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I Want to Ride my Icycle: Weekly Round-up #37!

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I Want to Ride my Icycle: Weekly Round-up #37!

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January 19th, 2016

This week’s round-up features a feel good introduction followed by futuristic robots, controversial claims, political posturing, and two awe-inspiring rides which occurred over a century apart.

The top image comes from a Reddit user in Latvia whose bike spent a cold and lonely night outside. Along with advice on winter care for your bicycle, the comments contained some jokes of Christmas cracker level quality:

Winter cycling jokeExcellent stuff.

Cycling: Positive in a Bunch of Ways

This week we’ll open with a feel good story: cycling is good in more ways than we thought AND the claims are scientifically sound.

Positive psychology, a section of the discipline which focuses on improving everyone’s lives beyond the baseline average rather than just fixing ‘problems’, identifies cycling as a sport that ticks a lot of the boxes for a fulfilling and rewarding experience.

The full article is well worth a read, but to whet your whistle, the aspects of cycling that are positive are outlined below. We knew them already but it’s a nice reminder, especially in early January when getting on the saddle can seem like a daunting prospect!

  • It’s good for your physical health
  • It’s good for your mental health
  • It’s a sociable activity
  • It’s easily accessible
  • It gives you lots of opportunities to savour the experience
  • It makes you feel grateful for your surroundings
  • It allows you to achieve goals and feel accomplishment, and gain meaning
  • It provides challenge, and lets you decide their scope
  • It leads to flow experiences
  • It creates optimism: looking forward to your next ride
  • It lets us use our strengths
  • It’s restorative
  • It leads to positive emotions

Robots are the future

Technology and automation promises to improve (or at least irreversibly change) the way we do various things, including storing our bikes.

This week the BBC reported that robotic bike parks could revolutionise bicycle storage in London, complete with a video demonstrating how the technology would work. It has the potential to make bike storage quick, effortless, and out of sight.

As usual, Japan has had this cool technology for years already. Another BBC report from a few years ago shows the inner workings of an underground bike facility in Tokyo. Fascinating stuff:

Spencer Kelly likes it: that’s enough to convince us

Cyclists: the ISIS of London have reported on a particularly hostile diatribe against “the loonies out there in the cycling world” by the general secretary of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association (LTDA) which has, unsurprisingly, generated controversy. The LTDA is seeking judicial review of the east-west cycle superhighway in London on the grounds that they feel it is not right for a 24 hour city. They note that they “don’t actually disagree that there should be a scheme, but [they] want to get the right scheme for London”.

Their main concern is that construction of the east-west cycle superhighway is causing “causing traffic jams”, and leaving “hundreds stuck bumper to bumper, poisoning everybody else with pollution”. The irony is apparently lost on the leader of an organisation which exclusively represents professional drivers.

We don’t have an opinion on the issue, but we can’t help feeling that calling cyclists “almost the sort of Isis of London” is conducive to healthy debate…

The story has been met with a scathing quip from John Stevenson:

Election promises

Back in round-up #4 we wrote about the UK parties’ election promises during the pre-election frenzy (Greens promised the most, UKIP the least). This week we came across a graphic summarising Spanish parties’ stances ahead of their upcoming election:

Spanish election cycling promises

Linked to source

It’s positive to see that all parties include a clause in their manifesto to the effect that cycling must be encouraged (especially among the three parties who didn’t make a similar pledge in 2011). It’s also positive to see that the two parties that didn’t exist in 2011 (Podemos and Ciudadanos) make pledges in their first manifestos.

An advocacy group in Scotland called We Walk We Cycle We Vote are taking steps to convince Scottish candidates to support the following three promises, which they believe will make the nation healthier, wealthier and happier:

#WalkCycleVote promises

Tour Down Under

The Guardian reports on the Tour Down Under which is under way well, Down Under. Australia’s premier cycling event kicks off 2016 in style, and pits riders against each other in temperatures up to 40° – an absolute scorcher!

Today’s 130.8km stage, which heads north out of Adelaide, will also most likely have a headwind.

Rather them than us!

Badass isn’t the word

GearJunkie magazine took a look at an amazing cross-country ride that took place in America in 1897, and its a read we can’t recommend enough.

Bicycle Infantry

Image linked to source

The lads in the photo above are from the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps were ordered to “test most thoroughly the bicycle as a means of transportation for troops” – a task they undertook by riding 1,900 miles across America over 41 days.

This would be an achievement by today’s standards, so it boggles the mind to think about what it would’ve been like for these riders: gears weren’t invented yet. The chain was a new invention. The bike weighed 35lb (15.8kg) and they were carrying another 20lb (9.07kg) in gear. They rode through rain and snow (in June). Their water supply was poisoned (unintentionally due to poor equipment). They only had two rest days during the ride.

And to cap it off, they were sent off to war 9 months after this mad journey.

Hats off to you lads, that’s a heroic effort!

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