Friday 30 September 2011

Cycle Video Day

There are lots and lots of Helmet Camera Cyclists on the streets today. Some great and good (like me of course....), some I admire, some I'm not so sure about. Here is the list of those who are currently posting, or have posted YouTube videos.

There really is a large number in the UK and we are quite widely spread geographically. As a group I think we are having an impact and a number of us have made it into the news at the local and national level. However, every piece I have ever seen has always suggested that we are few, and are possibly just a fringe element (perhaps we are!!).

This got me thinking.....oh, oh, here we go..... What could we do to help publicise that we are a growing force on the roads? What could we do that would capture peoples imagination, whilst at the same time get the message out that we are all road users and we all deserve respect?

And then the clouds parted, the sun shone and angels started singing.....ok, perhaps that is a little bit of an exaggeration, but I did have an idea, which is always worth celebrating!

Why not bring all of the helmet cam users together in a Day in the Life type project?

What if for one day, one specified day, we all captured and uploaded 10 minutes of our cycle commute. The particular 10 minutes would be up to the discretion of each cyclist, it could be an incident, an enjoyable section of the commute, a glorious sunrise, a bit of commuter racing.... anything that captured nationwide what cyclists were doing across the country on that day. Then all of the videos we collected and linked to from one location, each with a short 25 word description of what the video depicts.

I'm not even sure what it would consist of in the end, and what the final story would be, but I'm sure it would be a fascinating insight into cycle commuting and could serve as an educational and campaigning tool.

So what do you think? Are you ready to film a day in the life of your cycle commuting?

May I be so bold to select a date? How about Monday the 10th October 2011......

NOTE: Change of date. Now 10th October. Otherwise, us in the north would be filming in the dark!

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Pulling Out My Finger

Those who pay attention (and those who care!) may have noticed that I have been quieter recently. There are a number of reasons for this. One reason is that the roads have been pretty good to cycle on recently. However, there are other reasons of a more sinister nature.... boom, boom, boom, tada, da, da, da... (that was the start of the end titles on Eastenders, which I'm sure was obvious!)

Yes, you've guessed it, I'm going to leave that for another day. Why? I suppose I am still a little too angry about it, and want to let the dust settle, but more importantly, I want to leave it for my book.

What did you just say?!!

Yes you read right, my book.

I've had a look back over the last 6 years and it really has been a rollercoaster. I've had lots of great fun, and I've had some brilliant successes, but there have been some very low points as well. They say that everyone has a book in them, well, I think I have one that I feel the need to share. Of course, it is entirely possible that no one will want to read it. However, I did an entirely unbiased poll of my facebook friends and 7 said they would buy it once it was reduced in a bargain basement store, 3 said they would buy it and send it to taxi drivers they didn't like, and one said that if it was thick enough to prop up their wobbly kitchen chair they would buy it, but only if it had a picture of my face in it.

Yes I do have 11 friends!!

So, having had such a positive initial response I have started. I have about 600 words so far. Only 300 to go.....what's that? Books tend to be longer than a blog post!?!? I'll have to have plenty of pictures then!

Actually, I think I have two books, and the shorter of the two will probably be finished first. Watch this space!

(Oh and if you are a publisher who likes what I write here, is willing to ignore the terrible grammar and spelling, and can see the HUGE potential of a book about a particularly controversial cyclist and his crazy journey so far then feel free to contact me!!!)

Anyway, that's enough of my get rich quick scheme....oh ok, my make £5.50 if I am lucky scheme.

I have other ideas and plans that I need to progress. I have to follow up some leads with First Bus, I need to get my Celebration Station idea moving, and I need to crack on with my plan for a Day in the Life.

What Day in the Life plan?

Ah, I've been so busy I forgot to blog about that. Right. Best get a blog written about that then. Or maybe I should write book 1, or is that book 2, or maybe I need to play with the kids, change a nappy, put that front mudguard on, talk to the wife, fix the leak in the shower, look into getting the garage door repaired after I managed to close it whilst a bike wheel was in the way, get a life, read War and Peace, develop a new metabolic imaging agent for use in stroke.........


Tuesday 13 September 2011

Butterfly Effect

Lets imagine a cyclist is a butterfly. Now lets imagine that this little butterfly notices the time and realises that it is time to go to work. So it dons it's helmet (butterflies are unlikely to hit the ground at more than 12mph so it might actually provide some protection....), and sets off on it's commute to the big flower.

Unfortunately for this butterfly, there aren't many butterflies around. In fact the majority of the traffic on it's commute are really large birds flying back and forth on really short journeys. These journeys generally consist of trips to get DIY goods (twigs), to get snacks in for the kids (worms or sometimes butterflies!), etc. This means that the sky is a busy place for the little butterfly, and he often finds that he needs to take evasive action to avoid being knocked out of the sky or eaten. It's a bird eat butterfly world, out there.

However, all is not lost. The butterfly has a secret weapon up it's wing. Having been a pupal of physics for a long time it knows about the butterfly effect. If things get rough and the butterfly fears for it's life, all it needs to do is flutter it's wings in a certain way and chaos ensues. The wind starts whipping up, storm clouds gather and all the big birds scatter for cover, giving the butterfly an opportunity to get to the big flower before the force of the hurricane reaches it's peak.

Could this bike be the answer to commuter blues?

Bravo little butterfly! 

Is it possible for us cyclists to learn anything from our colourful winged friends?

Unfortunately I don't have wings. I have tried very, very hard to whip up instantaneous storms, by flapping my arms up and down in a manic manner, but despite studying physics for many years, I never got to grips with chaos theory. However, fear not. It turns out I do have powers, powers to not only control traffic, but I have the power to cause huge tailbacks that stretch for miles and miles.

What do I need to do to unleash this mystical weapon? I just have to make one car driver behind me understand that I need a little room, and to slow down a little instead of overtaking me dangerously!

Brilliant! Here is the proof sent to me by Professor JimLem of the University of Youtube.

@magnatom Yeah, he could have taken his foot off the accelerator, causing every vehicle behind him to slow down too. Minutes later, there will be miles of tailbacks, resulting in delayed, frustrated drivers everywhere. And all because of YOU.

Cyclists should be grateful that there are designated lanes for them to use at all, since cars, vans, lorries and motorcycles are all operated by people who PAY to use public roads. I'm not surprised this guy reacted the way he did.

So car drivers, the next time you see a cyclist in front of you and it isn't safe to overtake, use your foot-brake and slow down a little. Then look carefully in your rear-view mirror (not too much of course, as you still don't want to knock the cyclist down!), and watch as the traffic chaos unfolds behind you.

Marvel in the power of the YouTube butterfly effect........