Thursday, 28 May 2020

Pandemic cycling and bicycle selection, going forward

Changed; 07/07/2021 - 03/07/2021

You never forget how to ride a bike. 

 Thank you, Nicholas Bates (Facebook) for allowing me to use your photo

Nicholas's grandad said his bike was made by Colson - he referred to it as 'The Fairy Bike'.   I have previously heard of a "Fairy cycle" as a general term for a child's first bicycle.  "Hi Andrew.  It's black and white with added colour by me - I did a few for VE day to chart my Grandad from being a lad in the village through to the day he landed on the Normandy beaches and beyond.  The colour somehow made it more real - and more relatable for my own children.  Of course, you can use it for your blog. That'd be fantastic."  

That awful meaningless phrase "Going forward".  This blog intends to discuss different types of bicycle, share sources of tips and recommendations about bicycles and cycling.  The page also discusses changes that might come about as a consequence of the pandemic where people are cycling more but people are also worried about their financial security and the old hated being kept in.  Although the environment is very damaged by human activity species died, the climate changed but even in this short period big improvement in air quality is being enjoyed all over the world.  People are enjoying their own better health.

Look over your bike, check for loose parts and low-pressure tyres, pressing your thumb into the tyre as a quick guide before you start. 
Listen for rattles, rubbing noises and other changes, work out what they are and fix them on your bike.  
Experimental cycle lanes segregation in Tunbridge Wells.  This solution addresses the 
concerns new cyclist have about road safety following the lifting of the national lock-down.  
Update although criticised by car users the temporary plastic bollards also reminded car users not to cross into the lanes.  New cyclist reported they felt safer and personally I find that road better than it was 40 years ago before the new measures.  The bollards are now gone and cats-eyes have been fitted.

Tunbridge wells had become very congested with traffic 30 years ago so that vehicles could not travel through the town easily but for the past 20 years, there are restrictions so that fewer vehicles move the town but the town less congested primarily to improve air quality which is bad.  The government under covid air quality and health measures have speeded up the measures and in some towns, those measures were poorly designed and have been undone.  It is the nature of roads and towns that traffic management has always required planning studying and change continually as road culture changes and that the planners are often not listened to first due to public and interested party pressure.


Riding an adult bike for the first time;
Sit on the saddle don't pedal but scoot along using your feet on the ground. Some small children's bikes don't have pedals and are similar to 18th-century boneshakers in which the rider sits on and scoots the bike along.
  • Avoid dérailleur gears (or ask someone to select a gear for you then don't change gear) they are very distracting,
  • Chose either no gears bike or a hub gear bike is good (select 1st or 2nd gear if it is a three-speed or four-speed hub whilst moving the pedal a little backwards or forwards without applying pressure on the pedals, the bike can be stationary) it is very easy. 
  • A short wheelbase bike is easier to balance at low speed, such as mountain and folding bikes.  Long wheelbase bikes need more space to turn in and you need to be moving faster
  • The Video; Put the pedal and pedal arms back on the bike (if you removed them) and carry on scooting then transfer your feet and pedal.  Finally set the saddle higher when you feel secure otherwise the bike will be hard to pedal.  Your front brake should be applied just before you apply the rear brake,  you should ensure most of your braking is at the front. 
As easy as riding a bike -  Starting and stopping;

  • The simplest way,  lean the bikes over then step over to form a wide triangle seated. Lift your pedal ready.  Push down on the pedal whilst pushing off with the other foot. 
  • The method in the video works well with a step-through bike use the pedal to start moving and seat yourself.   The method does not work with my Lenton Sports, which has a high crossbar, but I reposition myself on the saddle whilst I apply pressure to the pedal as I moving off.
  • Put your outside foot on the pedal scooting off with your inside foot then swing your leg over, I have never used this method.  The postman in this video uses this method.
  • Observe that the postman is with the time choosing to get a new bike every two years, many people like new things and like the postman chose not to repair and reuse in his case as he would have been brought up to do.  Bikes during his working life were all made to last much longer than the postman has chosen to run his bikes.  
  • Another postman anecdote from a bike shop in an earlier time, I have read, was of a postman who had his bike serviced for 50 years, 75 miles a day and when any non-consumable part wore out Raleigh replaced the part at no cost but for bike shops fitting charge.
As easy as falling off a bike,  When stopping and dismounting it is better to put your foot out wide and avoid putting your foot into a pothole.

Riding a bike again after a long time; 

The next hurdle is to get your cycling strength up - just cycle up and down a road on a quiet day.  Doing no more than 200M then rest then repeat 200M, build up to 1KM over a number of weeks after that progress as you feel fit to.  I spoke to an older guy, like myself, but he did not pace his build-up and was in pain for a few days after his first ride.  It gets a lot easier once you get cycling again to cycle further.
  • You should make up your mind in advance and start to manoeuvre early so that if you don't see what is behind you or don't manage to signal others on the road will see what you are doing in plenty of time.  Don't take your hands off the handlebars if to do so would make you unstable, such as the road has a bad surface ahead.  It may be better to push the bike on the pavement across a road junction or around a parked vehicle on a busy road with limited width. 
  • Cycling on the pavement is fine if you take care and don't get caught.  The point is to put your foot down and stop or dismount if you think you might worry pedestrians.  Cycle slowly on the pavement even if you don't see anyone.  Policing mostly does not apply rules unless you could cause harm.  For example, the fire brigade break into builds but the laws against break and entry are not applied.  Weapons of mass destruction are against international law and many promises by the UK but for different reasons laws can not be applied to big countries like the UK, by comparison, there is no reasonable excuse for heaving nuclear weapons. 
  • Cyclists need to take their position on the road just the same as a motorbike user would be taught to or they/we will be driven into the kerb, broken glass or knocked off their bike.  Take corners fairly wide so that you are seen and can be seen and have room to take evasive action.
Keep looking forward.  Looking confident helps you feel confident and makes you safer.  Give yourself plenty of space on the road don't cycle close to cars or the curb.  13-ways-increase-average-cycling-speed


Bicycle selection;
Differences between types of the bicycle;
  • Short wheelbase bicycle - mountain bikes very noticeably go in and out of all the bumps and take pedalling effort doing that.  You can turn sharply and move and manoeuvre at very low speeds.  A fun bike but more work to pedal and have a range of low to very low-speed gearing.  Some variants have higher speeds as well and others are much better bikes than the one pictured.  (Cheap Mountain bike pictured has [3 x 6] 18 gear dérailleur which provides 8 speeds, the bike is lightweight and sprung will protect the frame). This bike is not suitable for a heavy person.
  • Small wheel unisex, shopper and commuter bicycles - these are also short wheelbase and heavier to pedal if you try to travel at the speeds you would comfortably with a long wheelbase bike. I guess you can balance easily at a lower speed than a long wheelbase bike so if you have one of those bikes and my guess is that you should not need to or expect to go anywhere quickly. You can carry lots of shopping.  A Bickerton used to be quite a poor ride but was one of the lightest weight folding bikes.  A Molton originally calmed to be as good as a full-size bike and had rubber suspension parts like a Mini.
  • Astra (Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia about 1985), by a subsidiary of the former Elswick Hopper bicycle maker.
    • The step-thru bicycle pictured is a good all-around bicycle.   Particularly because you can mount and dismount easily.   These bicycles have a longer wheelbase which makes them a lot lighter to pedal.  This Soviet-era high tensile steel frame bike is lighter weight than a conventional steel frame bike at 15.5Kg.  The frame is stiff, unlike a sports bike frame.
    • The braking is okay with new  Fibrax, Raincheater brake blocks.  But there is virtually no braking in the rain until the leather within the brake blocks gets wet.    
The bike is not fast and you can find yourself going too fast for the bike that it does not feel stable cornering, over bumps and metal water or drain covers, compared to a good sports frame bike.  On the other hand, you can load the rack with lots of weight and the bike's handling does not change.  There is a lot of vibration transmitted to the frame and the handlebars of the bike.  All the same, I do like the bike and have been running it for two years.

Modern town bicycles - these also have greased bearings like the other modern bicycles. The hub gears make gear changing very easy when stationary or moving so they are not a distraction when cycling on roads. (The Astra pictured has a thin oil lubricated, 3-speed Sturmey-Archer AW hub made in England which is renowned for its robustness). 

The hub had not been oiled adequately and gear change was poorer when I got the bike.  I have oiled the hub eventually a lot and black muck came out of the hub onto the chain and the gear change is now good.  This is a satisfactory fix but the pedal feels like the hub is full of gunge and but I have opened the hub and oiling it regularly had thoroughly but one of the pawl springs needed replacing.  Apparently, the gears and other parts made from the 1970s (check this) were made using a sintering process which creates some sediment in the oil and it has been recommended to me that the hub be opened clear out once a year.  I made a replacement Pawl spring from a strand of brake cable wire, it is the same gauge of wire but with more tension, which makes the free-wheel louder and I can hear that it is working still after a test ride.  Significantly also I was able to clean and re-grease the water seal gaskets which is a circular grove just around each of the outer bearings.


Chrome rims are poor but aluminium rims are recommended but drum brakes or disk brakes are good.  Chrome rims have no braking in the rain unless suitable brake blocks are fitted.  Fibrax, Raincheater blocks give some braking in the rain.  The leather within the block needs to get wet before the braking is effective, so they are particularly poor when it starts to rain.  I am told that Kool-Stop and Cane Creek Gray Matters are also good with Chrome wheel rims, these have to be purchased from the USA.  These East German rims (Astra above) have a pattern of punched indentions perhaps to trap moisture under the brake block and therefore quickly cause the leather in the Raincheater blocks to become wet sooner. 

Very powerful braking is also dangerous and some motorbicycles have always had a reputation for killing some riders soon after the bike has been purchased.  Race cyclists have gone over the handlebars using cork on carbon rims.  1950s Vincent 1000 had a reputation for killing the riders, for many reasons including braking, speed, acceleration and comparative high centre of gravity.  I am sure Kawaski, Motor Guazi are similarly, silly as my father would say, he was a biker for a while.
  • You only need to replace one brake block at a time when required.  If one rim wears blocks quickly move or fit an old block to that rim side.
  • Set the brakes to apply fully before the leaver touches the handlebars then you will have enough play in the braking to cope with the required slack in the bearings, some wobble in the wheel and the difference in brake block wear, as any corrosion on the rims may not be even.
  • I have sometimes used an adjustable spanner to hold the brake pad in alignment whilst I tighten the nut.
  • I had one brake block wear unevenly front-to-back until I slightly bent the calliper where the block mounts using an adjustable spanner. So that issue that the bike has had for over 70 years is now resolved.
  • To set the callipers -  fit identically new or worn brake blocks,  Loosen the nut and bolt, apply the brakes fully and hold the pressure, which will centre the spring, whilst re-tighten the nut and bolt.  This should not arise unless the bolt has been loosened for some reason, such as to replace the mudguards. 
The front rims have had an even polished rust surface for more than the 50 years I have used the bike. This might be the best combination you can have on a bike, rubber and rust.

  • Hercules Balmoral - approximately 1975 
  • 3-speed AW hub dated January 1975. 
  • I purchased it, not running, in May 2021.
Wikipedia says that the bikes were cheap steel bikes no high tensile steel sports bikes.  Made by non-unionised workers who had to be more productive were paid more or lost their job.  That is before the company became part of the Tube Investments in the 1950s.   The company started in 1910 out of a business selling second-hand bikes at auctions.  The production quantities grow to match Raleigh at times.  My mother tells me children tended to have Hercules bikes but an adult bike cost the same as a Raleigh bike.

The bike is lighter and small frame shorter wheelbase than I expected, has a nice sprung saddle, with a brand name label broken off, but was originally made by Terry (maker of Terry Clips), otherwise, the saddle is the same as my Lenton Sports but the covering material is synthetic.  The bike does not seem to have a water trap unlike the Astra above and is made to last.   By comparison, the Astra is strong but is designed to wear out but has lasted and will last for a long time.

The bike may be made with high tensile steel and is a lightweight frame bike at 15Kg.  Many parts are Raleigh parts, saddle, brakes, crank.  But it is a flexible frame and forks, unlike the Astra, making it lighter to pedal, a smoother ride.  So the frame is somewhat like a sports bike frame as I had been told was the case of bikes made up until the 1970s.
The previous owner planned to renovate the bike but is now moving.  The brakes did not work, the hub gear needs a toggle chain but screwing a spoke in the hole, and pulling it, it looks like the hub operates.  All bearings needed greasing.  The chrome is in poor shape and I have painted the front wheel rim with Hammerite which will make it black.  The bikes evidently low mileage because the spokes are not stretched and lose.  
  • The bike feels like a mountain bike, low speed, stable and can turn in a small space.  Unlike a sports bike, these sorts of bikes are more stable at low speed and carrying a lot of weight on the rack.
  • The bearings were dry with a little surface rust on some of the balls. The cotter pin needed penetrating oil on it and be pressed with so much force that it is not reusable, to remove it. The 3-speed hub is running smoothly but I needed to get a toggle chain for it. After oiling the hub it leaks rusty oil, like all things on the bike including the wheel rims the rust and deterioration have been stopped in time. The bike has much more life left in It than a new bike. A bearing with loose balls should look like one ball is missing but if you fit another ball the bearing will tend to seize (I did not see there was one more ball bearing obscured by grease).
  • The seat and handlebars were raised easily, there is no built-in water trap in the handlebars adjustment, unlike the Astra bike. The era when so many things were designed to wear out become obsolescent or just not supported after a short period of time had not affected the design of this bike.
  • There is no lock-nut with the front wheel bearing so take care with putting the wheel back to ensure that there is correct freeness in the wheel. Turning the adjusting nut till it is finger tight then turning it back 1/4 a turn is not so easy to do because the wheel clips into the forks tightly.
  • The brakes are very good and that seems to be due to rust on one of the rim surfaces. That surface will wear out brake blocks and is best replaced with old hard blocks, and then put softer new blocks on another side.

The bicycle bell is like the rest of the bike rusty. In bike groups, some people recommend soaking for 24 hours in citric acid or vinegar (Acetic acid). I soaked the bell in the vinegar and the rust could be wiped off and the vinegar was full of pieces of rust.

Nice little Harrods of Knightsbridge Bell. Screwed it back on and tapped the bell with a mallet to straighten it and it rings nicely.

Hercules Balmoral - wheels and chain tension;
  • Set the chain tension and lock the drive-side nut.  Then ensure the wheel is central aligned in the frame and tighten the other nut.  Finally, screw the toggle chain guide nut back and screw the in gear toggle chain leaving it slightly loose so that that chain is not twisted. The slack in the chain should be 12mm but 25mm is fine, that is the amount you can move the chain up and down mid-way.
  • Front-wheel does not have a locknut on the bearing cone-nut. Ensure that the cone-nut is finger tight then slacken the nut by 1/2 a turn.  Modern bikes can only be slacked 1/8th turn or the brakes may rub, they also can not do the very high milages that vintage bikes do.
  • Tighten the no-adjustment side nut then use a thin spanner to hold the bearing nut still whilst tightening the wheel nut with a ring spanner.
  • The front wheel clips in on modern bikes, so you need to slightly pull the forks apart to take out and put the wheel back.
Carbon-Fibre frame bicycle.

The owner of a Holsworth Bicycle allowed me to lift the bike and feel how light it is.  I am advised that the bike is a British manufacturer that closed and the name has revived and is made again in Britain.  The bicycle is very lightweight.  The forks are straight so I asked about the bike's flexibility, it depends on the way the carbon fibre is built up more thickness for less flexibility.

The bikes frame's do crack, and you need to check the frame for any part that has become flexible and therefore fractured.  I am advised to avoid 1980s frames they were more prone to fracturing.

There is no disputing that steel-frame bikes are the most reliable, long-lasting and a good frame very comfortable and makes the bike light to pedal. Steel frame bikes have brazed lapped joints to minimise the chances of a joint fracturing and the frame can be repaired.  Alloy is good and fairly repairable but repairing a carbon fibre bike frame is difficult.

      Bikes made before the late 1970s (I am advised) have a longer wheelbase that makes the bike seem to fly over the bumps rather than go in out of them.  The increased length of the bike is small but the benefit is amazing (it is said).  You see a bump, feel the bump in your arms and have a moment to transfer your weight from the saddle to the pedals.  The flexibility in the Reynolds 531 steel frame in the Lenton pictured also contributes to the lightness, smoothness of the ride and as well as giving the bike a very liked "alive" feel and light to pedal.  The wheel hubs are also thin-oil lubricated making these bikes transmission very efficient.  -- Longer Wheelbase mountain bikes are starting to come back again, I am advised.   Others also say bikes made before 1970 are better.
      • Pre-1961 bicycles are the lowest or comparable friction to any modern superbike the crank is also thin-oil lubricated but can be greased.  In addition, they have a long wheelbase, a very lively springy frame and the curved forks makes these bikes feel that it is helping me go along but hills are hills and spokes also break occasionally;   1946 Raleigh Lenton sports pictured cleaned with linseed oil, patched such as the bottle top for a pedal cap that I had crossed the thread on as a boy.  I have since fitted another cap.  The low left-hand side lamp that shines into the gutter allows you to see hazards in the kerb when cycling in the dark.
      The gearing on the bike, high tensile steel frame and the long wheelbase make the bike lighter, smoother as you go up the gears and go faster.  As if the frame were highly tuned.  The bike is very stable and has better road holding but those things would be effect adversely by adding a front basket or carrying a laptop for example on the rack also adversely affects the ride more than they would on a regular bicycle.  Old sports bikes are more wobbly at very low speed than some modern regular bikes.  There is a little on bike frame geometry in this video
      • Modern superbikes -  many people have an old lightweight high tensile steel frame sports bike and a modern lightweight such as a carbon fibre frame bicycle.  These superbikes and old bikes also have low friction ceramic comparable to the old thin-oil lubricated bearings on bikes made before 1961.    Many people like both many others say the much older bike is lighter to pedal and is better others say the newer bike will be 3-5Km/Hr. faster.  I believe this is true of some bikes made after 1890 and all hub geared bikes 1920 to 1961, these sports bikes are low, long and Raleigh's engineering was excellent during this period. [Comparison a competitive sports cyclist may start the day with a hearty fried breakfast, smoke before competing in the past but that is unlikely now]
      • Generally, the rack and the rear and panniers are good but do not carry so much weight without causing a little instability.  It is best to avoid carrying any weight in a front basket again that depends on the bike geometry, I understand.  Alternatively, a front basket that is mounted so that it does not turn as you steer is more stable, I am advised. 
      • Pedals - metal types are better because they don't slip so easily as rubber pedals.  I have not ridden a bike with toe clips they scare me and I am advised that people do fall over with them.  My father used toe clips and a cycling cape with the Lenton sports pictured.
      • All bicycles are helped a lot by having gears either hub gears or the cheaper dérailleur gears.  Wide spacing gears for general use but medium or closer spacing gears are liked for sporting use so the cyclist can maintain his cadence.  Hub gears cater to both requirements but also allow gears to be changed when the bicycle is stationary.  Both British made elliptical gears and dérailleur gears have comparable efficiency but the hub gear is much more robust.  (Pictured; Bike stand so that dérailleur gears can be adjusted made from a second-hand car bike rack)
        • Some modern mountain bicycles have gears in the crank (bottom bracket) with helical cut cogs for quietness and efficiency otherwise these are not new and here is a link to a 1937 Helvetica bicycle.  All the power is transferred by cogs to a lay-shaft then back to the main shaft using cogs.  By comparison, only a fraction of the power is carried through the cogs in elliptical gears achieving good efficiency.   There have been a number of bottom bracket elliptical gears such as Dana USA but I don't know of a modern equivalent?  These are mostly heavier, less robust or less efficient than a British made Sturmey-Archer type hub gears. 
        • Generally, derailleur gears are close or medium spaced but wide spacing achieved by having many gears (Up to about 15% spacing compared to an AW 3-speed hub which has 33% spacing).  But it is possible to have widely-spaced derailleur gears but with poorer shifting.  Note derailleur gears are also called Disraeli gears.
      • Where the modern aluminium alloy or carbon fibre bicycles score is that they are lighter to carry and take on a train for example.  But only steel or high tensile steel and brazed lapped joint frame bikes have a reputation for not cracking or corroding.
      • Where most modern bikes score is they require less maintenance but the cost is that they don't last long.  They cost more to purchase or are so cheap and poorly made that they disappoint the cyclist.  Many new bicycles get very little use in any case. 
      I don't have the personal experience of many bicycle types but I have reference such as the video shows you how to set up a bikes Rod and Stirrup brakes.

      I recommend the amateur videos made by Velocipedium on YouTube.  They take care to show you how to maintain and enjoy a bicycle.  Even if you are not a starter do watch the videos anyway.  I had a bike with Rod and Stirrup brakes when I was a boy and I have replaced the brake blocks on the bike in the 1960s, I don't think you could still buy just the rubber part?  I have also bent the calliper slightly as shown on my Lenton Sports cable and calliper type brakes to align the brake block that had always been slightly out of alignment tending to wear one block one end more than the other.

      Covid-19 a cartoon below circulating at the time that the lock-down started to be lifted in May 2020;

      Picture left Southborough 4th July 2020; 
      The first day that cafes and pubs can serve sit down, eat and drink food since 20th March.

      It looks like Government thought the NHS was fine despite a decade of austerity then people in government got ill themselves and got scared.   The less important ill were kept out of hospitals sent home in case the more important people got ill.  Now people can visit a hospital but many have been scared or are staying away.
      By comparison Germany and northern parts of Europe had capacity in their health systems but took a varying degree of cautious approach and have coped better.  Sweden trusted their people but brought in measures as they became necessary in a measured way.  Sweden and all these countries will probably come through with the best outcome, that is that the people feeling most satisfied the best was done.

      USA's health systems only look after those who can pay and ill people who don't have money would die anyway.  Of cause, southern and northern states are quite different and each state has there own policies.

      The cartoon expresses the sort of concerns people have about the lifting of locked-down.  The government is managing the lifting of lock-down by manipulation and retraction thereby creating annoyance but as required slower return to normal or a new normal.  Fortunately "Social distancing" is not occurring but people are talking to each other and enjoying their families at a safe distance.

      May 2021 a year or so on Britain did create the money to have purchased a lot of things that did not deliver but vaccines have come through.  We are now where it was thought were a year ago that is approaching herd immunity.  Pandemic is passed in the UK but Covid is epidemic, but fewer will die of it but people are suffering because of an even more overstretched NHS than usual, with many urgent medical things that will not be addressed for quite a long time.  The overall UK has not done particularly well, it seems climate and air quality are big factors but also countries with better health systems have all done better but what has been of great luck for the UK has been to have been the EU's heath approval centre in London prior to leaving the EU and to have two of the first developers of experimental vaccine located here.  Time will tell why but China has looked after its own people the best and despite the rhetoric, the world was warned by the UN.  The rich world did ignore the UN secretary generals call for a world cease-fire to concentrate on dealing with coronavirus in early 2020.  The UK has 1/3 number of hospital beds that it had in 1948 and a half the number of hospital beds it had 30 years ago whilst military spending and business is one of the highest or the highest in the world.
      • AstraZeneca is a British/Swedish company that has chosen to sell Covid Vaccine at cost but not for profit.
      • Cuba though very small gives the world some health care without cost. 
      • USA under new president Biden is legislating to share their vaccine intellectual property freely to poor countries. 
      • Even under President Trump's rhetoric scepticism of the virus, that country looked after its own health supplies redirecting things being shipped from the far east to the EU to the USA instead. 
      • There is a lot of commercial resistance to those things but if the poor countries who supplied most of our wants and needs suffer surely we all suffer.   India for example, hospitals are now overstretched but the country has been supported in the UK that countries have recently chosen not to export vaccine made in India but look after their own.
      • Like the bikes, people mostly don't care about them, each other or harm to the environment but vary politically as to whether they admit that or just give lip service to those good things. 
      Significantly people who needed a hospital operation quickly to survive a car crash say, would get that quick intervention and survive decades ago, this would not happen now.  That is even though better ambulance medics deal with things before moving people, leading to better outcomes. But overall still worse than it used to be that is the NHS has been cut back more than the gains developed.

      Publicly people have never campaigned or rarely even spoken of cutting the health services although there has been speculated that health care could consume much more, in the same way, military spending grows in a corrupt way.

      There is clearly private lobbying for the channels that deliver less service and a more lucrative path to the already wealthiest.  Health in the UK can be profitable but is not so plagued with corruption so what is contracted does work by comparison.  2020 was the year of lucrative contracts and 2021 is the year of dealing with the pandemic. 

      Picture left; Barnett's Wood Nature Reserve, April to July 2020
      People enjoying nature, home cooking, cycling, social media, their children instead of work, cafes, consumption and shopping. 

      Momentum Labour at the last General Election, in December 2019, offered a path of social responsibility.  The government offered to promote peace in the world, the environment and toward each other.  Different from both New Labour and Old Labour, in not promoting self-interest.  I was very surprised that Momentum Labour captured so much support.  Momentum Labour's modernised 1945 Manifesto was very inspiring and I expect that Coronavirus would have been handled differently.

      The Iconic CND symbol - Designed for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament can 
      be used freely and is made up of the semaphore for "N" and "D" (Nuclear, Disarm).

      The Victorians built a sanitation system in order to protect the rich from catching a disease from the poor.  Cricket and sport encouraged the health of all.  But I doubt that the vastly rich will impose health, better food, air, cycling on us, this time but in order to save the planet from the adverse consequences of human activity. 

      Government promotes cleaner air, better health and bicycling
      There are others who promote zero movements and zero international transport and forced isolation in China style, I believe?  
      And everyone is sceptical of business interest, Gates foundation in the 3rd world and policies of population reduction.

      I have had enough of being playing by the media (called politics), people set against each other - I'm going to ride a bike; 

      Time will tell but I hope people do not become reliant on big pharma and disinfectant for a sort of living instead I wish we all learn to like good health and much less waste as a way of life.  There be less reliance on factory-farmed meat and more plant-based food.  A high correlation between poor air quality (such as in cities) and Covid-19 fatalities but vehicle emissions and crashes is the major cost to the National Health Service.  I hope people change their minds about cars.

      During this Covid-19 pandemic, people have been cycling more and enjoying better health due to the better air quality whilst road traffic has been greatly reduced.  Poor air quality in cities has been strongly linked to poor respiratory health long before the clean air act of 1956 and poorer survival to Covid-19.

      More Cycling
      This Astra bike (pictured above), which I purchased locally cheaply,  now has lights and reflectors.  It also has new tyres, all re-greased and running nicely.  The bike is easy to maintain and fully service and the bikes cost so far have been about £90.  The Astra imported from Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia badged England and sold in 1985 (the date on the Sturmey-Archer, England, 3-speed hub) The rims are German and the frame is a nice lightweight Soviet high tensile strength steel. [this paragraph to be replaced by other bikes]

      A rose, The De-La-Warr Pavillion, Bexhill-on-Sea, East Sussex.  Built by the Socialist Town Mayor, Earl De-La-Warr in 1935
      This building is one of the most beautiful architecture anywhere.  I can not be captured on film and I have not seen a picture
      that captures the impression that the building has now or had before its renovation.

      The pictures above were taken on a Canon AE1, using Fuji Slide film.  The best amateur camera of its time, 1976.

      The pleasure of owning an old bicycle;

      Many people run an old bicycle those bikes were made to work hard for a very long time and must be maintained regularly.  This bike is has been nicely kept and has a secret conversion to E-bike.  A lot of bikes run and look lovely just as they are but for being maintained and the frame cleaned with an oily rag or linseed oil.  Other bikes are brought back to almost new with detail restored and artisan finishes as well.

      Raleigh bicycle maker of Britain was once the biggest manufacturer of bicycles in the world, representing the best in engineering.  British engineering, textiles and film industry were for a long time second to none.  Statutes to war leaders and heroes, slaver traders, bankers and the city of London are good representations of the country.  Perhaps the most prominently placed statue should be a heron to mark 125 years (1887-2012) that Raleigh existed in Britain and looking forward to cycling, walking, cleaner air, better health and kindness towards each other and harmony with nature.

      Like so many things The Mallard, Pacific A4 class locomotive distinctively beautiful because of its typically British understated design style by the British engineer Sir Nigel Gresley.  Along with the Flying Scotsman, A3 class were the fastest surface public transport in the world.  Although by the 1920s and '30s trains could now be made to be very reliable, but they were not efficient or clean.  At this time bicycles were as good as they were ever going to get.

      Electric trains started to be introduced on a substantial scale in the 1920s in South East England.  This region has the highest density rail network in the UK.  After World War two faster cleaner diesel and electric trains started to introduced all over the country.  Electrification of the rail network is still ongoing. 

      Old lessons have to be relearned by a subsequent generation of engineers; There are many subtle design features in machines that are not apparent until the designers have left.  A change to a design makes it apparent that there were important design features.  Each telephone made until about 1985 had a low pitch bell and each bell had a different pitch.  The low pitch telephone bell in an office made it easy to tell where the phone is and the different pitch if it was your phone.  The same mistake was made when the two-tone ambulance klaxon was replaced in the 1980s.  I suppose it is possible that the shortening of bicycles wheelbase that occurred in the 1970s, making bikes more work to pedal happened by accident but more likely happened with arguments where the arts farts case won?

      Newer hub gear designs;

      The Rohloff hub weighs 1.7Kg, British made Sturmey-Archer Hub gears weigh 1 to 1.4Kg but most hub gears weigh 1 to 2Kg.  But despite the long power train higher efficiency has been measured but other studies don't rate this hub's efficiency highly.  It has 14 speeds but as with bicycle elliptical gears, only a percentage of the power is carried through the meshing cogs, which is why bicycle elliptical gears are efficient.  The spacing between speeds (13.6%) is similar to a medium ratio Sturmey-Archer hub.  None of the speeds is high efficiency but also the high ratios are surprisingly good - on paper.  By comparison, the vintage Sturmey-Archer FW is highly efficient in Normal (3 of 4), when it's most appreciated and Bottom the least efficient highest ratio is not heavy when hill climbing when the efficiency is least noticed.

      Very typically German engineering design.  The design is an assembly of simpler functions blocks built up.  The first part of the video shows a Sturmey-Archer hub its design much more like a complex single function block where parts slide and move changing many things as they move.   The Sturmey-Archer design is typical of British design being elegant robust and cost-effective.  The design is simpler also because of the limitations of the time 1902 but in 1973 the s7, 7-speed hub used a rotating operating rod in which cams operate a different section of the hub was introduced.

      The advantage that fewer speeds is that the cable operator is more reliable if higher or lower speeds were required with the old bikes you can unscrew the large sprocket or the small sprocket and change them also change the chain length (see picture left).  A complaint about modern bikes is that not all gear work and some bikes are difficult to set up.  The Rohloff Speed hub above resolves the indexing issue by placing the indexing mechanism within the hub.

      Pictures - The Riley 9 car (1930s) was fitted with a Wilson preselector gearbox.  This is an elliptical gear gearbox with friction clutches that operate selectively on the ring gears.  Otherwise, this type of gearbox is different from a bicycle gear hub having just one speed for each elliptical gear.  The gear oil should be changed every 3,000 miles but the oil-bathed friction bands need re-lining after at least 160,000 miles.

      The Wilson gearbox is very heavy to operate due to the effort operating the clutches but more modern power-assisted preselector gearboxes are lighter to operate.

      Willson preselector gearbox gear change can be operated stationary, moving or powered.  I have seen a video of bicycle gearing that does that based on elliptical gears Constantly variable planetary but the power direction is reversed and it is unlikely to be efficient.  Daff/Volvo varomatic and moblette moped V-belt drive automatic gearing are fairly efficient and this variation called Inception Drive probably is efficient.  With an additional no-slip between speeds feature added using freewheel mechanism on the lowest speed, perhaps another bicycle crank gear could be developed based on a Wilson pre-selector with friction bands.  This solution is likely to be big and heavy to operate.  The variable speed elliptical gear hub patented 118 years is very good and the variants developed by 1960 covered most things required.

      During the Coronavirus lock-down 2020, there was a big reduction in vehicle movements  I first noticed that my breathing improved between mid-March to the end of May when the traffic came back on the roads.  Also that my Tinnitus diminished greatly and quickly when I stopped drinking coffee;

      I hope for more kindness in the world.  UN Secretary-General's Appeal for Global Ceasefire during this pandemic;

      Cycling is a good exercise in that you can work hard then rest on the flat, particularly so on a 4-speed hub gear bike made before 1961.  You are not pounding sore feet and ankles on the ground.   In this respect, a bike that is at least 45 years old or is one of the newer long wheelbase bikes, with ceramic bearings coming is probably better.  You can still get off and push and also lift the bike onto a train.  Also, you tend to have higher peaks of effort than walking or e-biking which is good for reducing high blood pressure,  the Doctor tells me.

      I recommend you understand your bicycle so, therefore, carry out your own maintenance.   Cars, bikes and motorbikes all used to be easily maintainable - I have posted some pictures of some 1930s to 1950s publications below.  These are very comprehensive some have a cover price some were available on request such as Car Care from CC Wakefield Ltd. London manufactures Castrol brand oils.  Two colour lubrication diagrams for any car were also available on request, for example.


      Envisioning a post-Covid-19 transport landscape: surface travel
      Prof John Whitelegg, Liverpool John Moores University, looks at how The UK can transition to a sustainable transport system by building on some of the changes pursued during the Covid-19 ‘lockdown’. In the first of two blogs, he focuses on surface travel.

      The carbon footprint of British military spending is a level is similar to the emissions produced by over six million average UK cars;

      The military-industrial complex becomes a useless liability in the pandemic;

      If we don't look after the natural environment we will get unwell

      Sweden, light touch Coronavirus measures - May 2020

      Kent County Council - Learn to ride, Cycle training for children or adult;

      Department of Transport - Bikeabilty

      Cyclecraft by John Franklin (ISBN: 978-0-11-708243-4) - has been recommended.

      Active Travel - package of funding announced by Government during the Covid-19 pandemic;

      Transport and environment after the COVID lockdown
      To Tunbridge Wells Borough Council - requires login

      The Highway Code;

      The bicycling museums all over the world here are a few;

      Facebook - Disraeli Gears

      Facebook - Vintage bicycles UK

      Facebook - Raleigh Lenton and all the derivatives

      Facebook - Vintage Raleigh Bikes

      Facebook - The Raleigh Roadster Club. (Incorporating the Raleigh Superbe Owners Club)

      There are very many other cycling groups on Facebook but many bicycle brands were owned by Raleigh which in turn merged with Tube Investments.  Many of the bicycle groups on Facebook have document sections with good descriptions on how to do things.

      Picture; Brokes Wood - Informal BMX bike track
      now closed to the public by the present landowner.
      Reference given to me for wide the widest dérailleur you will find are modern
      1x systems. E.g. sram 10-50 12 speed cassette. This has a range of 500% with a spacing of about 15% between speeds.

      Sometimes it is necessary to buy a specialist tool in that case here is a US company with some useful tools (I have not used this company);

      Video right; A press tool like the one shown is also the best way to remove and put back the cotter pin. It is not just needed for a bike in poor condition. I've used a vice and a socket or ring spanner successfully. Don't hammer a cotter pin or tighten the nut too much but use the press because the metal is soft.

      More Bike Advice;
      Bike parts; Some bike shops can advise and supply but if you know what you want then
      SJS cycles supply parts efficiently.

      I am also told Laura Wakefield can supply parts that are not made anymore.
      Many people including can be found on many of the Facebook bike groups who paint, restore, sells head badges and hub-gear parts.  One of those members for example also dates bikes made by Raleigh.

      Recommendation of tube puncture repair, I am advised this is better than most;

       If you have not got any glue left for your patches Evo-stick works, and should be the correct glue, but not so well.

      Repairing Sturmey Archer Hubs that are at least 90 years old;

      Other links;
      Story of my Lenton sports bicycle + General maintenance advice, technical and history;

      Dynamo maintenance and operation in theory (untested)