Thursday, 28 November 2013

Public Art II: Grove House Gardens

A few weeks ago I kicked off a new series of posts featuring items of public art in the Luton & Dunstable area. The first post introduced a few sculptures from the Busway and from Stockwood Park. Today, I'd like to show you two distinctly different styles of sculpture, all within Dunstable's Grove House Gardens

Wooden Animals

While the wooden animals in Luton's Stockwood Park are somewhat fanciful, those in Grove House Gardens aim to be more realistic.

At one end of one of the three main paths across the centre of the Gardens sits a majestic golden eagle. He doesn't face the path directly.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Winter Closes In... Time For An Indoor Trainer?

Photograph: Getty Images via The Guardian

Today I should have gone to Pilates. Local bus services to the nearest town with a proper Stott Pilates studio are rubbish, so I cycle instead:  6 miles there and 6 miles back.

I woke up this morning feeling a bit under the weather. Literally not just metaphorically as it happens, but more on that in a moment. I stumbled bleary-eyed downstairs in time to see Adam off to work but then crawled back into bed and slept another two hours.

Cue an hour sitting on the sofa with a sleeping cat on my lap, watching the rain falling steadily on our backyard patio. Hmmm. The idea of getting up and suiting up for a really wet cycle ride just didn't appeal.

.... Then the rain changed to sleet. The noise against the patio doors was incredible.

Then the noise stopped. I looked out again.... only to see big fat sloppy sloshy snowflakes falling amidst the rain drops. No chance of it settling (or 'sticking' as we say back where I come from) but the trees were swaying in a moderate breeze (~10mph).

Cycling outdoors lost whatever appeal it had remaining.

I logged onto Facebook. The first thing my eyes landed on was a friend's comment that it was time to get out the turbo.

Hmmm, turbo. 

Monday, 18 November 2013

Custom Enigma Etape Update: Final Set-Up

I think the fit set-up is now pretty much final: 

10mm set-back seatpost has been fitted to accommodate the "sitting further back" effects of the... 

This is a new saddle I've been riding since July, which has completely resolved the intermittent-torture-sessions experienced with previous saddles.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Things I Learned Today

Photograph:  (C) T. Pettinger 2009

1.  When the BBC says the day will be bright, sunny but cold but the Met Office says it'll be foggy and misty... they may both be right.

2. A cycling outfit chosen for dry, cold weather can also prove effective in damp, not-so-cold weather. As long as it's not actually raining.

3. There's a first time for everything. Chapeau to Michele for completing 28 miles on a brand new road bike - the first time with clipless pedals!

4. Smiling through mishaps wins respect. I witnessed three falls today, yet Michele's smile never wavered.

5. Practice does make perfect. I remember my first clipless moment vividly (in the middle of the junction, London Bridge and Tooley Street).  And the latest series of crashes in August upon switching from MTB pedals to road pedals.

6. Never leave home without bright lights.

7. Never leave home without a camera. (Or you may have to run a Google search for images of cyclists in fog! Apologies and thanks to T. Pettinger, whose image is featured above.)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Coffeeneuring Challenge: Ride 4

Destination: The Gary Cooper, Grove Park, Court Drive, Dunstable, Bedfordshire LU5 4GP
Date: Sunday, 10 November 2013
Hot drink of choice: Tea
Total mileage: 35.5km

Ride details/report:

The local cycling group has been working hard the past few months to develop a programme of led group rides suitable for beginners and returning cyclists. The first series was held the last two weekends of September, on both the Saturday and Sunday. The route was almost entirely traffic-free (what is called "off road" in the UK), totaling about 7 miles along part of the new Busway and returning along part of the local section of National Cycle Network 6. We've had more interest than we expected! The first two weekends, we had more Forumites than new cyclists, but the fourth and final day saw several returning from previous rides, with a ratio of 5 new cyclists to 4 Forumites. 

Friday, 8 November 2013

Public Art

"Art" is not exactly what comes to mind in connection with the Luton and Dunstable area! However, on my various cycle rambles round the area, I've come across a few examples. The two I'm sharing today, I would never have discovered if not on my bike. I am hoping more local cycling will reveal even more.


There is a series of sculptures along the busway in Dunstable and Houghton Regis, commissioned by Central Bedfordshire Council. The artist is Peter Morehouse.

This particular installation is at the northern end of the guided portion of the Busway, at the end of Blackburn Road just north of the Portland Ride stop.

Monday, 4 November 2013

This Is What I Do

Advance Notice.  We started the 4-day project with 5 of these signs.
By the time we packed up at the end of Day 4, we only had 2 left
due to theft and vandalism.
In my Coffeeneuring #3 post, I described a current work project: 

[This involves] counting everyone using one of our local National Cycling Network routes. Our survey point is situated where the cycling route intersects with a footpath between a housing estate and the town's main park, which borders the main downtown shopping route. It's an extremely popular walking route. We are counting everyone using both the footpath and the cycling route at this junction, and recording each user according to gender, age bracket, mode of transport and destination (as they leave the crossroads). Additionally, we are conducting random interviews with users, asking where their current journey started and where it will end, the purpose of their journey, whether it involves another mode of transport (e.g. car, bus, train) and finally, whether they could have used a car but didn't and if so, why they didn't, in particular teasing out any reasons why they may have actively chosen not to use the car in favour of walking or cycling instead. 

Share This