Month: March 2015

Roseburn Park feeder ride to Pedal on Parliament

As per my previous post about Pedal on Parliament, I’ve finally gotten around to arranging a feeder ride to the main event. Come join myself and fellow Edinburgh Belles ride leader Puck on a relaxed group ride to the Meadows from Roseburn park on the morning of Saturday 25 April. We’ll be meeting at 10.30am for 10.45am, next to the cricket hut and friends of Roseburn mural.

All are welcome, blokes and bairns included. We would love your friends and family to come along with us to Pedal on Parliament. Dress your bikes up, wear something fun, get in the spirit of things! Flags with political messages relating to active travel are always good too, we like flags 😉

If you would like to come but haven’t been on your bike for a while, PLEASE check it before attending. Ensure gears, brakes and tyres are functioning okay and bring along a spare inner tube.

We plan to take a leisurely pootle along to the Meadows. No rush. There will be on-road riding and a couple of right turns. We’ll take Russell Road and then cut through Dalry, to get us up along Gilmour Place and into the Meadows. We should arrive for around 11.15am, giving us time to meet up with other attendees and Belles from across Scotland.

There is on-street parking around Roseburn Park in the surrounding streets. If you’re coming from further afield then this is a good place to get chummed into town.  Any questions, just add a blog comment and I’ll do my best to help.

The Belles and I look forward to seeing you there and asking our politicians for better, safer cycling infrastructure in Scotland! Learn more about Pedal on Parliament and its manifesto.

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Spring has sprung, knees are knacked

Yesterday, I got on the bike for the first time in a week and it was absolutely glorious. Overhead was grey, but spring was in the air; that flowery scent coupled with mild temperatures and absence of razor sharp winds trying to cut your face off. My one mile trip to Ocean Terminal was over in 8 minutes, but the pleasure derived from such a short stretch was insanely good.

I realise that description sounds a bit hyperbolic, but after being off the bike for yet another week due to knee troubles, that quick journey in the spring air was blissful. Now that spring is coming and the dreadful winter conditions are going, cycling opportunities go from “you’ll have had your tea” to “all you can eat buffet”. And that is bad news for someone like me, with a massive appetite and badly behaved knees.

My knees are the least favourite thing happening in my life. I am 30 years old, otherwise healthy and physically active, yet for some reason two of the major joints in my body are petulant teenagers, taking a hissy fit when asked to contribute to the task at hand. It’s been an issue for around a year now, but the pain and irritation has had me on and off the bike for the last three months, like some stupid game of musical chairs. Obviously, my Great Edinburgh Bike Experiment is being prejudiced by the whole, silly nonsense.

My knees need to man up. Their misbehaviour is really messing with my mojo. When I gave this obvious explanation to the physio, they said that it’s more complicated than that and gave me lunges and stuff to fix it.

Eight months later and things are deteriorating. It’s not like I’ve just been moping around, avoiding said lunges  and shouting at my knees. I appreciate they need love and care and all that jazz. I’m doing loads of physio exercises, drinking collagen powder, ingesting horse pills for joints, attempting alternative forms of exercise (go, yoga!) and, miserably, cutting down the cycling.

Now that spring is here and my knees are getting worse, I’m starting to get a bit worried. I’ve even cancelled my 11 day Hebridean cycle tour for fear that my legs would just rot out from under me on Harris.  Why are they not starting to get better?

To help answer this most important of questions, I’m off to yet another professional next week. After two physios, a podiatrist and a brief and useless visit to the GP, I’m pinning my hopes on a chap who specialises in pilates. I am keeping everything crossed (except the knees) in the hope that he might be able to shed some light on this infuriating situation.

Have you had ongoing knee problems? How on earth did you fix them?

 

 

The countdown to Pedal on Parliament begins!

Pedal on Parliament, Scotland’s biggest, most weighty and visually impressive cycle campaigning event, is coming up on the horizon. Pencil the 25 April into your diary and come along to the mass cycle and walk on the Scottish Parliament. I’ve been for the past two years running and have written about how it’s influenced me previously, so will be there this year with bells on.

PoP is about more than just cycling provision, though. It’s tying to show politicians and the non-cycling public that the bike can make massive positive societal changes, from more connected local communities, to safer streets, to a healthier population and better environment. To that end, the campaign has produced this little animation called Katie Cycles To School:

If you’d like to get involved with PoP but can’t make it along personally, maybe you could share this video on your own blog, Twitter or Facebook page? The message can be spread with more than just you and your bike on the 25 April 🙂

I look forward to meeting lots of new like-minded people at PoP this year. If you’re planning to attend, drop me a comment below and we can maybe sort out feeder rides – I’ll be organising a Belles feeder ride likely from west Edinburgh and all are welcome!

The Great 2015 Edinburgh Bike Experiment – February Edition

For those that haven’t read about the Great 2015 Edinburgh Bike Experiment, my plan this year is to calculate how much money (if any) I have saved by running a bike instead of relying on public transport or the car. The rules are pretty unscientific and shoogly, but why should proper science get in the way of fun, eh?

So what happened in February?

Last month was typically wintery and horrible, with plenty biting wind, rain and frost to keep even the most hardy cyclist on their overshod toes. I’d love to say I was planted in the saddle for the full 28 days, but unfortunately the knees are still causing havoc so I took the decision to take two working weeks’ off the trusty steed.

Much to my annoyance, the cycling break has done less than zero to improve the joints. They are just as irritated as I am. Every £1.50 in the maw of Lothian Buses has complemented my knee pain and each watery sneeze, sniffle and cough has reminded me of how sharing space with strangers is decidedly unfun. I’d take rain and a headwind any day. So figures this month take a big bite due to public transport use.

The bike numbers

Due to around ten days off the bike, the numbers are a bit slim. Saying that, I still did a reasonable whack so all is not lost.

  • Total journeys: 37
  • Total distance: 168 miles
  • Average speed: 9.4 mph
  • Total calories: 6,140 kcal
  • Total climb: 5,959 feet

I even did a little pie chart so you can see my journey type breakdown:

image

I think it’s interesting to see that so little of my bike use is leisure-oriented at the moment. From a fitness perspective, this breakdown shows just how easy it is to stay fit by choosing the take the bike over other transport modes. Leisure cycling, for me at least, is quite a time-intensive way to stay fit.

Bike expenditure 

  • No bike maintenance costs this month.
  • £24 – Bus fares, due to stupid knees
  • Total = £24.00

Public transport equivalent

  • I substituted £61.60 worth of bus fares this month with the bike. (My bike commutes are often two-bus trips.) So the £51 Ridacard would have been more economical.
  • Ridacard cost = £51

Car equivalent

  • Monthly car running cost – £39.16
  • Petrol cost for 168 miles – £15.12. Now, the journeys I’ve been doing are in the city, so I’m going to round it up to £18 to account for congestion.
  • Total running cost = £57.16

Gym equivalent

  • Total cost – £30.50

Grand totals!

  • Public transport (£51) + gym (£30.50) – expenditure (£24.00) = £57.50 savings
  • Car (£57.16) + gym (£30.50) – expenditure (£24.00) = £63.66 savings

That’s not too bad, actually. I was expecting a lot worse.

Year to date totals

  • Bike vs Public Transport – £117.50 in pocket
  • Bike vs Car – £131.82 in pocket

Nice!

Next month I’m going to try and make this all a bit clearer, maybe with some tables or better graphics to display the info more visually… Happy pedalling until March, folks!