Cycling cartoons update

Cycling

The photo above shows a knee and huge glove out cycling this afternoon. I am drawing attention to the fact I went out in very cold conditions today so as to appear more intrepid than I am. Note to self: buy new, warmer overshoes.

So, cycling cartoons. The site and associated Facebook and Twitter feeds have been very quiet, I realise. I have been attempting to find a way of making part of my living from it and some progress has been made, but I still haven’t quite managed to find the right company/organisation to pay me to draw a weekly or biweekly cartoon. I haven’t kept posting new cartoons as I don’t want to use up all of my material, but be assured that there, will, in time, be more cycling cartoons on their way.

On the plus side I have been working with one well-known bicycle-related company on a cartoon-based project, and there will be something to show for it in a few weeks time.

A cycling-related aside: If anyone is thinking of going to the London Bike Show next Saturday then do let me know. (I think we are going on Saturday, but not 100% sure yet…)

Read more…

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20 reasons to love cycling

I’m not going to post every Cycling Cartoons drawing here, but hopefully this one might be of interest to the wider public and in any case, new cartoons by me are a rare beast these days.

It seems that cycle racing is (deservedly) getting some bad press at the moment, so this is my attempt to remind myself and others why I still love it, both as a sport and as a leisure activity. Click here to see the larger more readable version.

20 reasons to love cycling

You can see the Cycling Cartoons website at cyclingcartoons.com, or those who would like regular updates can follow on Twitter (@cyclingcartoons). There is now (as of an hour ago) an entirely unliked and undiscovered Facebook page which I will be adding the cartoons to as well (it hasn’t caught up yet…).

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Cycling cartoons website

cycling cartoons

Yesterday I launched a new website, cyclingcartoons.com, which, as the name might suggest, contains my cartoons about cycling. There isn’t a huge number to see there yet (four), but the plan is do more and, if things go well, make some of my living from it.

I hope you like it anyway, particularly if cycling is your thing. Any passing on to potentially interested parties would be much appreciated. Oh, I should add, there is a Twitter page too: @cyclingcartoons .

I’ll be needing ideas as time goes on: if you have any topics that you’d like me to cover, or things about cycling / bicycles you’d like explained, then do let me know.

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Book review: We were young and carefree

laurant fignon

A very short review of We were young and carefree by Laurent Fignon

I have read this entire book whilst on the train. This is unusual.

It will be of interest to those who, like me, watched the Tour de France on the television during the late 1980s and were then inspired to take up bicycle racing. Laurent Fignon (1960-2010) won the Tour in 1983 and 1984, but is often remembered for losing the 1989 Tour, after 3,285km, by eight seconds to Greg Lemond.

I found it fascinating. I hadn’t realised how quickly he rose through the ranks of cyclists, or how young he was when he won his first Tour de France. Of particular interest was the background information about goings-on in the races and amongst the riders and teams during that period. The book kept me interested and I looked forward to reading it on the 8.22 / 6.06 every day to find out what would happen next.

It also made me reflect on the bike racing that I did. I’d never have amounted to more than a reasonable amateur rider, but I gave it up in my early 20s to do church work (bike racing and church are not really compatible). Do I regret doing so? Probably, yes.

Links:
Book on Amazon UK (I found it in The Works)
Laurent Fignon obituary (NY Times – seemed the most complete)
(Below) Video showing the ‘8 seconds’ finale (ITV 4, 6 mins). Not great quality but the best-edited I could find in English.

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Bike

No cartoons on the blog at the moment, but here is the next best thing, an off-duty cartoonist in cycling garb. Picture (below) in black and white, perhaps to disguise out-of-breathness from having just tackled the Col de Langdon Hills. Also (bottom of page) new bike, which is finally set up with new pedals. I could go on about pedals for ages, but won’t. Trying to get back on my bike again is one of the things I’ve been trying to do whilst having a bit of a break from the cartoon side of things. Inspired in some small way, it must be said, by the splendid Tour de France, Vuelta and Tour of Britain this year, all of which were watched avidly in this household. Anyway, I’m waffling. Have a good weekend.

2011-10-07 15.44.41 copy

2011-10-07 15.44.22

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Small widget competition answer

I’ve really enjoyed all of your competition answers – thank you.

Kennedy Fraser got the answer right, although most of you were winners too with your entertaining answers. Here’s the widget in its final resting place:

widget

The widget was the piece I was missing to make the gears work on one of my bicycles, hence the joy. Unfortunately the gears still do not work properly as I am not very good Sturmey Archer adjuster.

The bicycle is my circa 1976 Raleigh Twenty Stowaway folding bicycle. I bought it from eBay for about £43.

raleigh twenty stowaway

It is one of two and a half folding bikes I own (the half is a scrap raleigh twenty which I’m using for parts). It does not fold very well, but I plan to use it when I go places and want to lock a folding bicycle outside. I quite like the challenge of bringing the old fashioned granny shopper bike back into vogue. Other people have done so in far more convincing ways – see Sheldon Brown’s Raleigh Twenty page, and in the UK Littlepixel’s one.

I have a more sophisticated folding bike about which I might write more another time. I am a great believer in folding bicycles – see for example this post and some of the ones in my cycling category. I will perhaps write more about how I believe folding bicycles can save the world at some other point if anyone shows the mildest bit of interest.

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Sustrans Connect2 wins the People's £50 Million

I’ve posted about the Sustrans Connect2 project a couple of times over the last week – I’m very pleased to say that it has won the competition for £50million which will go towards new cycle and walking paths.

From the Sustrans Connect 2 site:

£50 million won and we couldn’t have done it without you!

This is fantastic news, and thanks to everyone who voted for Sustrans’ Connect2 in the People’s £50 Million Lottery Giveaway, and for your help in winning £50 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund for Sustrans to invest in walking and cycling UK-wide. This really is an amazing achievement for our charity and the many local authority and other partners with whom we will work on Connect2. We simply couldn’t have done it without you and your votes.

We start work on delivering Connect2 in January 2008. Our local authority partners are poised ready to go, and will be adding matched funding from their own transport and other budgets to the £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund. This is a five year project, and in total we have already identified nearly £100 million of local authority funding to support Connect2, and we are working hard to bring even more funding to the project so that we can ensure as many people as possible benefit from Connect2.

We will continue to update you on progress during 2008. In the meantime can I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year and to thank you again for supporting Sustrans’ Connect2.

John Grimshaw MBE
Founder and Chief Executive Sustrans

This is the video for the Sustrans Connect2 project which tells you a bit more about it:

You can find a scheme close to where you are (in the UK) by clicking on the map.

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Sustrans Connect2 wins the People’s £50 Million

I’ve posted about the Sustrans Connect2 project a couple of times over the last week – I’m very pleased to say that it has won the competition for £50million which will go towards new cycle and walking paths.

From the Sustrans Connect 2 site:

£50 million won and we couldn’t have done it without you!

This is fantastic news, and thanks to everyone who voted for Sustrans’ Connect2 in the People’s £50 Million Lottery Giveaway, and for your help in winning £50 million of funding from the Big Lottery Fund for Sustrans to invest in walking and cycling UK-wide. This really is an amazing achievement for our charity and the many local authority and other partners with whom we will work on Connect2. We simply couldn’t have done it without you and your votes.

We start work on delivering Connect2 in January 2008. Our local authority partners are poised ready to go, and will be adding matched funding from their own transport and other budgets to the £50 million from the Big Lottery Fund. This is a five year project, and in total we have already identified nearly £100 million of local authority funding to support Connect2, and we are working hard to bring even more funding to the project so that we can ensure as many people as possible benefit from Connect2.

We will continue to update you on progress during 2008. In the meantime can I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy Christmas and New Year and to thank you again for supporting Sustrans’ Connect2.

John Grimshaw MBE
Founder and Chief Executive Sustrans

This is the video for the Sustrans Connect2 project which tells you a bit more about it:

You can find a scheme close to where you are (in the UK) by clicking on the map.

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Folding bikes (continued)

me on folding bike

As I have said before (hence the continued’) I love the idea of getting a folding bike. The picture above is me test riding a ‘Brompton’, the ultimate in folding bikes, at the Cycle Show. Bromptons cost about £600 once you have bought all the trimmings. As you can see I am blurred owing to my great velocity. The lady on the right is guiding the traffic as the test track is a figure of 8 – in other words it crosses over itself on a diagonal basis. This is to give an element of danger which adds realism to the test ride. The other lady on the right is the assistant to the lady guiding the traffic. I’m not sure what her job is, but it involves standing there. The figure on the left is a cardboard cutout for safety reasons as it would be too dangerous to have a real person there with all these test-cyclists whizzing around. This also adds a sense of realism for those who will find themselves regularly riding in areas populated largely by cardboard cutouts.

When I was in the supermarket yesterday I noticed that someone was advertising a folding bicycle for only £25 in the postcards. £25! Buoyed with enthusiasm I called up and made my enquiries. Unfortunately the man did not have the answers to my in-depth questions, like ‘What make is it?’, so I decided I had better go and see it.

I went on my folding bicycle inspection excursion this morning. Upon seeing the bicycle I instantly knew that it was not what I was looking for as it was a bit rubbish, so told him that I would not be buying it. I came up with a convincing reason involving the handlebars. He said that that was fine, not a problem at all. At which point in a moment of madness I said: ‘Oh, alright then, I’ll buy it.’

I am an idiot sometimes.

Unfortunately the bicycle really is rubbish. It is unique amongst folding bicycles in that it folds into a shape bigger and less convenient than the shape it started from. One popular folding bicycle website says this about it:

The Skoda of folding bikes – the Universal is still the cheapest folder available, but the Chinese are challenging. Made in Poland, the bike looks like a 1960s-vintage ‘shopper’, which is exactly what it is. It’s heavy, it doesn’t fold very well or clip together, and the ride and handling are poor. Yawn, yawn. Long, long overdue for a replacement

Does anyone want to buy a folding bicycle?

To you – £25.

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