Obesity push with nothing on exercise. Are you sure ?

Boris spearheads a push on obesity and all the media want to talk about is that he wrote in a column 10 or 15 years ago that people should eat what they like and no more nanny state . That isn’t a story. People should be allowed to change their minds on things over a lifetime, especially those who have been at death’s door as Boris has with Covid , made worse no doubt by his size. The story, in my view, is that the obesity drive says nothing at all about exercise ! I’m sure banning junk foods and cutting some sugar has importance but a fundamental part of health and well being , mental and physical , is daily exercise . Yes , you can’t outrun or outcycle a bad diet ( I used to think you could !) but this silence on the joy of exercise simply has to change . Ironically, the only time I’ve ever met Boris is about 15 years ago when I was cycling along Regents Canal, and he was bumbling along on his morning jog. Two thirds of us are overweight or obese and I want to make it my mission to help do something about...

”Your bike needs some love.”

This is what the very nice bike mechanic said to me a few weeks ago (Hackney Peddler N16 8AA) when he helped me back on the road after my chain came off and despite my best efforts , I could not re attach it.  He wouldn’t accept my offer of money.”Your bike needs some love .” Great line. For the last two weeks  , it’s been receiving that love , and I phoned them again today to see if it was ready . Daycocks N16 8BP are a very different kind of bike shop but no less accommodating. Lovely people. After having so many bikes stolen , I’ve ventured into the second hand market and am possibly paying the price , a new cassette , a new chain and a few other odds and sods. All bike shops are struggling with the demand of course in these corona times and it’s hard just to book a bike in for repair. Finally picking it up tomorrow and will be treating myself and the bike to a long spin to see how it...

”It’s like cancelling Ramadan or Christmas !” Dunwich Dynamo in the balance…

Gutted to read a story this week, on BBC Suffolk, that cyclists are being discouraged from the Dunwich Dynamo , still (just) on course for 4th and 5th July. Having done it four times over around 12 years, and had a wonderful and slightly different experience each time,I’ve been limbering up for my fifth Dun Run in 11 days time. I had to laugh at this comment of a veteran about Ramadan, the beauty of the event is that it is unofficial ; there is no registration, no tabards and no nonsense— just a simple and beautifully pointless 120 mile cycle through the night from London Fields near where I live and work in Hackney out of London into the villages of Essex and on to the Suffolk prairies for Dunwich at around 9 am on the Sunday morning. My friends are in two minds and we’ll now have to see if it’s a case of holding back for a year until...

public transport in this brave new world

One aspect of corona that I find difficult to deal with is being told to avoid public transport. It’s not that I use it that often normally, work is a short cycle from home in North London and the bike is mostly how I nip about . It’s being told to avoid it that is so strange and the fact that so many bus drivers have lost their lives. I realised the other day when I saw my Oyster card that I hadn’t used it for the longest time ever .I grew up in North London and have lived here all of my five decades. One of the reasons I ‘ve always been a Ken Livingstone fan is that he transformed public transport in this city , both in the 1980’s and later as the first ever mayor of London. He invested and improved so heavily that it’s the go to option for millions rather than a sub standard service with buses covered in graffiti and three an hour which is how it was when I was growing up. At the end of my street now, the buses arrive in minutes and I really like the reimagined Routemasters too. There’s a funereal feel for me to the pictures of deserted tube trains with passengers wearing masks . Ditto the buses. I hope there’s an eventual return to the full use of public transport, subject of course to millions of people working from home and not needing to use it...

London’s cycle provision, good enough ?

For many years, I have , through a psychiatric report, made claims for travel expenses for cyclists who are too scared to cycle again after an accident which has caused injury. This is how Nathalie put it today : ”I’m not sure I’d call my decision not to cycle as a phobia–I therefore don’t think it can be ‘cured’ . As the accident was unavoidable from my perspective, it has made me realise how unsafe the roads in London are while drivers like that are on them and the city’s cycle provision is so crap. The impact of the accident on my life is not something I want to repeat and so the best way to avoid that seems to me to not cycle on London roads- especially as my commute is an 18 mile round trip. My job is permanent and I own my flat and have no intention of moving so I don’t see how this will change unless the city’s approach to cyclists changes....