Author Archives: Ben

Bike Ride: Nuneaton to Rugby

Last week, I decided to embark on a ride from Nuneaton to Rugby – not the longest ride I’ve done yet (that’s the 72km/45mi Leicester ride last year, so far), but still an objective I’ve wanted to do for a long time but hadn’t got around to. There was no particular reason for the trip to be made on the day I did it, other than I hadn’t done many longer rides this year so far, the weather was nice, and I had no work in – so, why not?

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Nuneaton Car Park Tariff Board

The Folly of Reducing Car Parking Charges

Locally, the issue of car parking charges has cropped up from time-to-time, with some politicians arguing for a reduction, e.g. £1.00 for 3 hours parking at weekdays. The argument for a reduced car parking charge is that it will encourage visits to the town centre, and with it being a fixed cost for a longer period of time, these visits will also be extended as people won’t be rushing back to their cars to avoid the next tariff. However, I maintain this is a bad idea and often say so on Twitter. To save me making the same arguments over and over again, it’s now high time that I put them here!

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Swytch E-Bike Conversion Kit

Swytch E-Bike Conversion Kit – First Look

On Tuesday last week, I finally received my long-awaited order of a Swytch E-Bike Conversion Kit – a project I backed on Indiegogo back in February 2018, nearly a year ago.

The Swytch is an all-encompassing kit that promises to convert 99% of regular cycles into electric-assist cycles tidly and with relative ease. It’s unique selling point however, is that this is not a one-way conversion. It uses a ‘power pack’ that can be docked to the handlebar when the user wants an e-bike, or quickly removed when the e-assist isn’t required. It was this feature that sold me on the idea.

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Small Changes for Notable Improvements

It’s so easy to get caught up in the demand for long, protected cycleways and high quality infrastructure (a worthy goal, of course), that it’s easy to overlook how making relatively small adjustments can make a notable difference for cycling.

One such location occurred to me today as I was cycling to the neighbouring town of Bedworth. My most direct route which also avoids the worst of the hills is obstructed at one point, where a cyclist is presented with two options: 1) dismount, walk a short distance along the footpath, use a pedestrian, walk a further short distance on the footpath before joining the next road to continue ahead, or 2) follow the road on a diversion that loops around to the destination and also includes hills on a busy main road.

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Planned Bedworth Cycle Link

A plan exists in Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough to create a new cycle and walking link adjacent to the route of a now disused railway line – from ‘The Nook’, a small nature reserve on the western edge of Bedworth, down to the corner of Heath Road and Smorrall Lane.

This scheme is an interesting one because, in my opinion, it shows the problems that can occur when only considering infrastructure as its own little project and not part of a wider network, and perhaps not properly considering cycling as an alternative means of transport to the car.

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Improving Air Quality on Congested Roads and Induced Demand

On 13 December, at a County Council session, the issue of excessive traffic causing unsafe levels of pollutants in the air was raised by Cllr Caroline Phillips. This was in specific relation to the ring-road in Nuneaton, where a bottleneck in the short route causes surrounding major roads towards the town to seize up.

You can watch Councillor Phillips raise the matter in the following video, which starts from the appropriate point.

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Kryptonite Street F-450 Front Cycle Light

A couple of weeks back, I bought a set of lights to replace my older set, which last winter, I had decided the front was really to weak to see by when out after dark. The set I chose was really an impulse buy due to a very attractive offer for both the front and rear lamps for just £20 – the Kryptonite Street F-450 and Avenue R-45. Continue reading

K-Frame Barrier

K-Frame Barriers – Part 4: A Director Responds

The ongoing saga relating to access restrictions on cycle paths, specifically Nuneaton’s Weddington Walk (part of National Cycle Network Route 52) continues following receipt of a response to my questions, this time from a Council director. The contents of that reply are copied below. I was a little disappointed that the email was headed ‘Draft’ in the subject, almost like it wasn’t ready to be sent out or hadn’t been checked, but since I have it, I’m taking it as the Council’s official response. Continue reading