Search found 157 matches

by StephenW
16 Jul 2018, 8:51pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Why isn't there a cycles on trains campaigns from Cycling UK?
Replies: 227
Views: 17564

Re: Why isn't there a cycles on trains campaigns from Cycling UK?

Vorpal asked:
What are cycle spaces, and where do Tandem and Trailer go?

I think it would be good if a standard bicycle were defined. If the standard bicycle doesn't fit easily in all the cycle spaces, they are not cycle spaces. The standard bicycle should be large - I suggest the largest-framed men's roadster commonly available, with the seat and handlebars as high as they go.

I'm ambivalent about whether the bikes hang vertically from hooks or are supported horizontally. The key points to me are consistency and that a large adult bicycle fits easily.

If trailers can be detached and in some way folded or dismantled such that they are the size of a large suitcase, no special provision is needed. Otherwise, a bike+trailer could be considered as a tandem.

I think that solo cycles should be carried on every train (although on peak-time commuting trains there would only be a small number of spaces, which must be paid for). Although it would be nice, it is not so important to me that tandems be carried on every train. Instead, I think that it should be possible to get from any GB station to any other one with a tandem, although this might require taking a slower route or travelling at certain times of day.
by StephenW
16 Jul 2018, 8:07pm
Forum: Bikes & Bits – Technical section
Topic: Shimano 12-speed
Replies: 51
Views: 4739

Re: Shimano 12-speed

I think perhaps these cassettes with very large sprockets and lots of gears could be useful for recumbents, although I am sure this is the last thing the designers had on their minds!

I have a few reasons for thinking this:

-Recumbents benefit from having low gears, but using very small chainrings to achieve this can result can result in undesirable flex in the frame. This is because using a small chainring results in high chain tension. Achieving the same gear ratio with a larger chainring and larger sprocket avoids this. I find that the feel of my recumbent changes a lot when I shift from the 32 to 22 tooth chainring - it becomes noticeably mushy.

-Cross-chaining is no problem on a recumbent, as the chain is so long.

-There is no reason not to offset the rear wheel on a recumbent. I think on an upright offsetting the frame too much could give bad chainline or cause heel clearance problems. On a recumbent neither of these is a problem.

However, from my point of view it is a shame that they have managed to have lots of gears by making everything thinner. I would prefer that the sprockets were the thickness of 8 or 9 speed, and the hub were made proportionately wider to fit them all in. The frame could then be offset to give an undished wheel.
by StephenW
14 Jul 2018, 11:48am
Forum: Non-standard, Human Powered Vehicles
Topic: recumbent riders where are we...
Replies: 176
Views: 146895

Re: recumbent riders where are we...

I'm in Loughborough.

There is also a guy who goes to the same Pilates class as me who sometimes rides a recumbent.
by StephenW
13 Jun 2018, 10:05am
Forum: Touring & Expedition
Topic: Pashley type bikes
Replies: 26
Views: 3454

Re: Pashley type bikes

foxyrider wrote: I have ridden a Dutch roadster ... they don't go up hills ...

I think that riding in different positions uses muscles in different ways. Therefore, if someone who is used to a fairly aggressive riding position tries riding in a very upright position, they may be lacking in power because they are not used to it.

Ontherivet77 wrote:However, whatever the bike I'm always fettling with the set up to make it comfortable. With swept back bars I was immediately in a comfy position ...

It seems to me that a more upright position is less sensitive to small adjustments. What I mean is that if you want to ride in aggressive position, everything needs to be in exactly the right place, whereas in an upright position it is not as critical.

I think the preferred position also relates to how hard you want to pedal. For low levels of effort, the aggressive position is not comfortable. The upright position is very comfy at low levels of effort, and is actually OK at higher levels of effort too.
by StephenW
13 Jun 2018, 9:31am
Forum: Non-standard, Human Powered Vehicles
Topic: Shifters for hamster bars
Replies: 12
Views: 897

Re: Shifters for hamster bars

I think it's good that your shifters have an indicator showing which gear you are in. Mine don't, and I find this a nuisance. It's easy to shift to the small chainring when coming to a stop, but not realising that the rear derailiuer is in a very small gear. It's then a pain trying to get moving again from this gear.

I've been thinking that some kind of lever shifters, either bar-end or thumb-shifters, might be a good idea. That way, you can know what gear you are in by touching the lever, so you don't need to look at anything.
by StephenW
11 Jun 2018, 9:05pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Why isn't there a cycles on trains campaigns from Cycling UK?
Replies: 227
Views: 17564

Re: Why isn't there a cycles on trains campaigns from Cycling UK?

jgurney wrote:I suspect it might help towards such a policy if we cyclists were clearer about quite what we wanted.

Yes, this is a good point. I can't speak for everyone, but I'll set out below what I would like to see. I've divided this up according to the type of rail route: commuter routes, fast inter-city services, and lightly-traffic rural routes. In a previous post jgurney set out some different types of cycle-rail journey. Hopefully what I am describing below will fit in to that.

Commuter routes
I would like to see a small number of dedicated cycle spaces, which must be paid for, and may be booked in advance. In addition, I would like to see large areas around the doors with either tip-up seats or no seats. These are for standing passengers during peak times, but during off-peak times cycles can be carried there for free, without reservation.
My thinking is:
- Space is at a premium at peak times. It is reasonable to ask people to pay to take a bike at these times.
- Open areas near the doors make standing more pleasant, and will also reduce dwell time at the station when the train is really busy.
- Carrying a non-folding bike on the train for commuting purposes is not a mass solution. For peak-time commuting, it is much better if people can either use a folder, or there is secure cycle storage at the destination, and people keep a second bike there.
- Leisure cycling will tend to occur at different times of the day/week to commuting.
- Since the stops are fairly close together, and thus people may not be taking their bike a long way, it is preferable for bikes to be in the passenger accommodation. They can be just propped up or held onto by their owner, rather than hanging from a hook.

Fast inter-city services
The key here is consistency I think. I am not too bothered whether the bikes are in passenger accommodation or the guard's van, or whether bikes are hung from a hook or not, so long as it is consistent. There also need to be a lot more bike spaces than at present. These should be a mixture of reservable and non-reservable. I think it is reasonable to pay for carrying a bike on this kind of service, proportionate to the cost of the ticket. The booking system should automatically ensure that if you reserve a seat and a bike space at the same time, they are located near to each other in the train.

Lightly-used rural routes
There should be plenty of cycle spaces on routes like this, because it may be several hours until the next train comes. Since these routes are lightly-used, space is unlikely to be at a premium. This is where mostly leisure cycling is likely to be happening, especially touring. A mixture of reservable and non-reservable spaces would probably be best. Taking a bike should be free on this kind of service. This kind of route tends to be loss-making (I think), and I think that cycle-tourism could provide a significant boost to passenger numbers.

In general, it is of course important that the cycle spaces are actually big enough to accommodate a large adult bicycle!

Consistency between different Train Operating Companies is also important.

Whether it is better to have a state-run railway or not is an interesting question. However, even under the current arrangement, I am sure there are ways that things could be changed. For example, DfT could specify how cycles are to be carried in their franchise contracts. Or, there could be a voluntary accreditation scheme, where certain standards are specified, and if a TOC chooses to meet these standards, they are allowed to call themselves a "Cycle-friendly train company", and receive some kind of bonus, or are allowed to charge for carrying bikes. Or there could be bronze, silver and gold levels.
by StephenW
7 Jun 2018, 10:38pm
Forum: Bikes & Bits – Technical section
Topic: Gerard Vroomen on the future of bicycle tech
Replies: 67
Views: 2559

Re: Gerard Vroomen on the future of bicycle tech

I've been thinking a bit about some of the developments that have been discussed here, and whether they represent an improvement or not.

1x drivetrains
From a logical point of view, there is usually little reason not to want a front derailer - they cause no inefficiency, don't weigh too much etc. But, I must say that I think there is something quite pleasing about having only one control for the gears. One way for harder gears, the other for easier. Nothing else to think about. However, it seems silly to compromise lots of other things, just for this reason.

Electric shifting
I was thinking a bit about other areas where mechanical controls, using cables or rods, have been replaced by electrical controls. Perhaps by considering the similarities and differences between these situations and bicycle, it might become more clear whether this makes sense.

1. Railway signals
The cables in this case can be very long and exposed to weather, plants etc. I think electric systems might be more reliable. Also I think one signalling centre can control a larger area, saving staff costs?

2. Car throttle pedal
I think in a modern engine everything is controlled electronically anyway, so why not convert the input into an electrical signal directly at the pedal, rather than having an extra cable?

3. Church organs and pianos
On smaller organs, the keyboard can be connect to the pipes by rods. This can make the action rather heavy I believe. I think on new smaller (pipe) organs this would be electric. However, on a piano the feel of the keys is very important, so I can't imagine this linkage ever being replaced by something electric.

In the case of the organ and the throttle pedal, an electricity supply was available already. This is not the case on a bike. Like the railway signals, the cables on a bike are subject to weather, but it is probably easier to monitor their condition than the cables linking signal boxes to semaphore signals!

The article answers one questions: What will the future of bike technology be? But another question, which to me is even more interesting, is this: What should the future of bike technology be? What are the areas with greatest potential for improvement?
by StephenW
3 Jun 2018, 10:32pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Continental-style traffic light junctions
Replies: 32
Views: 1398

Re: Continental-style traffic light junctions

PRL wrote:
One limitation is that that long wait will require a substantial reservoir for cyclists to wait to be allowed to cross. Only very large junctions are likely to have the space. Ideally these should have over/underpasses of good standard.
For more "common or garden" junctions the continental design saves time for everybody.

Do you mean that the simultaneous green junction takes up more space than a junction with no cycle specific infrastructure, or more space than one with cycleways, allowing conflicts between cycles and turning cars?

This highway engineer considers what a simultaneous green junction would look like in a typical real UK location: ... ating.html
by StephenW
3 Jun 2018, 10:22pm
Forum: Non-standard, Human Powered Vehicles
Topic: Monoforks
Replies: 12
Views: 803

Re: Monoforks

In some case "rigid" forks have a certain amount of flex designed into them to give a more comfy ride, don't they? Perhaps it is harder to have this desirable flex without having undesirable flex when you have a monofork?
by StephenW
3 Jun 2018, 10:07pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Disallow bans of only cyclists from (previously) all-purpose roads:only allow ban of same list of vehicles as for M-ways
Replies: 46
Views: 4158

Re: Disallow bans of only cyclists from (previously) all-purpose roads:only allow ban of same list of vehicles as for M-

drossall wrote:It's junctions that are the problem though. That's where most bike accidents happen anyway, and it's easy to design paths such that junctions are harder to handle for cyclists and motorists alike, and therefore the road is more dangerous than it was without the path.

In urban areas this is certainly so. But according to a document I read by TRL, in rural areas car-bike collisions are equally divided between junction and non-junction locations.

drossall wrote:Not an argument against all such paths, but the good designs also tend to be expensive, with bridges and the like.

Suppose it were possible to make a cycle path that neither increased nor decreased the risk at junctions. In that case, in rural areas, it would halve the number of car-bike collisions, which would be a very worthwhile improvement in safety.

Although grade-separation is best, perhaps in some cases safety at junctions could be improved for cycles without this.
by StephenW
3 Jun 2018, 9:55pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Why isn't there a cycles on trains campaigns from Cycling UK?
Replies: 227
Views: 17564

Re: Why isn't there a cycles on trains campaigns from Cycling UK?

jgurney wrote:Loco-haulage offers:
- marketing appeal: some potential passengers regard loco-hauled sets as higher status or as 'proper trains' and are more likely to use them when an MU would have them sticking to their cars. Similarly enthusiasts tend to like them and may deliberately pick routes or times to use them.

I must say that for me the big difference is noise and vibration. I find travelling in an HST far more pleasant and relaxing than a voyager or similar.

It seems to me that on routes that have overcrowding at peak times, it would be a good idea to remove some seats in the area around the doors to create an open area for standing. This would also then be useful for bikes at off-peak times. My understanding is that government targets result in train companies maximising the number of fixed seats, whether or not it is a sensible thing to do.

I wouldn't mind paying for a bike space, provided that the price was reasonable, and it guaranteed a good level of service. Something like 25% of ticket cost, up to a maximum of £10.
by StephenW
24 May 2018, 10:37pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Continental-style traffic light junctions
Replies: 32
Views: 1398

Re: Continental-style traffic light junctions

thirdcrank wrote:The history of traffic engineering in the UK has been based on paint in the form of GIVE WAY lines wherever possible.

Are you saying that fewer junctions in the UK are signalised than elsewhere? Compared to the USA that may well be so, but I'm not sure if there is any big difference compared to continental Europe. It's my understanding that there is currently a tendency in the Netherlands to replace traffic lights with roundabouts where possible.

thirdcrank wrote:I detect little genuine belief among policymakers that cycling presents a viable alternative. Until that fundamental situation changes, the layout and phasing of traffic lights seems academic.

The British Cycling campaign "Turning the Corner" is actively trying to have the "continental-style" kind of junction introduced. Therefore, I think it's legitimate to discuss whether that is a good aim. I do take your point. Nevetheless, I think if you are trying to effect change, you need to have an aim. And if you have an aim, you need to know if it is a good aim.
by StephenW
22 May 2018, 11:13pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Continental-style traffic light junctions
Replies: 32
Views: 1398

Re: Continental-style traffic light junctions

Hello everyone

Some interesting points so far. If possible, I'd like to concentrate on discussing signal-controlled junctions, rather than drifting too far into the merits of strict liability.

I'd like to expand on my original post:

1. Signal-controlled and give-way junctions are two different things.
What works well for one does not necessarily work well for the other. Traffic lights are used in situations where there are greater volumes of traffic turning in and out of a side road. Therefore requiring drivers to give way in this situation may be less safe and effective than elsewhere. It is also harder to make the priority really clear, and force slow speeds through design, at traffic light junctions.

2. Familiarity and expectations
Just because something is unfamiliar, doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. However, if you are changing something which will result in a lot of upheaval, you need to be sure that the thing which you are changing it to is really that much better, so that it is worth the upheaval. I'm not sure if continental-style traffic light junctions are a big enough improvement to justify the change.
Let's compare the changes resulting from a switch to this type of junction, versus the changes from introducing simultaneous green junctions. With the simultaneous green junction, nothing changes from the drivers' perspective, whereas with the "continental-style" junction, a change of behaviour is required. Traffic lights of the existing type have been in widespread use for a long time in the UK, so drivers may have quite fixed expectations. With the simultaneous green system, cyclists must get used to other cyclists approaching from all directions. However, since cycle-specific traffic lights are currently very rare, I do not think it would be a big problem to adapt to this. People have much less fixed expectations about this.

3. Different types of conflict
As I understand it, traffic light design is a compromise between separating conflicting movements, and extending the cycle time (and possibly reducing capacity). Within this, there are various possibilities for what conflicting movements to allow. All designs under discussion allow car/car conflicts. Existing UK junctions have no car/ped conflicts, and also do not allow car/bike or bike/bike conflicts where separate cycle infrastructure is provided. The "Continental-style" junction introduces car/ped and car/bike conflicts, although does not have bike/bike conflicts. The simultaneous green junction does not have car/ped or car/bike conflicts, but does allow bike/bike conflicts. To my mind, bike/bike conflicts are greatly to be preferred to car/bike or car/ped conflicts. Cyclists are likely to be able to move and negotiate past each other without colliding, and if they do the consequences will be less severe.

1. "continental-style" is probably not a very good name. Nevertheless, everyone seems to get what I mean.
2. I have presumed that people know what "simultaneous green" means. Here is a very positive blog post about it: ... us%20green
Mark Wagenbuur is a bit more skeptical: ... ling-city/
by StephenW
17 May 2018, 11:19pm
Forum: Campaigning & Public Policy
Topic: Continental-style traffic light junctions
Replies: 32
Views: 1398

Continental-style traffic light junctions

Roger Geffen has written the following blog post: ... ouldnt-you

There is lots of good stuff in here which I strongly agree with.

However, one thing which I am not sure about, is the suggestion that we should have continental-style traffic light junctions. By this, I mean junctions where cars turning left (or right), have a green light at the same time as pedestrians (and cycles) crossing the road which they are turning in to. I am not sure if this is very good for pedestrians or cycles. I was reminded of this when I was back in Berlin a few weeks ago. I dislike the way that cars creep forwards while you are crossing, and zip past the moment you have stepped out of their path. Of course, there is an upside to this, which is that you don't have to wait so long for a green man, or cross in two stages. Nevertheless, I still don't like it too much. It is possible to create a junction where one doesn't have to cross in two stages, or have cars creeping towards one.

For cycling though, I think the situation is worse. Bikes appear much more quickly than pedestrians. I had a near-miss at traffic lights when cycling in Berlin once. At give-way junctions it is possible to put the cycleway on a speed hump to slow cars crossing it, but I don't think this could be done at a traffic light junction.

Also, this kind of traffic light junction is not necessary before cycleways can be constructed. At large junctions, cars turning left can be held at a red light while bikes and pedestrians are crossing. At small or large junctions the simultaneous green system can be used. This has the added advantage that any combination of bidirectional and unidirectional cycleways is possible. I think that both of these solutions are safer for cycling, more comfortable for pedestrians, and compatible with existing UK ways of doing things.