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Safer right turns

Cycle insurance

Pedal like the medallists

Issue #9 £1.95 where sold

Autumn/Winter 2012

Get to work!

Super fat to super fit

Save 32% or more on a new bike & kit

'I lost 26st by cycle commuting'

10-minute maintenance Six easy ways to improve your bike

57 FEA TUR ING

TOP CYC LIN G PR OD UC TS

  

Bikes  Lights Mudguards  Helmets & much more!


SMOOTH EFFICIENCY THE GIANT SEEK HAS THE GO-ANYWHERE ATTITUDE OF A MOUNTAIN BIKE AND THE MANNERS OF AN URBAN ROAD BIKE. Featuring a lightweight, tough ALUXX alloy frameset, Seek is a fast and stylish city bike that combines the stable positioning of a mountain bike with powerful disc brakes. Seek keeps you rolling through thick and thin. Learn more at giant-bicycles.co.uk


U T. ALL ABO

Contents

..

Welcome to Cyclescheme

5

How the Cycle to Work scheme will save you money

6

How Cyclescheme works, who’s eligible to take part, and how you go about getting the bike

Issue #9 Autumn/Winter 2012

Why getting a bike through your employer makes a whole lot of sense

24

F E AT U R E S

How to: Right turns 18 

BIKES TESTED

32

How best to deal with drivers to negotiate a right turn

10-minute maintenance

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One-gear wonders

40

Six quick checks to keep your bike running sweetly all week

Have a go on a velodrome – or ride to work on a fixed-wheel bike

Why insure?

Cover your bike for loss or damage with Cyclescheme Cycle Insurance

 he Cyclescheme 7: T Gary Brennan The man who lost 26 stones by cycle commuting

My life on bikes: Norman Baker MP The Minister for Cycling practises what he preaches

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44 Charge Scourer

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Specialized Tricross Sport Disc

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Tern Joe D24

44 

Giant Twist Express W

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A versatile hybrid with an excellent gear range and some 'urban mountain bike' overtones

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A cyclo-cross bike that's meant for city streets and general purpose riding as much as muddy fields It's a full-size bike that folds in half, trading some portability for bigger wheels and a better ride Affordable electric assistance to make the journey to work that bit more manageable

TOP PRODUCTS & ESSENTIAL KIT

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Stuff

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Mudguards

28

Helmets

37

Lights

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The best gear for your commute and beyond

Stop grimy water spraying over you and your bike Different styles of head protection weighed up Cyclescheme is part of the Grass Roots Group Published for Cyclescheme by Farrelly Atkinson www.f-at.co.uk Prices correct at time of going to press. E&OE. All content © Cyclescheme 2012

See and be seen with these after-dark essentials

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Welcome

About

Cyclescheme... Cyclescheme is the UK’s leading provider of tax-free bikes for the Government’s Cycle to Work initiative We offer big savings on the best bikes and safety equipment. Dealing with Cyclescheme’s network of over 1,850+ local bike shops also gives you the best experience, with the expert personal service, convenience and choice that larger multiple retailers just can’t match.

T

he Cycle to Work Initiative is a salary sacrifice scheme which gives you the chance to save on the cost of a new bike, as well as security and safety equipment to go with it. The way salary sacrifice schemes work is that you give up part of your salary and receive an equivalent benefit that is exempt from Income Tax and National Insurance. What does this mean in practice? Well, technically it’s your employer

who buys the bike. You hire the bike and equipment from your employer, and you pay back the cost of the bike from your gross salary. You save on Tax and NI payments, lowering your payments over the hire period. Cyclescheme has partnered with over 1,850 independent bike shops throughout the UK giving you access to a massive amount of choice and expert advice on equipment selection. To locate your local store, go to www.cyclescheme.co.uk/partners and use the postcode store locator. You are not limited to any brand of bike or equipment and so you can choose the best for quality and value for money. This results in the best package of bike and safety equipment for you. Cyclescheme runs schemes with the Department for Transport, Office of Fair Trading and Department of Health, as well as scores of police

forces, councils, universities and blue chip companies. Hire Agreements are written entirely in accordance with government guidelines and this service is free to employers, including an online tool to generate promotional literature.

Who’s it for? Want to take part? Great! If you’ve received this mag from your employer then they’re probably already running a scheme, so things should be straightforward. There are some limits as to who can take advantage of the tax breaks, though. The most important ones are:

• • • •

You need to be a UK taxpayer via the PAYE system You need to be 18 years of age or over to comply with Consumer Credit Act legislation 16 to 18 year olds may be eligible for Cyclescheme enrollment with the aid of a guarantor If your earnings are equivalent to the national minimum wage, you may be able to benefit from a discount as part of a net arrangement with your employer

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Autumn/Winter 2012

How the cycle to work scheme will

save you money!

Why getting a bike through your employer makes a whole lot of sense…

G

et a bike and safety equipment through Cyclescheme as part of the government’s Cycle to Work initiative and you’ll save yourself a whole lot of

money. The savings are made because you’ll initially hire the bike from your employer, and your hire charges are made via a salary sacrifice scheme. Your gross salary is reduced to take care of your payments before any Income Tax or National Insurance (NI) has been deducted, so you pay less tax and NI. This results in savings of up to 42%. Plus, at the end of the hire period, most employers are able to offer you ownership of the bike at a fraction of its original cost.

Here’s how it works… Once your employer has set up a programme with Cyclescheme, you choose a bike and any safety equipment from one of more than 1,850 independent bicycle dealers throughout the UK (go to www.cyclescheme.co.uk/partners to find your nearest Cyclescheme Partner Stores). Then your payments cover the hire of the bike and equipment from your employer, usually for 12 months. What happens next? Simple. Read on… 6

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Maximising your savings! Do you want to keep the bike that you have? NO Send the bike back to Cyclescheme

YES

Do you want to pay as little as possible?

YES

NO You pay 18% or 25% of certificate value* to take ownership of the bike


Saving money through Cyclescheme What happens next? The Government has published the table below to calculate the market value of bicycles and safety equipment at the end of the hire period: Age of bike

Acceptable disposal value % (inc VAT) Original value under £500 Original value £500 or over 18% 16% 13% 8% 3%

12 months 18 months 2 years 3 years 4 years

25% 21% 17% 12% 7%

Cyclescheme’s market leading End of Hire process ensures attractive savings for all participants. By following Cyclescheme’s recommended option (entering into an Extended Use Agreement at the end of the hire period, see flow chart below) your savings are protected.

Example savings? We’ve put together the tables below to show you an example of the savings available for a basic rate tax payer, using both a £500 and £1,000 example package. £500 example package Original value NI saving Tax saving EUA deposit Total saving

£500 £60 £100 £15 £145

£1000 example package Original value NI saving Tax saving EUA deposit Total saving

£1,000 £120 £200 £70 £250

What happens if I move jobs? If Cyclescheme are notified of a change to your employment status during the initial hire period, we will contact you with the End of Hire options. During the extended use period, if you change jobs the agreement is still valid as it’s an agreement with Cyclescheme, not with your employer.

Can I start a new scheme during the extended use period? Yes. The Extended Use Agreement is entirely separate to the Hire Agreement, so you’re free to participate in future Cycle to Work schemes with your employer while you’re still in an Extended Use Agreement with Cyclescheme.

Here’s how to get the best possible saving at the end of the hire period... You pay a small refundable deposit** and sign an Extended Use Agreement with zero payments

YES

The agreement YES ends after 36 months, when Cyclescheme may offer you ownership of the bike

* Current HMRC advice for bike values (inc VAT) after 12 months: 18% for bikes under £500, 25% for bikes over £500 **3% for bikes under £500, 7% for bikes over £500 (inc VAT)

Do you still want to keep the bike?

YES

NO Send the bike back to Cyclescheme, the deposit will be refunded

Cyclescheme retain your deposit and confirm you as the owner of the bike. Enjoy using your bike!

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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News Express delivery with eCertificates

H

ere at Cyclescheme we are extremely proud to announce the launch of eCertificates. You can now request and receive your Cyclescheme Certificate all electronically. eCertificates are electronic versions of our paper Certificates and they are emailed directly to you rather than being sent in the post. You can then either print them off, or simply show the email on a smartphone to your chosen Partner Store when you collect your bike. No more waiting for the post! What does this mean to you? Simply put, it slashes the waiting time between when you request your bike package and when you can go and pick it up. In some cases it even means you can request your eCertificate and pick up your bike on the same day! To make sure everything was running smoothly, we tested our eCertificates in August this year. So far the response has been nothing short of fantastic, with participants racing through the request process so fast that some bike shops were taken aback by how quickly bikes were flying off their shelves. 8

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One participant commented: ‘Wow, how quick is that? Day one of my company’s participation and I’ve had approval and an eCertificate issued today. Caught the bike shop with their pants down... Well happy!’ eCertificates will be available to all Cyclescheme participants very soon. Watch this space!

Autumn/Winter 2012

Getting the BUG Cyclescheme is currently looking at ways we can work with Bicycle User Groups (BUGs) to offer employees the best support when they switch to a two-wheeled commute. We feel that a good BUG can be critical in driving the success of a Cycle to Work scheme, so if you are involved with a BUG, or other cycling group within your company, or are interested in setting one up, Cyclescheme would like to hear from you. Just drop an email to kevin.chapman@cyclescheme.co.uk advising who you work for and what involvement, if any, you have in the BUG. We will be in contact to discuss how we can help each other support cycling to work.


News

Cyclescheme's

300,000 commuter M th

ore than 300,000 people have obtained a bike for work with Cyclescheme. Karen Morris from Reading was the 300,000th Cyclescheme participant and she picked up her new bike – a Giant XTC – at the beginning of July. 'The reason I got a bike through Cyclescheme was because it gave me a greater choice of quality bike than I could have afforded alone,' Karen said. 'The tax-free incentive and company loan scheme meant that putting off buying a quality bike due to cost alone was no longer an excuse!' Since its inception on Valentine's

Day 2005, Cyclescheme has been at the forefront of the Cycle to Work market and works with over 25,000 employers across the UK. With a network of over 1,850 independent bike shops offering unrivalled choice, first rate advice and unbeatable customer service too, Cyclescheme continues to grow and remain a market leader. Daniel Gillborn, Head of Commercial Operations at Cyclescheme said: 'Here at Cyclescheme we are committed to the long-term cultural and modal shift from cars to bicycles. Reaching 300,000 Cyclescheme participants is a fantastic achievement. We look forward to maintaining this success and will continue to lead the Cycle to Work market to encourage more and more people to switch to a two-wheeled commute.'

Collect BikeMiles® by commuting BikeMiles®, the cycling equivalent of air miles, launched this autumn. It's the UK’s first national rewards network for cyclists, giving you access to a range of exclusive offers, promotions and discounts for both cycling and non-cycling products. For every mile you cycle, you get 1 BikeMile, a currency you can trade in. The range of offers available each have different values assigned to them, so a straightforward 10% discount could be equivalent to 100 BikeMiles, whereas an exclusive one-off promotion might be 500. So far, Netflix, The Body Shop, Costa Coffee, Proviz and Nuun already on board, and the range of offers will continue to grow and change over the coming months to better suit the needs of commuting cyclists. Whether you regularly commute more than 20 miles a day or only a few miles once a week, there will be a host of rewards and offers available to you ranging from as little as 10 BikeMiles and upwards. Singing up is easy. If you’ve used Cyclescheme before, a BikeMiles® account will have already been created for you! All you need to do is log in to your MyCyclescheme account to verify a few details, and then you’re good to go. We will notify you by email when you can start using your account and earning rewards.

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Autumn/Winter 2012

British Cycling:

Join the Ride

I

f, like thousands of others, you've been inspired to cycle more this summer by Bradley Wiggins, Chris Hoy, and Sarah Storey, why not join British Cycling? If you’re not already a member, you can get 12 months Ride membership (normally £24 a year) for the price of 9 months.* Whether you want to test yourself on a longer ride, head out with your local club, or just get invaluable third-party insurance for your ride to work, British Cycling has something for you. Go online to britishcycling.org.uk/getinvolved for more details. There you'll find tips and advice to help you get more from your cycling, however you ride.

Benefits include: Up to £10m third-party liability insurance – peace of mind insurance to keep you covered every time you ride your bike. l Free legal support and advice – access to our expert team who can help you in the event of an incident. l An exclusive weekly members email, packed with offers, news and top tips from those in the know. l Discounts on cycling gear, including a minimum 12% discount in the British Cycling shop. l

Visit the Cyclescheme website If you’ve not had the chance to check out the Cyclescheme website yet, go to www.cyclescheme.co.uk for straightforward information and advice on how to get your tax-free bike. Everything you need to know is explained clearly in one place. Make sure you check out our short video that shows you exactly how the system works and another that explains what happens at the End of Hire process. You’ll be an expert in minutes. As well as going through every step of the process, the website explains: l How much money you can save l How many calories you will burn l How much you’ll reduce your carbon footprint

Once you're a member you might try: l Joining your local club – clubs are a great way to maintain your fitness, meet fellow cycling companions and ride new routes. l Testing yourself on a sportive – a good test of endurance and always a good atmosphere. British Cycling have a comprehensive online calendar so you can choose an event that suits you. l Creating a social cycling group – an easy way to organise informal rides with like-minded cyclists in your area. To claim this offer, simply enter your Cyclescheme Promotional Code ‘CS12’ when you join online.

*Offer only available to new British Cycling members paying by Direct Debit. Offer valid until 31 October 2012.

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Explore the Community section of the website to find out how to get the correct fit on your bike and how to go about simple maintenance tasks like fixing a puncture and adjusting your gears. Other articles will guide you through buying the best cycling accessories, such as gloves and pumps, and show you how getting a bike through Cyclescheme has had a positive impact on many people’s lives. Don’t forget to check back regularly for your chance to win prizes and get discounts on bike-related products, events and services. So head along to www.cyclescheme.co.uk now.


Our survey said‌ Commuting questions answered by Cyclescheme participants like you Your journey

Home

3

The average commute distance is 3 miles 81.3% said they have reduced the number of miles they drive each week

About you

93%

93.9% rated Cyclescheme customer service as either good or very good 88.1% noticed health benefits from cycling to work

53% 71.4% cited health & fitness as the primary reason for joining the scheme

52.5%

53% did not cycle to work before joining the scheme ...and 52.5% classed themselves as intermediate cyclists

This survey was conducted by Cyclescheme in February 2012, and 12,150 employees took part.

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If you need just one bike to get you around town, carry the shopping and allow you to enjoy the countryside at the weekend, then a Crossway is for you. The Crossway range can be fitted with mudguards, pannier rack, bags and a bike stand. As with all Merida bikes, they come with a life time frame warranty up to a rider plus equipment weight of 120kg (just short of 19 stone) which should be plenty for the majority of adventures. bike shown: Crossway 900D £949.99 – Lightweight hydroformed aluminium frame, 30 speed Shimano SLX / XT drivetrain, remote lock out fork, hydraulic disc brakes.

WWW.MERIDA.COM


Autumn/Winter 2012

STUFF Bringing you the very best cycling gear for your daily commute and beyond SKS Tom18 tool £24.99 All the portable tools you need in one compact package, this 18-function multitool includes six allen keys, tyre levers, and a chain splitter. www.sks-germany.com

Altura Women's Night Vision Evo jacket £99.99 Waterproof, breathable, and highly reflective, this durable jacket will shrug off the worst the winter can throw at you. Pit zips and a rear vent prevent heat build up. www.zyro.co.uk

Agu Jack Track Poncho £39.99 Stay properly dry on your town bike without overheating by using a traditional poncho, like the circling cyclists in the BBC idents. www.i-ride.co.uk

Freeload Sport Rack £99.99 No pannier rack fittings? No problem. This rack straps to the seatstays or fork, letting you carry a rack-top bag on even a road race bike or full-suspension mountain bike. www.extrauk.co.uk 14

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Stuff

Effeto inflate & repair kit £16.99 No time to fix that puncture on the way to work? Take a tip from the racers and inflate your flat tyre with puncture sealant and compressed air. Presta valves only. www.upgradebikes.co.uk

Endura Deluge Gloves £35.99 These waterproof gloves are well suited to soggy British winters, keeping your hands dry and snug without sacrificing the dexterity you need to shift gears. www.endura.co.uk

Defeet Armskins Neon Yellow £19.99 Armwarmers keep morning and evening chills at bay for commuters who ride in cycling gear, yet weigh next to nothing. These hi-viz ones help drivers see you. www.i-ride.co.uk

Abus Mini-U 401 £69.99 Short D-locks combine portability with protection, being harder to prise apart. This one is rated Sold Secure Gold yet weighs only 1kg. www.zyro.co.uk

Union 34 Stripe Rucksack & Seatpost Fixing System £79.99 & £29.99 This 30-litre bag lets you carry your laptop, D-lock and other office essentials on your back or on your bike, fitting easily to a special seatpost bracket. www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Autumn/Winter 2012

How to

Right turns Turning right is more complicated than turning left as you have to cross the whole road. The key is to act like what you are: traffic.

M

any cyclists find right turns daunting, which is understandable given that motor traffic can be coming from both directions at multiple times your speed. The thing to remember is that you cannot get in the way of traffic: you are the traffic. If your road position is conspicuous, your intention unambiguous, and your manoeuvre predictable, drivers will treat you as traffic – and right turns will be straightforward. Turning right is easier if you're already in the traffic stream, a metre or more out from the kerb. If you're in the gutter, drivers are liable to ignore you. If you're where they expect traffic to be, in the traffic lane rather than almost on the pavement, they will see you (not just look at you!) and react to you.

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Commuter Skills The following descriptions initially assume you're turning into a side road.

Look back early Check over your shoulder for following traffic a good distance (50-100 metres) before your turn. You want to be able to ride diagonally towards the centre of the road rather than cutting sharply across it, and you may have to wait for a gap to open up in the traffic.

Check again, then signal At about 50 metres from your turn, look behind again – itself an indicator to drivers that you're about to move out – and signal boldly, right arm straight out. If there's a gap, start to move out. Ride smoothly, aiming just to the left of the centreline. If there's no gap, get ready to negotiate.

Dealing with drivers When you signal right, some drivers will ignore you, some will accelerate to get past you, and others will let you pull out. Look directly at the driver to gauge what they're doing. And listen: you can hear a car accelerate. At some point, a driver will leave a gap for you to slot into. They may even indicate this with a flash of the headlights. When you are sure it's safe to do so, move out.

Middle of the road With your right arm held out, ride towards the centre of the road, so that you're maybe a metre left of the centreline. If there is no oncoming traffic, turn right. If there is oncoming traffic, stop opposite your junction, left of the centreline and wait for a gap. Traffic in your lane may pass on your left if there is room. If there isn't, drivers behind will have to wait, just as if you were in a car.

Make the turn Aim for the centre of the lane you want

to be in on the side road. Don't cut the corner, as you may come into conflict with traffic wanting to leave the side road. Don't go too far left or you may get squeezed into the gutter by traffic making the same turn as you.

line for cyclists. If you can reach this green box safely, do so. If not, take your lane so that you are in the queue with the cars. Don't filter up the left of a lorry or long vehicle to reach the front of a traffic queue.

Boxed in?

Turning right at a crossroads

Maybe the drivers behind wouldn't give you an inch. Maybe you realised too late where the turn was. Don't worry. One of the joys of being on a bike is the ability to hit the reset button. Signal left, pull over to the side of the road and dismount. Cross the road as a pedestrian, pushing your bike, wherever it is safest to do so.

Exiting a side road Take your lane as you approach the junction. You're aiming for the centre of your lane this time, not the middle of the road. This dissuades drivers from squeezing alongside you and 'undertaking' you. Be ready to stop at the junction, shifting down into a gear you can accelerate in. If there are traffic lights, there may be an advanced stop

Where oncoming traffic is also turning right, the usual rule is to pass each other and turn right side to ride side. Some junctions are staggered or have road markings indicating that you should pass left side to left side. And some drivers will attempt to pass left side to left side even when they shouldn't. Be alert!

Multiple lanes If you have to turn right across multiple lanes, move over one lane at a time. Signal and move to the right of the lane you're in. Then do the same into the next lane. Right turning traffic will be slowing down to make the turn, but be alert for traffic going straight on in your original lane. www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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10

10 Minute Maintenance

minute maintenance The best maintenance is preventative. Check your bike at the weekend to stop problems developing during the week

Bike shops are brilliant at carrying out the maintenance you don't have the skills, time, tools or inclination to do yourself – things like an annual service. Your bike will run better in the meantime if you can carry out some simple checks and fixes yourself.

1

Pump up the tyres

Soft tyres make cycling hard work and can cause poor handling. Punctures are much more common too. Every tyre will have a pressure range stamped on the sidewall, in atmospheres (BAR) or pounds per square inch (PSI). Make sure it's inflated to at least the minimum. Air seeps slowly out of innertubes. They lose pressure faster the narrower and harder they are: racing tyres may need topping up every couple of days; mountain bike tyres may last weeks.

2

Oil the chain

WD40 (or similar) is great for removing water from a wet chain but isn't so good as lubricant, as it's so light. Dedicated cycle oil is longer lasting. Hold the oil above the chain where it emerges from the derailleur, preferably the rear one. Drip oil onto each link as you turn the cranks backwards. (Tip: start and finish with the special joining link.) Use newspaper to keep oil off the disc brakes/tyres/rims/floor. Wipe off excess oil with kitchen roll or rags, and stand the bike on sheets of newspaper when you're finished.

3

Test the brakes

Squeeze the front brake and try to push the bike forward. The rear wheel should lift and the lever shouldn't touch the handlebar. Now repeat with the rear brake. The rear wheel should lock and skid. If either brake is ineffective, this may be a job for the bike shop. Or perhaps not: if your bike has cable operated brakes rather than hydraulics, the cable may simply have stretched. Look for a barrel adjuster where the cable exits the lever or enters the brake unit. Turn this anti-clockwise to tighten the brake cable. Repeat the brake check.

4

Spin the wheels

Spin both wheels, alternately, by hand. Both should revolve easily and quietly. If not, it's probably a brake rubbing. Assuming this isn't due to a buckled wheel (does the wheel move from side to side when you look at it edge on?), adjust the brake position. Rim brake: If there are separate brake arms either side of the wheel, joined by cable, there should be small screw on each brake arm. Screw this in to stop the brake rubbing on that side. If the brake is a single calliper, fixed centrally, push it left or right until the brake pads are equidistant from the rim. You may need to loosen the fixing bolt behind the fork/seatstays first. Disc brake: Loosen the calliper's top and bottom fixing bolts, so the whole calliper can be moved side to side by hand. Squeeze the brake lever firmly on. Keep it held on while retightening the bolts. The calliper should now be centred.

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Autumn/Winter 2012

6 5

Check gear indexing

Like brakes, gears stop working properly if the cable becomes too slack. Shift the rear derailleur to the smallest cog, turning the cranks as you click through the gears. (You will need a workstand – or an assistant – to hold the rear wheel off the ground.) Now shift down one gear at a time, turning the cranks as you do so. Each click should see the chain ramp up onto a bigger sprocket. No? Turn the barrel adjuster half a turn anti-clockwise, then try again. Repeat as necessary. If the chain doesn't ramp down onto a smaller sprocket for each click shifted the other way, you will need to turn the barrel adjuster clockwise a little.

Quick releases and bolts

Make sure all quick releases are in the closed position. (In fact, check this before every ride!) They should be done up firmly. The lever should start to become snug about half way closed and require firm pressure to close fully. If one is loose, open the lever, tighten the knurled nut on the other side, and close it again. Allen (hex) bolts occasionally work loose. Check stem, seatpost and saddle bolts in particular: hold the front or rear wheel between your legs, as appropriate, and twist the handlebar or saddle. Check rack and mudguard bolts where they fix to the frame. Note that these are ongoing checks. This is a not the full safety check – known as an M Check – that you'd conduct on a bike that's new to you.

bike check

TOOLKIT

Floor pump with gauge A floor pump takes the effort out of tyre inflation, and the gauge ensures you put enough air in. Pictured: SKS Airkompresser 12.0 (£29.99)

Multitool You're likely to need at least 4, 5 and 6mm allen keys, and maybe a crosshead screwdriver. Pictured: Crank Brothers Multi (£11.99)

Workstand A shop-style workstand is best but anything that enables you to turn the cranks with the back wheel off the ground is okay – even rope over a garage joist. Pictured: Raleigh rear maintenance stand (£17.99)

Oil There are oils for all kinds of applications and conditions. All you really need is a multipurpose cycle oil. Pictured: Weldtite Cycle Oil (£3.49/125ml)

Newspaper & kitchen roll or rags To deal with excess oil.

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Autumn/Winter 2012

In detail

A wide-range mountain bike cassette helps provide gears for any gradient

Tech Specs Price: ÂŁ599.99 Weight: 25lb (11.3kg) Frame: aluminium, double-butted, with rack and mudguard fittings Fork: aluminium, straight blade, with rack and mudguard fittings Drivetrain: Shimano Acera shifters, Shimano Sora front derailleur, Shimano Deore 9-speed rear derailleur, Shimano Sora compact 50-34 chainset, Shimano 9-speed 11-34 cassette Brakes: Promax DSK715 calbe discs, 160mm rotors Wheels: Shield disc hubs, WTN SX19 aluminium rims, Continental Contact 700x32C tyres Other: Shield Urban lowriser 680mm handlebar, Shield oversize stem, Charge Scoop saddle, Wellgo alloy trekking pedals Sizes: XS, S, M, L

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32mm wide tyres soak bumps better than skinnies, whether it's cobbles or potholes


On Test

T ON TES

Charge Scourer £599.99 A versatile hybrid with an excellent gear range and some 'urban mountain bike' overtones

C

harge's background is in mountain bikes, so it's not surprising that when they created the Scourer they didn't just stick a flat handlebar on a road bike. This is a hybrid with clear off-road influences: a really wide handlebar, disc brakes, and a wide-range cassette. Mountain bikers will feel more at home, and many others will appreciate the versatility the Scourer offers. Charge have mixed-and-matched Shimano's road and mountain bike groupsets to great effect. At the front, it's a compact road chainset and a road derailleur; at the back, an 11-34 mountain bike cassette and a mountain bike derailleur. The range is enormous for a hybrid with two chainrings. Top gear is high enough to pedal downhill with a tailwind at 40mph, while bottom gear is low enough to scale the steepest hills. So the Scourer won't force you to strain too hard or spin too fast on any commute. And it will cope better with other kinds of cycling, such as longer road rides, off-road jaunts on better quality tracks, or leisure rides with panniers. The frame is designed to accept racks front and rear, as well as mudguards, enabling you to carry your commuting essentials – and more – on the bike instead of your back. Yet with the bags removed (or not fitted), it rides like any other sporty hybrid. The frame is lightweight, thanks to double-butted aluminium tubing. Rigid aluminium bikes can feel unyielding when fitted with a flat handlebar. Not here: the ride is softened by 32mm touring/commuting tyres, which are much more forgiving than the higher-pressure 23 and 25mm tyres fitted

to some hybrids. They feel efficient rather than draggy despite the greater width and the tread at the shoulders for grip on looser surfaces, as there's an unbroken centre rolling strip for tarmac. The wide handlebar gives loads of steering leverage, so it's easy to manoeuvre the Scourer at slower speeds. (At higher speeds, you steer more by leaning.) This is particularly useful with heavily loaded panniers or if you plan to use the bike with a child-trailer or tag-along. You need to be careful not to clip wing mirrors if you're threading past stationary traffic, although if you do want a narrower bar, it's not a problem: just hacksaw a few centimetres off each end. Stopping is by mechanical disc brakes. These aren't any more powerful than V-brakes that operate on the rim. They're better because they continue to work just as well if the rim gets wet, muddy or slightly bent out of shape. They don't abrade the rim either, so your wheels will last much longer before needing to be replaced. And it's straightforward to upgrade to hydraulic discs if you do want more power, since the Scourer has discbrake wheels and a disc-compatible frame already. The Scourer is a do-it-all hybrid, a jackof-all-trades machine that you can ride anywhere except on really jarring off-road trails. This versatility comes largely from the lightweight, accessory-ready frame, which has clearances for mid-width tyres and mudguards, and the bold road/off-road groupset mix, which offers much lower gearing that comparably sporty hybrids. Yet it's not a blank canvas either. It's a capable commuter from the moment you wheel it out of the shop. www.chargebikes.com

Merida S-presso 100-MD £499.99 Merida's urban hybrid also has an aluminium frame and fork. Like the Charge, the rear mechanical disc brake is mounted on the chainstay to keep it out of the way of rack and panniers. Instead of a mix of 9-speed, the S-presso uses entry-level 8-speed. The gear range is still very good as it includes a triple chainset. Tyres are 700x32. www.meridabikes.com

Cube Hyde £589 The Hyde is hybrid that looks even more like an urban mountain bike, thanks to its fatter tyres. At 42mm, they'll be untroubled by bad roads and potholes. Frame and fork are aluminium, finished in stealth black. Gearing is 9-speed Shimano Acera, with a 26-36-48 triple up front, while the disc brakes are unusually good for a sub-£600 bike – they're hydraulic, not mechanical. www.cube.eu

OTHER IDES R AT E D R

Scott Metrix 20 £849 Being further up the price range, this Scott is equipped with better quality hydraulic discs (Shimano M446). Braking is powerful and 'fit and forget' until the pads need replacing. Gearing is a 27-speed mix of Shimano's Alivio and Deore mountain bike groupsets. The frame and fork are aluminium, with the usual rear eyelets. Tyres are 700x28 Continental Ultra Sports. www.scott-sports.com

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

25


£

T 3 Gu orte 4. ar c R 99 ds e fle ct or

£

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£

P 9 Co oc R 9 m ec m ep ut to er r

£

Ch 59 ar 9 ge . Sc 99 ou re r

Autumn/Winter 2012

This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period. Cost after savings for basic rate tax payer:

Cost after savings for higher rate tax payer:

£546.70

£466.30

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Bike package retail price

£803.97

£803.97

Income tax and NI saved

£257.27

£337.67

Monthly hire payments (before tax)

£67.00

£67.00

Monthly hire payments (take home pay)

£45.56

£38.86

32%

42%

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Extended use deposit (where offered)

£49.35

£49.35

Total cost after extended use deposit

£596.05

£515.65

Total retail price:

£803.97 Example savings

Percentage saving

End of Hire

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

26

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Autumn/Winter 2012

ESSENTI KIT

AL

MUDGUARDS Unless you cycle only in the dry or don't mind getting wet, you need a set of fulllength mudguards on your commuter

M

udguards are essential if you commute year round and want to stay dry. Even when it's stopped raining, if the roads are damp then your wheels will spray that grimy water onto you. While you can change clothes at work if you ride in cycling gear, who wants to pull on soggy Lycra for the journey home? Full-length mudguards offer the best protection. To fit these your bike needs threaded eyelets at the dropouts and enough clearance between the tyres and the frame, fork and brakes. Otherwise it's too easy for something to jam underneath the mudguard. Disc, cantilever, and V-brakes don't limit mudguard clearance, while deeper drop sidepulls (57mm) provide that room on road bikes. There are workarounds if your bike lacks frame eyelets, using cable ties or P-clips fixed to the frame. And even close clearance race bikes can be equipped with some kind of mudguard – either special low-profile designs or partial length guards. 28

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

CycraGuard Road ÂŁ29.99 Apart from the nuts and bolts, these chunky-looking guards are made entirely of plastic. They're lighter than equivalent chromoplastic guards but not fragile; there's a lifetime guarantee. The stays are very adjustable, enabling the guards to be fitted easily to bikes with disc brakes or pannier racks, and the front guard has a safety release in the event of a jam. They're available in two sizes: narrow, for 700C x 20-28mm tyres, and intermediate, for 28-37mm. www.madison.co.uk


Essentials Crud Roadracer Mk2 £29.99 Along with the SKS Raceblade Long, Crud's Roadracer is one of the few ways of getting proper splash protetion on a close-clearance road bike. You don't need frame eyelets and you need only 4mm between the tyre and the brake calliper. They fix to the bike with rubber O-rings and a cable-tie over the brake bolt, and the lateral support for these superlightweight guards comes from brushes that 'float' against the rim. The stays will release if jammed. They suit narrow 700C tyres only. www.crudproducts.com

SKS Longboard £33.99 These long, mud-flap equipped mudguards offer more wraparound than any other guard, keeping you, your bike, your shoes, and any following riders clean and dry. They're ideal for hybrids, touring bikes and cyclo-crossers, being designed for 700C wheels with tyres ranging from 2837mm wide. The front guard has a breakaway clip so that the mudguard won't jam your front wheel and cause a crash if anything gets caught underneath it. Available in black, silver, or cream. www.sks-germany.com

Tortec Reflector Guards £34.99 Reflective stripes down each side of these mudguards give them their name and make them more visible at night. The rear guard comes with a red reflector too, while the front has a mud-flap to keep your feet dry. They're made of 'Chromo-Tec', which is the same kind of plastic-aluminium laminate as other guards, while the fittings are stainless steel. The stays pop off for safety if required. Five different sizes are available: 26 x 1.0-1.5in, 26 x 1.6-2.1in, 700C x 20-26, 700C x 27-35, and 700C x 36-44. Silver or black. www.zyro.co.uk www.cyclescheme.co.uk

29


Autumn/Winter 2012 Vavert Fixed Mudguard £27.99 Need mudguards that will match your bike's frame? Vavert's Fixed guards are available in five different colours: grey, black/blue, black/green, brown/grey, and white/pink. They're made from polycarbonate, with mud-flaps providing fuller splash protection. They're available in two 700C sizes: 35mm for 20-28mm tyres, and 45mm for 32-40mm. Less colourful options are available for 26-inch and 24inch wheels. www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk

Axiom Rainrunner Deluxe Reflex Mudguards £40 The grey stripe down the centre of these guards is 3M Reflex, a hi-viz material that shows bright white in car headlights. They come with adapters so that you can fix them to bikes without eyelets or to bikes with disc brakes. The fittings are stainless steel, so won't get rusty. Front and rear guards have mud-flaps to stop, respectively, your feet and your companions from getting splashed. Available in three versions: road (700C x 18-28mm), trekking (700C x 28-45mm) and MTB (26 x 1.5-2.2in). www.paligap.cc

ETC mudguards £24.99 Frame-fit mudguards in no-nonsense black or silver, these are an economical option for anyone wanting sturdy, full-length guards. They're made from stiff polycarbonate and fit rattle-free with the stainless hardware – for which spares are readily available. There's no mudflap but you could pop-rivet one to the front easily enough. Available in three sizes: road (for 700C x 25-32mm tyres), trekking (700C x 38-45mm), and MTB (26 x 1.75-2.125in). www.todayscyclist.co.uk 30

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


SKS BIKE ACCESSORIES ROAD

ALLROAD

MOUNTAIN

AIRKOMPRESSOR 12.0

Everybody's floor pump with multi-valve connection up to 174 psi

S-BLADE

Snap-on rear mudguard for narrow tyres with our long-time proven powerstrap-system.

WIRECAGE

Light and sturdy wellshaped aluminium bottle cage bent from a single wire.

INJEX T-ZOOM Hand pump with easy doubleaccess for all valves including high-pressure mode and an ergonomic T-handle.

LONGBOARD SET longest fenders on the market

TOM 18

18 function all-rounder

MADE IN GERMANY SINCE 1932

SKS-GERMANY.COM

G E R M A N Y


Autumn/Winter 2012

Tech Specs

In detail

Price: ÂŁ900 (2012 model) Weight: 24lb (10.9kg) Frame: Specialized A1 Premium aluminium, with rack and mudguard fittings Fork: aluminium, with rack and mudguard fittings Drivetrain: Shimano Sora STI shifters, Shimano Sora front derailleur, Shimano Acera rear derailleur, Shimano Sora compact 50-34 chainset, Shimano 9-speed 12-27 cassette Brakes: Avid BB5 discs, 160mm front/140mm rear rotors Wheels: Sealed bearing aluminium hubs, Alex S480 32-hole rims, Specialized Brough CX Sport 700x32C tyres Other: Specialized H2 Ergo Comp handlebar, Specialized EliteSet stem, Body Geometry Riva Plus TriCross saddle, flat pedals Sizes: 46, 49, 52, 4, 56, 58, 61cm

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Disc brakes aren't just better in the dirt – they also make for longerlasting wheels

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

A Body Geometry saddle relieves pressure from the softer parts of your anatomy


On Test

T ON TES

Specialized Tricross Sport Disc £900 A cyclo-cross bike that's meant for city streets and general purpose riding as much as muddy fields

C

yclo-cross bikes are road bikes redesigned for use off-road, so it's curious that the more sensibly priced models like Specialized's Tricross range are transforming into road-going commuters, with fittings for mudguards and racks. But it makes sense: tough enough for use off-road means bombproof transport on it. And it's not just about transport: today's cyclo-cross bikes are do-it-all bikes, like drop-handlebar hybrids. The Tricross Sport Disc's aluminium frame and fork are lightweight but sturdy, with internally routed cables giving a clean, uncluttered look. A taller head tube than that of a racy road bike provides a riding position that's a bit more relaxed and upright, control being arguably more important than aerodynamics in cyclocross. Sitting more upright is equally handy for looking around in traffic, rather than down at the tarmac, and it strains your lower back and neck less. More comfort comes from the 32mm tyres. In off-road terms these are narrow, suitable for rough tracks or grass rather than rocks. On road it's a generous width and the extra shock absorbency improves comfort and control over potholes and cobbles. As the frame is designed for fat tyres with mud clearance around them, there's also plenty of space left for mudguards. These Specialized Brough CX Sport tyres are more like touring tyres than 'cross tyres, with a smooth centre strip that rolls well on tarmac yet enough tread on the shoulders for towpaths and suchlike. For a multipurpose bike, they're a better tyre selection than the lightly knobbled 'cross tyres that often appear on such bikes. Cyclo-cross bikes all used to have

cantilever brakes, with a straddle wire yoking together wide-legged brake arms either side of the wheel. The less expensive Tricross models still do. Disc brakes were allowed into 'cross racing some years ago and they've filtered through to the Sport Disc, giving it its name. Actual stopping power with Avid BB5 brakes is not much different from V-brakes, unlike the step up you get with Avid's more expensive BB7 mechanical discs. But there are other advantages to discs: they still work effectively if you get mud or water on your wheel rims; and they don't slowly wear away your wheel rims through abrasion like rim brakes do. So they're well worth having on a commuter bike that will be used daily. Secondary brake levers allow braking from the handlebar top, not just the drops. Gears are much the same as those you'd find on a road-only bike; compact chainsets with a 34 tooth inner ring are standard these days. The only difference is that the rear cassette goes up to 27 teeth instead of 25, which gives a lower bottom gear that you'll appreciate on hills or off-road. For commuting or touring, you can fit a rear rack to the Tricross Sport Disc. You'll need to specify a disc-brake specific model. These are designed so that the legs of the rack don't interfere with the disc brake calliper, dog-legging behind it or simply being wider apart. Specialized called their Tricross bikes 'Freeroad' and pitch them as go-anywhere machines. You could use the Tricross Sport Disc for commuting, pannier-laden leisure rides, off-road trail exploration, and more. If you want a versatile bike that's lighter and sportier than your typical flat-bar hybrid, it's well worth test riding. www.specialized.com

Giant TCX 3 £699.99 With its tightly-knobbled 35mm Kenda Small Block Eight tyres and cantilever brakes, the TCX 3 looks more like a traditional 'cross bike than a commuter. Yet its aluminium frame and fork come with the fittings you need for mudguards and a rear rack, and the 24-speed Shimano 2300 drivetrain is straight from the road bike range. If you do go off-road, the Overdrive tapered head tube and fork steerer will help cornering confidence. www.giant-bicycles.com

Whyte Kings Cross £799.99 An aluminium cyclo-cross bike whose commuting intentions are obvious in its name, the Kings Cross has 28mm Maxxis Detonator road training tyres for tarmac pace, plus the rack and mudguard fittings you'd expect. The 9-speed cassette is a wide-range 11-32, offering sensibly lower gears for climbing and off-road forays than you'll find on most cyclo-cross bikes. www.whytebikes.com

OTHER IDES R AT E D R

Trek CrossRip £850 Trek's entry-level 'cross bike commuter has an aluminium frame, a carbon fibre fork, and tough 32mm street tyres. Shimano 2300 24-speed gearing and Avid BB5 brakes provide the 'go' and 'stop', and there are auxiliary bar top levers. Rack and mudguard mounts are subtle but there, and any rear rack should fit as the calliper has been moved to the chainstay. www.trekbikes.com

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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£

C 2 m ycr 9. ud ag 9 gu ua 9 ar rd ds Ro ad

£

C 19 re ate .9 ar ye 9 lig Ra ht p id 3

£

S 2 Al pec 9. ig ia 9 n h liz 9 elm ed et

£

S 9 Tr pec 00 icr ia os liz .0 s S ed 0 po rt Di sc

Autumn/Winter 2012

This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period. Cost after savings for basic rate tax payer:

Cost after savings for higher rate tax payer:

£666.38

£568.38

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Bike package retail price

£979.97

£979.97

Income tax and NI saved

£313.59

£411.59

Monthly hire payments (before tax)

£81.66

£81.66

Monthly hire payments (take home pay)

£55.53

£47.37

32%

42%

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Extended use deposit (where offered)

£66.50

£66.50

Total cost after extended use deposit

£732.88

£634.88

Total retail price:

£979.97 Example savings

Percentage saving

End of Hire

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

34

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


CLEVER VERSATILE BAGS Union 34 is a collection of highly desirable, technically advanced, design led bags and apparel for the style conscious cyclist.

Scan to find out more about the range and your nearest stockist. facebook.com/Union34UK


Dangerzone Tail Light

Cosmic Dreadnought Headlight

/paligap.cc PDW Lights are exclusively distributed in the UK by www.paligap.cc


Essentials

ESSENTI KIT

AL

HELMETS If you wear a cycle helmet, choose one that fits comfortably and that suits the way you ride

Y

ou don't have to spend a lot of money on a cycle helmet. A helmet is made of inexpensive materials: expanded polystyrene (EPS) with a plastic outer shell, internal padding, and a chin-strap and rear-cradle system to keep it on your head. Cheaper helmets pass the same safety tests as expensive ones (all those featured meet the EN 1708 standard required for sale in the EU). More expensive helmets are usually lighter and better ventilated, however, so they suit more energetic cycling. And they may fit better. Fit is crucial. If the helmet is uncomfortable you won't wear it, and if it's not stable and secure on your head, it won't do its job. Try before buying. Whenever you wear a helmet, wear it properly. The V of the helmet straps should meet beneath your earlobes, and the chinstrap should be snug (room enough for a finger or two underneath) but not tight. Adjust the rear cradle so the helmet won't move about. The brim should be no more than a couple of fingers' width above your eyebrows.

Alpina Urban £49.99 As its name suggests, the Alpina Urban is specifically designed for city cyclists. That's why it doesn't have the ribs and vents of road and mountain bike helmets, offering instead a smoother shape and greater head coverage. There are mesh-covered front vents, so some air can circulate, and there's the usual adjustable inner cradle to tune the fit. A cap-style peak will be useful in the rain, especially for those with glasses. Colours: black or white. Sizes: 53-57, 58-63cm. www.alpina-helmets.co.uk

Bell Ukon £19.99 Proof that you don't need to spend a packet on a helmet. The Ukon's outer shell is taped to the EPS rather than being fused to it (known as 'in mould construction'), but it passes the same safety tests. In terms of features, it has everything you'd want: 17 vents to keep you cool; a visor to keep the weather out of your eyes; and an 'Ergo Dial' adjustment system for getting the right fit. It even has camlock levers to make strap length adjustment easier. Colours: black, blue/silver, titanium. Size: universal (54-61cm). www.madison.co.uk

Proviz Mercury £46.99 The Mercury combines head protection with high visibility: it's bright yellow and the dial at the back that adjusts the cradle incorporates a red LED light. The visor will help keep sun or rain out of your eyes but clips off if you don't want it. Ventilation is good, thanks to 24 vents, so it's fine for faster commuting – or for use on your road or mountain bike at the weekend. Size: universal (55-59cm). www.todayscyclist.co.uk www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Uvex XP City £69.99 Like most commuter-specific helmets, the rear of the XP City is flatter and deeper, covering more of the back of the head, as the assumption is that you won't be riding hard enough to need the more open, finned rear of a race helmet. You should stay cool enough, however, as there are 16 good-sized vents, with insect mesh in the front ones. It has a short visor on the front and you can fix a red Uvex City LED light (£9.99) to the rear. The rear cradle adjusts for height as well as circumference. Colour: stone. Size: 55-60cm www.raleigh.co.uk

MET Cosmo £29.99 MET's most inexpensive road lid is equally suitable for commuting, so long as you don't want a helmet peak. It's very light for the price, at 270g, and the 15 vents provide ample cooling. The four front ones have insect mesh in them to stop you catching wasps. The 'Safe-T Twist 2' dial to adjust the inner cradle is like the systems you find on dearer helmets. Padding is removable for washing, in common with most helmets. Colours: red, blue, silver, black. Sizes: universal (54-61cm). www.fisheroutdoor.co.uk

Specialized Align £29.99 The Align ticks all the boxes for an entry-level helmet: it's reasonably light, it's not too hot to wear, and the level of protection it offers is as good as anything. Although it comes in just the one size, it adjusts easily for a comfortable fit. The Headset SX 'speed-dial' lets the retention cradle in or out, while U-turn strap adjusters make chinstrap adjustment much less finicky. The straps are reflective in parts, and there's a clip on visor. Colours: red, blue, silver, white or black. Size: universal (54-62cm). www.specialized.com

POC Receptor Commuter £99.00 This is based on POC's Receptor+, a multipurpose helmet for snow and water sports as well as cycling. It looks like a skater's or dirt-jumper's helmet, with less venting but more head coverage – particularly the back of the head. The flat, nonribbed surface ought to skid better on the ground if you fall. So while hard riders may find it warm, the sturdy construction is a worthwhile trade off. It's available in more sizes than most helmets, so the odds of getting a good fit are excellent. Colours: black or white. Sizes: 51-54, 55-58, 5962cm. www.2pure.co.uk

38

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


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Autumn/Winter 2012

One-gear

wonders Book yourself a track cycling taster session – or just find out what a fixed-wheel bike could do for your commute

L

ondon 2012 saw Team GB rule the velodrome once more in the Olympics, winning seven of the ten gold medals available. Such a positive result should raise cycling's profile way beyond the wooden boards of the track, so that even commuter cyclists stand to get a little more respect on the road. If you're inspired to try track cycling yourself, it's easier than you think: you don't need legs like Chris Hoy or a carbon fibre super-bike costing thousands; taster sessions can cost less than ÂŁ10. You will have to travel to ride on an indoor track. While there are over a dozen outdoor tracks, there are just three indoor ones in the UK at the moment: the National Cycling Centre in Manchester; the Wales National Velodrome in Newport, South Wales; and the Calshot indoor track, near Southampton. 40

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


One-gear wonders The new London VeloPark, where the medals were won on the track nicknamed The Pringle, will be open for public use in 2013. Meanwhile, in Glasgow, the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome is under construction.

Banking crisis? As you'll have seen from the TV footage, a velodrome comprises a banked wooden oval, steeper in the bends at each end and flatter in the short straights. The tracks in London and Manchester are 250-metre circuits, while Calshot is much shorter – and hence steeper – as it was built to fit in an aircraft hanger. The banking allows the riders to remain more or less vertical relative to the track surface while cornering at speed, so they don't have to slow down. It is also used for acceleration, with riders coming down the banking to pick up their pace. It looks very steep indeed when you're actually on the track, but don't panic: momentum is your friend! The parallel black (inner) and red (outer) lines mark out the best route around the track, which the leading rider will choose both because it's shorter and because it's not permissible to pass them on the inside by crossing the black line. Crossing the lines in a sprint can result in disqualification too, as happened to Victoria Pendleton.

No freewheel, no brakes All track bikes are stripped down machines, with a single gear and no freewheel. When the bike is in motion, the pedals are always turning. There are no brakes. Riders can slow down through back-pressure on the pedals; a lock-ring prevents the sprocket on the rear wheel from unscrewing when they do so. Riders can also lose speed by heading up the banking.

If you suddenly stopped pedalling on a track bike, the cranks would jerk your legs around, kicking you up off the saddle – and possibly off the bike. Once you're used to pedalling continuously, however, you learn to pedal more fluidly, and you get used to fine tuning your bike speed with your pedalling speed. There are essentially two types of track bike: the aerodynamic pursuit bike, with forward pointing aero handlebar and disc wheels front and rear, which is used for efforts against the clock; and the more upright bike with a traditional drop handlebar and a more easily manoeuvrable (often five-spoke) front wheel, used for bunch races. Less expensive track bikes have conventional, metal spoked wheels. Wire spoke wheels are not as aerodynamic, and while they have advantages on the road – they're unaffected by side winds and can weigh less – these are unimportant in a velodrome, which has no wind or hills.

Races and tactics There are lots of different track cycling events, more than we saw at London 2012, where the 4km individual pursuit and the points race (in which Team GB won medals in 2008) were axed, along with the Madison. The two questions that cropped up most in the Olympics in regard to the track events were probably: 'Why are they going really slowly, then really quickly?' and 'What is that bloke doing on the little motorbike?' The answers are: 'They're jockeying for position before the sprint starts' and 'He's setting the pace, while the others jockey for position behind him.' The reason for these manoeuvres can be explained, like most tactics in cycling, by a single law of physics: air

One for

the road

Once you get used to being unable to freewheel (practise away from traffic!), a fixedwheel bike makes a durable commuting machine. There's hardly anything to go wrong and it's cheap to fix when it does. To be road legal, not to mention safe, a fixed-wheel bike must be fitted with at least a front brake. Outside of a velodrome, you cannot slow down quickly enough using only the pedals. A rear brake is optional, as long as a lock-ring is fitted, as the fixedwheel itself counts as a brake. Many fixed-wheel bikes are sold with 'flip flop' hubs, with a fixed sprocket on one side and a freewheel on the other. If you ride 'single free' rather than fixed, you must also have a rear brake fitted. Singlespeeds and fixed-wheel bikes are popular with cycle couriers and urban cyclists. Track racing bikes and cycle-polo-style bikes (with flat or riser bars) earn points for style, while fixedwheel road bikes with room for mudguards offer more in terms of all-weather practicality.

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

41


Autumn/Winter 2012 resistance. At race speeds, cyclists expend most of their effort pushing air out of the way. If you can ride behind someone, you can use up to 30% less energy. That's why it's so advantageous to 'sit on someone's wheel'. The rider in the lead does the hard work; the rider behind gets to save energy.

Do it yourself If you want to race regularly on the track you need a racing licence, which you can purchase from British Cycling (www.britishcycling. org.uk). But if you just want to turn up and try it to see what it's like, all you need to do is to book a taster session. Just visit the relevant velodrome's website. At the National Cycling Centre in Manchester, an hour's taster session costs £10.50 per adult, with concessions £8.30. You'll be in a group of 15 riders – so why not encourage workmates, friends or family to come with you? – and your bike and helmet hire will be provided, as will instruction from a coach. Newport and Calshot offer similar taster sessions. You may not break any records but you will leave with a smile on your face, a renewed appreciation for the achievements of Team GB, and the ability to ride a fixed-wheel bike. If you really enjoy your experience on a track bike, you might even want to commute on one. So long as it has at least a front brake, a track bike is road legal (see 'One for the road').

Manchester: www.nationalcyclingcentre.com Newport: www.newport.gov.uk Calshot: www.calshot.com/cycle.html 42

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Specialized Globe Roll 2 Style-focussed steel singlespeed/fixed-wheel bike with deep section wheels, an integrated stem and narrow flat handlebar, and no frame fittings to 'spoil' its minimalist look. £500, www.specialized.com

Kona Paddy Wagon A practical steel commuter, with longreach brakes providing room for full-length mudguards and/or slightly fatter tyres. It comes with 28mm tyres and a flip-flop hub. £599, www.konaworld.com

Genesis Day 01 Cross A singlespeed cyclocross bike makes a quirky-looking but practical commuter, with room for fatter tyres and fittings for mudguards, rear rack, and bottles. £649.99, www.genesisbikes.co.uk

Cooper Spa Shiny chromed steel bike with a Brooks leather saddle and bar tape, track drop bar, a flip-flop hub, and the same 'no frame fitments' philosophy as the Globe. £850, www.cooperbikes.com


Autumn/Winter 2012

Tech Specs

In detail

Price: ÂŁ550 Weight: 30.9lb (14kg) Frame: patented 'DoubleTruss' aluminium Fork: hi-tensile steel Drivetrain: Sram 3.0 shifters, Microshift front derailleur, Sram X4 rear derailleur, Sram S250 trekking chainset, Sunrace 8-speed 11-32 cassette Brakes: V-brakes Wheels: Formula quick release hubs, aluminium alloy rims, Schwalbe Big Apple 26x1.9in tyres Other: Adjustable angle stem, Wellgo non-folding pedals, Tern Sport saddle, Biologic grips, kickstand, Magnetix 2.0 clip system Sizes: S (16in), M (18in), L (20in)

44

Rough roads that might trouble smallwheeled folders are no problem for 26 x 1.9 inch tyres

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

The right-hand grip holds within it a T-shaped tool with 4, 5 and 6mm allen keys


On Test

T ON TES

Tern Joe D24 £550

It's a full-size bike that folds in half, trading some folding bike portability for bigger wheels and a better ride

A

ll folding bikes are a compromise between portability and ridability. At one end of the scale there are the marvels of metallurgical origami with small wheels, compact enough to fit under your desk at work when folded but a bit twitchy to ride. At the other end of the scale are bikes like the Tern Joe D24, which is basically a normal bike with a hinge in the middle. Whereas a compact folder might be used most for shorter rides to and from the train station, the Joe D24 will more readily take in longer rides and rougher roads. Tern's tag-line for the bike is 'for the road less repaired', which sounds like a lot of urban roads in the UK. Potholes and other bumps can be terrifying on small wheels, since they're proportionally much bigger, and it doesn't take an enormous hole to stop the bike dead. The Joe D24 has traditional mountain bike sized wheels, fitted with shock absorbing 50mm Schwalbe Big Apple tyres. These will comfortably cope with the worst road. You could even go off-road on the sort of forest track that doesn't demand trail-bike-style tread lugs; Big Apples are street tyres, primarily. The bike's surefooted handling is largely due to its bigger wheels. There's also less flex in the frame and through the handlebar. The hinge is massive, secure, and reinforced by a truss-like rear frame triangle that doesn't flex side to side. The handlebar, meanwhile, isn't on the end of a long, hinged stem, as it is with smaller wheeled folders. If you didn't look down at the hinge, you'd think you were on a normal hybrid when riding. And that's how best to treat

the bike: as a hybrid that can fold. Technically it's too big to go on a train as a folding bike; the National Rail Conditions of Carriage specify 90x70x30cm and the Joe D24 is 97x85x35cm. You'd have to be very unlucky indeed for the guard to charge you for your bike as an oversized item of luggage, however. Most will let it aboard without blinking, especially if you put it in the optional Tern Stow Bag XL (£109.99). Buses and busy tube trains may be a problem for it; car boots won't be. Folding could scarcely be simpler. You lift a safety catch, undo the main hinge lever, and fold the frame back on itself, with the front wheel staying pointed forward. There's a magnetic catch between the right-hand fork leg and the left-hand rear dropout, so that the folded bike stays together. It even stands up, as there's a fixed metal stand that projects below the chainrings to stop them gouging into the floor. The whole process takes seconds. To get the smallest folded package (which you often won't need), you lower the saddle and turn the handlebar sideways. You need an allen key for the latter but that's okay – there's one stashed in the end of the right-hand handlebar grip. Like other hybrids, the Joe D24 comes with V-brakes and 24-speed gearing with a wide-range. Both work fine. The ergonomic flared hand grips are particularly comfortable, and Tern fit a kickstand for easy parking. You'll need to add mudguards and a rear rack yourself but any designed for a 26-inch wheel bike will fit, without spoiling the fold. www.ternbicycles.com

Brompton S2L £840 At the opposite end of the folding bike scale from the 26-inch wheeled Tern is the iconic, 16-inch wheeled Brompton. If packed size is your priority, it's unbeatable at 60x58x29cm. In addition to this sporty 2-speed, there are 3- and 6-speeds, titanium versions, and lots of options – including a great luggage system. www.brompton.co.uk

Kansi 1Twenty £525 With 20-inch wheels and a folded size of 83x68x46cm, the Kansi combines steady handing with decent portability. This singlespeed version weighs just 10.4kg, and looks neat due to a single cable for the front brake; the rear is a back-pedal brake. There are also 3-speed and 9-speed alternatives. www.kansi.co.uk

OTHER IDES R AT E D R

Airnimal Joey Sport £999 Like the Tern Joe D24, the Joey Sport rides more like a hybrid than a folding bike, as it has 24-inch wheels. It will still fold small enough (75x55x85) to keep most train guards happy, and can be partially dismantled to shrink further (65x35x80). The Sport model is the cheapest Joey and has 8-speed Shimano Deore gears and a front disc brake. www.airnimalfoldingbikes.com

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

45


£

A 9 Ev ltur 9. oj aN 9 ac ig 9 ke h t tV isi on

£

£

K 7 (p nog 9.9 air B ) lin 8 de r

M 2 he et 9. lm Co 99 et sm o

£

Te 55 rn Jo 0. eD 0 24 0

Autumn/Winter 2012

This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period. Cost after savings for basic rate tax payer:

Cost after savings for higher rate tax payer:

£516.77

£440.78

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Bike package retail price

£759.96

£759.96

Income tax and NI saved

£243.19

£319.18

Monthly hire payments (before tax)

£63.33

£63.33

Monthly hire payments (take home pay)

£43.06

£36.73

32%

42%

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Extended use deposit (where offered)

£51.10

£51.10

Total cost after extended use deposit

£567.87

£491.88

Total retail price:

£759.96 Example savings

Percentage saving

End of Hire

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

46

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Autumn/Winter 2012

ESSENTI KIT

AL

LIGHTS Every commuting cyclist needs lights, mostly to show drivers where you are in the dark

W

henever you ride a bicycle on a UK public road between dusk and dawn you must use a white front light and a red rear light. (You must also have a red rear reflector and amber pedal reflectors.) In theory, the lights should confirm to BS6102/3 or an equivalent EU standard. In practice, they just need to work and to be decently bright. When you're cycling under streetlights, the main job of your lights is to make you visible – not just from the front or rear, but also to an extent from the sides. Flashing lights alert road users to your presence better, although they can make it harder for them to judge how far away you are. If you will be riding on unlit roads, you'll need a front light that's powerful enough to show you the way at the speed you want to ride at. Most battery lights use LEDs these days, as they much more energy efficient. Nevertheless, you'll save money long term if your front light batteries can be recharged and not just replaced. It's worth packing a spare set of clip-on lights in your bag, just in case your main lights fail. 48

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Topeak RedLite Mega £24.99 There are five LEDs in the RedLite Mega: a super-bright 1 Watt LED and four others, two red, two yellow. The yellow ones point sideways, providing 270 degree visibility altogether, and Topeak claim it can be seen from a mile away from the rear. It's certainly very bright. Run times are excellent, given that it's powered by just two AAA batteries: 50 hours constant or 100 flashing. It attaches to the seatpost or to the back of Topeak bags. www.extrauk.co.uk

Light & Motion Vis 180 £89.99 This high-powered rear light is visible both from the rear and from the sides – hence 180. A 35-lumen red beam shines backwards, while amber light shines out from the sides. It's powered by a lithiumion battery, running for 2.5 hours on high and 24 hours flashing. Recharging takes about 4.5 hours. The bracket fits either to the seatpost or a seatstay, or can be clipped to a backpack or courier bag. You can adjust the angle of the light easily to suit wherever it's fixed. www.madison.co.uk


Essentials Lezyne Micro Drive £69.99 pair Small but powerful, these CNC-machined lights weigh less than 70g each but put out lots of light. Depending on the mode you select (high power, low power, flashing, etc) the front emits 50-150 lumens and the rear 30-70, which is plenty visible even in bright daylight. Burn times are 2-6 hours for the front and 2.5-16 for the rear; an indicator button shows power remaining. They recharge via an integral USB connector. A stretchy silicon strap fixes them to the handlebar or seatpost. www.upgradebikes.co.uk

Cateye Nanoshot Plus £99.99

Niterider Mako 200 £39.99 The single 2 Watt LED in this rechargeable light emits 200 lumens, as you might guess from the name. That's enough of a beam to see by. It's also good for being seen, especially from the sides, thanks to light shining from the the sharklike 'gills'. Run time ranges from 25-50 hours steady or 200 flashing, depending on the power mode you choose. It runs off two AA batteries (included). Niterider are launching a USBrechargeable version for 2013. www.2pure.co.uk

A hundred quid might seem a lot for headlight… until you realise quite how powerful this twin-LED unit is. Despite being small and light enough to fix to a helmet (with the optional helmet mount), it puts out 600 lumens. That's easily enough for riding fast on unlit roads. Run time is from 1.5 to 4 hours, depending on mode, and it charges via USB in 8 hours. There's a low battery indicator to let you know when it's running out of juice. www.zyro.co.uk

Cateye Rapid 3 £19.99 The 3 refers to the number of LEDs: one super bright one in the centre, and two at the sides to angle light that way. Lumens aren't quoted but on full power it's bright enough to hurt your eyes if you look right at it; the lens shape helps focus the beam. It runs off one AA battery, giving 3 hours constant light, 20 hours 'rapid', and 80 flashing. It fits to the seatpost by default. Cateye also offer a saddle rail bracket and clothing clip for it. www.zyro.co.uk

Knog Blinder £34.99 each Available front or rear and in six colours and designs, these lights have four LEDs each, emitting 80 or 44 lumens (front/ rear). The rear is very bright and the front great for being seen by under streetlights. They fix tool-free to the handlebar or seatpost and can be set constant or flashing (four modes), with burn times from 3-30 hours. They recharge via USB. They're waterproof, which commuter lights need to be in the UK, and as they weigh only 39g each they're ideal as back-up lights. www.todayscyclist.co.uk www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Autumn/Winter 2012

Tech Specs

In detail

Price: ÂŁ999 Weight: 48lb (21.8kg) Frame: AluxX aluminium Fork: AluxX aluminium Drivetrain: Shimano Revoshift 7-speed shifter, Shimano Tourney rear derailleur, aluminium 46-tooth chainset, Shimano HG30 11-28 cassette Brakes: Tektro V-brakes Wheels: Giant Hybrid Sync Drive front hub motor, Formula rear hub, aluminium rims, Kenda Khan 700x35C tyres Other: 26V Lithium Ion battery, aluminium riser handlebar, aluminium threadless stem, Giant Comfort women's saddle, flat pedals, kickstand, mudguards, rear rack Sizes: S (38cm), M (44cm). Gent's version M (44cm), L (53.5cm)

50

Depending on hills, headwinds and rider weight, there's enough juice for 1880 miles per charge

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

The sensor at the bottom bracket monitors your pedalling effort – for more power, pedal harder


On Test

T ON TES

Giant Twist Express W £999

I

Affordable electric assistance to make the journey to work that bit more manageable

f your commute is longer or hillier than you can comfortably cope with, there is another way to pedal there: powerassisted. Electric bikes are becoming more and more popular. Good ones have tended to cost around £1500-£2000. Giant's Twist Express, however, comes in under the Cycle to Work threshold. It's a pedelec, not an overweight electric moped, so it only provides electric assistance when you're pedalling. The amount of assistance the control unit tells the 250 Watt front hub motor to give depends on a couple of factors. One is the power setting you choose: eco, normal, or sport – in ascending order. The other is the amount of effort you're putting through the pedals. The bike measures the torque and provides more power the harder you pedal, so it compensates automatically when you start pedalling uphill. Apart from the weight – heavy by battery-free bicycle standards, reasonable for a pedelec – it's no different from riding a conventional bicycle. It's just that the harder you pedal, the more of a helping hand you get – up to a maximum of 15mph. After that, the 250 Watt front hub motor stops helping and you'll be pedalling by yourself. By law, a pedelec isn't allowed to provide assistance beyond 15mph. It's a bicycle rather than a moped. As such, you don't need to tax or insure it, you don't need a licence, and anyone aged 14 or more can ride it. Legally, you don't even have to wear a helmet. Power is provided by a 26V lithium-ion battery, which clips in seconds into the Twist Express's custom rear rack. It's hard to say how many miles you'll get out of each

charge, as that will depend on rider weight and ride topography. You should expect to get from 20-40 miles. Charging takes about four hours, so you could recharge it at work if need be. You can pedal the Twist Express without any power-assistance at all. It's quite heavy, although not much more so than some steel roadsters – compared to which, it has a wider gear range. So flat or gently rolling journeys should be fine without power. With power, you can tackle the hilliest commute. Just don't lean too far back when you're climbing the steepest grades: the motor is the front hub, so you need to make sure you've got some weight over the front wheel for it to find traction. Strip away the electrics and the Twist Express is a proper bicycle – not a great bicycle but not, by any means, a bad one. It's essentially an entry-level hybrid: aluminium frame and fork, decent aluminium-rimmed wheels, serviceable 7-speed Shimano Tourney gearing, and effective V-brakes. The 35mm Kenda tyres roll okay and provide sufficient shock absorbency, and the contact points are comfortable. It's equipped the kind of accessories that commuters want: full length mudguards, a rear rack, and even a kickstand. It can't be easy designing a decent pedelec for less than £1,000, and the temptation is to think: what must Giant have left out? The answer is nothing. No smoke, no mirrors: you're getting effective power-assistance that's built onto a proper bicycle chassis. If you thought you couldn't manage your commute, whether because it's too hard or because you're not whippet fit, think again. www.giant-bicycles.com

Dawes Boost Suburbia Ladies £999.99 The Dawes Boost Suburbia has its 250 Watt motor in the rear hub. The 36V lithium-ion battery, stored at the top of the rear rack, has a range of up to 40 miles, depending on power mode (eco, leisure or sport). The bicycle is a fully-equipped, aluminium-framed hybrid, with a basic suspension fork, 6-speed Shimano gearing, and V-brakes. www.dawescycles.com

Wisper 705 eco £999 Wisper's 705 eco is different in that it also has a throttle, which provides power up to 4mph. After that it's pedal-assisted to 15mph. It's powered by a 37V lithium polymer battery and a rear wheel motor. Range as a pedelec is up to 65 miles. It's an aluminium hybrid with a basic suspension fork and 6-speed gearing. www.wisperbikes.com

OTHER IDES R AT E D R

Powabyke X-24 £999 The Powabyke X-24 has both throttle and pedalassist options, so you can use it as an e-bike or a pedelec. It'll do about 10 miles under battery power alone or 20 as a pedelec. The motor is in the front hub, while the 36V lithium battery fits where a water bottle would go. With 24-speed Shimano Alivio gearing, this aluminium hybrid is more capable without power than most. www.powabyke.com

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

51


£

Gi 99 an t T 9. w 0 ist 0 Ex pr es s

Autumn/Winter 2012

This is an example of how savings are made for basic and higher rate tax payers on this bike package hired over a 12 month period. Cost after savings for basic rate tax payer:

Cost after savings for higher rate tax payer:

£679.32

£579.42

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Bike package retail price

£999.00

£999.00

Income tax and NI saved

£319.68

£419.58

Monthly hire payments (before tax)

£83.25

£83.25

Monthly hire payments (take home pay)

£56.61

£48.29

32%

42%

20% Tax, 12% NI

40% Tax, 2% NI

Extended use deposit (where offered)

£69.93

£69.93

Total cost after extended use deposit

£749.25

£649.35

Total retail price:

£999.00 Example savings

Percentage saving

End of Hire

Savings will be affected by your personal level of taxation. At the end of the hire period you may be given the option to continue to use the bike by paying a small one off deposit and signing an Extended Use Agreement (EUA) with Cyclescheme. There are no further rental payments during the EUA period. This option will maximise your savings via the scheme (see page 6 for more details).

52

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Why

Autumn/Winter 2012

insur

54

www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Cyclescheme Cycle Insurance

e?

Protect your new bike with Cyclescheme Cycle Insurance

T

here are few things more frustrating than spending up to £1,000 on a bike, only to come home one day and find it has been stolen. Furthermore, when you think it really cannot get any worse, you are told your home insurance might not cover it or the claim may affect the renewal on the whole of your house insurance premium.

One bike is stolen every minute!** Cyclescheme Cycle Insurance is brought to you by Cycleguard, a leading cycle insurance specialist responsible for covering more than £10 million worth of bicycles from 18,000 cyclists. Using our specialist knowledge, our policies are designed to cater for the specific needs of all types of cyclist, something you would not find under a home insurance policy. With insurance starting from just £1.98 per month*, Cycleguard enables you to create your own policy by choosing your own cover and tailoring it to your own individual needs.

With at least one bike stolen every minute**, security is becoming more of an issue, so it is essential to ensure your bike is securely locked. At Cycleguard, we insist on an impressive list of locks, based under three categories of Bronze, Silver and Gold, depending on the value of your bike, which have all been tested and approved by Sold Secure. This provides you with the best level of defence that will allow you to keep your bike secure when left outside the office, a supermarket or even your own home – don’t underestimate the ability of bike thieves! Minimise the risk by visiting www.cycleguard.co.uk/cs today to get your quote in only 20 seconds, and when you think it can’t get much better, get 10% off your insurance. Alternatively, call our friendly and experienced team on...

0845 408 1811

who are on hand to cover your individual needs. *www.cycleguard.co.uk/cs, based on a bike valued at £300, from postcode GL1 1UB **The Guardian, June’2011 Cycleguard is a trading style of Thistle Insurance Services Limited. Lloyds Broker. Authorised and Regulated by the Financial Services Authority. A JLT Group Company. Registered office: 6 Crutched Friars, London EC3N 2PH. Registered in England No 00338645. VAT No. 2442321 96. Cyclescheme is an Appointed Representative of Thistle Insurance Services Ltd.

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

55


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Cyclescheme 7

C7

GARY BRENNAN We catch up with the commuters featured on the Cyclescheme website. This issue: Gary from Manchester, who went from 39 stones to 13

P

lenty of people cycle to lose weight and get fit. Few have the kind of challenge faced by Gary Brennan: aged 28, he weighed 39 stones 13 pounds and had high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and sleep apnoea. He was refused a gastric band by a surgeon, who simply said 'Your situation is far too dire for that'. So he got on his bike. 'The stark reality of it was that my two kids faced a future without a father,' he says. 'I knew I had to make a lifestyle change. Going to the gym wouldn't work. It's too easy to make an excuse not to go, such as the weather or being tired after a long day at work. Whereas if I cycled to work, the only way to get home

would be to cycle back again.' He bought a Giant Yukon, an entry-level hardtail mountain bike that looked like it would take his weight, so long as he avoided potholes. It did. 'Day one was horrendous and amazing all at once,' says Gary. 'My problem was not traffic but hills. It was hard enough to cycle on the flat when I was so fat, but hills…hills had to be avoided.' For his first day, Gary planned to take the train most of the way, cycling four miles in total to and from local railway stations. Even the short first leg was a challenge. 'I was wheezing, my arms hurt holding up my weight, my legs hurt pushing my weight along. I was soaking in sweat. But I was determined to save my own www.cyclescheme.co.uk

57


Autumn/Winter 2012 life, on my own, because of my direct actions. It was so empowering. I've never felt anything like it.' He was worried that he wouldn't complete that first trip, or that he'd be ridiculed. He even used an MP3 player and headphones to block out the jeers of passers by. (It's not against the law to listen to music while cycling although it is harder to track approaching cars, so you might want to stick to traffic-free routes and/or invest in mirrors for your bike.) After that first journey, Gary found that the cycling became gradually easier. 'Six weeks later I'd managed to build up to the full 13-mile round trip. By the time winter hit, the bug had bitten and not even snow could put me off. It took two years of cycling every day to go from super morbidly obese to a normal weight. There were days when I broke derailleurs or spokes or had three punctures, but it didn't stop me.' By summer 2011, Gary weighed just 13 stones. He had shed 26 stones, or two thirds of his bodyweight. His health problems had evaporated and for the last year his weight has stabilised at 13 stones. The Giant Yukon has been replaced by higherspecification ones bought through Cyclescheme and he has invested in road bikes too, so he can enjoy riding further. 'In the summer, my commute has consisted of Woodhead Pass, Holme Moss and even Saddleworth Moor,' he says. 'Just this week, I rode 35 miles and did 3,500ft of climbing before work. And when I arrived, I felt fresh and ready for the day ahead. It's a great feeling to be able to do that.' Gary continues commuting through the winter. 'If you're dressed correctly, there's no reason you can't 58

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

Fact file

Name: Gary Brennan Lives: Hyde, near Manchester Occupation: Staff trainer Commute: 6.5 miles each way, or up to 20 miles each way in the summer Frequency: Every working day Cyclescheme bike: Two now. A Cube MTB and a Planet X Uncle John cyclo-cross bike. Why I started cycling: To lose weight, save my life, and be around for my kids in the future. Blog: theamazing39stonecyclist. wordpress.com

commute 365 days a year,' he says. 'In the winter, I saddle up on my mountain bike or cyclo-cross bike and head down a frozen, pitch black canal towpath, with high-powered lights for company. It's exhilarating. When the towpath is frozen or snowed on, there's no mud either!' He recommends metal-studded tyres for the icy days. His favourite piece of cycling equipment, apart from his bikes, is his Garmin Edge GPS cycling computer. This records all kinds of cycling data, which can be uploaded to the Strava website, enabling Gary to record his progress and to challenge himself. Gary's transformation from couch potato to cycling commuter has inspired other people get on their bikes. Some have read his online blog; others are work colleagues. 'When I started cycling, there were three cycle commuters in the office of 50 people. There are now at least ten, many as a result of me encouraging them.' He is proof that you don't need to be lean and fit to start cycling to work, but that you'll get that way if you stick at it. From someone who struggled to ride one mile, he has become an enthusiastic cyclist who can ride the 60 miles of the Manchester to Blackpool charity ride in around three hours. 'The longer I carry on at my current weight, the quicker I'm getting on the bike,' says Gary, 'and the more I realise that I have done this myself and I deserve the results. It wasn't easy but I enjoyed every second. It's made me into the person I am today – confident, with a thirst for life.' For more on the Cyclescheme 7, visit www.cyclescheme.co.uk


Autumn/Winter 2012

Norman The Minister for Cycling explains why he pedals to Parliament and why he backs the Cycle to Work scheme

A

ll MPs are pushed for time. Transport Minister Norman Baker makes the best use of his by getting on his bike whenever he's in London. The nature of his portfolio means that he's more aware than most how efficient cycling is in urban areas – and how economical 'I have responsibilities both at the Department for Transport and the House of Commons, so frequently use my bike to make the short journey between the two,' he says. 'Having a bicycle in the office allows me to make the most efficient use of my time – particularly as the precise timings of Parliamentary business aren’t always known far in advance. It gives me the freedom to get to the House quickly and easily, even at short notice, and avoids the expense of having chauffeurs waiting around.' He gets around London on that iconic British commuter, the Brompton. 'Most of my journeys by bike are fairly short and it’s ideal for those,' he says. 'Obviously as a

60

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compact, fold-up bicycle it’s also very convenient for carrying up to my offices at the Commons and the Department.' It's unlikely to be stolen in his office too, unlike a succession of bikes owned by Mayor of London Boris Johnson. The difficulty for any Government or individual politician wishing to promote cycling is to convert bike ownership into bike usage. Baker recognises this: 'Over half of all people own a bike so there is clearly enthusiasm for cycling across the population. I want to see more of those bikes out of the shed and on the road.' Increasing the numbers of regular cyclists won't happen by wishful thinking but by pro-cycling initiatives like the Cycle to Work scheme, which Baker backs: 'I’m extremely supportive of any scheme that encourages employees to cycle to work,' he says, 'whether it be ensuring adequate parking spaces for bikes or putting in showers and lockers for staff use. The Cycle to Work scheme provides a good incentive by making bikes cheaper for employees and allowing them to spread the cost over time, taking some of the sting out of the up-front cost of cycling.' You'd expect Baker to support the Cycle to Work scheme in an interview with Cycle Commuter. It's not just empty rhetoric: the Cycle to Work scheme is already embedded in the corridors of Whitehall. 'Most Ministerial departments and their

Fact file

Constituency: Lewes, East Sussex Occupation: Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes and Parliamentary UnderSecretary of State for Transport About: Norman Baker is a keen walker who likes music and campaigns for an independent Tibet. As Under-Secretary for Transport, his responsibilities include regional and local transport, buses, taxis, walking and cycling.

agencies, at least 26 at the last count, have signed up to the Cycle to Work Guarantee,' says Baker. 'That outlines a series of cycle-friendly promises made by employers to staff. Increasing people’s access to bikes through Cycle to Work or other schemes is central to this guarantee.' It's good to know that the Government is putting its own House in order when it comes to promoting cycling. But on a national scale, and even though they're rising, levels of cycling remain low in the UK compared to our northern European neighbours. What are Baker and his colleagues doing about that? 'We are playing our part by providing funding for infrastructure which makes


My life on bikes

Baker MP see cyclists and so reduce the risk of accidents.' Any cycle commuter would welcome these measures. Yet a simpler way to get more bums of bikes would be to tackle the biggest cycling deterrent head on: traffic. Reducing the default urban speed limit from 30mph to 20mph would make the streets safer and more pleasant for cyclists and pedestrians alike. 'As a cyclist, I support the use of 20mph speed limits,' Baker agrees, 'but it is not for me to sit in Westminster and tell local councils around the country what the speed limit should be on their local roads – they are best placed to make those

decisions. However, I have made it easier and less expensive for councils wanting to use 20 mph speed limits, for example, councils can now paint speed limits on the road rather than having to put up expensive signs. '[Additionally] we have allocated an extra £15 million to improve cycling infrastructure this year and are supporting Transport for London’s work to improve dangerous junctions in the capital. 'I have also made it easier for councils to put in place contraflow cycling on one way streets which allows cyclists to use quieter residential roads rather than busy main routes.'

© Department for Transport

it easier for people to choose to cycle. Our Local Sustainable Transport Fund has, with local contributions, secured over £1billion worth of investment in local transport schemes which create growth and cut carbon, and the overwhelming majority of projects include measures to encourage cycling. We have supplemented this with further recent investment, for example in off-road cycle lanes, cycle-rail integration and funds to tackle dangerous junctions. 'Crucially, we have committed at least £11million a year for Bikeability to give children and adults the skills and knowledge to cycle with confidence on the roads. 'In addition to this, I have made it easier for councils to install Trixi mirrors at junctions – these make it easier for lorry and bus drivers to

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

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Autumn/Winter 2012

CYCLING RESOURCES

Further reading Cyclecraft £15.99 Everything you need to know about cycling on trafficked roads, Cyclecraft is essentially the cyclist’s Highway Code and Advanced Driving Test rolled into one. ISBN 9780117037403 (pub. The Stationery Office)

Traffic-Free Cycle Trails £14.99 Cyclescheme online www.cyclescheme.co.uk Visit the Cyclescheme website for regular news, bike and equipment reviews, and 'how to' features. There's loads of information and support for employers and employees, and you can log on to MyCyclescheme to track your Certificate. You can even read digital copies of past issues of Cycle Commuter.

Social media

More than 400 routes for escaping the traffic and riding for fun, on railway paths, canal towpaths, and through forests. Ideal for cycling with your family. ISBN 9781900623216 (pub. CycleCity Guides)

The Total Bike Maintenance Book £18.99

Follow Cyclescheme on Twitter for the very latest updates, or share your 140-character thoughts with us. You can find us at: www.twitter.com/cycleschemeltd

A comprehensive guide to looking after your bike and doing DIY repairs.

You can also catch up with us via our Facebook page: visit www.facebook.com/cyclescheme or just search for 'Cyclescheme' when you're logged on to Facebook.

The Bike Book £16.99

ISBN 9781847329806 (pub. Carlton Books)

Now in its sixth edition, this well-illustrated maintenance book is accessible to beginners. ISBN 9780857331182 (pub. Haynes)

Cycling organisations CTC CTC is the UK's national cycling charity. It aims to promote and protect cycling, and to inspire cyclists. Membership provides £10m third-party insurance, a cycling-related legal helpline, a bi-monthly cycling magazine, weekly email newsletters, discounts, and support for nationwide cycling campaigns. www.ctc.org.uk

London Cycling Campaign LCC is the voice of cyclists in London, a membership charity that campaigns to make London a better place for cyclists. Membership provides third-party insurance, support for cycle campaigning in the capital, a bi-monthly cycling magazine, discounts, and more. www.lcc.org.uk 62

www.cyclescheme.co.uk

British Cycling As well as being the governing body of UK cycle sport, British Cycling has a membership package just for commuting and recreational riders. 'Ride' membership gets you up to £10m liability insurance, free legal advice and support for cycling accidents, weekly email newsletters, and a range of discounts. Use the Cyclescheme promotional code 'CS12' when you join to get 12 months for the price of 9. www.britishcycling.org.uk

Free Smartphone apps CycleStreets Journey Planner Arguably the definitive UK route-planning app for cyclists, CycleStreets plots the best journey for you depending on your criteria – quick, quiet, or balanced. You can view your route on scalable maps or as a stage-by-stage itinerary. iPhone and Android. www.cyclestreets.net

Sustrans

Strava Cycling

Sustrans, which conceived and oversees the National Cycle Network, is a pioneer of the 'safe routes' concept in the UK. It encourages sustainable transport by developing and promoting safer routes for people to make more journeys by foot, bike or public transport. www.sustrans.org.uk

Strava logs the route, distance and speed of your rides on your smartphone and automatically uploads the results to the Strava.com website, where you can compare your efforts with your previous trips – or with other cyclists. iPhone and Android. www.strava.com


R7: INSPIRED GEOMETRY

TYPICAL USAGE: FAST URBAN/COMMUTE

DESIGNED IN THE U.K.

R7

CARBON

Our unique geometry balances precise steering control with stability - a perfect combination for life in the fast lane. The frames are mountain-bike tough, to cope with the rigours of the daily commute and super-comfortable so you arrive at work invigorated for the day ahead. www.whytebikes.co.uk


TA S . RM

.B Y R YD

A W KEEP

www.altura.eu

. E F A ES

Cycle Commuter issue 9  

The Autumn/Winter 2012 edition of Cyclescheme's magazine for cycle commuters. News, kit, techniques, tips and more!

Cycle Commuter issue 9  

The Autumn/Winter 2012 edition of Cyclescheme's magazine for cycle commuters. News, kit, techniques, tips and more!