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Holidays by bike • Your guide to cycle security • No-sweat cycling • Bike care made easy Issue #2 Summer 2009 £1.95 where sold

5

steps to Summer fitness

Pedalling towards a new you!

Rain or shine... On test: bikes for all seasons

Cycling essentials Your guide to... Pumps Rucksacks Panniers Tools

54

Featuring

top cycling products

The Most Versatile Bike. Ever. Ride Longer with Trek FX.

**Half price accessory pack offer when you buy any Trek Hybrid throughout March and April** See your local Trek dealer for details. Meet FX at trekbikes.com/fx TREKBIKES.COM | Š 2009 TREK BICYCLE CORPORATION

contents Issue #2 Summer 2009

Bikes tested

All about... 4 Welcome to Cyclescheme

A quick introduction to the scheme: how it works, who’s eligible and where you get the bike

8 FAQs

If it can be asked, we’ve been asked it: find answers to some of the most common questions here

Features

14 Get fit for Summer

How to use your commute to look and feel 10 years younger.

32

16

20 How to keep

your steed safe Thieves want a shiny new bike as much as you do. Don’t let them walk off with it...

30 Masking

48

38 16  Merida Speeder T3

32 Specialized Globe City 3

38 Kona Africabike 3

48  Dahon Mu P8

The Speeder will handle a daily commute but also the odd longer fitness ride

The Africabike combines practicality with style and will do someone else good too!

A bike that’ll handle the streets no matter what the seasons throw at you

This bigger-wheeled folder is good for short hops or longer trips: a great all-rounder

Top products & essential kit 12 Stuff

Bringing you the best cycling gear for your commute and beyond

18 Bags

Rucksacks and courier bags to swallow your stuff

20 Panniers

Got plenty to carry? Let the bike take the strain!

21 Pumps

Don’t get deflated: we’ve got the right pump for you!

Produced, designed and published for Cyclescheme by Farrelly Atkinson www.f-at.co.uk

pollution

When you’re thinking about protection, don’t forget your lungs!

35 Tooled up!

A few simple tools and skills to help your commute run as smoothly as possible

42 Get away by bike

Thinking about taking a bike on holiday? Here’s our simple guide to the essentials...

46 No sweat cycling

Follow these guidelines and you’ll arrive at the office neither hot nor bothered!

Prices correct at time of going to press. E&OE. All content © Cyclescheme 2009

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 3

URBAN Take control of your commute

for a list of marin dealers visit: www.marin.Co.UK

ride more +

Welcome...

Welcome to a better way to get a bike! Cyclescheme is the UK’s number one 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 1,400 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.

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 5

Summer 2009

About Cyclescheme... Making

T

he Cycle to Work Initiative is a salary sacrifice scheme which 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 that buys the bike. You hire the bike and equipment from them, and you pay them back the cost of your bike from your gross salary. You save on Tax and NI payments, saving you money over the hire period. VAT can also be claimed back, and this saving is usually passed on by employers, unless they are not able to – for example in the case of universities and NHS trusts. Cyclescheme has partnered with over 1,400 independent bike shops throughout the UK giving you access to a massive amount of choice and

The Cycle to Work Initiative is a salary sacrifice scheme which gives you the chance to save on the cost of a new bike as well as security and safety equipment to go with it. expert advice on your equipment selection. To locate your local store go to www.cyclescheme.co.uk 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 Department of Transport, Office of Fair Trading and Department of Health, as well as a scores of police forces, councils, universities and blue chip companies. Custom hire agreements are written entirely in accordance with government guidelines and every service is free to employers, including promotional literature and roadshows.

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 to who can take advantage of the tax breaks, though. The most important ones are: The scheme is open to all full, parttime and contract staff whose term of employment is more than the

• 6

period of the hire (12 months) Y ou need to be a UK taxpayer via the PAYE system You need to be over 18 years of age to comply with Consumer Credit Act legislation You need to be earning more than the National Minimum Wage after your wages have been reduced to comply with UK tax law

• • •

tracks online A new online route planner will allow cyclists to map their journeys via off-road routes and cycle paths for the first time. The system, commissioned by Transport Direct and Cycling England, has been created by CycleCity Guides following months of detailed surveys conducted by a 15-strong team of cycle-mounted mappers. It allows cyclists to plan their route incorporating the Sustrans National Cycle Network, bridleways, canal towpaths and other off-road cycle paths not available on car satnavs and online services such as Google Maps.

So far Manchester and Merseyside are up and running on the test site, and all the Cycling England Cycle Cities and Towns – including Bristol, Brighton and York – have been surveyed and are due to go online at a later date. After typing in their journey details users of hte site are given turn-by-turn written directions and a map, which can be broken down into detailed sections. This can also be downloaded as a GPX file to be used with a GPS system. The final version is due to go online later this year but you can get a first look at the test version of the website at http://tinyurl.com/cf2e3b

Pedalling facts

e Waitrose, in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, has becom uce introd to ry count the the first supermarket in an eco handcart pulled by electric bikes in a move that will also help boost the number of delivery slots available to customers, without increasing the number of vans on the road.

Welcome...

New website aims to get belles on bikes

S

Cyclescheme lands in the emerald isle The Republic of Ireland now offers tax concessions to employers wishing to run a cycle to work scheme similar to that in the UK, and Cyclescheme is expanding to help ROI employers get their employees on two wheels. The scheme is intended to cut congestion, reduce pollution and boost fitness; with existing levels of cycling peaking at a lowly 2% the Irish government hopes to reach a target of 10% by 2020 and the cycle to work scheme is just one of several measures intended to achieve this goal. The move towards cycling is already an emerging trend, with a 17 per cent rise in cycling trips into Dublin, and the government scheme aims to build on that. Although the Irish bike to work scheme is based on employee salary reductions for the tax-free amount as it is in the UK, one big difference is that only one application for the scheme is allowed every five years. Employees are limited to a bike package of €1000 to include safety equipment like helmet, reflective clothing, lights and a lock. Enthusiasm is bubbling in the Irish cycle trade. Paul Masher, who runs the importers for Trek, Dawes and other leading brands, said, “Getting more people on their bikes will help reduce road traffic pollution and promote green business activities as well as improving overall health and fitness. Everyone wins!”

ustrans has launched a new website, Bikebelles, aimed specifically at women. The site addresses the reasons women currently don't ride bikes and gives lots of advice on comfort and appearance whilst also stressing the many benefits of cycling: getting fit, losing weight, and looking younger. The site has been put together by women and and all-woman panel of Bike Belles will feature prominently, giving their views on bikes, clothing, and everything to do with the cycling experience.

less than one in 10 women cycle more than once a month, and that’s something that Sustrans is keen to change Sustrans commissioned research shows that in spite of high profile women such as Duffy, Hannah Montana and Madonna taking to two wheels, less than one in 10 women cycle more than once a month, and that's something that Sustrans is keen to change. This research echoes a similar study undertaken for Cycling Female membership of British Cycling has risen by England last year, which 25 per cent in the past year thanks to the success headlined on 'helmet of Britain’s female Olympic cyclists. Women are the fastest growing category of new British Cycling hair' and the fact that members and 44 per cent of them hold a racing many women were licence... look out boys! put off cycle commuting because they didn't want to get hot and sweaty on their way to work - see p46 for our tips on arriving at work as fresh as a daisy. Overall 17 per cent of women questioned considered themselves too old to cycle; this compares dramatically to the Netherlands where women over 65 ride on average three times the distance of 19 year old British men. Sustrans will also be organising female-friendly cycle rides in the summer using traffic-free sections of the National Cycle Network. www.bikebelles.org.uk

Pedalling facts

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 7

FAQ...

Common questions about the scheme answered by our Cyclescheme experts...

Q A

How do I save money through the scheme? The savings are made because salary sacrifice reduces your gross salary before any tax or NI has been deducted - so the amount of tax and NI paid is less than usual. Employers who are able to offer VAT savings to their employees further contribute to the total savings.

Q A

How often does the bike have to be used for work? There is no requirement for you to cycle to work for a specified number of days throughout the year and there is no special requirement for you to record your trips. You can also use the bike for leisure at weekends and on holiday, although a bike purchased under Cyclescheme should be ridden for at least 50% of time during trips to work. The Inland Revenue does not expect you to keep a record of mileage.

Q

What happens at the end of the hire period? Why can’t my employer just give me the bike at the end of the scheme? It’s your employers choice at the end of the hire period whether they opt to sell you the bike. Typically employers will choose to sell the bike back to you for a fair market value: this is the amount that a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller, in this case to transfer the ownership of the bike to the employee. In our experience the market shows values of these types of bikes and equipment to be around 5% of the original retail value after 12 months. Please note that such practices and expectations are merely indications based on historical factors and cannot be guaranteed. This fair market value payment is essential if the you are to legitimately own the bike after receiving tax benefits throughout the hire period. The fair market value amount cannot be stated before or during the hire period as this could be considered a benefit in kind, which does not warrant any tax-relief.

A

Q A

Can my employer pass on VAT savings? For employers who are VAT registered it may be possible for savings to be passed on to employees. Organisations such as financial institutions, charities and NHS trusts are usually unable to take advantage of VAT savings.

Q A

Does my employer require a Standard Consumer Credit Licence? The Government has issued a blanket consumer credit licence to all participating employers buying bike packages up to £1000 including VAT.

Pedalling facts

Guim Valls Teruel, a 33-year-old Spaniard from Barcelona, is attempting to cycle across five continents on an electric bike, starting from the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing in May and concluding three years later in east London in time for the start of the 2012 Olympics.

When you sign the Hire Agreement, the resulting relationship is defined under the terms and conditions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974. If your employer wishes to supply bikes over £1000 then they will need to buy a consumer credit licence from the OFT, which takes around six weeks to come through and lasts for five years.

Q A

Who’s responsible for the bike during the hire period? What happens if it gets stolen? You’re responsible for maintaining the bike while you’re using it; it’s a condition of the hire agreement that you’ll sign. It’s definitely worth investing in a good lock and insurance (see p20), because if the bike gets stolen you’ll have to complete your payments for it through the salary sacrifice scheme from your net pay, without any tax savings.

Q A

Can I get a sale bike through the scheme? Bike shops pay a small commission to Cyclescheme when they supply a bike. If a bike shop has marked a bike down in the sale then they may wish to add a 10 or 12% surcharge to if they supply it through the scheme. This is only permitted if made explicit to the customer before a quotation form is completed.

WHERE TWO WHEELS MEET© ”May the wind be with you”

Real men don’t shave their legs dude.

dude, Real men aren’t afraid to shave their legs.

Are you guys wearing matching lycra?

Come to The Cycle Show 2009 for a peek into the wonderful world of bikes and all the characters that ride them.

WWW.CYCLESHOW.CO.UK

9 -11 October 2009 Earls Court 1

Summer 2009

Pedalling facts

A pedal-powered airship will take to the skies above Nottingham later this year. The engineering students at Nottingham University selected the helium-filled blimp as their 4th year project after it was suggested by supervisor Dr Janet Folkes, a balloonist who holds more than 40 world records.

Lords throw out ‘lock it and lose it’ law A proposed law which would have allowed council contractors to remove without notice bikes chained to railings, whether they were causing an obstruction or not, has been thrown out by a committee of the House of Lords after sustained opposition from the London Cycling Campaign (LCC). The proposal was part of a package of measures proposed by Transport for London and the London Councils and backed by the Mayor’s office. The LCC pointed out that that it would be a severe disincentive to cycling in London at a time when Transport for London and the Mayor’s office were actively encouraging more people to get on their bikes.

Speaking for the LCC before the Lords’ committee, the organisation’s counsel Ralph Smyth said, “this aspect of the Bill would have a chilling effect on people’s desire to cycle”. Peers were told that local councils already have powers to remove bicycles that are an obstruction or which are abandoned. The rejected law could have been applied to thousands of bikes that were not attached to bike stands. LCC’s chief executive Koy Thomson said, “we’re delighted that committee members decided to throw out legislation that could have been a serious deterrent to cycling. Cycle stands in London are overflowing with bikes, even in the winter. We need more bike stands, not new laws making parking more difficult.” 10

Season in the saddle

A

spiring author, York City Football Club supporter and cyclist Simon Hood is preparing to combine his three passions by following his team next season on his bike. The 32-year-old supporter of the Blue Square Premiership team will quit his job this summer to spend 10 months attending every single York City match, home and away, provided the team isn’t relegated this season. “I've always been looking to write a book and this is a hook I can hang two interests on,” says Simon. “It just seemed a ludicrous enough proposition to intrigue people outside York and their league.” Despite his admittedly “pessimistic” attitude towards the club, Simon says he is reasonably confident they will stay up this season, meaning he would start cycling in mid-August until April or even mid-May if they do well enough to make the play-offs. He says the trip will be a test of his commitment to his team. “I suppose subconsciously I must love York City,” he said. “Football’s a fickle mistress.” Simon has cycled from Lands End to John O’Groats on a budget of £5

a day, but 10 months on the road will be a bit different and entirely dictated by the fixture list. “Torquay would be the longest trek at the moment,” he says, “But there's a good chance they'll go up this season: fingers crossed. This week would have been tricky - York on Saturday, Weymouth on Thursday,

“I really want Grimsby to get relegated to give me an easy fortnight.” Ebbsfleet on Sunday. Overall it should be feasible and if it comes down to it I can always improvise. Or cheat. It's making me want awful things for other teams. I really want Grimsby to get relegated to give me an easy fortnight.” Simon’s busy sourcing clothes and panniers, and finding corporate sponsors, but wants to hear from anyone interested in helping him raise the £5,000 he needs to get through the 10 months. He will also be raising money for the York branch of the Alzheimers Society. For more information on the challenge, go to www.bicyclekicks.co.uk

on test...

bspoke clothing hits the shops

B

spoke is a range of clothing for style-conscious cycle commuters who want clothing designed for cycling that can just as easily be worn when not cycling, and which isn't going to cost an arm and a leg either. It launched in London this Spring. Muted colours, black, sand and taupes are the order of the day in the first bspoke collection which definitely goes for the understated look. On offer are a men's and women's range comprising trousers, jerseys, base layers and jackets. The base

The team behind bspoke really did their homework, using focus groups made up of non cyclists, new cyclists and regular cyclists to hone their designs layer is 10 guage merino wool costing £49.99, while the Richmond and Holland cotton trousers are both £60; the men's Edgware mid-layer is £89.99 as is the women's equivalent the Kensington. The two jackets in the range – the men's Holborn and the women's Angel – come in a choice of black or 'stucco' which is a sort of beige to the rest of us. The Angel in particular doesn't look like a conventional cycling jacket as it features a hood and a belted waist. Cycling specific touches, including thumbloops on zips and discrete reflective piping, feature

Pedalling facts

A Cannondale Super Six bike ridden by top pro Ivan Basso in his comeback race has been auctioned for charity on a Japanese website for 850,000 yen – that’s about £5,700. The custom-painted bike features a Japanese warrior theme and was raced by Basso to a third-place finish.

on the garments. The range first got an airing at last year's Cycle Show and public reaction was so positive that bspoke knew they were on to something. The team behind bspoke really did their homework when it came to designing the clothes, using focus groups made up of non-cyclists, new cyclists and regular cyclists to hone their designs. All that research will now be put to the test as bspoke hits the shops; initially it will sell in London and other major cities before moving to cycle stores nationwide.

t a h t Fill

! e l ho

Cyclists (and their bikes) are particularly vulnerable to the dangers posed by potholed roads which is why for the last few years cyclists's organisation the CTC has been running the Fill That Hole campaign asking cyclists to notify councils about potholes they spot while out riding – particularly those that could be dangerous. The thaw after this year's hard winter revealed a new crop of holes in our roads which has lead the CTC to repeat that call for cyclists to report as many as they find. So if you spot a hole while out on your bike cut along to www.fillthathole. org.uk and report it. Councils are responsible for dealing with potholes on A and B roads, but they can't deal with them if they don't know they are there. Once notified though they have a statutory responsibility to fill them in, if they don't and an accident occurs – they will be liable. www.cyclescheme.co.uk 11

Summer 2009

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

Tortec Reflector Mudguards £24.99

Niterider CherryBomb £17.99

Niterider’s bright LED rear light is visible from up to a mile away on a straight road. Yet it also shines light to the sides, making you visible at junctions. Two AAA batteries power it for 20 hours steady or 40 hours flashing. It will fit to your seatpost or clip to seatpack or rucksack. www.niterider.com

Spray from wet roads soon soaks shoes and clothes. Full-length mudguards like Tortec’s are your best defence. The front has a breakaway safety fitting to prevent it jamming, the rear has a reflector, and both have reflective edges for side-on visibility. www.zyro.co.uk

Bontrager Sport Wind Vest £39.14

A vest or gilet is an ideal extra layer for changeable UK weather. It protects you from windchill and light showers yet will pack into a jersey pocket when not required. This one is well cut for cycling and has reflective trim. Sizes XS-XXL. There’s a women’s version too. www.bontrager.com

Blackburn AirStik SL £22.99

Weighing just 59g and as short as a Biro, this mini pump is as mini as they come. It will fit in any pocket or seatpack. The small volume pumped per stroke means it’s best for skinny road bike tyres, which it can inflate to over 100psi. Connects to Presta valves only. www.blackburndesign.com

50 Quirky Bike Rides £9.99

Cycle through the longest ford in the country, up or down our steepest hill, onto Europe’s tiniest ferry – or try 47 other unusual cycling experiences. This book underscores the fact that exploring by bike is fun. Most rides aren’t too challenging either. www.eye-books.com

12

Shimano M324 pedals £54.99

Clipless pedals improve your pedalling efficiency, but require bike shoes with matching cleats. These have an SPD pedal on one side and a normal flat pedal on the other. It’s a perfect compromise for a bike that you want to ride in bike shoes and street shoes. www.shimano.com

Stuff Giro Rift helmet £49.99

Mountain bike helmets are better than road bike helmets for commuting, because they come with a peak that will keep sun and rain out of your eyes. The Rift has good ventilation so you won’t overheat, and a fine-tuned fitting system so it sits snugly on your head. www.giro.com

Gore Balance Bike Short £40.00

Don’t want skin tight Lycra for summer commuting or weekend riding? These thigh-length baggies look like normal shorts but have a removable padded inner short for cycling comfort, as well as two front pockets and a zipped rear one. www.gorebikewear.com

Clif bars £15.60 for 12

Organic energy bars that taste like what they are – food – Clif bars are a world away from the wood-shavingsand-glue consistency of some cycling snacks. Stick a couple in your pocket and they’ll keep you riding for hours. www.clifbar.com

Buff £13.00

It’s a tube of stretch polyester fabric usually worn like a bandana to keep the sun or cold off your head, either on its own or under a helmet. It can also be worn as a scarf, headband, balaclava or hair band. www.buffwear.co.uk

Bloc Leopard glasses £50.00

For cycling, glasses keep not just sun but also wind, grit and insects out of your eyes. Bloc’s lightweight Leopard glasses offer wraparound wind protection and good peripheral vision. There are three interchangeable lenses so you can swap them to suit the season. www.bloceyewear.com

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 13

Summer 2009

Get fit for Sum How to use your commute to look and feel 10 years younger

S

ummer is peeking over the horizon so now’s the ideal time to take advantage of the better weather and get fit for the holiday season. The good news is that cycling to work is an excellent way to get in shape, and you’ll be saving travel costs and gym fees into the bargain. You’ll also turn frustrating commuting time into efficient exercise time. Perfect! Cycling will tone up your muscles, improve your cardio-vascular system and get rid of excess fat. It’ll make you look younger and it’s a fantastic stress-buster too. There really isn’t a down side. Here’s how to make sure you you get the maximum fitness for your efforts…

14

1 Keep it consistent Riding regularly is the key to getting in shape and staying healthy. Gaining fitness is a step-by-step process; if you ride for a few days then miss a fortnight, you’ll lose the improvements you’ve made and have to start again. But if you ride consistently, you’re continually building on the fitness you’re already got. So if you really want to say goodbye to the spare tyre around your middle, you need to bring cycling into your lifestyle. Make riding to and from work part of your daily habit so you don’t even think about it and you’ll be on the road to long-term fitness.

2 Go the long way home The weather’s good, the evenings are long, you’re on your bike anyway… why not take a detour on the way home from work and do some exploring? Ride for just an extra 15mins and you’ll use up 100-250 calories. Do that regularly and you’ll soon start to shift the pounds and notice real gains in your fitness.

mer! 3 Mix it up

You might have heard about your ‘fat burning zone’. It’s based on the idea that you’ll burn off more body fat if you exercise at a low intensity.

Trouble is, it’s nonsense. It is true that a higher proportion of your fuel comes from your body fat when you take it steady on the bike, but you also use up far fewer calories overall. Plus, if you ride harder, your metabolism will stay higher for longer afterwards, so you’ll carry on burning more fat while you’re at your desk talking to Maggie from accounts. We’re not saying you need to go nuts every time you get on your bike, but when you do feel like giving it the full Chris Hoy treatment, go for it!

5 great fitness tips

4 Control your appetite Some people have a tendency to start raiding the fridge at every opportunity when they up their level of exercise. Resist that urge. Essentially, if you want to lose weight, you need to use up more energy than you take on board through food and drink, so that your body will dip into its fat reserves. Riding a bike increases your energy expenditure but you won’t lose weight if you increase your energy intake at the same time. So stick to a balanced, healthy diet, drink plenty of water to replace the fluid you’re losing during exercise and watch your weight fall.

5 Listen to your body

on your joints than, say, running, but you still Cycling is a non-weight bearing activity so it’s easier along, especially around your knees. Chances need to be aware of any aches and pains that do come bike shop and incorporating a few simple are, getting your riding position checked by your local niggles. Don’t ignore a problem or you could end stretching exercises into your life will cure any little put a big dent in your fitness. up with a lengthy lay-off from cycling, and that’ll

The weather’s good, the evenings are long, you’re on your bike anyway… why not take a detour on the way home from work and do some exploring? www.cyclescheme.co.uk 15

Summer 2009

in detail...

Bike test

A triple chainset gives a great range of gears for commutes and longer excursions

The brake cable runs inside the frame for a clean look

Other rated rides... Ridgeback Flight 03 £699

With a road-oriented Shimano 18-speed transmission and sure-footed stopping courtesy of front and rear disc brakes, the Flight 03 is well set up for everything from short hops to longer weekend excursions. www.ridgebackbikes.co.uk

16

Trek 7.5FX £575

Trek’s stylish FX range goes from the sub-£300 7.0FX to the £1650 top-end 7.9. The mid-range 7.5 has a Carbon fork to cut down on the road buzz, and the Trek’s new clip-in mudguard system makes fitting ‘guards a breeze www.trekbikes.com

On test...

Merida Speeder T3 £629

Looking for a bike that’ll handle a daily commute but also the odd longer fitness ride? Then the Speeder should be right up your street

H

ybrid is a term that’s used to cover a huge range of machines from cheapas-chips shoppers to £2k carbon superbikes, but recently the big growth has been in mid-range city bikes like the Merida Speeder, and they’re very popular as commuting machines. One of the main reasons is versatility. If you’re going to have just one bike the Speeder makes a great case for being it. The Speeder is great as is, but the option of adding mudguards or a rack means that you can spec the bike exactly as you need it. And if you include the extra bits in your Cyclescheme quote, you’ll save money on them too! The Speeder’s Aluminium frame and carbon-blade fork are nicely constructed and finished, and hanging

The bike’s happy to spin along at a fair lick and in fact it’s a nice place to sit on even fairly lengthy rides, which is good news if you decide to take a fitness-boosting detour home off them are some good quality components for the money, including a chainset that runs on external bearings for extra stiffness, and a high-end Shimano Ultegra rear mech. The gear cables run under the bottom bracket, and the rear brake cable runs inside the top tube, giving an uncluttered look.

Specialized Sirrus Sport £399

The little brother of Cyclescheme’s top selling bike, the Sirrus Comp, the sport model doesn’t get a Carbon fork or seatstays but it’s still an excellent package for the money, with a 24-speed Shimano transmission. www.specialized.com

The Speeder handles well Tech Specs too. The steering is precise but Price: £629 not especially quick, making Weight: 22.5lb / 10.2kg Frame: Hydroformed it a very stable ride that won’t Aluminium spring any unwelcome Fork: Carbon Drivetrain: FSA Gossamer surprises. It’s also a very triple chainset, Shimano comfortable bike to pilot and Ultegra/Deore Wheels: Shimano Tiagra/ this is down to the upright Mavic CXP22 rims position, the reasonably soft Other: Kenda 32mm tyres saddle and the big Kenda 32mm tyres which will handle unsurfaced paths or cobbles as well as city tarmac. The bike’s happy to spin along at a fair lick and in fact it’s a nice place to sit on even fairly lengthy rides, which is good news if you decide to take a fitness-boosting detour home (see p14). The triple chainset and nine speed cassette give you all the gears you’re ever likely to need, even over the hilliest terrain, and the Avid brakes will stop you without any fuss on the downhill bits. Overall the Speeder is a very likeable bike that’ll be a good off-the-shelf solution for many people. The option of adding a rack and ‘guards on the scheme Triple chainset The Speeder’s triple just adds to the chainset gives you a choice of three Speeder’s appeal. cogs (52, 42 and 30 teeth), giving you a wider range of gears than you’d www.meridafind on many bikes. bikes.com

Jargon Buster

Marin San Anselmo £879

Marin’s San Anselmo uses Shimano’s Alfine hub gear for a low-maintenance, fuss free commute. You also get a suspension seatpost to take the sting out the potholes and speed bumps. www.marin.co.uk

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 17

Summer 2009

Example

Package

£62 9

Me T3 rida Sp bike eed er

Add safety equipment for the full bike-to-work experience!

+

£27.99

.99 £Ab1u2s Cit4y Xw-.aPlubuss.be ww chain

+

+

Tor Tec re fle www.zyro. ctor guards co.uk

9 9.if9thelm.ceotm 5 £GiroR w.giro ww

Total retail price

£841.97

Example† Cyclescheme savings for basic and higher rate tax payers

Price† after savings for basic rate tax payer

£498.15

Price† after savings for higher rate tax payer

£426.38

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

At the end of the hire period, under a separate agreement, the ownership may be transferred to the hirer for a fair market value payment. Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. Not all employers can pass on VAT savings. Some employers use finance to purchase the bikes, which will affect savings.

18

Basic rate

Higher rate

20% Tax, 11% NI, 15% VAT

40% Tax, 1% NI, 15% VAT

Bike package retail price

£841.97

Bike package retail price

£841.97

Income tax, VAT & NI saved

£343.82

Income tax, VAT & NI saved

£415.59

Gross monthly repayments

£70.16

Gross monthly repayments

£70.16

Net monthly payments

£41.51

Net monthly payments

£35.53

Total cost of bike package

£498.15

Total cost of bike package

£426.38

Summer 2009

Keep your steed sa how to

Thieves want a shiny new bike as much as you do. Don’t let them walk off with it...

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ikes get stolen all the time, sadly. Currently a bicycle is stolen every 71 seconds, that’s nearly 440,000 a year. Most of these thefts – about 90%, in fact – take place in public places, the places you park your bike when you’re in town or popping into the shops. We don’t want to scaremonger here, just point out that theft is an issue with owning a bike. Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to make sure you’re not the next victim. The main thing you need to do is lock the bike: properly, with a good lock, in the right place. Not all thieves will be walking around with three-foot bolt croppers like our friend on the right; most will be opportunists, making off with bikes that are badly locked. Or not locked at all. Turn the page for some advice on what to do, and what not to do...

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Bike security

afe

There’s plenty you can do to make sure you’re not the next victim, and the main thing you need to do is lock the bike: properly, with a good lock, in the right place

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Summer 2009

A well-locked bike Use the best quality lock you can afford. Look for a Sold Secure rating (Gold is best). Solid shackle locks tend to be the most secure.

One of the more vulnerable parts of a lock is the barrel, so make it difficult to get at if you can

Lock the bike in plain view somewhere it won’t be an obstruction. Sometimes thieves pretend to be removing ‘problem’ bikes for the council.

Lock the bike to something that’s as sturdy as the lock, otherwise the thief could cut that instead! If you can take your front wheel off, then do so and use it to fill the shackle of your lock. The more there is in there, the harder it is to attack.

Don’t do this... ...and because the lock isn’t through the wheel the thief can just wheel or ride it away.

This bike is locked to a pole that a thief can reasonably reach the top of, with a lock long enough to fit over the sign

A quick lift is all it takes to free the bike...

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Simple maintenance

Don’t do this either... This bike is locked with a cable lock and cheap padlock – the lock is the weakest link

...and our lightfingered friend makes off with the wheels.

It takes about 10 seconds to snip the lock...

Top locks

Kryptonite New York M18 £89.99 We’ve said it before (in issue 1) and we’ll say it again: Kryptonite’s New York locks have built up an enviable reputation over the years for being among the safest out there and the M18, with its 18mm hardened steel shackle and armoured barrel, is about as indesructible as they come. www.kryptonite.com

Extra cover As we’ve explained the best way to protect a bike is to lock it properly with a good lock, but is it worth having a second line of defence – some insurance in case the worst should happen? If you get a bike through Cyclescheme the answer is definitely yes. That’s because while you are paying for the bike through the scheme it is effectively on hire, so if you lose it you will have to pay off the remaining balance from your net pay (ie at full retail value with no tax savings), and that would be no fun at all.

So what are the insurance options?

Abus Granit CityChain X-Plus £124.99

It’s an expensive bit of kit but the CityChain is a very, very sturdy security device. We’ve been at it with the bolt croppers, the persuader and the cold chisel and barely marked the thing. You’d need to be a thief packing some serious tools to get through this thing. www.abus.de

For most people there are two choices: invest in a standalone cycle insurance policy or add the cover to your home contents insurance. Recent research by Moneysupermarket.com found that you can add a bike to your home contents insurance policy for as little as £14 per year, but also found that it paid to shop around with the amount and cost of cover varying quite widely. If you do have a bike stolen,

insist on replacing it via your local shop and not via an insurer’s ‘preferred’ supplier. Standalone cycle cover is offered by companies like Cycleguard. Depending on where you live expect to pay between £40 and £60 per year for a bike costing £500, or £80 - £120 for a £1,000 machine. Many cycling organisations also offer cover, the CTC’s Cyclecover (www.cyclecover.org. uk) scheme allows you to insure up to five bikes with a combined value of up to £12,500 on one policy. For most people, bikes to a total value of £1,000 would cost between £80 and £100 to insure, again it depends where you live. The London Cycling Campaign (www.lcc.org.uk) offers a discounted insurance package to its members. Whoever you insure the bike with, it’s also worth checking the small print for what insurers will and will not pay out for. Some won’t pay out if you leave your bike in the garden overnight and if your bike is stolen away from your home most will require that you have taken the precaution of locking it, in many cases this means to an imovable object as described in our locking guide.

Abus Cobra cable 1.4m £9.99

Not a good way to keep your bike secure but a good option if you want to attach things – wheels, saddle, helmet – to your main lock. www.abus.de

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It came from the land. One day it will return to the land. howies.co.uk

Natural merino baselayers for riding and living. 15% off for all Cycle Scheme members. Just quote offer code: CSHW92

essentials It’s not all about the bike: choosing the right kit will make all the difference to your ride. Here’s the lowdown on a few things you’ll wonder how you lived without

Essential kit:

Bags

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or cycling around town, a rucksack or courier bag is a convenient way to carry your things. You don’t need to ride a bicycle with a carrier rack and you don’t need to detach anything at your destination: you can just get off your bike and go. When time is tight or you’re

Jargon Buster

Litres Luggage volume is measured in litres. Picture a stack of one-litre orange juice cartons. (Although you’ll only get 20 in a 20-litre bag by emptying them in!)

making more than one stop, you’ll appreciate this quick and easy transition. The key to comfortable cycling with any backpack is not to overload it. Extra weight on your shoulders means more weight on Banjo Brothers your saddle. Pick a small or waterproof rucksack £79.95 medium bag like these and Underneath the tough nylon exterior of this 24.5-litre rucksack, there’s a fully waterproof only fill it when you need to. inner layer. It’s ideal for carrying things that

Ogio Pastrana Signature backpack £34.99

An organised backpack saves you time and keeps separate those items that shouldn’t mix – like peanut butter sandwiches and business papers, or a dribbly water bottle and an iPod. This 21-litre Ogio pack has plenty of places to put things. There are two main pockets, an internal organiser panel, and two mesh outer pockets. There’s even a fleecy MP3-player pocket, complete with earphone port, for when you’re off the bike. It’s made from heavy duty nylon. www.ogio.com

need protection from the rain, like a laptop. The wide padded shoulder straps are supplemented with chest and waist straps to keep the bag stable, so it won’t sway about when you’re pedalling hard. Large reflective strips provide night-time visibility, and there’s even a side pocket for a small U-lock. www.banjobrothers.com

Timbuk2 Classic messenger bag (medium) £58.71

As a testimony to its appeal, Timbuk2’s Classic courier bag has been in production for 18 years. Available in four sizes, it’s made from ballistic nylon with a waterproof liner. There’s a cross-strap to stabilise the bag, and inside there are pockets for your phone, business cards, and more. The strap tails are reflective and there’s a tab for an LED light. www.timbuk2.com

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Summer 2009

Essential kit:

Panniers T

he further you’re riding and the more weight you’re carrying, the more sense it makes to carry some or all of the load on your bike instead of your back. There will be less weight on your shoulders and backside, so fewer aches, and you’re less

likely to get your work shirt sweaty. Panniers offer the biggest capacity. To fit a pair – or you can use just one – you will need a rear carrier rack fixed to your bike’s frame. Your bike shop can fit this for you, if your bike is suitable. Most are, although sportier road and mountain bikes aren’t.

Carradice Bike Bureau £64.95

It’s a satchel with pannier fittings on the back so it can fix to a carrier rack – at an angle, to provide heel clearance. A flap covers the back of the bag to keep you and it looking businesslike off the bike. The Bike Bureau is made in Britain from a tough, rainproof waxed cotton fabric called Cotton Duck, while the straps are leather. Inside there’s a padded, removable laptop pouch and pockets for a mobile phone and other accessories. A pocket in the lid lets you stash cycling gear separately from office stuff. www.carradice.co.uk

Other luggage... Basil Basimply basket £26.99

Where would a shopping bike be without a basket? This one fits to bracket that attaches to the bike’s stem (included in the price) and it clips on in seconds. When you’re getting on and off the bike and carrying only a few items, it’s very convenient. It measures 25 × 20 × 20 centimetres. www.basil.nl

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Carradice Super C saddlebag £54.95

No carrier rack on your bike? No problem. This 23-litre Cotton Duck saddlebag will accommodate any commuting load. It attaches to loops or rails under your saddle, although Carradice’s quickrelease SQR seatpost bracket – an extra £25.95 – is a better fixture. Smaller bags are also available. www.carradice.co.uk

Agu Ventura 130 £45.99

You don’t need huge touring panniers when you’re riding to work: a 12-litre bag like this one should carry all your essentials. And if not, use two! The modest size means that heel clearance isn’t a problem. Quick release hooks fit onto almost any carrier rack, and when you detach the bag there’s a carry handle. A front pocket provides separate storage, as do the two mesh pockets. Reflective strips and a tab for an LED light are handy at night. www.agu.com

Jargon Buster

Heel clearance To prevent your heels clipping your pannier(s) as you pedal, larger ones are contoured for clearance. Smaller ones can be a squarer shape.

Essential Kit Bikebins £29.50 each

Most panniers are bags. Bikebins are robust boxes made from 2.5mm thick polyethylene. This keeps the contents not just dry but safe, because the lid has a lock. The Bikebin itself can also be locked to the carrier rack. When you want to carry it around, there’s a handle and a detachable shoulder strap. Each Bikebin holds 17 litres. If you need more capacity, there are eyelets for strapping additional items to the top. A range of colours is available. www.bikebins.com

Lezyne L-Caddy seatpack £17.99

A seatpack keeps all get-youhome essentials in one place: under your saddle. The L-Caddy easily holds two spare innertubes, a puncture kit, cash, and a multitool. There’s a separate pocket for a mobile phone. The zips are water resistant and there’s a reflective tab for an LED. www.lezyne.com

Basil Blossom Farm double pannier bag £35.99

Panniers can be pretty as well as practical. This Dutch double pannier set comes with a flowery design on its water-repellent fabric. Reflective strips front and rear provide night-time security, and the capacity of 35-litres will swallow not just commuting loads but a decent amount of groceries. The pannier set fastens to the carrier with straps, so it will fit any type of rear rack. www.basil.nl

Topeak Tourguide compact bar bag £29.99

A favourite of touring cyclists, a handlebar bag keeps important items like your camera, phone and wallet in reach. The main compartment is padded and there are two zipped side pockets. A raincover will shrug off showers, and it converts to a bum-bag off the bike. Capacity is two litres. www.topeak.com

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Summer 2009

Essential kit:

Pumps T

ry to keep your bike’s tyres inflated to the pressure rating that’s stamped on the side of them. This vastly reduces the risk of punctures and at the same time makes the bike much more efficient – and therefore easier to ride. The narrower and higher pressure your bike’s tyres are, the more often you’ll need to top them up with air. Once a fortnight should

Truflo Evolution £19.99

do for fatter tyres (35mmplus); once a week for skinnier ones. To make this task as painless as possible, use a floor pump (also called a ‘track pump’) with an in-built pressure gauge. Floor pumps are great. What they’re not is easily portable. So you’ll want a second, smaller pump to carry with you on the bike for emergencies. While you’ll seldom need to use this, one day it will be vital.

With its fold-out foot stand, flexible hose and folding T-shaped handle, the Evolution is like a floor pump in miniature. Since it’s braced on the floor rather than by your other hand, it’s less strenuous to use than similar-sized pumps. It will inflate road bike tyres up to 140psi too – a figure only bodybuilders will reach with many hand pumps. The pump head internals can be reversed to fit Schrader or Presta valves, and the aluminium pump barrel provides durability. It comes with a bracket to fix it to your bike frame. www.madison.co.uk

Blackburn frame pump £29.99

Jargon Buster

Tyre pressure Pump gauges show either psi (pounds per square inch) or bar (multiples of atmospheric pressure). If you need to convert between them, 1bar = 14.5psi.

The traditional, long-barrel frame-fit pump is bigger but easier to use than a mini pump. Blackburn’s is capable of 160psi, so is ideal for road bikes with high-pressure tyres. Its pump head locks in place with a thumb lever, and can be converted for Schrader or Presta use. The shaft is springloaded, so the pump wedges in place under the top tube or between pegs on a seatstay. Four lengths (XS-L) are available to fit different frame sizes. www.blackburndesign.com

Spares & repairs Kenda Kwik Seal innertube £6.50

These innertubes are self-sealing, thanks to a layer of liquid latex on the inside. Small holes caused by thorns or glass are plugged as the liquid hardens. Some air will escape before it does so, so you’ll want a pump – but not a repair kit! The tubes come in most road and mountain bike tyre sizes. www.kendauk.com

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Pinhead locking skewer set £60.00

Thieves are just as happy to steal bits of your bike as the whole thing. Quick release levers make that easy. This security skewer set makes it very difficult. Without the proper key, your wheels, seatpost and fork aren’t going anywhere, giving peace of mind if you lock up your bike in town. www.pinheadcomponents.com

on test...

Jargon Buster

Presta A valve used on many bicycle innertubes. Unlike Schrader valves (aka car tyre valves), the pump won’t just press on. Ask your bike shop for a demonstration.

SKS Airgun CO2 pump £18.99

Instant inflation without the effort, thanks to a tiny cylinder of compressed CO2 gas, the Airgun will put up to 115psi into a road bike tyre or 44psi into a fat mountain bike tyre. A control valve lets you regulate the gas to inflate fully or just top up a tyre. The Airgun is a racer’s favourite and handy for anyone who travels light: it’s just 100g, including the cartridge, and 125mm long. A pack of five replacement CO2 cartridges costs £11.99. www.sks-germany.com

Topeak Joe Blow Sport £32.99

It’s a sturdy and affordable floor pump, which will quickly inflate the fattest tyres or put up to 160psi into narrow race tyres. The handle has elastomer pads to improve comfort when you’re pumping to high pressures, while the base and barrel are steel and should last forever. The long hose has a dual Presta/ Schrader pump head that locks securely onto the innertube valve. Clips keep the hose tidy when the pump isn’t in use, and when it is an easy-to-read pressure gauge takes the guesswork out of tyre inflation. www.topeak.com

Bontrager Air Support Road £17.99 It takes persistence and hundreds of strokes to inflate a high pressure tyre with most mini pumps. The Air Support is faster, reaching 110psi with fewer strokes because the pump is dual-action: it also pumps on the back stroke. A fold-out handle gives a more comfortable grip for your hand whilst you’re at it. The lockable pump head can be converted between Presta and Schrader use. It can be fitted to your bike frame by the bottle cage. www.bontrager.com

Lezyne Metal Kit £5.49

A puncture kit for minimalists, Lezyne’s is a 75 × 35mm sleek metal case with a rubber plug at one end to keep its contents dry. Inside are six pre-glued patches, an innertube roughener (to make the patches stick better) and a tyre boot, which can temporarily fix a slashed tyre. Just add tyre levers and pump or CO2 inflator. www.lezyne.com

Pragmasis Shed Shackle £42

Bolting this bracket to the inside of a wooden shed gives you a secure locking point for your bike, whether you use a U-lock or a big chain. It attaches with shear nuts that can’t simply be undone with a spanner, so burglars can’t take your bike without taking half of your shed with them. www.torc-anchors.com

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Summer 2009

Masking Pollution When you’re thinking about protection, don’t forget your lungs!

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he Olympics in China last year highlighted the issues surrounding air pollution, with some members of the US team arriving at Beijing airport wearing face masks. If you stand by any busy London street on a weekday morning it won’t be long until you see a cyclist who’s donned the mask for the daily commute: Mask wearing is on the increase, with Respro, makers of the poplular techno mask, reporting a sharp rise in sales. But do you need one? If you walk through any major city you’ll inhale small quantities of pollen, dust, particles from diesel exhausts and various nasty sounding and carcinogenic chemicals. London’s far from the worst offender – Cairo topped a 2004 survey with 169 pollutant micrograms per cubic metre of air, whereas London’s level was a more respectable 21 – and the air in other UK cities is fresher still, but there’s some fairly weighty names getting behind the masks. Keith Prowse, chairman of the British Lung Foundation, has been quoted as saying that he wouldn’t cycle in London without a mask. “Your nose filters out larger particles in the air but it’s the smaller ones that are most damaging. They get stuck in your lungs and need extra mucus to clear them, which can start you coughing, and the particles can inflame the lung tissue or air tubes, increasing the risk of infection”. Masks can also help hay fever sufferers, stopping the pollen from reaching your nose. If you routinely cycle in areas of particularly heavy traffic, you suffer from hayfever or you find that you’re very sensitive to pollutants then a mask can be a useful addition to your cycling armoury. You may get a few funny looks – after all, it’s not the most appealing look – and wearing one takes a bit of getting used to, but like a pair of gloves or a decent helmet it’s protection if you need it. 30

How a mask works...

2

Air cleaned through carbon filter

Nose clip

1

3 Polluted air in

For more info on masks contact Respro (UK) Ltd on 020 7721 7300 or visit www.respro.com

Air, water and heat expelled through one-way exhalation valve

Wide open spaces don’t just exist in your boss’s head.

Get a FREE information pack to discover great places to cycle near you. SMS messages will be charged at standard network rates. Please read our privacy policy at www.sustrans.org.uk to see how we use your personal information. This offer is promoted by Sustrans Ltd - registered charity no: England & Wales 326550, Scotland SCO39263.

How to apply Visit www.freeyourbike.org.uk Text PACK to 07903 100 100

Summer 2009

in detail...

Bike test

The front hub dynamo powers both lights, meaning you’ll never be caught out after dark

The Carbon seatpost with a shock absorbing insert smooths the ride

Other rated rides... Giant CRS2.0 City W £450

This good value step-throughframed commuter from Giant isn’t as fully featured as the Specialized but you still get 24 gears, a rack and mudguards for the wet days. And you’ll have change for some lights... www.giant-bicycles.com

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Cannondale Vintage Basic Feminine £999

If you want to max out your Cyclescheme voucher then how about this beauty from Cannondale? As well as lights, ‘guards and rack you get a classic Brooks leather saddle and plenty of retro charm. www.cannondale.com

On test...

Specialized Globe City 3 £749

Want a bike that’ll handle the streets no matter what the seasons throw at you? This well-equipped commuter could be the answer...

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f you only ride in to work every now and then you’ll still be doing your bit to get fit and happy and ease congestion, but if you’re thinking of ditching the car for good then you’ll need a steed that’ll cope with allweather, four season riding. The Specialized Globe City 3 is just such a bike: a comtfortable, well-equipped city machine that comes equipped with everything you’ll need to cope with commuting in all conditions. The heart of the bike is a sturdy Aluminium step-through frame that’s mated with a Carbon fork. The fork features

When the nights draw in you’ll need to both see and be seen, and the Globe City 3 has a complete lighting system that’s powered by a dynamo in the front hub Specialized’s Zertz inserts which help to smooth out the ride; there’s also one in the Carbon seatpost. The chunky 38mm tyres add to the comfort, making the City a very pleasant bike to ride around town. It’s not bothered by the occasional pothole and even lends itself pretty well to unsurfaced paths and cobbles, if your ride in is a bit more adventurous. The transmission is mostly built from Shimano’s midrange Deore mountain biking groupset, but you don’t have to venture off-road to take advantage of the wide range of gears and high build quality that Deore offers. The 27 speeds include some very low gears, so the City is a great choice for a hilly commute, or if you’re planning to stop for a week’s worth of shopping on the way home! Specialized have sensibly fitted a full-length guard over the top of the

Trek Navigator 3.0 WSD £420

Trek’s Navigator range of bikes are well equipped to handle the daily grind. This step-through model has a front suspension fork and a suspension seatpost to make your journeys as comfy as possible www.trekbikes.com

chain which means that you can cycle in your work clothes without fear of snagging them or covering Price: £749 Weight: 29.3lb / 13.3kg them with greasy stains. Frame: Aluminium step Where this bike really scores through is its out-of-the-box versatility. Fork: Carbon with Zertz inserts You get a full set of mudguards to Drivetrain: Shimano keep the road spray off your togs Deore 27 speed when it rains, and a pannier rack is Wheels: Deore/Alex 700c Other: Rack, mudguards, included in the price too. Pannier lights, flat pedals bags are many a commuter’s favourite choice of cycling luggage because the weight is carried by the bike, not your back, which means you arrive fresher at the office. See p46 for more tips on no-sweat cycling. When the nights draw in you’ll need to both see and be seen, and the Globe City 3 has a complete lighting system that’s powered by a dynamo in the front hub. There’s no need to remember to fit lights or charge batteries: the lights are there and ready for when you need them, so you’ll never get caught out by a late finish in the office, or a post-work trip to the nearest watering hole! The City isn’t a cheap commuting option at £749, but if your’e planning to use the bike instead of the car then you’ll be making massive savings on petrol and parking and you’ll be getting fitter too, so it’s a good value investment in the long term, and this Step through frames are the is a bike that’s designed traditional ladies’ design although and constructed for some unisex bikes use them too. The years of trouble-free lowered top tube makes getting on commuting in all weather. easier, and you can ride in a skirt. www.specialized.com

Tech Specs

Jargon Buster

Marin Redwood £439 Marin’s Redwood also scores a suspension fork and seatpost but the look is a bit more stripped down for fair weather riding. The mountain bike 26” wheels should take knocks around town in their stride. www.marin.co.uk

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Summer 2009

Example

Package

Add safety equipment for the full bike-to-work experience!

+

.99 onix £2ec9ializediaChliazemd.com Sp .spec www

Total retail price

£898.48

£74 9

Sp Glo ecialize be C d ity 3

£89 .99

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£29.5 Bikebin pa 0 nnie

www.bikeb r ins.com

Example† Cyclescheme savings for basic and higher rate tax payers

Price† after savings for basic rate tax payer

£527.99

Price† after savings for higher rate tax payer

£451.94

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

At the end of the hire period, under a separate agreement, the ownership may be transferred to the hirer for a fair market value payment. Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. Not all employers can pass on VAT savings. Some employers use finance to purchase the bikes, which will affect savings.

34

Basic rate

Higher rate

20% Tax, 11% NI, 15% VAT

20% Tax, 9.4% NI, 15% VAT

Bike package retail price

£898.48

Bike package retail price

£898.48

Income tax & NI saved

£370.49

Income tax & NI saved

£446.54

Gross monthly repayments

£74.87

Gross monthly repayments

£74.87

Net monthly payments

£44.00

Net monthly payments

£37.66

Total cost of bike package

£527.99

Total cost of bike package

£451.94

Simple maintenance

Tooled up! A few simple tools and skills to help your commute

B

ikes are made up of pretty simple components in the main, and the essential design hasn’t changed much in the last hundred years. This makes them reliable and generally easy to maintain, but it’s good to have a bit of a heads up on what to do if things go wrong... and that’s where we come in! If the bike has a few gremlins your first thought might well be to take it back to the shop and get the experts to give it some TLC. Many shops will offer your new bike a check-up after a few weeks as part of their service. After that you’ll be paying for running repairs, but with a little knowledge and a few basic tools there’s plenty you can do yourself to keep your steed in tip top condition...

Essential tools oils & lubricants: To keep your bike running smoothly you’ll need to keep some bits oiled. Don’t oil the brakes if they squeak though!

Pump: Keeping your tyres pumped up nice and hard is one of the easiest things you can do to make your ride to work a smooth one. See p28 for more information on pumps.

You can pay for running repairs, but with a little knowledge and a few basic tools there’s plenty you can do yourself

tyre levers: These help you to remove the tyres. You can use spoons in an emergency!

Allen keys, spanners & screwdrivers: Most modern bikes use hexagonal allen bolts for most fittings, but for some (eg wheel nuts) you may need a spanner. A good cycling multi-tool will have all of the allen key sizes you need, plus other handy tools.

puncture repair kit: A puncture is the thing most likely to stop you in your tracks, and the first think you should learn to fix!

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Summer 2009

Fixing a puncture If you learn just one bike-fixing skill, this is the one to go for...

B

ikes get punctures. Short of fitting solid tyres (and believe us, you don’t want to do that!) there’s no way to completely stop it happening, though tyres with thorn protection strips and inner tubes filled with sealant to block holes (see below) can dramatically cut the number of times you’ll have to get the puncture repair kit out. But when you do hear that hiss, don’t get deflated: it’s easier than you think to find and plug the hole.

1 Remove the wheel If your bike has V-brakes, release them by squeezing them together and removing the end of the curved ‘noodle’ from its cradle. Flip the quick release or undo the nuts with a spanner, depending on how your wheel is fitted, and take it out. If it’s the rear wheel, shift down to the smallest cog at the back first, the wheel will come out more easily that way.

3 Check for the hole Pump the tube right up – don’t worry, it won’t pop! – and listen for the hiss. If you can’t hear it, running the tube past your lips can help as they’re very sensitive and you can often feel the air escaping. You can use a tub of water and look for the bubbles, but make sure you dry the tube thoroughly after because the patch won’t stick otherwise.

2 Remove the tube Push the tyre away from the rim all the way round the wheel, then hook a tyre lever underneath the tyre and pull it over and out of the wheel. Hook the first lever round a spoke then use a second to work round the tyre. once one side of the tyre is out you’ll be able to pull the inner tube out; don’t forget to check the valve stem to see if there’s a nut that needs undoing!

4 Patch it up Use the sandpaper in the puncture kit to roughen up the area around the hole, then apply a thin coating of rubber solution: it really does only need to be thin. When it’s dry to the touch, remove the foil from the patch and apply it to the tube, pressing hard to make sure there are no air bubbles. That should be your hole fixed!

Top tip...

5 Final checks If you’re plagued with punctures then it might be worth investing in some sealant filled inner tubes. These tubes are filled with a rubber solution that contains tiny fibres and when the tube is punctured the mixture escapes and seals the hole. They’re a bit more expensive and add a bit of weight, but definitely a boon if you’re always hearing that dreaded hiss...

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Remove the thin plastic sheet from the patch, grate some chalk and spread it around to stop the tube sticking. Pump up the tube again to make sure there are no more holes. Run your fingers around the inside of the tyre to see if you can find what made the hole. If you do, work it through the tyre, from the outside to the inside, with a small screwdriver.

6 Put it all back Remove nearly all of the air from the tube so that it’s flat but retains its shape, then fit it back inside the tyre. Fit the tyre back into the rim; use your thumbs if you can, if you need to use a tyre lever then be very careful not to pinch the tube. Part inflate the tyre, check it’s seated in the rim correctly and no tube is showing, then pump it up hard and re-fit the wheel.

Simple maintenance

Basic bike checklist Simple checks to make sure things are running as they should

Y

ou may not want to fix your bike, and be happy for someone else to get their hands dirty! Even so it’s a good idea to run through these simple checks every week or so just to make sure there are no problems. It’ll give you peace of mind, and help you to understand how your bike works. It’s important to remember that while cycling is cheap, it’s not free: Bike parts wear out, and timely replacement can save you money and stress in the long run... Here’s our top six checks.

1 Tyre pressure If you’ve got a pump with a gauge then you can easily inflate your tyres to the recommended pressure; it’ll be written on the sidewall of the tyre. If not, then you’ll just have to use your judgement but the rule of thumb for beginners is that the pressure you need is a lot higher than the pressure you think you need, and you’re very unlikely to overinflate them!

3 Brake blocks Brake blocks wear down: that’s how they stop you. As they wear you can use the adjuster on your brake lever (or on the brake calliper itself) to bring them closer to the rim: turn it anticlockwise. Sooner or leater they’ll need to be replaced. Some blocks have a wear indicator; if not replace them when the blocks have worn down to the top of the water grooves.

5 Cables Your brake and gear cables are vital for control, so keep them in good condition and check they’re not frayed. Your gears should change easily and your brakes return to position quickly; if they don’t you need to get some lubricant between the inner cable and the outer. A squirt of GT85 or similar into the end of the cable outer will normally do the trick.

2 Chain Your chain takes a lot of abuse but it’s a hardy beast and doesn’t take much looking after day to day. Basically, keep it oiled and make sure it doesn’t get rusty, which happens surprisingly quickly on salty Winter roads. When you oil the chain, apply the oil to the rollers in the middle, not the plates on the inside and outside, and wipe any excess off with a rag.

4 Saddle height Having your saddle too low (a common mistake) will rob you of cycling efficiency and make your commute harder. The rule of thumb is that your knee should be slightly bent at the lowest pedal point. A good check is to place your heel on the pedal; your leg should be straight when the pedal’s at the bottom of the stroke.

6 Rubbing brakes Brakes rubbing on the rim? If its only at certain points of the wheel then the wheel is not true, so book it in at your local Cyclescheme partner store for a tinker. If the brakes rub all the time then the brakes aren’t centered. Most V-brakes have adjustment screws: turn the screw clockwise to make that block move away from the rim.

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 37

Summer 2009

Bike test

in detail...

The Nexus three speed hub is neat and tidy and gives a good range of gears for town riding

The basket folds away when empty and springs out when you need it

Other rated rides... Pashley Princess £465

With its step-through frame, wicker basket, full chainguard and Sturmey Archer three-speed hub, the Princess harks back to the halcyon days of British cycling in the 50s and 60s. Don’t be fooled by the retro appearance though, it’s still a hugely capable town bike. www.pashley.co.uk

38

Kona UTE £650

Kona’s long wheelbase workhorse is perfect for the car-free lifestyle. Those massive panniers will take a mountain of shopping and the wooden platform will take an extra person or anything the bags won’t hold. You’ll wonder how you did without one... www.konaworld.com

On test...

Kona Africabike 3 £359

Here’s a bike that combines practicality with style, and that will not only do you good: it will do someone else good too

B

uilt to cope with unmade African roads the Africabike is a more than capable commuting machine for British roads. The brainchild of Kona’s Bike Town project (www.konabiketown.com), the all-steel Africabike was primarily designed to be used to help health care workers deliver antiretroviral drugs to HIV sufferers in Africa. Since the project started in 2005 some 3,000 bikes have been shipped out across the continent; for every two that Kona sell, one is given to the scheme. Obviously conditions are tougher over there, with health workers facing long distances over unpaved roads with very limited access to tools for maintenance. The bike has been designed to be strong, easy and cheap to maintain and simple to ride, and those qualities also make it a fantastic short distance commuter that comes already set up for all weather riding. There’s currently two incarnations of the Africabike: the single speed Africabike One and this machine which uses a

Mudguards and a chainguard are included as standard, so this is a bike you can easily ride in your normal clothes Shimano Nexus three-speed hub comtrolled by a twist grip shifter on the bars. This gives you a range of gears that’s fine for town cruising, though don’t expect to get up the hills too quickly, as the bike’s 42lb weight makes it a sedate climber! The Africabike’s main strength is, well, its strength. This is a machine designed to take some serious abuse and it’s really sturdy. The Cromoly steel frame and fork are finished in a tough black powder coat. The wheels are nice and strong

Velorbis Scrap Deluxe £850

The ultimate in urban chic? Certainly the Danish-designed, German-built Scrap Deluxe is a head turner around town. You get a choice of three, five or eight gears and big balloon tyres for a super-comfy ride on uneven tarmac. www.velorbis.co.uk

too, and shod with excellent Continental TownRide 26x1.75 tyres that are good for paved and Price: £359 Weight: 42lb / 19.1kg unpaved surfaces alike. The riding Frame: Cromoly Steel position is very laid back, with the Fork: P2 wide swept back bars and comfy Drivetrain: Shimano Nexus 3spd saddle giving the Africabike a Wheels: Formula/ well balanced and leisurely feel. Shimano/Rigida Stopping is taken care of by a Other: Integrated rear rack, mudguards, chain standard brake on the front and guard, folding basket a coaster brake on the rear – you step back on the pedals to brake. That takes a bit of getting used to at first, but you will master it in no time. Mudguards and a chainguard are included as standard, so this is a bike you can easily ride in all weathers in your normal clothes. There’s a kickstand for parking and a nurse’s lock for when you’re dashing in to a shop. Luggage carrying is another big strong point: the rear rack is part of the frame and as such can take huge loads. There’s four bolt holes to attach a crate or a flat seat to the rack if you want to ferry around your groceries, or your mates. If you already have pannier bags, however, you might find they don’t fit due to the size of the tubes. Also included is a natty fold-out basket that hangs from the bars and can be secured in place with a metal plate. If your commute is short and you want a low A Nurse’s lock is a built in locking maintenance bike that system that shoots a rod through the has utility at its core, then spokes of the rear wheel, stopping this could be the one it from turning. Not too secure, but you’ve been waiting for... great for nipping into a shop. www.konaworld.com

Tech Specs

Jargon Buster

Surly Big Dummy £ 765 (frame & fork)

Another long-wheelbase machine and this one’s even longer! the Big Dummy conforms to the Xtracycle standard meaning you can get accessories to carry everything from kids to surfboards. www.www.surlybikes.com

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 39

Summer 2009

Example

Package

£35 9

Add safety equipment for the full bike-to-work experience!

+

9 helmet 4U.r9banizr.ebe 5 £Lazer w.laze ww

Total retail price

£451.59

Ko Thr na Afri ee cab ike

£17 .61

Sp ww ecializ w.sp ed B ecia G Co lized mp .com Mit ts

+

+

£19.99 Al

tura Nigh Vest ww t Vision w.zyro.co.u k

Example† Cyclescheme savings for basic and higher rate tax payers

Price† after savings for basic rate tax payer

£269.71

Price† after savings for higher rate tax payer

£231.34

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

At the end of the hire period, under a separate agreement, the ownership may be transferred to the hirer for a fair market value payment. Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. Not all employers can pass on VAT savings. Some employers use finance to purchase the bikes, which will affect savings.

40

Basic rate

Higher rate

20% Tax, 11% NI, 15% VAT

40% Tax, 1% NI, 15% VAT

Bike package retail price

£451.59

Bike package retail price

£451.59

Income tax, VAT & NI saved

£181.88

Income tax, VAT & NI saved

£220.25

Gross monthly repayments

£37.63

Gross monthly repayments

£37.63

Net monthly payments

£22.47

Net monthly payments

£19.28

Total cost of bike package

£269.71

Total cost of bike package

£231.34

Show your true colours Doing a corporate event? Wearing the right branded technical clothing will make it far more fun as well as more comfortable and safe. You will also get the right message across to the media and public during your ride, triathlon, walk or run. We can also supply a huge range of casual gear to allow you to relax after the event. Alternatively, if you are looking for smart and functional clothing for exhibitions, indoor or out, then also let us know as our range is vast and prices the best in the UK.

Need a custom design? We can do this for you! Just let us know your requirements and we will quote you

Sales Enquiries for Corporate Clothing to: sales@provisionclothing.co.uk

www.provisionclothing.co.uk Unit 3, Newtown Square, Stoke-on-Trent ST3 5QL | Telephone: 01782 333 736

Summer 2009

Get away by From the office to the outside world: if you’re thinking about taking your bike on holiday, here’s our simple guide to the essentials...

Whether you cycle across France one summer or set off from home for a Sunday afternoon spin, all you need is the bike you’ve already got, a little luggage, and some free time 42

bike

Get away by bike

C

ycling isn’t only the best way to get to work, it’s also a great way to see the countryside. On a bike you’re in the scene, feeling the breeze and smelling the flowers. You travel fast enough to get somewhere but not so quickly that you’ll miss anything en route. Whether you cycle across France one summer or set off from home for a Sunday afternoon spin, all you need is the bike you’ve already got, a little luggage, and some free time.

Different ways to ride The easiest way to get away by bike is to ride in a loop and come back to where you started. That way you only carry what you’ll need for a few hours. Your start point could be anywhere: your home, a car park in a forest, or the villa you’ve booked for your foreign holiday. On a moving on trip you keep going, extending your day’s ride to the next day or the next week. Apart from having to book a bed ahead, it’s not any more demanding. You just have to take an overnight bag with you. See pages 26-27 for ideas on how to carry luggage.

Where to ride Get a map for wherever you plan to ride. Signposts and satnavs guide you down the most direct routes - usually

the biggest, busiest roads. You want the opposite. Invest in an Ordnance Survey Landranger map for your local area (www. ordnancesurvey.co.uk). At 1:50,000 scale, each map covers a 40km x 40km area and the detail is excellent. Plot your route on minor roads, coloured white or yellow, only using B roads (orange) or A roads (pink) where there’s no alternative route. You’ll meander a bit, but that’s fine: you’re exploring. Sustrans have a searchable database of cycle routes on their website (www.sustrans. org.uk), many of which are traffic free courtesy of dedicated cyclepaths. Cyclists can ride alongside canals on towpaths too, though surfaces vary. Visit www.waterscape. com for recommended cycling routes in your area. Cyclists can also ride on bridleways – marked with a dashed line on your Ordnance Survey map – and on many forest tracks. Surfaces range from hardpacked earth that any bike can handle to rocky singletrack that requires a mountain bike. You can quiz the staff at your local bike shop to find out about local bridleways, while www.forestry.gov.uk/ cycling lets you search for suitable Forestry Commission routes near you. If you’re going abroad and taking your bike, get a good www.cyclescheme.co.uk 43

Summer 2009 map before you go. Try www. stanfords.co.uk.

Riding gear It doesn’t matter what bike you’ve got so long as it’s comfortable. It needs gears that go low enough to get you up any hill you’ll encounter and some means of carrying luggage. That might be a carrier rack, a saddlebag, or just a handlebar basket, depending on what you’ve got to carry. Take your bike to your local bike shop and explain what you plan to do with it. If it needs different tyres, more luggage options, or just servicing, the shop staff can sort it out. Specialist clothing is nice but not required. Avoid wearing trousers or shorts with thick seams, such as jeans. Tracksuit bottoms are

44

better. The most comfortable shorts are Lycra ones with a padded insert - worn without underwear. But Lycra isn’t for everyone. As an alternative, wear Lycra shorts under tracksuit bottoms or try baggy mountain biking shorts with a padded insert.

Lycra isn’t for everyone -as an alternative, wear Lycra shorts under tracksuit bottoms or try baggy mountain biking shorts

Have bike, will travel Unless you’re cycling to your start point or you’re beginning at your back door, you’ll need to transport your bike. Even small cars will carry up to two bikes. The cheapest option – apart from removing one or both wheels and storing the bike inside the car – is to use a boot-mounted rack that fixes temporarily to the car with tensioned luggage straps. Such racks are best for one or two bikes only. If you’ve got three or four

The Camel Trail runs from Bodmin Moor to the sea along disused railway tracks

bikes to carry, or simply want a safer, more stable means of carrying your bikes, then it’s worth paying extra to get a bolt-on roof rack or tow-bar mounted rack. The latter offers better fuel efficiency but requires a tow bar. Good brands to look for in any type of rack include Thule (www. thule.co.uk) and Pendle (www.pendle-bike.co.uk). You can also take bikes on trains, ’planes and ferries, if you book in advance. On UK trains, there’s a limit on the number of bikes per train – often as little as two – but booking is usually free. For more information, visit www. nationalrail.co.uk and click on the ‘Passenger Services’ and ‘Cyclists’ links. You can take bikes on Eurostar too. On ’planes, bikes usually need to be stored in a large bike bag

Get away by bike

Don’t leave home without it Day ride: J acket that’s windproof and showerproof ● Sunblock (in summer or abroad) ● Water bottle ● Snacks such as cereal bars, or energy drinks ● Mobile phone ● Map ● Pump, spare innertube, tyre levers ● Cash and credit/debit card ●

A basic day kit will fit in a small rucsack or pannier

For an overnight or longer trip, add: C lothing: Long-sleeved jersey or fleece. Spare socks & underwear. Possibly spare T-shirt and shorts/ trousers, depending on riding gear. ●T  oiletries: Toothbrush, deodorant, etc. Also take wet wipes, plasters, Vaseline or Sudocrem, lip balm, possibly insect repellent. ●

or case, which you can get from your bike shop. The bike may be accepted as a (large) part of your luggage allowance, or it may incur a separate surcharge. Policies vary widely, so check with your airline. On ferries, bikes are typically cheap or free to book, and you usually simply cycle on ahead of the car traffic. But check with your ferry company: some services don’t allow cyclists at all.

Holiday ideas Lots of holiday companies specialise in cycling trips. They are either guided or ‘self led’ – where everything is booked and planned for you but you follow a map. Either type may include a luggage transfer

Food and drink: more snacks. Tools: Puncture kit, second spare innertube, and multi-tool. ● Lock: a lightweight immobiliser is fine if you’ll be able to store your ● ●

from hotel to hotel, which means you won’t have to carry it on your bike. For your first DIY trips, keep mileage modest. Around 20-40 miles per day is plenty. Flatter areas are obviously easier, and lightly trafficked or traffic-free routes are much more relaxing for children, parents, and less confident cyclists. For weekend trips, three great destinations in the UK are: the Mawddach Trail between Dolgellau and Barmouth in Wales; Hartington in the Peak District, which gives access to the High Peak Trail, the Tissington Trail and the Manifold Way; and the Camel Trail from Padstow in Cornwall. All these are scenic, traffic-free routes that are

For your first DIY trips, keep mileage modest. Around 20-40 miles per day is plenty

bike safely overnight. If not, a big U-lock. ●L  uxuries: paperback book, deck of cards, MP3 player, handheld computer – anything small. justifiably popular. For nearly 400 more throughout the UK, get a copy of Traffic-Free Cycle Trails by Nick Cotton (£12.99). Some places are so well set up for cycling that they need no guidebook. Sark in the Channel Islands is car free (www.sark.info), while the Netherlands has a cycling network and culture that beggars belief. Visit holland. cyclingaroundtheworld.nl for information. Maybe later you’ll want to explore the Loire Valley, cycle over the hills of Tuscany, or spend three weeks touring from Land’s End to John O’Groats. If so, www.ctc.org. uk should be your first stop. For now, just pick a nice route nearby and get riding! www.cyclescheme.co.uk 45

Summer 2009

No sweat cycling Follow these guidelines and you’ll arrive at the office neither hot nor bothered!

F

or many people the worry when embarking on a new adventure in commuting is not traffic or fitness: it's turning up at work all puffed out and sweaty. The office is a place for crisply ironed shirts and sharp suits. The walk to the photocopier should be a head-turning exercise demonstrating style and elegance…not a walk of shame accessorised with helmet hair, streaky foundation face and a skunk-like trail of eau-de-armpit! 46

All flippancy aside, looking good on your bike and arriving at your destination still fresh and relatively unruffled is a serious issue, especially for women. Sustainable transport charity Sustrans says that although 44 per cent of women have access to a bike, three quarters never use one. The reasons, they say, are a combination of concerns about safety and what to wear. Sustrans is attempting to tackle the issue with a nationwide campaign and new website: www.bikebelles.org.uk. Luckily there is a way to ride to work while staying smart and sweat-free at the same time: the no-sweat cycling method. That’s right, with this approach you don’t have to sweat at all! For men and women who want to get back on a bike no-sweat cycling means you can wear regular clothes, pedal to work and arrive at the office looking smart and fresh. You don't even have to be fit, although you will get fitter. Anyone capable of a leisurely walk can use the no-sweat cycling method...

Saving Energy
 No-sweat cyclists scorn speed and aim to keep body heat production to a minimum. A speedy approach may save journey time but add to recovery and imagerepair time at the other

No sweat cycling end, defeating the object entirely. Find a speed you can maintain without unduly raising your pulse rate and avoid all temptations to race other cyclists (or buses!) which overtake you. Choose a route which allows you to keep your momentum, and resist the temptation to burn rubber when restarting from a stop. Slow down as you near journey’s end to slow your pulse rate, otherwise, without the benefit of a cooling wind, you’ll heat up on arrival. Another tactic is to dismount a few minutes walk from the office to give yourself a bit more time to cool off and get yourself in the mindset for “lookin’ good”.

Hills
 Hill climbing is the quickest way to get sweaty on a bike but with some clever gearswitching you can hit hills at a snail’s pace and reach the top without any need for unsightly wheezing. Here’s the technique: Approach at normal cruising speed, coast to the start of the gradient, select a low gear, and don't start pedalling until the bike has slowed to a comfortable climbing speed you can sustain. If your heart starts racing and beads of sweat start to form, slow down and recover. Treat each pedal stroke like a step on a flight of stairs

and aim for the long-game. Your legs should neither be straining nor spinning too fast. When you get to the top, the only way is down. Sit back and enjoy the free ride (no-sweat cyclists take every opportunity to coast). The cooling breeze will correct any misjudgements you may have made on the way up and now you have time to recover.

Clothing Normal everyday clothing is the uniform of the no-sweat cyclist, with a few subtle changes. Men may wish to undo collars to allow heat to escape - so leave your tie in a pocket, and if you have to wear a jacket at work, leave it in the office. Avoid synthetic fibres unless specially designed to wick away perspiration and wear several thin layers so you can stop and strip off en route if you feel like you’re getting a bit hot. Remember, heat production continues after you’ve stopped riding so remove a further layer (unless it’s your last one) on arrival. Have a cool drink and fling open the window.

Luggage

Treat each pedal stroke like a step on a flight of stairs and aim for the long game. Your legs should neither be straining nor spinning too fast

You may need to carry things to and from work, a backpack will do the job but the best nosweat option is a set of panniers that prevents the common cycling complaint known as ‘sweaty back’. Never hang luggage from the handlebars, even if it's just a carrier bag of shopping on the way home.

Fitness
 Although the no-sweat way is not intended to get you fit, you will inevitably find that fitness levels do slowly increase. It is possible that once you start, you will want to do some more strenuous training rides at the weekends when you can get as hot and sweaty as you like. Good luck!

The Route The most direct route may not be the best for no-sweat cycling. Leaving early and pedalling through parks and shady tree-lined avenues may be better than simply following the route you used to take by car. www.cyclescheme.co.uk 47

Summer 2009

in detail...

Bike test

The rear derailleur is designed to be tucked away so it doesn’t get in the way when folding

Both the main hinges feature locking levers for extra peace of mind

Other rated rides... Brompton S2L £630

Brompton’s racier S2L is a lightweight option (10.7kg) with a racier position than the standard models. You only get two gears but the supercompact fold and involving ride will appeal to riders looking for a tube/train or bus-hopper www.brompton.co.uk

48

Pashley Moulton TSR9 £995

Not a folder but a small-wheeled road bike, the TSR9 features Moulton’s excellent front and rear suspension which gives a super smooth ride even with small wheels. Easier to get into a car than a full size road bike, so good for a mixed commute. www.pashley.co.uk

On test...

Dahon Mu P8 £587.23

This bigger-wheeled folder is good for short hops or longer trips making it a great folding all-rounder

F

olding bikes can be an excellent commuting solution if you’re looking for some real versatility, and the Mu P8 is a bike that’s as happy to roll along on a short to medium commute as it is to sit stashed behind your desk once you get to work. The watchword for the Mu is performance: in the folding bike world, thanks in part to its 20in wheels, this is a fast, light machine that’s good for longer journeys than you’d normally contemplate on a smaller-wheeled bike. Riding a folding bike gives you plenty of options on your commute. If you live a long way from the office, you can sling it in the boot of your car and ride in from the edge of town, saving on parking and getting yourself fit in the process. You can take it on the train or the bus too, and it takes up much less space if you have limited parking options at either end of your journey. The P8’s frame comes in just one size but will accommodate riders from less than five feet tall to well over

If you live a long way from the office, you can sling it in the boot of your car and ride in from the edge of town, saving on parking and getting yourself fit in the process six feet, the handlebars and seat easily adjusting for height. Folding it is very straightforward: collapse the handlebars, fold the frame and drop the saddle and you’re ready to go. It only takes about 20 seconds and there’s a handy magnetic clasp to keep the folded bike neat and tidy. The pedals fold too to keep the footprint to a minimum, although the larger wheel size means that the folded package a bit bigger than

Airnimal Joey Sport £799

The Airnimal range of folders features larger 24” wheels for a ride experience that’s more like a standard bike. The Sport won’t fold down as small as other folders but it’s a good option if you only need to fold from time to time. www.airnimal.com

smaller wheeled alternatives. The 25.3lb (11.47kg) weight is on a par with some comparably priced Price: £587.23 Weight: 25.3lb / 11.47kg town bikes so it’s pretty light for a Frame: Aluminium folder; your arms will thank you if folding you regularly have to carry it onto Fork: Aluminium Drivetrain: 8 speed a train or up the stairs. twist grip The ride is as stable and assured Wheels: 20” as many full size road bikes, though Other: Folding pedals, adjustable height bars, the position is more upright, seatpost in pump making the ride feel a bit more leisurely. The fairly light weight and small wheels mean it gets up to speed quickly, though, so it’s good for nipping away from the lights around town. The eight speed derailleur gears give you a good enough range for nearly everything you’ll encounter on your commute, and Dahon have designed the rear mech specifically to work with the folding system. The V brakes will stop you with a minimum of drama and the 20” wheels certainly give a good ride over rough surfaces. Attention to detail is excellent. Both the main hinges have positive locking mechanisms so you’re never in any doubt whether you’ve done it right. There’s a pump hidden in the long seatpost so you can’t forget to carry one, and there’s a big range of safety equipment (see the example package on the next page) to tailor the bike exactly to your needs. If you Derailleur gears are the kind you’ll think a folder might see on most road bikes: a mech at be the answer to your the rear wheel pushes the chain onto commuting needs, the differently sized cogs to give a wide Mu P8 is one for the range of gears for flats and hills shortlist. www.dahon.com

Tech Specs

Jargon Buster

Dawes Ace £699

Fully specced out with mudguards, rack, dynamo hub and lights the Dawes is ready for day in, day out commuting in all weathers. At 12.9kg not quite as light as the Dahon but you’re getting a lot of extra kit as standard. www.dawescycles.com

www.cyclescheme.co.uk 49

Summer 2009

Example

Package

£58 7.23

Da fold hon Mu ing bike P8

Add safety equipment for the full bike-to-work experience!

+

£49.99

Basil Fore st www.basil pannier .nl

£29.99 Dahon ArcLite

+

+

9 £SK2S m5in.i 290 muandgy.ucoardms ks-germ www.s

rear rack www.dahon.co m

Total retail price

£692.20

Example† Cyclescheme savings for basic and higher rate tax payers

Price† after savings for basic rate tax payer

£404.92

Price† after savings for higher rate tax payer

£346.11

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

At the end of the hire period, under a separate agreement, the ownership may be transferred to the hirer for a fair market value payment. Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. Not all employers can pass on VAT savings. Some employers use finance to purchase the bikes, which will affect savings.

50

Basic rate

Higher rate

20% Tax, 11% NI, 15% VAT

40% Tax, 1% NI, 15% VAT

Bike package retail price

£692.20

Bike package retail price

£692.20

Income tax, VAT & NI saved

£287.88

Income tax, VAT & NI saved

£346.09

Gross monthly repayments

£57.68

Gross monthly repayments

£57.68

Net monthly payments

£33.74

Net monthly payments

£28.84

Total cost of bike package

£404.92

Total cost of bike package

£346.11

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Cycle Commuter magazine issue 2