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Scorchers and penny farthings abound! Weekly round-up #28!

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Scorchers and penny farthings abound! Weekly round-up #28!

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Spooky bike

November 2nd, 2015

This week’s round-up features political intrigue, a material that could change the rules of the cycling game, some kooky concept bikes, and tales of scorchers – keep reading!

The top image comes from a post by the excellently named Reddit user ‘Spycegurl’, and shows a spooky Halloween themed bike they found in their neighbourhood. Instead of the usual witty or sarcastic comments, the commentators showed their approval:



Remember at election time when we rounded up each party’s election pledges regarding cycling (with help from an article from the Guardian)? Here’s a refresher, if not:

Which party should cyclists vote for

Linked to source

In that post we also expressed our hopes that if the Conservatives won, they’d be true to their word to raise the cycling budget from £6 per person per year to £10. A recent article on about the issue causes some concern – it cites sources close to a transport spending review who say cycling is “off the agenda”, and also includes speculation that “that budgets will exceed those previously set”.

The full budgets will be announced on 25th November: we look forward to seeing them and hope that it’s not disappointing news! And that if funding does decrease (or remain stagnant), then the Conservatives’ vision for relevant departments delivering better results with less money comes to fruition.

But what is the right amount?

It’s all well and good complaining about cycling investment figures that don’t match expectations, but in reality many people won’t actually understand the implications of these amounts. An interesting article in the Belfast Telegraph this week explores public opinion on the issue and aims to arrive at coherent demands. To summarise their findings:

  • 75% of people think more money should be spent on cycling
  • £26 per person per year is the average amount people want to see invested
  • 71% of people who haven’t ridden a bike think spending should increase
  • 87% of people who ride regularly agree
  • Only 26% of people rate cycling safety as good or very good in Manchester, 27% in Birmingham, or 38% in Newcastle (this was the highest satisfaction figure)

Interesting numbers! They seem to suggest that people think there are still a lot of improvements to be made to our country’s cycling infrastructure. But let’s not forget all the great things that have been achieved over the years – progress is being made, and will continue to do so while people still want it to happen.

The wonder material

On a completely different note now, graphene has been highlighted as a potential game changer in the world of cycling. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time it’s received the label – all sorts of industries claim that graphene will change the rules of their respective games:

Graphene game changer

If you’re not familiar with the material it is “an atomic-scale honeycomb lattice made of carbon atoms”, which translates in non-science words to ‘a thin sheet of carbon atoms bonded together in hexagons’. The article we read on Cycling Weekly offers this description of its apparent properties: “200 times stronger and six times more flexible than steel, able to conduct electricity as efficiently as copper, to be superior in terms of heat dissipation to all other known materials, and to be almost transparent yet still impermeable- not even helium can pass through it”.

So, how does that help cyclists?

Current developments include wheels that are faster, have more grip and durability, and offer better puncture protection, but investment and experimentation continues. In the future graphene may do to cycling what carbon fibre did in 1986.

Here’s what it could look like…

Incidentally, these concept bicycles rounded up by EnGadget give an interesting glimpse into what the future may hold for cycling:

Concept bikes

If you want more info on the crazy umbrella bike, the one that looks like a wasp, or any of the others, click through to the original article!

Our story of the week

It bought a strange mix of pleasure and sadness to find out that Victorian cyclists were still villified in the press back in the day. Pleasure out of solidarity with our brothers and sisters of bygone days; sadness because the issue still persists!

The term ‘scorchers’ was used to describe people who engaged in fast paced cycling, and research by Will Manners shows that they received their share of tongue lashings in the newspapers of the time. The screenshot below from Will’s article on the Guardian summarises nicely:


Linked to source

And to end, have a look at this – isn’t it wonderful? It was posted by the ECF today with no context.

Penny farthing race

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