Day 3 of #30DaysOfBiking

Much easier today in that I was going to cycle to a meeting anyway!

So the ride on Day 3 was to a committee meeting of CTC Northampton, the local member group of the UK’s Cyclists’ Touring Club.  And via a little bit of shopping at my local supermarket, Waitrose in Kingsthorpe.

I’m having a little bit of an argument / complaint / polite discussion with the supermarket.  They have reduced the number of cycle-racks and moved them away from a window where they could be seen from the café inside the store.  I’ve now had a couple of conversations with the customer service people and their manager.

I took a photo and posted it on social media.

The bike-racks in their new position

The bike-racks in their new position

Here are some of the comments that followed:

1 That’s a bit disappointing. I would have thought that Waitrose had a sustainability officer who should be encouraging and incorporating green efforts from their customers. Better signage might help and also better bike racks. CCTV, space for cargo bikes,panniers etc (I saw better examples of units at The London Bike show so will go check my blog for a reminder) Also removing the trolleys rather than the allocated space would be my expected approach, not the other way round. Waitrose do listen to their customers so perhaps if enough peeps requested cycle storage they might consider it? Here’s hoping…!

2 My local branch knew all about the free bike-trailer scheme operated by their Chichester branch!

3 Our local Waitrose removed the bike racks from a covered area to put trolleys there that were previously in the store foyer. I complained but they said tough, there was bike parking elsewhere (in a narrow section unprotected from the rain). I always leave Alfie where the old bike racks were, freestanding of course! (A reference to a recumbent trike.)

4 No bike racks. No trolley scheme. Not up round ours, Nothing on the plans for the new store either, and it will be ‘wrong’ side of town centre race track DC too. grrr.

5 Bike parking at my local Waitrose is ropey as well. I don’t give a damn because I park my bike IN the trolley. Actually, if they were really serious about the sustainability thing, they should launch guarded bike parking.

The assistant brought the manager to me and said to him, “This gentlemen always cycles here. Sometimes he brings his foldy bike in. Sometimes he parks a proper bike. He’s a regular customer.” To be honest, I hadn’t noticed the lady before! Loved the foldy/proper distinction she made!

Today, I was on the foldy bke.  Spoke to the manager (he was excited by the bike; I don’t think he’d seen a Brompton before; he was really interested!).  The store was empty.

Plenty of room

Plenty of room

And then it was on to my meeting where another member is taking a different approach.  Instead of complaining to Waitrose, he’s been complaining to the County Council as the planning authority.  When the shopping centre was built, he wondered, did planning permission include the provision of a certain number of bike racks?  Can they be reduced by the supermarket without consultation?  Have they broken the planning agreement?  I hadn’t thought of that line of reasoning!

Really the meeting is about planning weekend rides and social events – and seeking opportunities to promote cycling.  But, once in a while, our campaigning side comes out!

Summary Day 3 – Bike: Brompton, Distance: 4 miles, Total: 8 miles. Weather: cloudy evening with hint of rain after the meeting. Route here on RideWithGPS.  I did ride home afterwards!

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Day 2 of #30DaysOfBiking

In London for the day and so … lateral thinking

We went up to London today to see Borodin’s “Prince Igor” (Novaya Opera Moscow at the ENO) and so, to get some pedalling in, why not hire Boris bikes?

My wife Sue wouldn’t care for cycling on London streets but traffic-free would entice her and what could be a bigger traffic-free area in the centre of the city than Hyde Park.  Studied Transport for London’s web-pages about Boris bikes in advance and arrived at our chosen docking station prepared.

Sue at the Park Lane docking station

Sue at the Park Lane docking station

One credit card will pay for two bikes and, on this first occasion, we opted for the full paper receipts.

Two printed key codes and the receipt

Two printed release codes and the receipt

The little key-pads on the cycle docks are well hammered!  That was why the two bikes nearest the pay-station couldn’t be used.  We had a little hunt until we found two others whose key-pads responded.

Then we were off – a little way north on Park Lane (where the cycle path is well away from the dual carriageway) and then into Hyde Park by Speakers’ Corner.  South to Hyde Park Corner and then west (parallel to the carriage drive) close to the Guards’ Chapel.  We paused there and my iPhone app thought this was the end of our ride but we carried on to  turn north and across the bridge over the Serpentine, putting our bikes into the docking station near to the Serpentine Gallery.IMG_0373

 

Good practice for when Northampton CoNNect, our local bike hire scheme, starts on 1st May.

Summary Day 2 – Bike: Boris Bike, Distance: 2 miles, Total: 4 miles. Weather: spring warmth. Route here on RideWithGPS.

 

Day 1 of #30DaysOfBiking

30 Days of Biking – a simple sounding challenge: just to ride a bike once a day every day in April.

Main 30DOB site here.  Blog here and on Tumblr here.

Day 1 – Bike: Peugeot Princeton, Distance: 2 miles, Weather: spring warmth.  Daffodils very noticeable.

I tried this challenge last year and didn’t succeed. Managed to ride a bike in France, Belgium, Germany and The Netherlands but not every day in April 2013.

I’ve got an added impetus this year.  I put my name forward to the good people of 30 Days of Biking in Minneapolis and I’ve been asked to write the 30DOB blog for 20th April and so I’ve got to keep going.

Today was a very simple ride, very like the ride I made on 2nd April last year – a visit to my nearest sub-post-office.  And today’s photo is very similar with my everyday bike leaning against the post box.IMG_0369It was a parcel today.  I turned 65 last birthday and I’ve decided to de-clutter, starting with the loft and, where it looks practical, putting unwanted items on eBay.  And so I was off to post a Kenwood Chef Coffee Grinder attachment to someone in Putney.

Here’s my route on Endomondo.  I’m going to try to start most days at The Obelisk.IMG_0001

and here’s the detail of the information plaqueIMG_0002

I pedalled through the pocket park and then down to the post office.  I returned through Kingsthorpe Cemetery which, as well as having my Dad’s grave, has those of Lucia Joyce (James Joyce’s daughter) and Violet Gibson (“The Woman Who Shot Mussolini“).  Do see the inspired blog by a dog-walker who observes the cemetery closely!

A reading at Lucia's grave - Bloomsday 2007

A reading at Lucia’s grave – Bloomsday 2007

And then I was home!

 

30 Days of Biking – across five countries

Oh dear, I didn’t bike for 30 Days!  But I did bike in five different countries (England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany).

I’ve borrowed my friend Iain Dawson’s words – and then added my own photographs – to describe (on the sister blog to this) our ride, as CTC Northampton, to meet up with our new “twin” organisation, ADFC Aachen in Germany.

You’ll find them here:

I’d like to express deep personal thanks to Sabine Neitzel, a lovely cyclist in Aachen who took in Alex and myself – two unknown cyclists – and looked after us for five days.  Sabine, you are magnificent!