Spuds at the Ready Lads…
Great idea (Whacky Fringe, letters A to B 43) to let us have a go at scaring the wits out of the media.We need overtaking cameras on bicycles that dish out fines according to a set formula. For example, a gap of two metres between cyclist and passing car, no problem. One and a half to two metres, careless driving = £50 fine; one to one and a half metres, reckless driving =£100 fine; and under one metre, dangerous driving = £500 fine plus disqualification for twelve months and the driver resumes as a learner.Where railway crossing barriers replace gated level crossings, the barriers should be kept down, with motorists paying a toll for them to be opened.That would stop such roads becoming rat runs.
If something isn’t done soon I expect that someone will form the CLA (Cyclists Liberation Army).There’s no need to blow anything up – it’s amazing what a few misplaced traffic cones can do. And I remember seeing a World War Two cartoon in a garage.The mechanic is saying, ‘After we’d got it all apart we found a potato stuck in the exhaust pipe!’
A Sustrans Member Writes
Peter Henshaw’s letter in A to B 43 describing the Association of British Drivers as ‘a small group of right-wing nutters with a tenuous grasp of reality’ shows that he suffers from a tenuous grasp of truth about us.
We are not connected to any political party and we insist that all speed limits must be obeyed.We want motorway speed limits raised to 80mph in good conditions, but we support 20mph zones near schools, reinforced by speed cameras during school hours. Many of our members are keen cyclists and belong to cycling organisations (Sustrans in my case), and some joined in the London to Brighton ride.
Peter’s proposal to form a cycling organisation wanting to ride in their own lanes on motorways gave me an idea: to form the ARC (Association of Responsible Cyclists).We promise never to ride on pavements, over pedestrian crossings, on the wrong side along one-way streets, through red lights, or after dark without lights.
Now PLEASE don’t tell me only a minority of cyclists commit the offences I’ve mentioned. I see most cyclists doing at least one of these things almost every time I’m out, and I cannot believe Cheltenham has a monopoly on idiotic cyclists.
Colin Rose, member of the Association of British Drivers
We’re astonished that anyone who regularly rides a bicycle in this country can subscribe to the ABD’s line on speeding. Driving at high speed is never acceptable. Some relatively minor roads near us are lethal for non-motorised users.Why? Because they are within a few miles of the A303 trunk road. After pounding the motorway network at 80mph+, it takes drivers some minutes to drift back to reality, making ordinary roads ‘no-go’ areas for everyone else.
And we’re deeply sceptical about the ABD’s apparent approval of 20mph limits and cameras in front of schools, but only ‘during school hours’.What happens when children move up to college? Or – to use a fatuous, but perfectly realistic example – when children are delayed by extra-curricular activities? And how about the rest of the walking and cycling population – ordinary people cycling to work, OAPs popping out to the shops? The truth, of course, is that the caring stuff about 20mph and schools is pure spin. (Eds)
Sensible bikes. Amsterdam, Dunbar? San Francisco actually - an advertising shot for Breezer utility bikes. PHOTO:Mark McLane
Since I use my bike as others would a car, I have become regarded as something of a cycling expert by my friends. Unfortunately this is far from the case, so when people ask me to recommend a bike I am somewhat at a loss. Several of my friends are keen to take up cycling, and are looking to buy a new bike, but are daunted by the choice. I would like to be able to give an actual recommendation, i.e. a make/model and a shop/website. Can you help?
My friends are mostly mums with young children, so haven’t a great desire to go fast, but probably would like to be able to keep up with the kids as they grow up. I can’t imagine that they would be impressed by a typical ‘shopper’ style – it would have to be more fashionable than that. I myself made the mistake of buying a cheap mountain bike when I started out, and though the low gears are useful for pulling a heavy trailer, I’d rather have something with mudguards, lights and a basket/rear rack. Can you suggest a bike which would be suitable for accompanying young children to school, some excursions further afield and day-to-day shopping, and that is unlikely to require much maintenance? I would be embarrassed to recommend something costing much more than £200.
I have high hopes for turning Dunbar into a mini York or Cambridge, where cycling is seen as a way of life.The town is small, so shops and school are within two miles of almost everyone, and although it can be windy here, the land is fairly flat and the weather is dry. I am in the process of forming a ‘safe routes to schools group’ to improve cycle access to the school, and I am hopeful that with a bit of encouragement most of the children will be getting to school under their own steam in a few years. All the mums I have spoken to are keen to cycle more, and kids always want to be on their bikes.
Dunbar, East Lothian
Take a look at any similar town in northern Europe and you will see very few cheap MTBs, but plenty of bicycles, generally featuring hub gears, lights, mudguards, chainguards, skirtguards, pumps, sensible tyres and so on.These machines are practical, sensible and fun to ride. It’s a sad fact that in the UK, most people’s experience of cycling involves wobbling around the park on a heavy, energy-sapping, accessory-free £70 ‘mountain-style’ bike.
It’s difficult to get the message across, but buying a cheap bicycle really is a false economy. People who wouldn’t dream of driving a Reliant three-wheeler can be remarkably penny-pinching when it comes to a bicycle. But if you can re-educate your friends to appreciate more ‘sensible’ wheels, Dutch-style roadsters are available from as little as £250. Giant produce several, although few shops are willing to stock them in the UK. At the ‘quality’ end, Cycle Heaven in York (tel: 01904 636578) stock the Gazelle. Otherwise, UK importers www.dutchbike.co.uk are worth a try, or you could even nip across to Amsterdam for a weekend, soak up the relaxed cycling vibes, and come home with a bike, plus a load of practical accessories. Incidentally, we wonder whether it would be cost-effective to buy a £70 Chinese MTB, sell (or more likely, chuck away) most of the components and re-equip it with hub gears, mudguards etc? (Eds)
I would like to say thank you! Four years back, I was 37 years old, putting on weight, using the car to go everywhere, and feeling very unfit. After finding out about A to B on an electric bike website, I phoned, bought some road tests, and bought a secondhand e-bike.
There are no buses or trains where we live on the Suffolk/Norfolk border, and I was able to use the bike to ride to and from work. People at work (and at home!) take the piss out of me, but knowing through A to B that there are like-minded people out there gave me strength to keep going. Not only am I still cycling 28 miles every day, but I am enjoying every minute of it.
Excellent. Our friends and family are equally mystified (but generally less rude) about our enthusiasm for electric bikes, yet these machines really are priceless for eliminating awkward car journeys beyond the range of most peoples’ cycling abilities. (Eds)
An Electrifying Practice
I am a fit 43 year old General Practitioner. In recent years I have cycled the four miles to work in the summer and kept a battered old moped at work for home visits during the day. This year my moped has died and I’ve been back to using the car all day, and have missed the exercise.
I’m wondering whether an electric bike would be suitable for the journey to and from work, plus home visits in the day: 75% of my visits are within two miles, 95% within four miles, with 5% up to ten miles away. I average three visits per day.
Time is tight, I live in Penzance, Cornwall so I have hills everywhere, but I want to get around quickly, without missing out on the exercise.What is the fastest, most seamless and most reliable pedalling-plus-electric combo? I saw an advertisement for the Wavecrest Tidalforce and liked the sound of the 20mph, but I’ve got no idea if I could import one.
For obvious reasons, speed and car-style reliability are going to be important to Mark. On paper, the specification is fairly straightforward – largish NiMH battery, regenerative braking to take the edge off those switchback Cornish hills, and a rapid charger, preferably with a second battery pack topped-up and ready to go in the surgery.
In practice, it’s a bit more difficult. Experience suggests that the Giant Lafree is the most reliable and efficient electric bike on the British market. But it isn’t fast, and the small battery puts a definite cap on range at about 20 miles – just enough for those ten-mile house calls, provided a spare battery pack is available at base.
Several faster bikes have come onto the market, and for a doctor on call, something capable of 18-20mph would seem eminently sensible.Yes, they’re technically illegal, but one wonders whether the ‘15mph’ law has much meaning when excessive motoring speed appears to be the norm. Modern Far Eastern bicycles like the Ezee Sprint are quite capable of maintaining 17mph or more even in hilly territory, but their high-geared motors tend to wilt when the going gets tough. On the positive side, the Sprint has a large but reasonably light battery and a fast charger.
As regular readers will know, regenerative braking offers the apparently magical capability of ‘recycling’ effort that would normally be wasted going downhill – useful, one would think, for the valleys and steep hidden coves of Cornwall. On the negative side, only a small proportion of the energy is recovered, and they’re rare beasts:The Tidalforce, designed for the US market, provides regenerative braking and a claimed 20mph cruising speed, but the company has not been forthcoming with technical specification, so beyond the usual optimistic claims, it’s hard to find firm information on its capabilities. Similarly, with the Canadian-made EPS bikes, the technology sounds good, but we have yet to try one in ‘real’ conditions. (Eds)
I just saw a Specialized folding bike on a web site. I didn’t know they had one out. I’ve been collecting information on Bike Fridays and Bromptons, and I hope to get a look at a couple of these bikes next week.
Have you got any information on the Specialized model? Will it be reviewed in your magazine any time soon? Should I consider one as an alternative to the above? I’m enjoying A to B, and only wish there was more of an emphasis on bicycle commuting over here!
Chapel Hill, New Carolina, USA
Specialized, like Trek, Dawes, Raleigh and most big manufacturers, have their folding bicycles manufactured for them by Dahon. As Dahon is the acknowledged expert, there’s nothing wrong with this, but you will generally pay a premium for the name tag. Bike Friday and Brompton manufacture high quality niche products that generally out-perform the ‘badge engineered’ machines. (Eds)
Who Lets The Lockers Out?
Stratford upon Avon is a small town at the end of a rail line, which runs too few trains to Birmingham and London. Bikes are a popular form of transport in the relatively flat area; most are the rusty old faithful sort ridden by surprisingly fit grey-haired persons.
To cater for this enthusiastic pool of potential customers, the station has proudly installed three metal hoops under a glass cover for six cycles, and a row of six secure cycle lockers (which only take 600mm more platform space than the hoops and covers).
On enquiring about the availability of these lockers, I am told that they are rented out for periods of six months to six persons. My observations suggest that the tenants very rarely use their facility.Thus the train company makes an easy killing on recouping the cost of the lockers whilst the lockers are little used.This does not seem to provide any real benefit to the wider public who might otherwise be tempted to ride to the station.
Is this typical of how secure cycle accommodation is actually used, or is Stratford an anomaly? Information from readers around the country would be of interest.
Stratford upon Avon,Warwickshire
According to Gerard Burgess, Communications Manager at Central Trains; ‘The reality is that open cycle lockers invite abuse and vandalism. A few years ago someone actually moved into one of the open cycle lockers at Sleaford! The idea is that renting a locker gives regular commuters the confidence to set off to the station knowing that they have secure storage. By keeping them secured when the bike isn’t there we prevent misuse.’
Take a Ride
An update – infuriating – on trains from Stansted Airport. A long conversation with Diana of One-Railway, which now includes the Stansted Express, concludes that all trains to the airport on a Saturday (September 18th in my case) are Stansted Express trains, none of which take unboxed bikes. So I’ll return from the Pyrenees with no option but to ride from Stansted.What sort of a bl%^&*()dy country are we coming to? I can fly into Gatwick and their trains take bikes, and don’t stink either.
We’re not flavour of the month at ‘one’ right now (see Mole).When we put this query to the company, we received only a sullen silence – rail companies really are their own worst enemies at times. Fortunately, the answer is at hand. Alan need only cycle a few miles to pick up a local train at Stansted Mountfitchet or Bishop’s Stortford. Rather pleasant after being cooped up in a plane for hours. Of course, what he should really do is travel with a folding bike and cut out all that hassle (unless he’s using RyanAir). (Eds)
South West Trains is carrying out a ‘consultation’ proposing a reduction in the off-peak times when cycles may be taken on trains. Although claimed not to affect those with folding cycles, if implemented, this would reduce further the options for the majority of cyclists to combine train/cycle travel.The proposal also runs counter to the Strategic Rail Authority’s own guidance to train operating companies as highlighted in A to B 42 (p14).
Following the (late) arrival of new stock, South West Trains will be introducing tighter restrictions on bicycles from 11th October 2004 – see our website for details. Folding bikes are currently welcomed on all rail services in the UK and we’re confident that the industry sees sufficient commercial advantage in this to bring errant train operating companies back into line. (Eds)
I would like your recommendation on what folding bike to buy. I will use it to commute eight miles to work every day. I weigh 340lbs [155kg or 24 stone], but I need a bike that weighs as little as possible.
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Without, hopefully, being too personal, it isn’t often that a folding bicycle is asked to deal with this sort of weight. Only two manufacturers responded to our query: Brompton, perhaps wisely, felt this was beyond the design parameters of their ‘off-the-peg’ machine, but ‘bespoke’ manufacturer Bike Friday can build just about anything to order.Their heaviest customer to date was a 26-stone farmer from South Dakota.The bike ended up weighing around 13.6kg. (Eds)
Lard with our Learning
Your assertion that ‘rolling resistance rises as wheel diameter decreases’ (A to B 43) might well be disputed by some. Most notable would be Dr Alex Moulton, who has based the whole of his design and production of small-wheeled bicycles on the opposite premise, given that very high pressures can be introduced into the tyres.
Incidentally, am I alone in lamenting the long absence of the redoubtable Mr Portly? I shudder to think what his calorific intake must have been since he last graced the pages of A to B with his pearly prose. It is sad to realise that some regular but recent readers don’t even know of his existence. On the basis that incessant industry and infrequent recreation make Jacqui a miserable citizen, could we have a little lard with our learning, and the occasional appearance of Mr P?
Beautifully put.Yes, we should have made it clear that our comment assumed all other factors to be equal. Lightweight sidewall construction and high pressures have transformed the rolling character- istics of small tyres, but they’ve also reduced the rolling resistance of big tyres (although not to the same extent), so small wheels remain at a disadvantage, albeit, a relatively insignificant one.
Mr Portly, our ‘fat nation’ food columnist, has been squeezed from these pages through lack of space, like many other enjoyable, but less factual things.We hope to make amends by either increasing the size of the magazine or becoming less industrious. (Eds)
290 miles in Three Days
May I comment on Peter Bolwell’s letter (‘Which tyre size?’, Letters, A to B 43)? I was in a similar quandary some years ago, eventually buying a Brompton more from faith than conviction. It was the right decision, although I’ve also bought bigger-wheel bikes since.
I’m a senior citizen with no pretensions of super-fitness. But, you can see from www.foldsoc.co.uk (News) how much I enjoyed a 290-mile trip in three days on a Brompton. My view is that mechanical efficiency is relevant, but comfort and state-of-mind are much more important. And, if you’re going for a pleasure ride, a Brompton lets you start and/or finish where you like, before jumping on and off cars, boats, trains, buses and even planes. If I were limited to one bike, it would unquestionably be a Brommie.
Incidentally, I really enjoyed the item on brakes in A to B 42; more of the same, please.
100 miles in 8 Hours
I am enjoying reading A to B 43 delivered today. However, with regard to The Mole’s item on Eurotunnel, the company’s latest flyer gives their fares as, Day Return or Single, £16, Standard Return, £32.
Regarding the letter on tyre size, a 16-inch Brompton wheel measures 16-inches, while a 20-inch fitted with a road tyre has a diameter of approximately 18-inches, the 20-inch referring to use with a 2.25in width tyre. I have just returned from France where my Brompton carried me over many of the Vosges ‘ballons’ during the Semaine Federale. Despite long 16km ascents of 9% and shorter ones of 0.3km at 15%, it was not quite necessary to walk! Gearing is ‘reduced’, ie 44-tooth chainring x 13/15 tooth sprockets. On the final day I made a comfortable ride (except for the excessive heat!) of 100 miles in eight and a quarter hours, at an average speed of 14.2mph. I use standard Brompton tyres. This is not my first 100-mile ride, either! I do use a Brooks saddle.
Metric size (eg 349mm) relates to the rim diameter and guarantees a tyre will fit a particular rim
Imperial size (eg 16-inch) relates to the tyre rolling diameter for a particular tyre width only
Tyre sizes (usually in inches for smaller sizes) refer to a nominal overall tyre diameter that’s rarely correct, because diameter varies with the tyre width.When buying a tyre, it’s best to quote the more consistent ‘bead seat diameter’ ISO figure – 349mm for the 16-inch Brompton and 407mm for most 20-inch machines.There are others, but we won’t bore you. We usually treat the 349mm as having a 17-inch diameter (slicks like the Primo tend to be a little smaller) and the 407mm as 19-inches in diameter, but every tyre is different. (Eds)
I remember an article in one of your issues about a father who customised a trike to carry his twin infants. I rely heavily on my bike to get me and our two-year-old around and am expecting another child in January. I’m going to upgrade to a trike with child seat but need to find a seat/basket arrangement which would safely carry a new-born baby. If anyone has any ideas, I would be very grateful.
Karen Rodgers, Cambridge
Gentle Off-Road Brompton?
My wife and I are – as so aptly described in the pages of your magazine – members of the ‘grey brigade’! Being of sound mind, but not perhaps of body, we wondered if a pair of folders, possibly Bromptons, would be suitable for canal towpaths, cycle paths and the like.
At the moment, I have a typically heavy and unsophisticated mountain bike on loan. I can winkle this beast into our hatchback, but two of them would be a bit of a squeeze. I could fit a bike rack, but that would be too cumbersome. How do Bromptons with Schwalbe tyres perform on paths?
The standard Brompton makes quite a good job of forest trails and surprisingly serious off-road stuff, but the stickier sort of mud will bring you to a rapid halt.We don’t often recommend the cheaper Brompton ‘C’ type, but it sounds ideal for your purpose – lightish, compact, low geared, and with slightly treaded Raleigh Record tyres and no mudguards. As for Schwalbe tyres, they don’t seem to grip any better than the old Raleigh Record, and our Readers’ Survey suggests they may be more prone to punctures. (Eds)
Do you have any opinions or experience of touring on a Brompton? I have recently acquired one, and to my surprise find it one of the most comfortable bikes I have ever ridden. However, I fail to see how one can carry much luggage without losing the parking and folding facility, although I suppose you could tow. I would also be interested to hear anecdotal stories of any subscribers experience of touring on a Brompton.
Paul A F Wilson
Most people are pleasantly surprised by the Brompton’s rideability, and many A to B readers seem to have attempted long heavily-laden tours. Our advice on luggage is to buy the largest ‘touring’ front pannier bag as your primary luggage carrier.The pannier system can carry big loads without introducing any serious instability – Brompton suggest a maximum of 10kg, but double that is feasible if necessary.You don’t say if you have a rear rack (T-type) or not.The rack is much less useful than it appears because, when loaded, it compromises folding and parking, but it’s useful for carrying a long, heavy object, like a tent. (Eds)
An Appropriate Forum?
There has been considerable debate in A to B recently about the relative fuel efficiency of cars and trains, which has left me a little confused in the end, but what about trams? They are of lighter construction than trains and so should, surely, require less energy to move? And what of the humble bus, or the trolley bus, which can be run on renewable energy?
I’m not sure that A to B is the ideal forum for debating this subject, but I don’t know anywhere more suitable either. It’s something we all need to understand, and plan for intelligently and in time!
The tram industry has been slow to capitalise on its green credentials. In fact, due to their light weight, low rolling resistance, low speed, and ability to squeeze on standing passengers at peak times, trams are superbly efficient people movers. Energy consumption as low as one kilowatt/hour per kilometre, (around ten miles per gallon) has been claimed. If that’s true, miles per gallon per passenger would run well into four figures at peak times, and it’s difficult to move people more efficiently than that.Technically, any grid-connected transport operator can purchase power from a green source if they wish – something road transport is unlikely to be able to match, for a while yet at any rate. (Eds)
LED plus Dynamo Lighting?
Lots of interesting reading in A to B 43, so here are a couple of queries:Would the small Di Blasi drum brake fit on the front of a Brompton? And what would you think about running a couple of one watt white LED lights from a dynamo?
Like most front hubs, the Di Blasi unit is too wide for the Brompton, which is an unusually narrow 75mm between the fork drop-outs. So although the drum itself would fit, the axle would have to be cut down – not impossible, but tricky. If any engineers are looking for work, Brompton-friendly hub brakes would provide steady business.
A pair of one watt LEDs probably could be run in series from a slightly altered dynamo. Not only would this be brighter and more reliable, but it would be relatively easy to incorporate a battery or capacitor-powered front ‘stand-light’ system too. (Eds)
Coldish or Warmish?
I noticed your review of the Cateye EL500 lamp.Was it the cold (bluish) white variety, and was it as good for seeing the road ahead as a 2.4W dynamo lamp?
A two watt input power for one watt of light output means no efficient driver electronics (a small fraction of the £45 price of the Cateye). Incidentally, any readers with access to soldering irons might want to buy the Lumiled LEDs directly from Farnell Electronics (www.farnellinone.co.uk) to make their own auxiliary lamp.The one watt ‘cold white’ LED with heatsink and 10 degree lens is order code 432-5746 (£10.91 + VAT), but a ‘warm white’ (filament bulb coloured) one watt LED and heatsink is order code 490-8971 (lenses are available separately, eg order code 489-4467).
Belfast, Northern Ireland
We’re struggling to summarise the performance of a lamp in words.The colour is rather less blue than earlier white LEDs, but distinctly ‘cold’ nonetheless. Light output seems to be broadly similar to a typical halogen dynamo lamp, but not up with the very best. (Eds)
The feature on the Di Blasi trike in A to B 43 gave me an idea for transporting my disabled wife. As I do not own a car and normally use a variety of bicycles (including a folder) for getting around, the options for taking my wife along are somewhat limited, as she can only walk short distances and getting in and out of buses is difficult for her.
A tandem is too difficult as she cannot pedal, so a one-passenger trike (an electric- assist trishaw, in fact, but narrower) could fit the bill.
Nelson, New Zealand
We turned to the experts for this one. Zero, distributor of the Christiania and Nihola trikes, can provide cyclo-style versions of either, suitable for a single adult. Cycles Maximus of Bath no longer produce a single-seater pedicab, concentrating instead on a conventional side-by-side arrangement (see A to B 39).The company suggests that in practice a larger cab is not a great deal more cumbersome, and most people find they need more space than they initially think. (Eds)
Folding While Riding
I’ve been riding a Brompton for five years regularly on a 12-mile stretch of road. Six miles is smooth concrete and asphalt, but the other six miles is a very coarse asphalt, so the bike vibrates noticeably riding over that part. Over the five years, it has happened that at the end of a ride I’ve found the frame clamp looser than at the beginning.
Well this week I was near the end of the rougher stretch of pavement, when I noticed a wobble in the steering.Then it cleared itself up, but it soon came back again. I was trying to look down to see if I had a tyre problem, when the lever on the frame clamp spun free. I lost complete control of the steering, wobbled for about two seconds, and then the bike just collapsed, and I went over the handlebars down onto the road. Landed on an elbow and a shoulder, but fortunately didn’t break anything.
If you’re riding a folding bike over a rough road, just note the position of the clamp at the beginning of the ride, and be aware of it. On a Brompton, that should be enough to catch any loosening of the clamp, and it has to spin around a few turns before it comes off completely.
Santa Cruz, California, USA
We were quite surprised by this, because we’ve ridden tens of thousand of Brompton miles, and have never heard of such a thing. On a dark night (especially after a few gin & tonics), it’s possible to tighten the clamp 90 degrees out of position, causing the hinge to fold instantly, or very quickly. And if the bike is lying down in a car boot or aeroplane hold, the clamps can unscrew, if left loose.The lever is deliberately made with one arm longer and heavier than the other, so it should never open by more than half a turn whilst riding – the lever has to turn three times to open. Even after one turn, the bike feels pretty odd, demonstrating that something is amiss. Possibly your clamp had been fractured or damaged in some way? (Eds)
The Final Word
In which you get your say… briefly
The best magazine I have ever bought . A work of genius! A joy to behold . Singular, unique and one of a kind . Simply the best! Simply perfect . The only magazine worth subscribing to! Informative and fun . A to B has never been so good . A different viewpoint Well written, humorous and good technically . Technical is good, politics and multi-modal stories are great . Good read, bargain price . Never squeeze the Mole out again – Intelligence, wit and good-heartedness makes your mag . Mole in issue 43 was brilliant – witty, but making a serious point or two . Witty, well-written and useful . Joy to read – all other work put on hold when A to B arrives! Well written and edited, but just a little biased at times? Read from cover to cover, but not keen on some of the terminology – eg, ‘cumbersome’ and ‘fuel’ for electric charge . The reviews are pitched just right and in plain English [from a teacher] . I enjoy articles not covered in mainstream cycling magazines More recumbents and family cycling please . More on trike developments please . More on components . More travel stories please – taking the bike on planes, buses, cars, etc More anarchy required – great magazine . The design and format is looking a bit dated [but] 12 issues a year please . Who knows? When I am a bit older (I am only 74 now), I may think about an electric-assist bike . Electric bike tests suddenly very informative since I was knocked off my bike and partially disabled . Keep up the electric bike information Your love affair with the Giant Lafree is often rather too obvious . Thanks for recommending the Lafree – I have been very pleased with the bike for getting to work across London . Human power, not electricity . Totally brilliant, monthly please! A good read, eagerly awaited, don’t go monthly! Independent, reasoned comments on the establishment’s antics . Bring back Mr Portly! More of the young lady with the dark hair please, she has such a lovely smile! Glad you haven’t joined the PC Brigade