Cycling is more interesting!

The piece on cycling has evoked many more responses than war and peace, taxation or even migration. It’s a funny old world, when I was  criticised for daring to mention it.


  1. alan jutson,
    August 6, 2014

    Possible reason is that its the first time the subject has been raised, and some feelings run high, both for and against.

    Most of us at one time or another have had a bike, many of us older (retired) people perhaps remember thousands of us used to cycle to work.
    The Great West Road even had its own separate cycle path used by thousands each day back in the 50’s and 60’s when it was in the golden era for employment in that area.

    Cycling was very common then as a means of transport as well as leisure, but all seemed to obey the rules of the road, did not need to wear helmets or to be wired into sound, thus blocking out a very useful sense (hearing) which helps to keep you safe.

    Did not see Lord Tebbit making any comments though !

  2. Ex-expat Colin
    August 6, 2014

    Your piece probably caused an over output of CO2 from all sorts of sources…some alive and others….dead?

    Shame on you really!

  3. Lifelogic
    August 6, 2014

    Well perhaps motorist are a bit sick of paying vast sums in taxes, then only to have it used to blocked off road with bus and bikes lanes, almost no new roads built, anti car traffic lights, dreadful road signage, bus lane fines, parking mugging, environmental road blocks, box junction fines and the likes. Then to be told by BBC think types (without real scientific basis) that they are actually the problem when they are only trying to get to work, kids to school or something. There is nothing more moral or even more environmental about catching buses, trains, taxis, electric cars or cycling. Often they are worse environmentally, use as much or even more energy and are less convenient and quick. Bikes, even pedestrians and buses all congest the roads as well.

    The time taken for journeys is important if we are actually to get any work done or have leisure time.

    1. Bazman
      August 7, 2014

      Would you say walking and runnng use more energy? If one where to run to work instead of driving would this be more environmentally harmful and would it be more efficent than a bike? The pedestrians would clog the roads? By your logic exercise is bad for the environment too, though you are unable to say why. At least you can’t anymore, but still repeat the same idiotic nonsense that humans run on expensive food and more is required if more movement takes place.

      1. lojolondon
        August 7, 2014

        From an energy and CO2 POV, it is far less efficient to use human and food power than to use fuel to do a certain workload. Not that CO2 matters anyway, because we all know it doesn’t cause warming.

        1. Edward2
          August 7, 2014

          A small modern engine can produce several hundred horse power. You would need many more humans than horses to do the same physical task. All you need to do is burn a few gallons of readily available fossil fuel.
          Which is why humans use engines in machines to complete tasks rather than do them themselves.
          From an engineers perspective machines are far more energy efficient than humans.

          1. Bazman
            August 7, 2014

            Here we have right wing religious ideology meeting science and the picture becomes clear and for all to see. Deluded.
            Engines are not more efficient in a like for like basis. As every schoolboy knows most energy used in an engine is lost as mainly heat and some mechanical loss, though having a thousand people pulling a rope would not be efficient for sure as I’m sure you will tell us.
            Food miles cannot be denied, but not everyone eats imported expensive food as their main source of energy.
            A person consuming a the equivalent calories of a gallon of diesel would have an MPG in excess of any vehicle by far even with 7 people in a 45 mpg car. If if the food was locally grown this would increase the efficiency compared to the car by a large amount. The human is a fuel cell and fuel cells are much more efficient than engines.
            Are you telling us that exercise is bad, because I suspect this is the real argument?
            CO2 does cause warming even the deniers agree with this and the payback of the Windmill or PV is covered the rest is pretty much carbon neutral carbon. Depends on application like all other energy sources or usage equipment. A Ferrari is not better than a lorry, though you may think so.

          2. Edward2
            August 7, 2014

            Engineers everywhere will be laughing at you.
            The invention of steam power revolutionised this nation.
            Engines and the resulting power effect of them are far more efficient than a human.
            You really think a human can generate as much power as a small engine…really?
            Come on don’t be so silly
            Its nothing to do with left wing/right wing its simple physics.

          3. Bazman
            August 8, 2014

            This is not the ‘efficiency’ we are talking about. The ratio of energy which was transferred to a useful form compared to the total energy initially supplied is called the efficiency of the device. Can you not understand the difference of efficient energy use and inefficient? An electric fire is almost 100% efficient in its use of energy, a coal fire much less. Petrol engines about 25-30 % and diesels about 40-45%.

          4. Edward2
            August 8, 2014

            Its a definition of efficiency I have not heard before.
            It depends on how you measure relative inputs and outputs.
            Humans are reasonably effecient as defined by you but areweak and have a long development time.
            For example a human needs a great deal of input (food, water, parenting time) before it can become useful. Full strength is not reached until 16 years of growth.
            Animals like horses, oxen and elephants have been used by man because they are more efficient in the ratio of input to output.
            If you look at an engine even with energy losses you are claiming, the input versus output ratio is far better than even the most efficient living creature.
            Humans are better when they use their superior brain power rather than muscle power.

          5. Bazman
            August 8, 2014

            ‘If you look at an engine even with energy losses you are claiming, the input versus output ratio is far better than even the most efficient living creature?’
            King Of The Swingers are we?

  4. Iain Gill
    August 6, 2014

    yes but its the first time you’ve tackled this subject, the others are all regulars.

    and the cycling lobby are very active, so hardly surprising.

  5. Brian Tomkinson
    August 6, 2014

    JR: “Cycling is more interesting!”
    You must find that quite depressing – I certainly do, but no doubt tomorrow you will be extolling the virtues of Boris Johnson, your party’s untrustworthy court jester, that should elicit some more response.

    Reply No I will not. Why would I be doing that?

    1. Brian Tomkinson
      August 6, 2014

      Reply to reply,

    2. Bazman
      August 6, 2014

      What is interesting Brian?

    3. JohnE
      August 6, 2014

      Please just reassure us that you will be standing again in Wokingham at the next election. I really would not want Boris as my MP!

      Reply That is my plan to stand again

      1. Narrow Shoulders
        August 7, 2014

        If Mr Johnson does stand in Uxbridge, where I am registered, to replace a fine consituency MP who worked for his community rather than himself, while serving within the government, it will make it easier for me to put a cross against UKIP in the general election. Loyalty to The Rt Hon John Randall MP was the only reason for my to return as a Conservative voter. I will remain a voter for the Conservative local authority as they do a fine job but will not vote for a parachuted in celebrity who will not represent my interests.

        Unfortunately due to the demographic in Uxbridge I am most likely a minority (plus c’est change).

  6. Mark B
    August 6, 2014

    It was topical. That tells you all you need to know. Covering wars, EU and other items done to death on other blogs will whittle down responses.

    So well done on raising it. And more of the same.

  7. ian
    August 6, 2014

    It some think they know about using the roads everyday politics ,taxation, wars and migration is little bit out of their comprehension. You should keep to thing like cars,roads, credit cards, mortgages houses and gadgets, game, football and a like. They like think that they know about politics but at a election the result is always the same they lose because what ever you promise they have to pay for it, now all promise are being taken away with they rights that”s why i abstain from voting because sometime i know to much or to little about the subject and do not like carrots being dangle in front of my nose.

    1. Lifelogic
      August 6, 2014

      Nothing wrong with the odd carrot dangling, that is what makes the World go round. The problem is Cameron & Osborne types just blatantly snatch them away post election and don’t even say sorry.

  8. Leslie Singleton
    August 6, 2014

    Substitute “annoying” for “interesting” and you’ll be nearer the truth. Not at all clear to me why racing en masse on public roads like this should not be illegal. And when they are not racing they of course have to be side by side and usually reluctant to move over, even on narrow country lanes. Grown men playing with toys. Far too many of them.

    1. Leslie Singleton
      August 6, 2014

      Postscript–And in cities they think they can do exactly as they please

  9. acorn
    August 6, 2014

    JR, you may have inadvertently (?) been responsible for Boris going for a Westminster seat! Boris was all for the new EU Directive on safer trucks, with bigger windows for greater side vision for avoiding cyclists. The government was against it on an instruction from the UK transport lobby (more cost, less profit etc).

    Now the MEPs have passed it, Boris reckons a Tory Westminster will dilute the UK implementation. (Hands up all those who know who the DfT Minister for Cycling is). Boris needs a legacy, bicycles may be it. Everything else that has happened in London during his term, he played very little part in.

    Crossrail and Olympics were really nothing to do with him. He has no jurisdiction over the Elites’ London Borough that is the Spiv City of London, so can’t claim any regulatory success over off shore mortgage fraudsters there.

    But, is this enough to get him the leadership of the Tory Party (A) Before the 2015 election. (B) After the 2015 election. (C) Before the 2017 Referendum? Does the mere presence of the Golden One, increase the chances of an IN/OUT referendum, assuming that Cameron is most likely to duck it with a “peace for our time” bit of paper from the EU Commission, Neville Chamberlain style?

    A speedy reply would be useful JR. Boris has dropped from 13:1 to 6:1 today for PM. 😉

  10. ian
    August 6, 2014

    Trade wars kick off

  11. Hefner
    August 6, 2014

    Another possibility: cycling is more or less an individual’s choice; war and peace, taxation and migration are all subjects for which despite (or because?) of the work of MPs, an individual can just feel hopeless and not able to influence much the decisions.

  12. Bazman
    August 6, 2014

    A cheap fast way of getting around with no fuel bills as well as a source of fun and leisure. Interesting to see how many on this site who scream blue murder about taxation and the freedom of the individuals call for restrictions and taxation when they see someone having fun without paying and try to pint it as antisocial and environmentally unfriendly. All evidence points to it being a sociable and healthy way of getting around if a little hazardous to the rider and sometimes other road users. The very same people who complain about this are the ones deriding the nanny state and elf and safety. Brain dead deluded conservatives, who as Daily Mail supporters as soon as they see someone having fun have to try to stop it. Take a look at the posts.
    What is allowed? Nice books, tea and scones ‘sensible’ cars and other such activities? Old peoples home for you lot. Without the internet which presumabley should be banned or restricted to ‘suitable sites’?
    I see the housing benefit bill for working people is set to double to 12 billion. Poverty jobs and wages supported by the taxpayer. Should we cut that benefit bill?

  13. Graham
    August 6, 2014

    John I dare say you sound rather smug.

    If you want interesting blogs (rather IMHO than relevant ones) why one scour The Sun it’s usually full of ‘interesting’ things – so I’m told.


  14. Anonymous
    August 6, 2014

    Why is cycling more interesting ?

    Well, unlike out-of-control-under-the-Tories immigration (the party which really started it by signing Maastricht*), it is a subject on which we might have any realistic expectation of action.

    *Trainee police officers were being told during lectures by Immigration Officers – during John Major’s government – that the system was so overwhelmed that arrests of large numbers of illegal workers should be avoided. I was so shocked by the situation that I refused to vote Conservative for the first time.

  15. Miguel van Nierop
    August 6, 2014

    I so totally agree Leslie Singleton !

    Doing whatever they want in cities ! Just like some irresponsible car drivers hey !

    Surprised you didn’t mention the usual riding on pavements, funny but the major problem is all the cars parked on pavements actually !!! Try navigating most places with a white stick like my wife has to as she’s visually impaired and you’ll start to understand.

    Oh yes and when some of you are stuck in the mext traffic jam, just remember that each cyclist is One less car in front of you in the queue

    1. JimS
      August 6, 2014

      Getting around if you are visually impaired must be quite tough.

      The parked cars are easily detected with the white stick and are probably less painful to bump into than lamp posts. But what about 200 lb of man/machine ‘sharing’ the pavement with you at 14 mph? Personally I would rather have the static car to contend with.

      What about the absence of vehicle-free ‘shadows’ on the road, those gaps in traffic that the pedestrian can detect by ear? Cars make a noise and they generally stick to the road and travel in the ‘right’ direction. Near silent, bell-less killers on the pavement, off the pavement, wrong-direction running must make life fun! Cars parked on the pavement are in the minority. Where else does a bike get parked BUT on the pavement.

      Stuck in a traffic queue it doesn’t really matter if there is another car in front. But why is there a queue in the first place? Could it be the cyclist doing 2 mph uphill in the bus lane, or ‘taking the road’ at 10 mph with 20 cars behind? Or the idiot cyclist that overtook on the left, became a casualty and closed the road?

      What other ‘dangerous’ activity is encouraged and the safety made the responsibility of others? What other sport and leisure activity expects to use the highway as its arena? If bikes are allowed why not skateboards, roller blades, street hockey, football and cricket?

      1. Keith
        August 8, 2014

        It’s perfectly legal to skateboard or rollerblade on the highway.

    2. Aunty Estab
      August 7, 2014

      Some cyclists have a car following with their briefcase!

  16. Gary
    August 6, 2014

    cycling and telecommuting will in time save the govt more money(health, transport, infrastructure, enegy) than probably any other endevour.

  17. oldtimer
    August 6, 2014

    C Northcote Parkinson (of Parkinson`s Law fame) pointed out this phenomenom many years ago. He described how, in large organisations, capital projects costing many millions of pounds went through on the nod because no one understood them. On the other hand, everyone understood bicycle sheds and proposals to install new bicycle sheds excited heated and protracted debate.

    1. behindthefrogs
      August 7, 2014

      If there is a problem with parking cycles on pavements as suggested above perhaps we need more bike sheds.

    2. BobE
      August 7, 2014

      I think that was called the “Peter” principle. There was another about promoting people until they reach their highest incompetence position.

  18. margaret brandreth-j
    August 7, 2014

    May the response which suprised you be due to the fact many people are better qualified to talk about cycling than politics or economics and have the confidence to engage?

  19. lustra
    August 12, 2014

    But did you learn anything from those who made informed comments, John? What are your conclusions?

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