Tests show some bike helmets protect heads better than others

Bicycle helmets have been shown to reduce the risk of head injuries in cycling, but, until now, consumers who want to buy one that offers the best protection have had little information to go on. A new American ratings program, based on collaborative research by Virginia Tech and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, fixes that.

The first 30 helmets to be tested — all popular adult-size models — show a range of performance, with four earning the highest rating of 5 stars, two earning 2 stars, and the rest in the 3-4-star range. Cost wasn’t a good predictor of performance. Both the $200 Bontrager Ballista MIPS and the $75 Specialized Chamonix MIPS earn 5 stars.

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Cyclist v pedestrians

Too often when I’m out and about on my bike when I choose to use the cycle lane I find it is blocked by pedestrians using it as an extended pavement.

I like this guys approach to dealing with this when he cycles in London:

Lorry overtaking cyclist, four, goes viral

A video of a “really kind” lorry driver overtaking a four-year-old girl on a bicycle has been viewed about 700,000 times after the family published it.

Rhoda Jones was riding on a trailer bike with her father Tom in Scotland.  The lorry took an extremely wide berth around the cyclists as Rhoda gave him a “thumbs up” and shouted “thank you”.

Mr Jones, from Wellingborough, said he could have posted lots of “angry cyclist” videos of poor overtaking but this was “textbook of how to do it”.

The Northamptonshire family have travelled all over the country on bicycles with their three children Thomas Ivor, nine, Ruth, five, and Rhoda – who turned four in April.

Rhoda cycling

Mr Jones and his wife Katie were in Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders for half-term with Ruth and Rhoda on trailer bikes when Mr Jones turned on his dashcam after experiencing “some appalling and aggressive passes”.

However, one lorry driver proved the exception and crossed to the opposite carriageway, giving the bikes a “very wide berth”.  Rhoda gave the lorry driver a big “thumbs up” and shouted her thanks.

Mr Jones said:

“I told her, ‘that lorry driver has been really kind, make sure you say thank you’,”

“Rhoda has a thing about people passing, and she can equally give a Paddington Bear-type angry stare which would be enough to take some drivers off the road.”

Rhoda cycling 1

Mr Jones posted the video on their Twitter feed on Sunday night, saying:

“So often we see or share videos of awful driving around cyclists, so this textbook pass from an exceptionally patient and careful HGV driver for D&W Agri coming into Jedburgh deserves sharing…”

Hundreds of thousands viewed it, and it has been retweeted by a number of police forces including Police Scotland and the West Midlands as an example of good road practice.

The family has thanked the haulage company and Mr Jones said the driver was “over the moon” to have been in the film.

Watch Danny MacAskill’s new film Home of Trails

danny-macaskill-home-of-trails-galleryf

Danny MacAskill goes on an epic trip with Claudio Caluori across Graubünden AKA ‘The Home of Trails’.

Graubünden has been nicknamed “The Home of Trails”, no other alpine region in Europe has as many trails in such a small area – over 17,000km of rideable paths stretch across the mountainous region. It’s the ultimate mountain biker’s playground.

The alluring call of endless trails also drew Danny MacAskill and Claudio Caluori to the region. Legendary trials biker Danny broke onto the scene in 2009 with his viral Inspired Bicycles video, followed by numerous viral hits such as Wee Day Out in 2016. Claudio has established himself as a cult figure in mountain biking with his hilarious UCI DH course previews.

Watch their epic trip to Graudbünden in the video below:

 

 

(Bike) Speed Dating at The Bargate!

southampton-bargate

The ‘Get Cycle Savvy’ team will be at The Bargate this Saturday, 7th April 10am – 4pm.

They’ll be working with the amazing teams at Cycle Experience and YoBike who will have a range of bikes available to try out – such as hybrids, mountain bikes, electric and folding bikes – to help you determine which is best for your everyday journeys!

They’ll also have bike balance obstacle courses, freebies, and a perfect opportunity to speak to the experts and take some wheels for a spin!

Find them at The Bargate on Saturday 7th April, 10am – 4pm.

Learn how to ride the cobbles

Cobbles

With the Tour of Flanders now past and Paris-Roubaix coming up, it’s worth knowing how to ride the cobbles. British Cycling’s guide gives you tips on speed, gears, positioning and more:

Speed is your friend

Don’t be tentative but try to increase your speed and attack the cobbles as the extra momentum will carry you over the lumps and bumps more smoothly. Try to add some sustained hard 3-5 minute efforts into your long rides or include regular Ramped VO2 intervals into your training.

Gear up

Try to ride flat, downhill or gently climbing cobbled sectors using your big chain-ring. This will maintain chain tension, reduce chain slap and prevent your chain jumping off. A compact chainset and a wide ranging cassette will help you to manage this even when you are tiring.

Look ahead

Pick your line, anticipate the actions of riders ahead and look where you want to go. If there is a big gap in the cobbles or an uneven edge you want to avoid, don’t look at it but where you want to go to avoid it.

Be first

When you hit the cobbles, the best place to be is on the front as you will get a clear ride and won’t have to contend with riders falling in front of you. Do some route research, check where the cobbled sectors are and tape this information to your stem. You will then know when to try and move up through the field.

Be last

Unfortunately, with big sportive fields and everyone else wanting the front spot, being on the front can be hard. Another option is to slow up, let the group you’re with go ahead and give yourself a bit of space. Also, if you watch the pros, you will notice that they leave larger than normal gaps on cobbles and you should adopt this tactic too. Assume that the rider in front of you is going to crash and give yourself enough space so that you have at least a chance of avoiding them.

Keep relaxed

Don’t tense up and don’t try to fight the bike. Grip the bars firmly but also keep your arms and upper body as relaxed and loose as possible. Let the bike flow underneath you, correct itself and don’t over react to small slips.

Tops or drops

Your hands are more secure either on the bar tops or down on the drops. It is recommended that you do not ride on the hoods as it is very easy for your hands to bounce off.

Stay on the crown

Although often the bumpiest, on cobbled roads, the crown is usually the best place to ride. The cobbles will be less broken up, will tend to have less mud on and there will be fewer gaps as fewer vehicles will have passed over them. Avoid the cambered lines on either side of the crown, especially if the cobbles are wet or muddy.

Avoid the verges

The verges may look smoother and tempting but there are often deep wheel swallowing holes hidden by puddles and puncture causing flints and debris that has washed off the cobbles.

Steer with your hips

If you need to alter your line to pass a rider, keep your speed up and initiate the change in direction positively with your hips. Don’t try to turn by using your handlebars as you are far more likely to experience a front wheel slide or catch it in a gap.

Recover in the wheels

Between the cobbled sectors, try to regroup and sit in the wheels to recover. It can be tempting to try and push on when you hit the smooth tarmac but you are better saving your energy for the next sector of pavé.

Practice

If you know that your event has rough sections or cobbles, practice riding them in training. Canal towpaths, converted railway line bike paths and forest fire roads can all be suitable for honing your “off-road” road bike skills. Also consider including some mountain biking and/or cyclo-cross in your training to develop your bike handling skills.

Get on your bike

Where to cycle_1

Some people cycle to get fit, some to commute and some just for fun. The My Journey Southampton website has a host of information about getting out and about in the city on your bike, improve your cycling skills and bike maintenance if yours needs some TLC. Go check it out for more info.

Don’t own a bike? The YoBike is now in Southampton. A large-scale dockless bike-sharing system offering riders a seamless, hassle-free experience. By using a mobile app, riders can find and unlock YoBikes at parking spots around the city and ride them from just £1 per hour. Find out more here.

The British Cycling website Letsride lists HSBC UK Breeze Rides for women and HSBC UK Social Rides, plus lots more information on cycling. Find out more here.