Friday 30 December 2011

What a crazy year that has been.

Glasgow's Squinty Bridge at New Year?

It's that time of year again when, due to a totally artificial division in our calender we are forced to look back at the 365 or so days that have just passed. And what a 365 days they have been!

Of course this is a personal blog. It is not a blog about world events, so there is no point in me recounting them here. Others are much better at that, and have much better insight into the ramifications of the Arab spring, and Prince Phillips heart condition. So I'll keep it personal. What has 2011 been like for me?


It all started off well. I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Boston in the US and to take pictures of pretty bikes stuck in the snow (that's not what I was there for!). The weather did reduce the amount of time I could spend on the bike though which was annoying. However, I  made it onto TV (ok my video did) and onto radio!

Early 2011 was also the time when I really started writing my blog more regularly. I realised that I enjoyed writing, despite being very bad at it. In fact I even dabbled in writing some 'bike comedy' (here and here), although I quickly realised that I was better to stick to my day job!! I was more successful when writing about the abuse I was receiving and the abusers. I really shouldn't have made it to the end of 2011 alive!!

I thought a lot about cycle lanes, and decided that they were indeed very badly designed and often downright dangerous. However, as the year went on I began to realise that I wasn't 100% against cycle lanes or cycle specific infrastructure. In fact, I came across a realisation that not everyone could, would, or should be a vehicular cyclist such as myself. Perhaps there was another way...

In the middle of the year I had lots of grand ideas. Most of which I didn't have any time to follow up unfortunately. Events, not totally in my control took over my time. In fact during the summer things took a nasty turn and made life very uncomfortable for me for a while. I'm not going to go into detail here, but suffice it to say a driver who didn't like the fact that I caught him on camera decided to try to make my life very difficult.Of course you can't keep a good Magnatom down, and I've managed to turn negativity into positivity. Out of it all came the idea for a book. Yes, I started writing a book. So if you are interested to find out more about who I am, what I do, why I do it, and some of the crazy stuff that has happened as a result; stay tuned to these pages for more details!

Things did turn more positive again with a great meeting with First Buses, for it only to go a bit pear shaped again with my run in with the law. I really have lost a lot of faith in the police as a result. However, in good Magnatom style there is a ray of hope, and I hope to have some more details of some positive developments in the new year.

There was of course the very successfully Cycle video Day. Which resulted in video submissions from all over the world. Brilliant. Of course, time towards the end of the year (I also have three young kids as well!) was becoming tight, so I didn't manage to follow this up the way I had intended. Me bad. Must do better.

Mind you, I did become a millionaire! Ok, not in money terms, but in YouTube viewing terms. Great, except for the fact that most of the views were probably from people wanting to see me knocked off my bike. Oh well, a view is a view!

Towards the end of the year, life as Magnatom seemed to get a little quieter with nicer commutes and fewer incidents (and less threat of arrest etc!). I recorded one particularly glorious commute. This was probably my favourite video of the year, closely followed by this beauty!

Don't be fooled by the quiet end to the year, though. As I have hinted before, there are already plans afoot for 2012. Possible progress with the police, a planned project with a campaigning group and.......something else I can't quite tell you about yet. Sorry! Mind you it should be worth the wait if it all comes off.

There is one thing that is as certain as death and taxes: there will be more videos! Who knows I may even try something a little different in 2012.

Happy New Year when it comes and safe driving/cycling!


  1. Oh wow didn't know you visited Boston. Too bad you didn't have more time, there's so much to see in that area that you can get to on the train, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, etc.

  2. Aye, was on a weeks course at MIT. Loved it. Had to spend a couple of extra days there due to snow storms. Will definitely pop back one day. :-)

  3. The driver did not like the way you portrayed him on your video and also took offence at some of nasty comments your pals were making about someone they don't know. Also after looking into just exactly who you are and what you do he took extreme offence to what he discovered about how you go about your working life when paid by his and other honest people's taxes. Therefore my advice is this , be very very careful what you blog or print as the driver has collated much much much more for his file if the future requires it.

  4. Interesting comments by anonymous, sounds
    to me that you may not be quite the wholesome
    crusader that you make out you are, Mr Brennan.


  5. Is that you John? (Anonymous)

  6. Your not a friend of John's are you Jamie?

  7. No I am not a friend of John but I am a fellow
    cyclist who started following your blog and tweets
    with a keen interest in your views on road safety.

    However I cycle daily on busy roads and have
    been involved in only two situations in the last 10 years
    that I would deem as similar to the ones you find
    yourself in on a regular basis.

    This has led me to believe that you may not be the
    paragon of road safety that you profess to be but a sensationalist
    who craves attention and satisfies this urge via video entrapment. I am a follower who has lost the faith.
    I would recommend for your own safety that you modify
    your riding style before you or someone else gets injured.


  8. So what bike do you ride Jamie? Where do you ride? Whats your best experience on a bike? What's your worst?

    Sorry if I am a, tad, sceptical. Anonymity is a wonderful tool for hiding true identities and true motives.

    I'm writing a chapter about that in my book.

  9. I apologies for the use of anonymity however I find that this is a necessity in my profession I have no social network presence.
    I became aware of you when I saw your clip On the news and began following your blog and I did find some of the incidents on you tube to highlight some very bad driving.

    However I ride a smith & Wesson in edinburgh and I have received fairly extensive training in all aspects of road use and find your riding style to be verging on the provocative towards other road users.
    Just my opinion.


  10. LOL. Good one 'Jamie'. I can just see the train of thought do I make him think I ride a bike and know what I am talking about. Hmmmm. I wonder what bike the police ride... LOL! How many miles do you cover in your job each day in Edinburgh? :-)

  11. Boys , Boys can you stop tittle tattling ... Jamie who ever you are give me your email address and I will drop you a line. David you really need to loosen up in 2012. I seen you today cycling past me with someone in yellow licra hard on your tail. ( you looked if you were enjoying it ... Lol) Nearly tooted my horn to say hello but thought " ach leave him alone he's got to be in work for nine " got to keep his nose clean for a while he he ". Any way I'd better go now as I'm at work and should not be social networking !!!! Oops it's okay I guess!! I own the company !!! Lol. Have a nice day guys !!!!

  12. So John, you are doing the very thing that you accused me of? Is that right? Is that not a little... pot, kettles and black?

  13. Magnatom it certainly appears that you have managed to antagonize a lot of people. Do you think it is wise to continue in this vein?

    Do you think that now you are actually achieving the opposite of what you set out to achieve? And in fact not improving road safety but making things worse for the rest of us who enjoy cycling without the volume of near misses that you seem to encounter.


  14. Hi Dave, are you a cyclng cop to?

  15. 10.52 am that post David ... Home hope your not at work today and using mobile device around MRI equipment when you should be doing your job.Il check with my contacts. Oh and pot and Kettle ... Bit of a difference between couple of posts and many hundreds eh ?? But most of all I don't have to answer to any one ... LOL.

  16. No. Why?? Do you have a thing for cycling cops?

  17. Hi Michael. Time to end this. Why don't you and your friends Dave, John, and Jamie give me a wee e-mail. Statcounter suggests you all have a close Association....