Here’s a nice site that was launched fairly recently. Simply connect Relive with your Strava account, go out for a ride and, after a while (which can be a few hours) you’ll receive an email with a link to a nice little video of your ride.
Riding for 100miles, 160km or a century is a goal for many cyclists. Here’s the best way to go about it.
Cycling groups have praised West Midlands Police for becoming the first force in the country to proactively target “close pass” drivers who endanger riders.
Rules of the road stipulate motorists should give cyclists at least the same space as vehicles when overtaking.
Anyone encroaching inside that safe passing distance − widely considered to be a minimum of 1.5 metres − runs the risk of being prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.
Now West Midlands Police has launched an operation that sees officers saddle up on some of the region’s busiest routes − including Hagley, Pershore and Bristol Roads − looking out for motorists who put cyclists at risk.
Police pedallers will radio the details of close-pass drivers for in-car colleagues to intercept at a designated holding point.
Drivers will be offered a road-side educational input on safe overtaking but repeat offenders − or anyone deemed to have driven dangerously close to a cyclist − can expect to be prosecuted and taken to court.
West Midlands Police traffic officer and cyclist, PC Mark Hodson, said: “As a police force we must do our upmost to protect vulnerable road users and show that anyone who puts them in danger through poor driving will be dealt with.
“Cyclists may suddenly need to avoid uneven road surfaces or obstacles like drain covers so it’s important to afford them plenty of room when overtaking.
“We know through our work with the Birmingham Cycle forum that close passing is the single biggest deterrent stopping more people from taking to their bikes.
“Some drivers get tunnel vision; they’re only focus is on getting from A to B as quickly as possible. They don’t pay any attention to vulnerable road users and we’ve attended some horrific scenes where cyclists have been wiped out by drivers who’ve not even seen them.
“Drivers need to consider that a cyclist they are overtaking could be a police officer − and if they don’t pass them safely they could be prosecuted.”
Between 2010 and 2014 there were 530 KSI crashes (killed or seriously injured) in the West Midlands involving bicycles; the vast majority (84 per cent) of those saw riders colliding with cars.
West Midlands Police ran four test days last month ahead of the close-pass clampdown launch during which 80 drivers were pulled over and took part in the road-side educational input and agreed to have their details taken.
Over the summer West Midlands Police has prosecuted 38 motorists for driving without due care and attention having either been spotted by officers committing close passes or through camera evidence supplied by cyclists.
David Cox, Chair of Trustees at cycling charity UK Cycling, said: “Close passes by motorists are hazardous for cyclists and extremely intimidating; this may be due to ignorance of the Highway Code and carelessness but sometimes it is done deliberately and aggressively.
“We are delighted that West Midlands Police is to actively target close pass drivers. They are the first UK police force to do so and it is a priority if the West Midlands is going to achieve the health, congestion and sustainability benefits of more active travel. The outcome will mean greater safety for everyone who cycles or would like to use a cycle for everyday trips.”
The 15-minute road-side educational input involves officers illustrating the dangers of close passing to drivers on a full-scale floor mat that will be rolled out in the holding area.
The mat has been funded and produced through Birmingham City Council’s Birmingham Cycle Revolution which wants to see 10 per cent of all journeys made in the city using pedal power by the year 2033.
Councillor Stewart Stacey, cabinet member for transport and roads, said: “This initiative is all about reminding drivers of the need to allow enough space when passing cyclists; the road mat allows drivers to experience the safe passing distance from a cyclist’s view.
“I want Birmingham’s roads to be safe for everyone to use… at the end of the day we all have a responsibility to help ensure this, whether we have two, three, four or more wheels.”
Cyclists and motorists can report offences of driving without due care and attention to the police − and provide video evidence − by completing a Standard of Driving Self-Reporting form at a police station.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said: “Anything that educates and, ultimately, prosecutes drivers who put cyclists in danger is to be welcomed.
“As a former Transport Minister, I made road safety one of the top priorities in my Police and Crime Plan and this scheme is an excellent example of what can be achieved.”
On a hot summer night, would you offer your throat to the wolf with the red rose? Whoops sorry, that’s not what this is about, great song that it is.
But on a hot summer evening when you decide to go for a ride and maybe buy fish and chips, the question is, how do you take your Pimm’s with you. Well, the question is simple, use your Camelbak podium bottle. I would also recommend that you use one of their ‘chill’ bottles to prevent the ice from melting too quickly. #firstworldproblems #solved
Today I did the toughest ride that I have ever done. It was tougher than the first sponsored ride that I did which knocked me for six. It was tougher than my 100 miles to nowhere ride. And this one was less than 40 miles. It was the London to Southend off road.
This route was graded by the organisers as grade 2 – 3 and, the website said “provides a tough challenge”. But I was lulled into a false sense of security when I read the definition of the gradings:
I’m sure it was more like this!
Cycling events rated 5 are extreme and suitable for only the most experienced, fit, skillful riders
The ride started well enough as we left the Ingrebourne Valley Visitor Centre and passed through Hornchurch Country Park and out of the city, and then continued on what was described, and was, “a tranquil trail through the RSPB reserve at Rainham Marsh, with wonderful views over the city and estuary”. It was great to round a corner and see the QEII bridge at the Dartford crossing. Maybe not the greatest of views, but nice to see anyway.
Then we turned away from the Thames, though a track alongside a wood in Purfleet. Just as I was really beginning to enjoy it, the ‘fun’ began. We started along the banks of the Mardyke river. And so ended the gravel tracks. We were on grass. And when we thought we’d just about had enough of the grass, it became the edge of a farmer’s field. Talk about a bone shaker. As Pete put it, it was enough to rattle our fillings out! But this was no short-cut onto a quiet road or gravel path. Oh no. From what I can tell from Strava, this went on for 8 or so miles. It felt like forever. I said Pete “Is this hell and we are going to be riding this path for eternity”? But it could have been worse. It could have rained heavily last night and we’d have been riding through thick mud. Correction, trying to ride through thick mud. Correction, pushing our bikes through thick mud.
Finally, we were back on tarmac and both cheered.
We arrived at the first feed stop, and after a quick top-up of the water bottle and having munched down a banana we were off again. We headed up Langdon Hills. And man, hills they were! And not the sort on a nice tarmac road you can get stuck into. No, these were through the forest. It was impossible to ride standing up as my back wheel slipped all over the place. So it was lowest gear, gritted teeth . Finally, I gave up and walked when confronted with large tree roots across the track. But, of course, what goes up must come down. And down was a narrow single track path that I have to confess was pretty scary at times.
We were then back on cycle paths through Basildon and off to Wickford. To my great surprise and joy, we went past the Gable Racing kennels where we adopted one of greyhounds from. Being a Sunday morning, the dogs were all out being walked by owners and volunteers. I just had to stop for a quick chat. Sorry Pete!
It was back to roads and cycle paths again until we reached where I think was Coombe Wood. The single track we rode down was a very real white knuckle, life or death ride. I have to confess to having my brakes on for most of the way which was just was as there was a pothole that would have had me off. But we then hit the final hill. And if I thought Langdon Hills were bad, I hadn’t seen nothing yet! Coming out of the woods, the track was impossible to ride. One person who was pushing their bike up the hill even commented that it was vertical!
After that it was back to the roads. Although hilly roads nonetheless.
We thought we had about 3 or 4 more miles to go when we turned a bend and there was the finish line. Complete with balloon arch. I can’t say I wasn’t glad to have completed the ride but, at the same time, felt disappointed that the organisers hadn’t used any of the olympic track that is open to the public or the cycle tracks in Hadleigh Country Park. Maybe to do so would have posed a risk to the general public. Don’t know.
I’m sure that it might sound to you as though we didn’t have fun on the ride. It might come as a surprise to learn that actually we did. It was challenging. It was tough. But it was fun. And we now know what to expect, so we’ll be back next year. You can count on that!