78 year old woman cycles over 10,000 miles since 2003

ethel-macdonald

At 65, most people are thinking about getting a senior citizen bus pass. But for Montana woman Ethel MacDonald, that’s when she took up tour cycling.

Fourteen years later, the retired French teacher has covered more than 10,000 miles across Europe and North America and she’s not stopping yet.

CNN spoke to her by phone in Galway, during her recent tour of Ireland’s coastline.  “I like what I like to do without having to wait for someone else to be ready,” explains the 78-year-old great-grandmother.  The appeal of biking alone on the open road, she says, is “just feeling like I’m my own boss.”

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Just some of the European destinations MacDonald has visited.

Her companion on her Ireland trip is a pink Brompton folding bike, which she’s used on five trips around the US south. She keeps another bike with a friend for her tours of mainland Europe.

This seasoned biker reckons she’s traveled at least 10,000 miles.  “Usually my trips are close to 1,000 miles in three to four weeks,” MacDonald says. “I’ve been doing it for 13 years, and I’ve done at least one trip a year and often two. It would easily be closer to 13 or 14,000.”

Read more about the Great Grandmother and her cycling.

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Quad bike gritters deployed to keep London’s cycle routes ice free

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Transport for London will keep cycle routes in London ice-free this winter by using quad bikes equipped with gritters.

The responsibility for clearing ice from cycle routes in the British capital is split between TfL and individual London Boroughs – including Cycle Superhighways.

“When a Cycle Superhighway sits on a borough road the council maintains and grits it,” a TfL spokesperson said. “When it’s on one of our roads, we grit it. Most of the Cycle Superhighways are on our roads.”

While the majority of the road network can be treated using conventional lorry gritters, the narrower lanes used for cycles are inaccessible to large vehicles. At 1.2 metres wide, the motorised quad bikes can fit into a bike lane and the majority of footways with ease.

Rather than using salt and grit, a substance called Pathway KA is used, which contains potassium acetate to melt ice. The quad bikes can carry up to 500kg of ice-melting chemicals.

A TFL statement said:

“Although there hasn’t been significant snow falls for three winters now, TfL and London Councils develop coordinated plans every year, alongside the emergency services, to keep the rail and road networks open and running in case of any severe weather”.

“This includes key arterial roads, cycle routes and footways around bus and railway stations, hospitals and police, fire and ambulance stations across London.”

“TfL and London’s boroughs will also ensure that the Cycle Superhighways and other cycling routes remain safe to use during the winter months.”

2016 Mileage

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This year for the first time ever I entered a couple of sportives and so with it an increased mileage.  I was pleased to manage an extra 195.61 miles in comparison with 2015.

2017 brings new opportunity as always and the plan is to maintain lower weight and continue to use cycling as a way of staying healthy, both physically and mentally.

I hope it’s been a great year for you and wish you safe miles in 2017.  Thanks for continuing to visit the blog and I hope to see you on the road sometime.

2016

  • Mileage –  546.25 miles / 879.1km
  • Ride Time – 36hrs 35mins
  • Ascent 3,565metres
  • Avg. Speed – 12.76mph / 20.54km/h
  • Avg. HR – 167bpm
  • Total Rides – 120

Turning the corner

British Cycling has joined forces with The AA and pedestrian groups in calling for a ‘universal’ rule to give way when turning in order create simpler, safer junctions for all road users #TurningTheCorner.

The organisations propose consolidating and strengthening existing rules in the Highway Code so that, whether you are driving or cycling, you would be clearly obliged to give way when turning to people who are going straight ahead.

The new proposal follows research conducted on behalf of British Cycling in a bid to make junctions safer, simpler and more efficient for all road users, based on successful existing models in place in countries such as Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden. In practice, the changes would see:

  • Drivers turning at a junction giving way to people cycling and walking who may be on your nearside, or crossing the road you wish to turn into.
  • Cyclists turning at a junction giving way to people walking who are crossing the road you wish to turn into.
  • Pedestrians getting increased protection when crossing a side road or other junction.

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British Cycling has today launched a petition to allow members of the public to add their support to the new proposal. Among those to have already signed the petition are Chris Boardman, Olympic champions Joanna Rowsell Shand, Katie Archibald, Elinor Barker and Steven Burke and Paralympic legend Dame Sarah Storey.

Ride the Rapha Festive 500km

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I was emailed about the Rapha Festive 500 today:

Challenge yourself to ride the Rapha Festive 500 this holiday season. Complete 500km in the eight days between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, and document your story to win incredible prizes, including a Moots bicycle built to your specifications.

I love the concept of this, although my chance of success would be tiny!

EcoHelmet Wins Dyson Award

folding, paper helmet has won the prestigious Dyson Award.

Intended for bike shares and travel, the EcoHelmet is constructed from waterproofed recycled paper in a radial honeycomb pattern and folds flat for easy vending. It fits most head sizes and the inventor claims it absorbs impact as well as traditional polystyrene.

It’s also disposable with an expected short life, if put in a bag, or banged around on a bike rack. It’ll cost less than £10.00.

eco-helmet

The inventor, Brooklyn-based Isis Shiffer, will use the money from Dyson—£30,000—to bring the concept to market and for certification. Folding helmets exist now, like the Pango, but not normally sold as they don’t meet standards. Isis told the BBC that a paper helmet is a “tough sell.” It isn’t the best looking design.

With backing and certification, I could see the helmet being used by bike shares and travelers. In the rainy parts of the world, such as Europe, the EcoHelmet is coated with a rain-resistant material that’ll last for a few hours!