Thursday, 29 March 2012

Tim's Cycling Diary Part 4 - Tour de France Inspired Palace to Palace Prep

The preparations have now begun in earnest. On 20th May Team Levenes Cycle Injury will be taking part in the Palace to Palace challenge, a 45 mile Tour de Warwickshire if you like, in aid of The Princes Trust.

Mind the Gap...
I was out on Sunday morning and did 19 miles out from Hamstead. It was the start of a beautiful day and as the clocks had gone forward my 8.15 depart BST was a bit early for a lot of people. Riding back from Bassetts Pole towards Blake Street along Watford Gap Road (which is nowhere near Watford Gap in case you are wondering) the early morning nip had gone and it was starting to warm up.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cycling Tips: Part 2 - Side Roads and Parked Cars

You may have seen our first article on Primary & Secondary road positioning. In that article we mentioned that you should move to the primary position when passing side roads or parked cars, here we take a closer look at that.

Why do I need to be in the Primary position when passing side roads?
As cars and other vehicles approach side roads, they give a quick glance to see whether or not cars or other motor vehicles are approaching. Positioning yourself in the primary position and acting like a motor vehicle helps you in three ways:
-It allows vehicles emerging from the side road to see you better
-It deters vehicles behind you from overtaking and quickly turning left across your path (the left hook)
-It allows approaching cars wanting to turn right into the side road to see you better

fig.1
How do I move into the correct position?
If you're approaching the junction already in the primary position, great, stay there, if you're in the secondary position and need to move out, glance behind you and if it is safe to do so move out into the primary position as shown by the green line curving away from the orange line in fig.1. You don't need to signal, keep your hands covering the brakes.

What do I do as I'm approaching and passing the side road?
Even though moving to the primary position greatly increases your visibility, you still need to keep your eyes open, be aware of any vehicles turning into or out of the junction that may or may not have seen you. Depending on visibility when emerging from a side road, some motor vehicles may roll slightly over the stop line to see what is coming. You'll see from fig.2 that having moved from the orange line (secondary) to the green line (primary) not only are you more visible, but you will avoid these vehicles that are edging out of the side road.

fig.2
What do I do after the side road?
Assuming that the road is quiet and there are no more side roads or parked cars imminently, you can move back into the secondary position. Don't be moving back and forth all the time, be predictable. If you can see another side road or parked car ahead of you, (as we can in fig.2) you are safer if you stay in the primary position in that gap rather than swinging left and then having to come out again just a few yards further on.

What if it's too busy to be moving out to the primary position at every side road?
On busy main roads it's sometimes not possible or practical to move completely to the primary position. You should still give a quick glance behind and if safe to do so, edge out a little to deter drivers behind from performing a left hook and increase your visibility. Again, you don't need to signal, cover the brakes with your hands and remember to acknowledge any courtesy from drivers. If you can't move out, just be more vigilant of traffic entering and exiting the side road, try to make eye contact and anticipate what other vehicles are going to do before they do it.

fig.3
What are the dangers with parked cars then?
Aside from the more obvious "dooring" where the door of a parked car opens into your path, pedestrians may step from behind a vehicle if crossing the road, and the parked vehicle may set off suddenly. Being in the primary position and at least a doors width away from the car (fig.3) gives you that extra space and time to avoid hazards should one appear, as well as making you more visible.

What if it's too tight for me to leave a doors width?
Be vigilant, try to look through the cars for people either sitting in them or crossing between them. Use your ears as well as eyes to spot cars starting up ready to move off. Be aware of your surroundings, cover the brakes and be ready to act if necessary. If in doubt when passing side roads or parked cars, stop, get off and either assess the situation, or walk your bike past it on the pavement.

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Monday, 26 March 2012

Levenes Cycle Injury to Take on the Prince's Trust Palace to Palace

Members of staff at our Birmingham office will be taking part in the Prince's Trust Palace to Palace ride on 20th May 2012.

Tim Beasley and Colin Martyr will tackle the 45 mile ride with keen triathlete and Birmingham counsel Paul Evans, who has been seconded for the event. (No doubt in an attempt to increase the team’s average speed!)

The ride begins in the grounds of Warwick Castle, goes via Kenilworth Castle, one of the most impressive and important ruins in England and through the beautiful old villages of the Warwickshire countryside.

The Prince's Trust is a youth charity that helps change young lives.
They give practical and financial support, developing key workplace skills such as confidence and motivation. Working with 13 to 30-year-olds who have struggled at school, have been in care, are long-term unemployed or have been in trouble with the law, The Prince's Trust have helped more than 600,000 people since 1976.

If you would like to sponsor the team, any amount would be greatly appreciated both by the Levenes team and the young people it helps. You can donate securely online via the team page on the Princes Trust website here.

All money raised from the event will help change disadvantaged young lives in the West Midlands.

For more information on Palace to Palace and how you can get involved, please visit:
http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/palace

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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Cycling Tips: Part 1 - Road Positioning

Green = Primary Position
Orange = Secondary Position
This is the first part of a series of articles that may help you to be safe on the roads
In part one, we look at Road Positioning. Primary and Secondary road positioning to be specific.

What is Primary Road Positioning?!
Sometimes known as "taking the lane", riding in the primary position is where a cyclist is riding in the centre of the left lane.

In the centre of the lane! Isn't that dangerous?
Not so, if you're in the centre of the lane, it means seeing and being seen is easier. You'll be more visible to cars turning right, approaching from behind and exiting a side road. It's more difficult for drivers to perform a "left hook", where they overtake you and attempt to turn left quickly across your path. It generally makes drivers more cautious when overtaking you as it forces them to wait for a decent sized gap rather than trying to quickly squeeze past. It gives you much more opportunity to avoid hazards such as potholes and road debris as you've got space inside to swerve into rather than having to swerve outwards potentially into the path of an overtaking car. Plus you avoid opening doors in the "door zone" when passing parked vehicles.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Kings Cross Go Slow - 25 Cyclist Injuries in 6 Years on the 1/2 Mile Route

You may have taken part in previous Kings Cross go slows, or one of London's previous flashrides. Even if you don't cycle through Kings Cross, you will have heard that the area is in desparate need of a safety review. Something which Bikes Alive and Kings Cross Environment have been excellently campaigning for.