kind of bike do you plan to commute on? Within reason, you can ride any bike anywhere. It's less frustrating if your commute matches the strengths of your bike… or vice versa. Lightweights with skinny tyres are good for longer distances but less good for gravelly towpaths. Heavyweight town bikes and small-wheeled folders best suit shorter, flatter routes. Mountain bikes and cyclocross bikes are great for unsurfaced tracks.


Route masters

What decided your route to work? Go to the Cyclescheme Facebook page to read other commuters' comments - or add your own: www.facebook.com/cyclescheme

Routing around Time to get out the map – or the app! It's worth doing even for your home town. Most of us carry only a skeletal route network in our heads. Familiar routes save you thinking time but can cost travelling time. If you're using a paper map, hold a ruler a ruler against the start and end points to show you the route as

the crow flies. With a digital map (such as Memory-Map, Tracklogs or Anquet) you can draw this line on screen, and can then draw in different alternatives along roads and tracks; the program will even display the different distances. With an app such as CycleStreets or Google Maps, you can just type in your start and end points and the app will spit out a choice of routes. The only sure way to find out which of these

routes is best for you is to ride them. A map won't tell you what that hill is like to ride, or whether that minor road is a busy rat-run. And apps aren't infallible: you might be guided along a bridleway that's six inches deep in mud.

Testing, testing Allow plenty of time to test any new route so that you can stop to consult your instructions. One-way streets, hills and certain junctions can make your journey home different from the journey in, so it's worth checking in both directions. Weekend test rides will show you the geography but won't tell you about traffic levels – especially around schools. Time the different route options. You can then decide which route to take depending on that day's circumstances. If you're pushed for time one morning, you can switch your meandering cyclepath route for a direct route that will save five minutes. Or on a summer evening, you could take the long way home. You might find that the quieter backstreets route is also faster, even though it's less direct. The reason for this is the same reason that bikes are ofter faster than cars in cities: a better average speed. You're less likely to encounter traffic lights on minor roads, and any junctions should be quieter so you'll spend less time at a dead stop. You'll soon be able to judge your journey time to work to the minute. Rush hour? What rush hour?

MAPS & APPS Planning a journey that suits how you cycle Cycling guides Transport for London produce detailed cycling maps of the capital, while many local authorities produce cycling maps of their own. Quality is variable but most are helpful – and free. See www.tfl.gov.uk and www.cyclemaps.org.uk

Ordnance Survey maps OS maps are more useful than A-Z maps as they show all rights of way and colour roads according to their priority. Avoid trunk and A-roads where practical! OS maps also have contour lines, showing hills. The 1:25,000 Explore maps are most detailed, but 1:50,000 Landrangers can be useful. www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk

CycleStreets Whether you use the website or the free app (iPhone or Android), CycleStreets can plot you a route that's the fastest, the quietest, or a balanced mix. It's based on OpenStreetMaps data, so some areas have better routing information than others, but it's always worth consulting. www.cyclestreets.net

National Cycle Network This free app (iPhone and Android) doesn't plot routes, but it does show you all 13,000 miles of the National Cycle Network, which is on quiet roads and cyclepaths, plus 12,000 miles of local links to it. And it does so on super-detailed 1:10,000 scale mapping. www.sustrans.org.uk

Google Maps Available as a smartphone app and online, the website version now has an option to plot cycling routes. The directions are in beta format as of writing, so don't depend on them completely. www.google.co.uk

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

55


CLAIRE

HOOPER We catch up with a commuter featured on the Cyclescheme website. This issue: cycle-rail traveller Claire Hooper

E

ighteen miles is a long way to commute on a bike. Claire Hooper does it about once a week in the summer, when she can enjoy the Surrey countryside on her journey home. The rest of the time she and her bike – a Dahon Jack that folds in half – take the train. Each morning she cycles to Woking station, boards the train with her season ticket, and gets off at Walton on Thames to cycle the rest of the way to work at Chessington. Because her bike folds, it avoids the bike ban imposed on her peak time commuter train into London. That's the reason she bought it. 'When I first started work, I had a bike that I left at Woking station and another bike that lived at the other station,' Claire says. 'But that was really inconvenient. If I wanted to do any maintenance on one of the bikes, I'd have to do it at work.' She bought a folding bike, spending £200 on a budget model with 20-inch wheels. 'I didn't want to spend too much on a bike in case it didn't work out,' Claire says. 'And I hadn't heard about the Cycle to Work scheme at the time. But a friend of mine that I met on the train had started off with the

56

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

same sort of small-wheeled folding bike as me. Then he came on the train one day with this lovely folding mountain bike. 'He said “It really goes well.” For the distance I was doing, I thought it would be nice to have something a bit faster. So I looked into it. He had got his through Cyclecheme. I asked if they were doing it where I work, and they were.' Even though her folder looks and rides much like a conventional bike, she has never been turned off a train with it. 'It's usually quiet enough and I don't even bother folding the bike up,' Claire says. 'But if any train staff say, “You're not supposed to have the bike

Spring/Summer 2013 on,” I can say, “Well, I can fold it up if you like?” And they don't say any more.' Along with her bike, Claire invested in good lights, a pannier rack, and a rack-top bag. 'I used to take a single pannier,' she says, 'but it was a bit unbalanced. I have a change of clothes, a handbag, and my lunch in the rack-bag. And usually I take a very small backpack, just to carry things like a water bottle and a mac.' The bike would carry much bigger loads, but Claire prefers to travel lightly to make the ride less of an effort. Nevertheless, the daily riding that she does keeps her in good shape for the other cycling she enjoys – club rides with CTC, long day rides, and occasional weekends away. 'It's 90 miles a week,' says Claire, 'so it's bound to keep me fit. And it's a good way to lose weight. I can eat what I like really. Cycling to work gives you a different attitude to food: it's petrol in the tank. Sometimes when I'm cycling home, I can feel the gauge going down towards empty. So I try to have a banana or


Cyclescheme 7 something before I set off.' Claire says she is seldom bothered by the weather, and that the key is to have everything ready the night before so that you're out of the door before you've started wavering over whether to cycle or not. On those rare occasions that she doesn't ride, she says she misses the fresh air and the scenery. The route that Claire takes isn't especially busy. She acknowledges that traffic is what puts many people off, especially women. 'I don't see many other women cycling,' she says. 'Probably in London you'd see more. I think a lot of it is fear of the traffic. People at work have said that they'd be scared stiff of cars coming past. But positioning has a lot to do with it. You've got to have the confidence to ride away from the gutter.' Like any commuting cyclist, Claire has met her share of careless drivers.

Yet she finds that the majority are considerate and give her space. It's possible that as drivers become used to seeing more bikes on the roads, their behaviour around cyclists is improving. 'I give them a wave,' Claire says. 'I think it's important to acknowledge other people being polite when you're on your bike.' Bikes are getting noticed more away from the traffic too. 'A bike is almost as good as a baby for starting a conversation,' Claire says. 'Even if someone doesn't have a bike, they want to know what it's like using one. Some tell you about the cycling they used to do but don't any more, which is a bit sad. My husband goes on the train but he's never taken a bike. He's taken the same train for years but he doesn't talk to anybody. He can't believe the number of people I end up talking to.'

Fact file

Name: Claire Hooper Lives: Outskirts of Woking, Surrey Occupation: Techincal author Commute: 2 miles cycling, four stops on the train, then 7.5 miles cycling – reversed for the journey home Frequency: Every day, barring extreme weather or other demands Cyclescheme bike: Dahon Jack folding bike with 26-inch wheels Why I started cycling: It was cheaper than going by car. When I returned to work after having children, it was a good way to get some exercise.


www.computingscheme.co.uk


Sarah Storey

Champion Paralympic cyclist Sarah Storey talks about her new role with Cyclescheme and how you can #challengeyourself

Sarah

Storey R oad and track cyclist Sarah Storey was one of the faces of the London 2012 Paralympics. She won Britain's first gold medal of the games, in the individual pursuit, and came away with four all together, bringing her lifetime total to 11. Despite her disability – she was born without a working left hand – she has twice been British national track champion, beating able-bodied cyclists. Her training is taking a back seat at the moment as she is expecting her first child in June. Yet she remains committed to cycling and has just become an ambassador for Cyclescheme. 'It was an obvious

choice,' she says. 'I love cycling and would like to encourage many more people to enjoy it. Cycling is one of the best modes of transport for local journeys, and Cyclescheme provides the means for people to buy a bike to ride to work… If we can get people to cycle to work, hopefully they will see the health benefits and use their bike for other journeys and for leisure too.' Successful sporting cyclists like Sarah, along with her Olympic contemporaries Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton, provide inspiration for people to get on their bikes. Cyclescheme, meanwhile, gets people buying those bikes in the first place: 71% of participants say that

they would not have bought a bike without the scheme. Sarah acknowledges that some people imagine cycling to be slow or hard work. 'They probably aren't convinced it is the quickest way to get around and so dismiss it as a form of transport,' she says. But that may because they've only owned a heavy, badly set-up bike in the past. Once you get someone on a good quality bike from a good quality shop, it transforms their perspective on cycling. Among Cyclescheme participants, only 29% classed themselves as enthusiasts prior to www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Spring/Summer 2013 joining, while 69% of those who had obtained a bike through the scheme did so. Sarah became a cycling enthusiast almost by accident. 'I had a bike as a kid,' she says, 'but it wasn't until the end of 2004 that I started looking at cycling more seriously. It began as a way of staying fit when I wasn't allowed to swim, because of a series of nasty ear infections. I was out of the water for such a long time that I ended up racing a bike. That led to me being spotted by British Cycling and fasttracked into their team for the 2005 European Championships. Although my ears got better, I decided to switch sports for a new challenge and to put myself out of my comfort zone.' Sarah's next big target is the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow,

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Fact file Dame Sarah Storey Lives: Disley, Cheshire Occupation: Cyclist About: With 11 gold medals, plus 11 silver and bronze, she is Britain's most successful Paralympian. Five of Sarah's golds are for swimming, her previous sport. In the 2013 New Year Honours, she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire (DBE).

for which she'll have to juggle training with childcare. She says she isn't sure what effect this will have: 'I will have a different routine, but that will very much depend on how well the baby feeds and sleeps.' Continuing to find time to cycle will be a team effort with husband Barney, she says. It's a situation that cycle commuting parents will be familiar with. 'There are options for mums and dads to keep cycling in between the routine of the school run and all that goes with it,' says Sarah, 'whether that is cycling to school with the kids and then parents cycling on to work, or having a bike in the boot of the car so mum or dad can go for a ride while the kids do their after-school activities.' Only 25% of regular cyclists in the UK are women, but the numbers are going the right way. 'This figure rises every time it is quoted to me,' Sarah says, 'and it is very noticeable there are more women out on the roads on bikes than there has ever been.'

Her advice for women cycle commuters is straightforward. 'Give yourself plenty of time to get there and get ready for work when you arrive. Go at your own pace during the ride. Take a healthy snack for when you arrive and don't forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day.' She recommends wearing shoes that fit well, a helmet, padded cycling shorts, and a top that isn't too baggy. For anyone worried about arriving looking mussed, she suggests getting a morning shower at work instead of at home. 'It won't take you any more time than usual. Just make sure you have everything you need to get ready for work when you arrive.' That might include a cleanser and moisturiser; Sarah uses REN skincare products. Sarah is matter of fact about her disability. 'Having one hand hasn't affected my ability to cycle,' she says,' it has just created some challenges with equipment and creating a safe set up for braking, changing gear and handling the bike.' Many other people with disabilities might also be able to ride a fairly conventional bike, she thinks. 'They may just need to make some adjustments or adaptations to the set up of the brakes and gears. This is where an independent cycle retailer is vitally important as they are often able to source or advise on additional equipment.'

#challengeyourself You don’t need a gold medal to take on your own challenge. Cycling to work isn’t all about lycra, clipless pedals and skinny tyres. Cycling is a healthy, efficient and enjoyable way of getting to work. Ditch the car, tear up the bus pass and join the cycling revolution. To find out more, visit: www.cyclescheme.co.uk/challengeyourself


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Spring/Summer 2013

My Cyclescheme Cyclescheme online www.cyclescheme.co.uk Cycle Commuter magazine is just the beginning. Visit the Cyclescheme website for regular news, bike and equipment reviews, and 'how to' features. There's loads of information and support for employers and employees, and you can log on to My Cyclescheme to track your certificate. You can even read digital copies of past issues of Cycle Commuter.

Further reading Here's just a sample of Cyclescheme's reviews, guides, interviews, and offers. Go to www.cyclescheme.co.uk/community and browse, or add the suffix provided to the usual www.cyclescheme.co.uk address to go straight there.

Road positioning /community/how-to/road-positioning Don't cycle in the gutter. Riding further out into the road is safer, faster, and stops motorists cutting you up. When you act like traffic, you get treated like it.

How to fix a puncture /community/how-to/how-to-fix-a-puncture-2 You can find out how to fit a new innertube on page 19. But don't just throw the holed tube away. With a little patience, patching an innertube is easy and the repair can be permanent.

Mudguards round-up /community/round-ups/round-up-mudguards Whether it's winter or summer, mudguards are essential for rainy commuting. They help keep you and your bike clean and dry. Here are six to consider if your bike came without them.

Cyclo-cross bikes round-up Social Media Follow Cyclescheme on Twitter for the very latest updates, or share your 140-character thoughts with us. You can find us at www.twitter.com/cycleschemeltd You can also catch up with us via our Facebook page: visit www.facebook.com/cyclescheme or just search for 'Cyclescheme' when you're logged on to Facebook.

/community/round-ups/round-up-cyclocross-bikes Part road bike, part off-road racer, a cyclocross bike is a go-anywhere all-rounder that's easily adapted for everyday commuting. Here's what to look for if you fancy buying one, along with four good ones to consider.

Over to you: David from London /community/over-to-you/the-cycleschemeseven-whats-your-commute-really-10 David from Earl's Court explains how his cycle commute to work has changed his life. He got a bike through Cyclescheme after two operations to clear blocked arteries. He's now healthier, leaner, and happier.

Find a saddle that fits better /community/featured/specialized-saddles-find-the-perfect-fit Getting a saddle that fits is just as important as shoes that fit. Find out how you can get a 'sit bone assessment' from your Specialized dealer, so you can choose one that carries your weight on your bony bits instead of your undercarriage. 62

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


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Our unique geometry balances precise steering control with stability - a perfect combination for life in the fast lane. The frames are mountain-bike tough, to cope with the rigours of the daily commute and super-comfortable so you arrive at work invigorated for the day ahead. www.whytebikes.co.uk


Cycle Commuter issue 10  

The Spring/Summer 2013 edition of Cyclescheme's magazine for cycle commuters. News, kit, techniques, tips and more! Plus, find out how why D...

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