Monthly Archives: August 2010

Puncture!


When I finished work I discovered my back tyre was flat. I thought I had a flat tyre coming anyway. Now it has happened.

I am going to try and fix it myself. I did have a wicked thought by getting the bike shop to do it, but thought, nope, I have done it before so I could do it again.

I am doing it in a girly way by listening to the radio and having a tea break with custard creams in between ‘fiddly bits’ to make it more enjoyable.

Update: I managed to do it in 1 3/4 hour, bar the tea break and a bloke ‘snatching the tube’ out of my and ‘interfering’. Besides all that, I definitely can fix a back puncture. Pleased with my progress.

The Spy Cyclist found in a Sports Bag


I was reading this extraordinary story of the ‘fanatical’ cyclist who was found murdered in a sports bag.

Just what can you say?!

Maybe some motorist held a grudge because he hated cyclists and ‘they don’t pay ‘road tax’.

Anyway I was talking to a person who is also a cyclist and he said that perhaps he should take up swimming instead:-)

Testing for Acid Rain


In view of the stinging sensation I felt when the rainwater went into my eyes, I found this acid test online:

“Pollution from power stations and car exhausts can release other harmful gases Trees killed by acid raininto the air as well as carbon dioxide. These gases can be carried long distances by the wind before they are dissolved by raindrops to form “acid rain”. When this falls to Earth, it’s acidity causes it to slowly eat away at buildings, as well as killing trees, plants and life in rivers and lakes.

This experiment can be used to test for acid in rainwater.

You will need:

* 2 red cabbage leaves – finely chopped
* distilled water (available from chemists)
* rainwater (collected from your garden)
* a bowl
* 2 glass jars
* a measuring jug
* a sieve

Place the chopped cabbage leaves into the bowl. With the help of an adult, pour hot distilled water over them, and let it stand for an hour.

Strain liquid

Use the sieve to strain the liquid from the cabbage leaves into a measuring jug. It should be a dark purple colour.
Pour liquid

Using the measuring jug, pour 20ml of distilled water into one of the glass jars. Pour 20ml of rainwater into the other.
Place into jars

Now add some of the cabbage juice into the two jars – making sure you put the same amount in each. The water will then change colour.

How does the colour of the water in the two jars compare? You should find that the distilled water stays the same, whereas the rainwater may change colour. It will turn red if the rainwater is acidic; the stronger the acid, the redder the water will become.”

I will have a go at doing this experiment later on in the week as have to go out to work now. I’d like to hear what other experiences cyclists have had.

I also find this question online – is Acid Rain drinkable? As we are encouraged to drink tap water and not bottled bottle, the whole matter of drinking water is very confusing.

“Is rain water drinkable? Is acid rain in another category than rain water?

One day when we had a heavy rain, I caught several gallons of the rain water as it was coming through our spouting. Then, I filtered it through my PUR filter cartridge system (the type that filters 1/2 gallon at a time). I’ve heard that rain water is good for drinking. However, I’ve heard about acid rain being harmful. I’m just trying to distinguish whether or not acid rain is in a different category than what I call “regular rain water”. The reason I collected rain water for drinking is: When I run my tap water through my PUR filter (which by the way does make my tap water taste better), but I found out that it does not remove the flouride that is put in our drinking water and I’ve heard that the flouride has been known to cause cancer.

Answer
Acid rain occurs mainly around heavily polluted industrial areas, when the rain absorbs the pollution. If you don’t live too close to a factory, the water you collect should be safe. You can always test the water’s Ph value with some test strips. It should be around 7. ”

Acid rain is hardly talked about now and even Treehugger comments on this:

” Acid rain was quite the buzz word in the early ’90s, along with “ozone” and “reduce, recycle, reuse, and close the loop!” And while it doesn’t get quite as much press anymore, the problem of acid rain hasn’t disappeared.”

You bet it hasn’t.

Drenched!


The rain never seemed to end. It made it a lot worse as I was wearing ‘the wrong clothes’. And it was freezing.

One cyclist I saw ‘got it right’. He wore a long yellow mac, bright yellow trousers and a yellow hat. He looked like a fisherman not a cyclist.

Then I saw a male cyclist ‘wearing just lycra’ cycling along on a busy road, with cars speeding and splashing pedestrians looking rather nonchalant. We looked at each other, both surprised to see any cyclists out. I think he was even more amazed to see a woman cyclist in the rain:-)

One thing I noticed was that I got rainwater in my eye and it strung. Yes,the rainwater stung me. My eyes were red as I tried to wipe away the water. I couldn’t even open them at one point. I thought there were chemicals in it. If I had a chemisty set I would love to test what chemicals were in the rain. I thought rain water was supposed to be clean! Perhaps its acid rain.

Current Blog Stats: 35,058


I have been having a look at my blog admin and have noticed that I have over 35,058 views. That’s a bit scary!

I have noticed that I have been blogging since March 2008, bar the odd ‘disappearance’ from time to time although I thought I was blogging before this.

Some commenters have gone and buggered off but Jack has stayed. The cheque’s in the post Jack:-) New commenters have cropped up from time to time to replace them though some have been trying ‘to flog stuff’ which is a bit annoying:-)

New bike blogs are springing up,and now there are more women bike bloggers at large. We are slowly getting there. Few still write about advocacy preferring to rabbit on and on about cycle chic which is fine, but after all while endless cyclechic stuff gets boring as it never seems to change much. I only do it from occasionally, that’s enough.

‘In the old blogging days’ I used to look at these cyclechic blogs a lot. Now I don’t. I am more concerned about not getting run over with feral motorists ‘losing control’ and their diabolical road skills, even though they have passed their test and the fact that our laws and roads still are ‘car supremascist’.

Since 2008, I was in London more and I could do more exploring, perhaps go on these architectural bike tours, glamour rides or critical mass. Now I am pootling around Kent, it is quite expensive to take the train if I am not going there anyway so now I am restricted to cycling to work, going to Wadhurst on the bike or shopping.

My long distance trips seem to be out of my vision at the moment. In Kent, most cyclists are in sexist clubs or they are too expensive for me to join or they are mostly for retired people. The clubs are still very limited to a certain type of cyclist, ie the white middle class 4×4 driving cyclist. The roads are still very poor here to cycle long distance alone. It is safer to make shorter trips.

In London they have critical mass but where I am – there is still absolutely zilch.I do not have a cycling social life here whatsoever.

Things have changed a lot for me since 2008. I expect things will change months down the line and I will be up in London before long. Still since I been down here I have been taking up more rambling and picking ‘frugal food; which is a lot of fun. The other day I hate sloes for the first time. They are really sour and weird. How on earth can people eat them raw. Ewww!

Since 2008, I have been more creative ie I’ve been out doing photography, sketching and now doing embroidery. As a solo cyclist mostly, I have to learn to be be happy on my own since I don’t kind of belong to these ‘conformist cycling clubs’. I have also been doing stuff for a road safety charity which has been a good positive experience and now I want to help out doing more stuff like this, perhaps going onto ‘meatier stuff’ and getting involved in the emergency services.

Cycling & Sexism


Dawn Foster wrote in the Guardian of sexist encounters whilst cycling.

“I’ve had my top pulled down when I’ve stopped at traffic lights and been asked if I put in as much effort in the bedroom – but at least I can deal with it on my blog, 101 Wanker

I believe the only way you can really know a city is by bike. But the one thing that spoils matters, and it seems to thrive whenever I’m on my bike, is the abuse I receive from pedestrians and motorists alike.

The sight of me whizzing away on two wheels seemed to increase some people’s boldness to the point where they’d shout insults they’d never dare express to people who would have the time to stop and challenge them.

Whenever I mentioned these incidents, I met with disparate responses. Men would usually imply I was exaggerating, that I was oversensitive and incorrectly ascribing all comments shouted in public to myself.

My female friends would be indignant, explain that such incidents were commonplace, happened more often than not and be annoyed that men could be so convinced that this kind of thing didn’t happen.

One evening, after struggling up a particularly steep hill in Greenwich, I was angry and aggrieved that an athletic feat met with only sexist comments – “Come on love, put some back into it!” and “I hope you put as much effort into the bedroom!”.

The following day I started cataloguing the comments I experienced, and recording them on Google Maps.

What I found was interesting. Firstly, the opportunity to write about the abuse hurled at me dispersed my anger. I was able to retaliate in a calmer, more amusing way. People found my responses to these idiotic comments funny. I made my peace with the idiots by exposing them.

Secondly, hundreds of women wrote me emails, responded to my blog and spoke to me on Twitter and told me they’d had identical experiences. They didn’t tell me of every incident – they were too numerous – but they told me about their worst ones.

I told people about the time a pedestrian pulled my top down at a traffic light; they told me of people spitting at them and throwing building braces at them as they drove by. A dozen women told me they’d had their backsides slapped by drivers and passengers. I’d opened the flood gates by daring to speak out and say that enough was enough.

What surprised me was that far more men than women contacted me. They said they’d had no idea of the level of abuse women received, and that when they mentioned my site to female cyclists they opened a Pandora’s Box of untapped resentment towards the sexist abuse they’d experienced over the years.

Male correspondents were appalled and ashamed of how much grief their friends had experienced, and apologised for something they’d personally had no part in.

Dawn Foster blogs at 101 Wankers”

END+

It’s worse if you are cycling on your own. You make a good target.

I never EVER get any sexual abuse when I am cycling or walking with male company (no matter how skinny they are, and I’m more likely to be stronger than them:-).

No one has taken my top off at traffic or slapped my bum, however, I do know of a man who has been slapped by a passenger. I would find that very intimidating but I would, if I could get the car reg/witnesses) – you have to show that you are stronger than these people, because ‘they are cowards’ and you have to expose them. Not always so easy, as they could turn on you.

I have had wolf-whistles and ‘double hoots’, even at my age.

I don’t hear their friends apologising to me. Oh no, as they are cowards ‘they rush off’, taking their friends with them. Yes, so much for real men! Some of course can be aggressive, they are the ones to really watch, you don’t know what they are going to do.

They like to think they can get away with it. They rather like ‘bullies’.

Dawn doesn’t say what she was wearing. You can’t deny that some ‘clothes trigger’ sexual abuse unfortunately. Also I don’t have a big bust and big bum which, to be honest, makes life on my bike a lot easier:-) Unfortunately some women do have those which makes things difficult. And it is unfair that they get more abuse than others. I don’t think I get that much compared to others but then my bike ride is quite short and many motorists round me are mature (although can be immature in their driving skills).

You wouldn’t see me going off in a top, on my own, with a ‘cleavage’ which is just ‘asking for trouble’. I even have a job to wear cycle shorts, which I generally only use when out in a group now or with my boyfriend. Or if I do long distance cycling for charity rides, then it is a lot worse.

Having lived in the middle east and ‘covered myself up’, some of this stuff makes sense. Most men are ‘the same’ round the world, but others manage to control their behaviour, others just can’t as they are so immature.

When I cycle to work I often wear my work trousers and that throws immature men ‘off the scent’. And if I wear a skirt, it is medium length and I keep an eye on it to make sure my knees are not exposed. I don’t like to draw ‘too much attention’, although I do ‘go overboard’ with bike bling.I get comments about how nice my bike is.. or men vandalise it!

I really think that what you wear does trigger sexual abuse. I never get it at all in my unisex type Hi-Viz jacket, but instead I get bottles hurled at me by men which is a lot worse.

I actually think the type of abuse I get from males is more about them hating me as a ‘bloody cyclist’, rather than being a woman cyclist. It is the type of abuse that both men and women get. It can be a lot more aggressive and scary.

I haven’t heard of women throwing bottles or stuff at cyclists – yet. And I haven’t heard of women shooting cyclists with airguns either. If you hear of any, please send me a link or tell me about your experiences.

I wouldn’t want to wear very girly stuff at night when we are most vulnerable to attack. And as I have said before, cycling shops in town, refuse to sell personal alarms.

I think the sexual abuse can be annoying and uncomfortable out on the roads, but it is also annoying when it comes from cycling forums themselves. They are one big Sexist Bin. They are probably the types of cyclists who go on wife swapping parties in the Tory provincials. So you don’t mix with them, either in the forum or in their sexist cycling clubs.

I am not on any cycling forums at all. It is no wonder the men haven’t a clue what women cyclists go through, as we are harranged off the forums if we dare mention it. It is a case of ‘women should be at the kitchen sink, not be on bikes’. And when they start talking about Victoria Pendleton it is ‘Cor!’.

The immature sexism in cycling itself makes women cyclists like me blog instead, avoid cycling clubs and have our own say and we can delete any abuse by having our blog moderated. Fortunately, I have never had much problem with blogging, only with feral cyclist-hating motorists swearing at me.

Sexual abuse is everywhere unfortunately. I tend to stand up for myself if I can and at the very least, minimise the risk. It is so much harder at night though, but I try to carry my mobile phone and take my notepad and camera with me just in case.

It would help if male friends of these sexual abuser s would say something instead of letting their friends do this. Often the abuser has a friend with them at the time.

Feral Motorists & Fuel Thefts


I have asked some police stations if they can send me links about Wanted Motorists. I could help do a Twitter Hunt for them.

The more hassles motorists get being out on the road, maybe, more will get on their bikes instead:-)