Cycling When The Cold Comes

I sweat a lot. I’m a scummy, slimy, squelchy, sweaty mess if I wear the wrong clothes and do the wrong thing on the wrong day. I just have to be careful. My most common mistake is wearing to many clothes, or the wrong sorts of clothes, then hopping on the bike. To often it wasn’t quite as cold as I thought it was, the journey was a little longer and a little more up hill than I thought it would be, or it was just windier than you imagined. In Liverpool its always windier than you imagined. It gets windy here. That’s my opinion anyway.


It’s a windy city. My big problem is that I cycle to get places, I rarely just cycle to cycle. Often I will deliberately cycle a longer route to the place I am going because I love cycling and it’s fun and that. But rarely do I go out to cycle just-to-cycle, for-no-other-reason-than-to-cycle. What this means is that what I wear is constantly torn between myself-as-cyclist and myself-as-person-doing-normal-things-on-foot.


In the winter, I want to be wearing my big warm overcoat when I’m walking around, but not when I’m cycling. I may want to wear big boots when I’m walking around, but not when I’m cycling. It’s OK with something like my mum’s pom pom hats made from fur, which I wear an embarrassing amount. Because a fur hat is, I can tell you, a great addition to a cycle ride. Who doesn’t want a fur hat on their cycle ride? It’s great!



Wow, hot.

The big problem with cycling in winter is how quickly you will heat up once you start cycling, and how quickly you will cool down when you stop. I always find that I actually feel the hottest just after I get off my bike. I feel overwhelmingly hot and sweaty in that moment and kind of want to just strip all my clothes off and lie on the floor panting. But hey what’s new!

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Cycling is hard

So what do you do? I just don’t know. Breathable coats I guess.

How Can The Council Encourage Cycling? Part 2

As with almost everything that involves movement cycling can be dangerous. You could fall of. You  could get hit by a bus. You could get hit by a car. You could get hit by a van. You could get hit by another cyclist. In some cities you could get hit by a tram. You could also get hit by a train. Or a plane. Or a boat. Or a combine harvester. But cycling is joyful. It’s joys are expounded by some great people. Great people like Talking Heads singer and all round artistic polymath David Byrne. His book ‘Bicycle Diaries‘ is a poetic tribute to how cycling can freshen your mind and help you reflect on life and your environment. For instance:

“I ride around the older part of town. A motel that was once on the main highway reiterates the moral message: if Jesus never fails, then by implication the problem must be with you.”



A nice observation. It’s little things like this that really pop into my mind when cruising around a city on two wheels. I like the picture as well, especially that old neon sign. It got me thinking about neon and how you just don’t seem to see as much of it around these days. Then I thought: Wait a minute, haven’t we been wondering how to make things more visible to cyclists?



Many signs around the city are simply made to be reflective so that car lights can hit them and illuminate them for the driver. But what about us? What about cyclists? There are plenty of places that have custom neon signs for sale in the UK, why not trial some neon road signs for cyclists? It would even have the added bonus of making cycling look even cooler than it looks now!


Pretty cool!

Let’s do it!

How Can The Council Encourage Cycling? Part 1

When cities encourage citizens to cycle everyone benefits. A cycle-friendly city is a healthier, cleaner, quieter city. A more productive city (cycling has been shown to half sick days and could boost overall British productivity by £13.7 billion according to some sort of study or something. Your average worker takes around 4.5 days off a year whilst a cycling worker takes on average 2.4 days off a year). But that’s all pretty irrelevant, though we all know the language our great council speaks. It speaks money.

But we don’t all have to speak this way, we can speak our own language. Our language is the language of health and happiness, a language that is universal. A language that is vitally important. We want this city to be healthier and happier. So lets look at some tips:

1. Cycle paths!

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A great British cycle path.

If there are more cycle paths then cycling can be safer and easier! We can also maybe solve the plague of people cycling on pavements in Liverpool. Pavements are for where your feet go, roads are for where wheels go. Many people, however, are more comfortable with being the biggest thing on the pavement than the smallest thing on the road. Is this something to do with insecurity? Or simple fear? Probably a bit of both, for some it’s much more comfortable to bashing past people and intimidating old ladies than it is to feel intimidated yourself by trucks and buses rushing past. That makes sense. But paths would get rid of this easy.

2. Safer bike lock ups


Whilst not rife, bicycle theft is an issue in Liverpool, and facilities in the center could be better. If people could always think of a safe and secure place to lock up their bikes they may be more comfortable with taking them around with themselves everywhere. It’s not to hard, and it would go a long way to giving cyclists some piece of mind.

Next week, we’ll look at some more ways of getting people on their bikes. See you then!

Cycling around the swimming pool: A cautionary tale.

How many people in Liverpool have swimming pools in their back garden? How many people in this moderate to cold city with high annual rainfall and strong coastal winds have made the decision to build a swimming pool in their garden which they can enjoy a nice swim in for about 1 week every year? Well, its hard to find people who have too much money, not much sense, and are young and healthy and like over the top displays of wealth in this city…



Oh yeah! They’re football crazy, they’re football mad, they’ve got too much money and are a symbol of a broken system of wealth distribution that can no longer justify it’s own existence (read to the tune of that ‘He’s football crazy, he’s football mad!’ song). Well readers that means there are probably at least 22 residents of liverpool who may well have swimming pools in their garden.



If all these men sold all their houses they could probably, like, rebuild the Everton estate or something. Or build an Ice Cream factory. Or a make cloud laser gun that shoots rain out of the sky. Selfish much?

But I’m not hear to tell footballers how to live. Unless they want me to tell them how to live in which case I charge £39,894 an hour and recommend that you divorce any wives and sell any children, they’re only holding you back, you are a great golden butterfly and need to be untethered, maybe you could earn that move to Real Madrid, you don’t need them, you just need Real Madrid. Trust in the money!


Sorry. Wrong cautionary tale…

This cautionary tale is not about the burden of male ambition and the problem of ‘capitalist success fantasy’ syndrome, where-in we all believe that it is our fate to become hugely successful and rich, and we will, in just a few years, hence the system is great. No, this cautionary tale is all about swimming pools and bicycles. Swimming pools and bicycles. Swimming pools, my friends, and good old bicycles. This all stems from an experience I had at a friends house. This friend had a swimming pool but no swimming pool safety cover. Yon know the thing I mean. The weird big sheets that go over the pool and you’re not aloud to run on even though it really looks like it would be fun to run on. You know… swimming pool safety covers. Swimming pool safety covers? No?


That’s right. Safety Covers for Swimming Pools.

Well, the kids were cycling round the garden on the bikes and they started racing around the pool. I could see it coming. I could see it happening. But I did nothing, why did I don nothing? Because I’m a coward ok? I’m a spineless coward. I’m sure you would have lept in front of the moving bikes and sacrificed yourself but we cant all be Claude Van Damn alright?! We can’t all be Arnold Schwarzenegger, alright?! We can’t all be, I duno, an actual real life hero who did something like Robin Hood or something. OK!?

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Well, it happened, one kid got a little too close to the pool and the bike capsized and the kid went in with it. The kid was fine in the end, we managed to fish him out with a pole. But the point is that When cycling, safety extends beyond a helmet or a safe bike, it’s about knowing your environment. This time cycle safety meant swimming pool safety. In the same way, the council needs to realise that cycle safety can mean car safety, can mean pavement safety, should mean city safety.

Stay safe Liverpool.

Cycle more.


Fitness and Life

You have a body. If you are lucky it is a healthy body. Well, the healthy part isn’t all about luck. Health takes work, health needs you to make decisions. Decisions that require conviction. To have a healthy body requires conviction and determination. You need to convince yourself of the importance of working at your own health. So how do you go about that?


Some of Leonardo Da Vinvi’s drawings of the body. It is believed that he had dissected at least 19 dead bodies by the time of his own death in 1519.

For some there is just a need. It is just in them. They unquestioningly pursue perfection in their body. I don’t quite understand these people. In fact, I’m not really that sure they exist. I think it is probably a struggle for everyone, it is never easy. It is perhaps though that for some their physical form is just of more importance in their life. There are many walks of life where your physicality is more used, if you work physically, if you are a labourer or a fireman. There are also those worlds where you are simply consistently judged for you shape and form. Where flab is failure wether it effects your ability to do anything you have to do or not. These worlds can make working out simply an essential thing to survive and thrive. It is part of the culture.


I’m not sure about gyms, I have heard some great things about certain places, places that are their with you all the way, places that form a relationship with you. Places that care. They care. These are a new style of gym like where they take a personal approach through a team of personal trainers. Many people like this, it makes them happy and it gets them fit. But I’m not for that. As I’m here, I’m sure you’re sure what i’m for…


I would like for healthiness just to be part of my life. I think thats the way to do it. If our city just supported cycling and helped it along and made the city cycle safe and cycle friendly, I’m sure we’d have a healthier, happier place.

Now thats something we can all enjoy.


The Plan

So here we are. The beginning.


We are primitive. We can survive, but we are still beating our chests, still destroying, still failing.



But, we have to ask: why? Right? We have to question, we have to question because we have been presented with the ability to question, we have also been presented with the chance at change, the chance for more, the chance for something better. But as with all opportunities, all hopes, all knowledge and all dreams, this is a gift and a burden, a privilege and challenge, a blessing and a curse. Because having something does not mean understanding it, and not understanding something often means fearing it. And when we fear, too often, we attack.



Fear. Fear is the instinct. Fear is an instinct that has kept us alive. Fear is the impulse which has left many dead. Fear saves. And fear kills. Trust saves. And trust kills. Hope saves. And yes, hope kills, but perhaps it must, and perhaps it’s worth it.


“Fear and hope. Trust and suspicion. Love and hate. This is the predicament of humanity. We crave certainty but live a life that asks us to live permanently on both sides of a million contradictions. Love can hold us together and hate can tear us apart. But hate holds many together, and love will tear us apart.”

Billiam Béarnaise, French Nobel Laureate. As quoted by Joy Division

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So, what do we do? Surely we can’t throw our lives into the hands of that which we don’t understand? Well, we surely shouldn’t. But we so often must. We must take action to save ourselves and to save each other. So, how do we come to these decisions? We talk.


We must talk, we must have a conversation. We must decide together what we trust, what we want and what we must do. Decisions can go wrong. Efforts can fail. But it is better to try and fail, to struggle and fall, than to do nothing. To do nothing is always a failure, and victory never comes without struggle. Never without struggle and never without fear. So struggle and fear is what lies ahead.



And at the end, who knows if we will have anything, who knows if we will have got anywhere. But if we have or haven’t the burden will never truly be lifted, the burden is eternal. The struggle is eternal. So we must be eternal.



Cycle more.