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The Cycling Thread

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The Cycling Thread

======================

 

With the rising cost of motoring and public transport, their various inefficiencies, and the very real threat of terrorist attacks, the number of cyclists in London has more than doubled since 2000. I know because I voiced a documentary about it for TFL this morning.

This growth is despite the fact that London is not a cycling-friendly city. There are too many hills, it is too cold in winter and often too wet, while the sheer number of cars, taxis and bendy buses make it a risky proposition. Nevertheless the prospects for the London cyclist have improved under Red Ken. He has appointed a cycling tsar to oversee. How about elsewhere?

Getting more people cycling is a huge problem solver. On one level it reduces traffic congestion, on another it improves people's fitness and health (Unless they get hit by a bendy bus). But there is not much money in it, which, I am sure, is part of the reason it has been so overlooked by the authorities.

Where is the money to be made?

Bike shops, such as Evans; the bike manufacturers themselves - but people don't spend that much on bikes, often cos they get stolen, and often because there is not the same accommpanying status that there is with a car. And once a bike is bought, there is not much to made from servicing. Statistically, people don't renew their bikes so often either.

How else? Accessories.

The company that makes the metal things that people padlock their bikes to. More and more of those are appearing all the time.

More money is being spent on cycle lanes. In London they are still rubbish. Everyone drives or parks in them, but it's better than nothing.

(In Malmo in Sweden, where I visited last summer, they have separate ROADS for bikes, cars and pedestrians. It is impossible for a car to enter the bike lanes because there is a large curb in the way. Now that makes life safe for the cyclist. TFL say there isn't enough space. I think there is. Cars and bikes do not mix and they should be kept apart. Everyone would be happier, safer and better off. As a motorist, I hate cyclists and as a cyclist, I hate cars. Sorry. Rant over)

But as cities worldwide become more congested, as the price of oil rises and it becomes more expensive to travel by car, tube, train or bus, will we see a growth in the number of cyclists? I think so. Is there much money to be made from it? Unless cities worldwide adopt building schemes to restructure their streets to better accomodate this great form of transport, I doubt it.

Your thoughts, l and g.

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A lot of this depends on attitude.

 

I cycled to and from work every day for four years (south Manchester). It was about 2.5 miles in either direction.

 

Some negative issues

 

- Traffic danger to cyclists from crowded streets, driver impatience

- Parking in the few cycle lanes we do have

- Bad cyclists jumping red lights, this pisses me right off, and I AM a cyclist!

 

Some positive issues

 

+ In four years I only got seriously wet about five times. Weather is less of a problem than people are led to believe.

 

+ We do not need special roads to be built just for cycling particularly, re-use of existing pavements can be achieved.

 

+ Surfaces used solely by cyclists require next to no maintenance.

 

And once a bike is bought, there is not much to made from servicing

FYI - Not if you're a seasoned mountain biker, far from it. But a commute bike, agreed.

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The folding variety of Bicycle, can be a great option, since it makes:

 

TRAIN + BIKE and PLANE + BIKE journeys much easier.

 

Any recommendations?

 

I understand Clive Sinclair has launched a new folding bike, and I want to look at that on this thread

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I have a Brompton and it is GREAT. A little heavy to carry when it's folded, but a great ride and surprisingly fast given its appearance. You often find yourself cruising past people on more professiional looking bikes, much to their annoyance.

 

They are expsensive, £500, but are gaining in popularity. You see a lot of the trendy Soho-ites with them these days.

 

And I agree with Megaflop that the re-use of existing pavements is the way forward for cycle lanes. what's more, once built, a cycle lane will need little maintenance.

 

But how does an investor make money from this alternative transport?

 

I don't think there's a great deal to be made, myself, until there is a change in attitude up top.

 

I'd like to know more about this Sinclair bike.

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I have a Brompton and it is GREAT. A little heavy to carry when it's folded, but a great ride and surprisingly fast given its appearance. You often find yourself cruising past people on more professiional looking bikes, much to their annoyance.

 

They are expsensive, £500, but are gaining in popularity. You see a lot of the trendy Soho-ites with them these days.

 

And I agree with Megaflop that the re-use of existing pavements is the way forward for cycle lanes. what's more, once built, a cycle lane will need little maintenance.

 

But how does an investor make money from this alternative transport?

 

I don't think there's a great deal to be made, myself, until there is a change in attitude up top.

 

I'd like to know more about this Sinclair bike.

 

When I was in Copenhagen several years ago there were racks of 'municipal' bikes that I believe you could simply borrow, ride to your destination free of charge and leave in a rank nearby. There was also a proper infrastructure of cycle tracks and traffic control. Presumably someone came along and redistributed them if you got a glut around a popular destination.

 

The culture in the UK means that these would undoubtedly be stolen or trashed, but musing aloud, I wonder if some entrepreneur could come up with something like a locked rank.

 

Swipe your credit card to free a bike and deduct £100 from your account. When you return the bike (to anywhere in a network of these holding areas), you reswipe your card and get the £100 recredited to your account, minus a small fee for usage based on time. If the network was extensive enough, the uptake by the public might be sufficent to make the usage fee cheaper than hopping on a bus or tube. This could in turn put pressure on government to improve cycling infrastructure.

 

Obviously all manner of pitfalls here; would have to streamlined for ease and speed of use; huge initial outlay; automated or manned stations; siting in crowded city locations, etc.

 

TLM

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Juts had a tea with an Englishman who lives in Beijing.

 

He said that there are electric scooters everywhere. They are quiet, and great for zipping around

in traffic. He cannot understnad why we do not see them in the UK

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Juts had a tea with an Englishman who lives in Beijing.

 

He said that there are electriv scooters everywhere. They are quiet, and great for zipping around

in traffic. He cannot understnad why we do not see them in the UK

 

I almost bought one last year, but the range is still so poor. However, they seem to be growing in popularity:

 

http://www.scootelectric.co.uk/The_Green_Life.aspx

 

Still prefer the option of running my Honda Dylan on bioethanol that one of these though. Although the Vetrix is looking promising:

 

http://www.zevltd.com/

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Example:

raider_offer.jpg

 

We have four ex-demo Raiders to clear. The model has a range of around 25 miles and is yours for £750, half its launch price. The Raider has a smooth and efficient hub motor, making it especially quiet and relaxing to ride.

 

- -

 

I will be in Shanghai for a 8 day visit from a week Monday, and I shall see what is on the street there

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Not all folders are expensive. Mine, although fairly basic, cost me €99 second hand.

 

Folded

Bike1.jpg

 

Unfolded

Bike2.jpg

 

A single gear in spanish city traffic keeps it fun, and is fine for the stop start nature of most journeys when using the city's cycle lanes, but any long straight can lead to some embarassment.

 

I've seen a lot of bromptons round here - love the mechanism.

 

Having done some longer cycle commutes in the past, cycle lanes weren't much help to me, but having changing and parking facilities at work would have improved my lot rather more, and I suspect been rather more cost effective.

 

Maybe we should look at what cycle facilities can be shared by other commuting forms, eg. Trip end facilities such as parking and changing are useful for scooter and motorcycle users, roller bladers and pedestrians/PT users.

 

Wardrop

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I haven't checked lately, but Bromptons don't come up that often and when they do, they go for quite a lot.

 

Go on, treat yourself. Buy a new one. They really are very good. If I could, I'd buy the company!

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Will Clive Sinclair's new folding bike work?

 

1/

The bike has been developed by the inventor’s company, Sinclair Research, at a laboratory in south London, and is being manufactured in China by a Hong Kong-based firm called Daka.

 

“It’s for people using planes, trains, buses and boats,” said a company source. “It’s not a replacement for your normal bike, it’s for the starting part and end bit of the commute.”

 

Sinclair believes that the bike will also appeal to people seeking “greener” modes of transport and those who have had bicycles stolen in the past. Its light weight and size when folded mean that it can be taken inside a shop or cafe, making it less vulnerable to thieves. It can also be fitted under a desk or in a locker.

 

@: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-2114327,00.html

 

 

2/

Matt Seaton ... Monday April 3, 2006 / The Guardian

 

Well, he certainly thinks so. Sir Clive expects to sell 100,000 of his A-bikes in the first year after its launch in July. But the visionary entrepreneur's record of success is so mixed that predictions are tricky. Will the A-bike be a technological triumph, like Sinclair's revolutionary electronic calculator and Spectrum computer? Or will it turn out a well-intentioned turkey, like the C5 - Sinclair's three-wheeled electric buggy, which proved to be a spectacular flop and cost its inventor millions?

 

A_bike.jpg

 

Let's take a closer look. There's a lot Sinclair gets right: the A-bike weighs only 12lb (little more than half most bikes); its chain is completely enclosed (so no more trousers ruined by grease marks); and it folds up in 15 seconds (whereas most folding bikes demand an NVQ in mechanical engineering). So maybe the A-bike is just what urban commuters - the park-and-ride crowd or rush-hour train travellers - need. Sinclair might just have cracked it.

But hold on: if this is a bike, where are the wheels? Oh, those are the wheels. I'm sorry to sound a bit trad, but aren't six-inch wheels for scooters? There is a practical difficulty here: small wheels tend to fall down holes and not climb out of them. The ride of the A-bike on anything less smooth than, say, a snooker table is likely to be bone-jarring at best. And when I last looked, our city streets were not paved with green baize. Sinclair's ingenuity is admirable, but trying to improve such a successful technology as the bicycle is like, well, reinventing the wheel.

 

The biggest problem, though, is not practical but aesthetic. Sinclair's transport contraptions always look as if they have been put together from the parts bin of the BBC workshops where they build the Daleks. Will anyone be seen dead riding one of these? Most people will work hard to avoid becoming a laughing stock. Sadly, Sir Clive does not seem to have the same threshold of social embarrassment as most people.

 

@: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1745481,00.html

 

 

3/

News - "Uncle" Clive Sinclair finally makes the portable bike he was always planning to...

By Guy Kewney Posted on 08/07/2004 at 18:44

Twelve years ago, when Sir Clive first told me about his portable bicycle, which ended up being marketed as the Zike, it wasn't quite as daft as it turned out. It didn't have an electric motor. It sold only about two thousand units - at five hundred pounds each, you can see why. But now, he's fixed the problem.

 

The newest Zike is to be found at the other end of the alphabet; the "A-Bike" and this time, it really is portable.

biz4.jpg

 

The inspiration for it was Sinclair's discovery that new fibres with virtually zero stretch meant that the whole drive and control mechanism would snap into place when the thing unfolded, while remaining incredibly light weight.

 

His plan (he said at the time - 1992) was to have something people carried around on their arm like an umbrella. "You'd be able to take it into the train even if they had a 'no bicycles' policy," he enthused. Originally, the plan was to have a bike in the shape of the letter "X" which folded up like a child's buggy, and it was therefore called the X-Bike, or Xike. That got changed to Zike (trade-mark reasons?) at launch.

 

But he couldn't resist the lure of electronics; and when the thing surfaced, it weighed a ton - battery, electronic motor and all - and cost a fortune.

 

The A-Bike is - according to Reuters, the world's smallest and lightest folding bike (or so says Sinclair!) and the picture (courtesy Reuter) shows that Sir Clive himself (admittedly, a keen amateur athlete) has no problems holding it in one hand.

 

But apparently, the lure of electricity cannot be resisted. This bike costs $300 ( just over £150 sterling ) which is probably more than the average Singapore worker would think of spending on two wheels with pedals.

 

Meanwhile, if you actually have a genuine Zike, take out insurance. They are rare, collectors' items, but worth astonishingly little right now - with Planet Sinclair estimating a price of around a hundred pounds sterling, or more. Another ten years, and they could be VERY pricey items.

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The original, black and white, Zike

zike.jpg

 

We did ask Sir Clive when he was going to launch in the UK. We rang his London office and got his cheerful urbane voice. It said: "This is Sinclair Research..." and asked us to leave a message after the tone.

 

The tone came; followed - just as we were taking breath - by the words: "Memory Full" in a truculent female voice. He must really be in Singapore...

 

@: http://www.kewney.co.uk/articles/040708-zike.html

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what about electric bikes ?

whatever happened to them .

i personnally think theres more oppurtunity for investment returns along these lines

esp with the latest battery technology i:e. nihm /nicad

there again what do i know? :)

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i am a big cycing fan.

i cycled to work regularly when lived in sussex-about 10 miles each way and some hills.

i became very fit and my wife noticed how de-stressed i was when i got home at night,.

unfortunately i got promoted to a job with a company car and lots of travelling.

 

i have visited holland lots of times and remain impressed with the high take up of cycling .

the relatively flat contours and investment in cycleways makes a big difference.

 

here- we are pretty half hearted abput supporting cycling.

it should be national policy to install effective cycleways through all towns/ cities. the costs are probably small beer and the payback will be enormous.

what if the kids could cycle to school instead of travelling in mums people carrier?

heathier kids nad less co2 emmissions

i would volunteer to be cycling tsar-i would do it for nothing.

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Perhaps we should have a new category of member:

 

Tsar-MartyrNicholasII.jpg

"Tsar"

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Guest notanewmember

the A-bike does have small wheels!

 

Another problem, there is very little coasting ability - i.e. ride a bit then coast along freewheeling, as this saves a lot of energy! It more of a gimick rather than having a practical use IMO - speaking from a heavy user of bikes.

 

Folding bikes: i got a Seasure folding bike for the "yachtsman" though i don t have a yacht. It is compact, light, and cheap! (£120 - wont be eyed by thieves as bad) It has 6 gears which use a deraileur - no fiddling with geared hubs! It fits easily into a hatchback car. Its light too for a steel framed bike. On the bad side is the brakes! They arent as good as mountain bike V-brake ones! Nor is it suitable for really tall people. But suits me :( Link - http://chandlery.yachtinguniverse.com/product.php/503/0/

 

Ridgeback, and Dahon also are high end folding bikes worth mentioning on this thread - i did have a Dahon helios P8 aluminium folding bike, but it was just too nice for me to ride!

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It's a funny world...

 

The Chinese are moving from bikes to cars,

and here we are talking about giving up cars for bikes

 

Is a role reversal coming?

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I don't think Londoners are ready for bikes yet. We need to educate them.

http://www.lcc.org.uk/

http://www.criticalmasslondon.org.uk/

 

I sold my car recently and now have two bikes - a Brompton for work and an old mountain bike for weekends. I took that mountain bike on the circle line on Easter Monday (you are specifically allowed bikes on the circle line, and some other lines outside that, even at rush hour).

 

I got some nasty looks from other passengers as if I were doing something wrong!

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Will Clive Sinclair's new folding bike work?

 

But hold on: if this is a bike, where are the wheels? Oh, those are the wheels. I'm sorry to sound a bit trad, but aren't six-inch wheels for scooters? There is a practical difficulty here: small wheels tend to fall down holes and not climb out of them. The ride of the A-bike on anything less smooth than, say, a snooker table is likely to be bone-jarring at best. And when I last looked, our city streets were not paved with green baize. Sinclair's ingenuity is admirable, but trying to improve such a successful technology as the bicycle is like, well, reinventing the wheel.

 

The biggest problem, though, is not practical but aesthetic. Sinclair's transport contraptions always look as if they have been put together from the parts bin of the BBC workshops where they build the Daleks. Will anyone be seen dead riding one of these? Most people will work hard to avoid becoming a laughing stock. Sadly, Sir Clive does not seem to have the same threshold of social embarrassment as most people.

 

And there you have it. The Sinclair C5 was going to revolutionize transport as well.

 

DSCF0045%20.JPG

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Based upon their look, I always thought they would revolutionise bathtubs

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