Technical officer

User avatar
pjclinch
Posts: 4123
Joined: 29 Oct 2007, 2:32pm
Location: Dundee, Scotland
Contact:

Re: Technical officer

Postby pjclinch » 3 Apr 2016, 10:04am

That there are lots of CTC members going touring isn't the same as it still being a priority to have a Technical Officer. Places like this forum mean that these days we've got easy access to lots of cycling engineers giving good technical advice. That hasn't always been the case, but it is now. Even if the proportions going touring in the club haven't changed, the friendly technical engineering knowledge and expertise they have ready access to has.

Pete.
Often seen riding a bike around Dundee...

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15184
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby Si » 3 Apr 2016, 11:55am

I guess it all depends on how you define a tourist cyclist.

To be a tourer do you have to stow tent on bike, set off riding from own front door, and end up in China six months later?

Or is it just someone who goes for a ride in the countryside on the cycle paths on a Sunday morning once or twice a month?

I know a lot of the latter who would class themselves as "Leisure cyclists" rather than tourists. And while there are more people starting to see the delights of the former, I still think that they are a minority. Plus: where do we put people who load the bikes onto a car and go for a "road trip" (as popularised in such publications as Singletrack)? Or those who jet off for a fixed centre, training-camp holiday in the sun?

Personally I think that the CJ Technical Officer post should have been continued (with CJ in it) not to serve tourists, but to serve all cyclists.

Psamathe
Posts: 12247
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby Psamathe » 3 Apr 2016, 1:44pm

I think the requirement for a Technical Officer is quite separate from any focus on Touring. There is loads of stuff helpful to all categories of cyclists that a Technical Officer can prove invaluable for.

A good example might be "mudguard clearance". Although lacking personal experience, I suspect that your everyday commuter or your family out for a ride at a weekend will gain as much as your dedicated touring cyclist with regards to safety when using mudguards by have=ing adequate clearance and/or(?) quick release attachments.

There are so many areas where an experienced Technical Officer could prove invaluable to a cycling organisation (and not just for answering members questions and writing a section in the club mag.).

In fact I'd suspect that a well experience highly regarded Technical Officer might actually be more useful to your less experienced "Cycling for Transport" rider than your tourer (if only because your touring person will often have far more experience and even if not, will have thought a lot about their ride and what gear they need and reliability and spent time talking to LBS, etc.).

Ian

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby TonyR » 3 Apr 2016, 2:20pm

Psamathe wrote:A good example might be "mudguard clearance".


Can you not come up with anything other than the same old 30 year old example? Surely if what you say is true there should be plenty more examples to roll out as evidence that are more recent?

User avatar
Si
Moderator
Posts: 15184
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 7:37pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby Si » 3 Apr 2016, 2:57pm

Bike and equipment design for Inclusive Cycling projects :wink:

Psamathe
Posts: 12247
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby Psamathe » 3 Apr 2016, 3:47pm

TonyR wrote:
Psamathe wrote:A good example might be "mudguard clearance".


Can you not come up with anything other than the same old 30 year old example? Surely if what you say is true there should be plenty more examples to roll out as evidence that are more recent?

I could think of loads of examples. Sorry you don't like the example I gave - which I thought was a particularly good example, illustrating something that applied well to both touring and cycling for transport cyclists. Still, that's life, can't please everybody.

Surprises me if you can't see the advantages of a Technical Officer to provide guidance to less experienced (like myself) on so many technical aspects (gear ratios, different brake types, road regulations, light regs, security component compatibility and pros and cons of different systems, etc.). Maybe easy for the more experienced to just "know" all that obvious stuff but for people trying to get into cycling it can all be quite a challenge and some LBSs are just after money (I've been "taken for a ride" by one - where experience/knowledge would have avoided it).

And then there are the Technical aspects to campaigns that an organisation is running at any time...

Ian

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby TonyR » 3 Apr 2016, 11:05pm

Psamathe wrote:
TonyR wrote:
Psamathe wrote:A good example might be "mudguard clearance".


Can you not come up with anything other than the same old 30 year old example? Surely if what you say is true there should be plenty more examples to roll out as evidence that are more recent?

I could think of loads of examples. Sorry you don't like the example I gave - which I thought was a particularly good example, illustrating something that applied well to both touring and cycling for transport cyclists. Still, that's life, can't please everybody.


Its just that every time someone tries to justify the TO post they use mudguard clearance - something that dates back to 1986 - and are seemingly unable to come up with anything more recent.

Surprises me if you can't see the advantages of a Technical Officer to provide guidance to less experienced (like myself) on so many technical aspects (gear ratios, different brake types, road regulations, light regs, security component compatibility and pros and cons of different systems, etc.).


That's what we've got Brucey for :wink:

But seriously there is so much information on the internet - YouTube videos, how to and review websites, forums etc - that phoning during working hours or emailing someone is probably on the "if all else fails..." section of the decision tree on what to do. When was the last time you used the TO services? I know I've never used it preferring instead the Sheldon Brown website or YouTube to give me instant gratification on my technical information needs.

Psamathe
Posts: 12247
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:56pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby Psamathe » 3 Apr 2016, 11:19pm

TonyR wrote:
Psamathe wrote:
TonyR wrote:...
Can you not come up with anything other than the same old 30 year old example? Surely if what you say is true there should be plenty more examples to roll out as evidence that are more recent?

I could think of loads of examples. Sorry you don't like the example I gave - which I thought was a particularly good example, illustrating something that applied well to both touring and cycling for transport cyclists. Still, that's life, can't please everybody.


Its just that every time someone tries to justify the TO post they use mudguard clearance - something that dates back to 1986 - and are seemingly unable to come up with anything more recent.

Surprises me if you can't see the advantages of a Technical Officer to provide guidance to less experienced (like myself) on so many technical aspects (gear ratios, different brake types, road regulations, light regs, security component compatibility and pros and cons of different systems, etc.).


That's what we've got Brucey for :wink:

But seriously there is so much information on the internet - YouTube videos, how to and review websites, forums etc - that phoning during working hours or emailing someone is probably on the "if all else fails..." section of the decision tree on what to do. When was the last time you used the TO services? I know I've never used it preferring instead the Sheldon Brown website or YouTube to give me instant gratification on my technical information needs.

I'm not a CTC member so I don't phone them for advice or anything.

But I'm thinking in a far broader way that having a Technical Officer sitting there to answer member enquiries.

But, I cannot be bothered to get into yet another exchange of explanations with you (others seem to understand fine).

Ian

Ron
Posts: 1202
Joined: 5 Jan 2007, 9:07pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby Ron » 3 Apr 2016, 11:53pm

My bicycle was unreliable for the best part of a year due to a long established bike shop having fitted incompatible components. I complained to the fitter, and also sought advice elsewhere from different bike shops and other would be knowledgeable people but was getting nowhere. they would not admit to not knowng the solution and couldn't be bothered researching the issue. In the end I contacted CJ who supplied a fulsome explanation of my problem with solution.
I had another bike shop resolve the problem in accordance with the advice offered and have had no recurrence. My mistake was in not going to the CTC in the first place instead of wasting time discussing the problem with professionals in the trade, the experts we go to when we have a problem.
I valued the access to an adviser independent of commercial pressures.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18748
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Technical officer

Postby Vorpal » 4 Apr 2016, 10:37am

Actually I think (and I've said it before), an important role for a technical officer is to advise about interpretations of legislation, consult upon potential legislative changes, provide expert testimony to MPs, or parliamentary inquiries, etc.

If we take as an example, lighting standards...
We know that they are out of date and not well adhered to. How should they be changed? Should pedal reflectors still be required? If pedals should still have pedal reflectors, what reflectors are appropriate to require for all types of pedals? Should recumbents be exempted? Who can provide our legislators with the answers to these questions? Joe and Jane Cyclist? Rapha? Team Sky? I'm not interested in answering the technical questions on this thread; just posing them in answer to what a technical officer might do that is of value to more than just the touring members of CTC.

There are other things like this for which CJ was very well suited to support cyclists of all sorts. Whether or not one accepts that his services were still needed to answer technical questions for members, or people found his reviews of equipment useful, IMO the one area where he was most needed was dealing with the technical aspects of legislation.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

TonyR
Posts: 5390
Joined: 31 Aug 2008, 12:51pm

Re: Technical officer

Postby TonyR » 4 Apr 2016, 12:02pm

Vorpal wrote:Actually I think (and I've said it before), an important role for a technical officer is to advise about interpretations of legislation, consult upon potential legislative changes, provide expert testimony to MPs, or parliamentary inquiries, etc.

If we take as an example, lighting standards...
We know that they are out of date and not well adhered to. How should they be changed? Should pedal reflectors still be required? If pedals should still have pedal erflectors, what reflectors are appropriate to require for all types of pedals? Should recumbents be exempted? Who can provide our legislators with the answers to these questions? Joe and Jane Cyclist? Rapha? Team Sky? I'm not interested in answering the technical questions on this thread; just posing them in answer to what a technical officer might do that is of value to more than just the touring members of CTC.

There are other things like this for which CJ was very well suited to support cyclists of all sorts. Whether or not one accepts that his services were still needed to answer technical questions for members, or people found his reviews of equipment useful, IMO the one area where he was most needed was dealing with the technical aspects of legislation.


The question is did he do that? The lighting standards have changed, notably to admit LED light and flashing lights. I am not aware that the CTC or its TO had any involvement in that process or being sat on any of the standards bodies looking at revising standards related to bicycles that most regulation is based on. I am not aware of any campaign organised by the CTC or anyone else on pedal reflectors the requirements for which have been out of date for years. And while I am aware of Roger Geffen appearing before Parliament on campaigning issues or what could be considered technical issues (i.e.helmets) I am not aware of that happening with CJ (a Google of "Geffen Parliament" comes up with lots of links but "Juden Parliament" comes up with none). I could well be wrong so would be interested in any evidence for what you are suggesting could be done was actually being done.

PH
Posts: 9964
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby
Contact:

Re: Technical officer

Postby PH » 4 Apr 2016, 1:23pm

TonyR wrote:The question is did he do that?

I don't know. He has said that only a small proportion of his time was spent answering members queries and there was no shortage of things needing doing, and I can't imagine that he'd waste his time on things that weren’t to the benefit of cycling. IMO the role fitted right in with the objectives on the charity and the more I hear about the goings on at NO the more I feel it was maybe the man who didn't fit in with the current organisation rather than that role.
I think a better question would be do we think Cycling UK should be doing those things, regardless of what has or hasn't happened in the past? My answer would be yes, there'll always be a technical element to cycling and the industry and regulators are not always going to act in the best interests of us cyclists.

Vorpal
Moderator
Posts: 18748
Joined: 19 Jan 2009, 3:34pm
Location: Not there ;)

Re: Technical officer

Postby Vorpal » 4 Apr 2016, 1:43pm

I don't know that he testified to parliament or any such thing. Sorry if I missed it a bit, but the point was partly that he is a credible expert.

As for what he did do with regard to lighting regulations in particular, I understood that the most recent changes were made in close consultation with him. I couldn't find the press release about it, but I found this https://intranet.birmingham.ac.uk/colla ... Legal.aspx He continued to work for further changes, even if he had not succeeded when he was made redundant.

He also provided this interpretation, which I think many people have found useful, as it (and it's predecessor) have been referred to on this forum in the past: http://www.ctc.org.uk/cyclists-library/ ... egulations

And this blog (also referred to on the forum): http://www.ctc.org.uk/blog/chris-juden/ ... ll-illegal

He also discussed such things with media, providing information at least to Cycle, Cycling Plus, and the BBC, to my knowledge. http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-29894590 is one example.
“In some ways, it is easier to be a dissident, for then one is without responsibility.”
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom

Bmblbzzz
Posts: 3845
Joined: 18 May 2012, 7:56pm
Location: From here to there.

Re: Technical officer

Postby Bmblbzzz » 4 Apr 2016, 5:36pm

I agree with Vorpal's general point. A campaigning organisation actually has more need of a technical officer than a club, now that so much "how do I do this?" info is available here, there and elsewhere.

User avatar
gaz
Posts: 14163
Joined: 9 Mar 2007, 12:09pm
Location: Kent, lorry park of England

Re: Technical officer

Postby gaz » 4 Apr 2016, 6:52pm

TonyR wrote:The question is did he do that? The lighting standards have changed, notably to admit LED light and flashing lights. I am not aware that the CTC or its TO had any involvement in that process or being sat on any of the standards bodies looking at revising standards related to bicycles that most regulation is based on. I am not aware of any campaign organised by the CTC or anyone else on pedal reflectors the requirements for which have been out of date for years. And while I am aware of Roger Geffen appearing before Parliament on campaigning issues or what could be considered technical issues (i.e.helmets) I am not aware of that happening with CJ (a Google of "Geffen Parliament" comes up with lots of links but "Juden Parliament" comes up with none). I could well be wrong so would be interested in any evidence for what you are suggesting could be done was actually being done.

Let CJ enlighten you again: viewtopic.php?f=45&t=92645&p=854005&#p854005
There'll be tarmac over, the white cliffs of Dover ...