Bikes in History — An Occasional Series

April 23rd, 2012 by Biky Nick

This image dating from the thirteenth century gives a graphic depiction of the fate of a bike thief who was caught red-handed.

An entry in Cobbett’s parliamentary history of England, from the Norman Conquest, in 1066 to the year, 1803 : from which last-mentioned epoch it is continued downwards in the work entitled, “Cobbett’s parliamentary debates” (which is now available on-line) reinforces the notion that perhaps in years gone by, bicycle theft was looked on slightly more negatively than in the modern age:

In a parliament held at London in 1246, some severe laws were made against such as robbed velocipedes or cyclettes. If the malefactor fled, and was killed in the pursuit, there was neither law nor appeal allowed for his death. If any earl, baron, or knight complained to the king that his velocipede were stolen, an inquisition was made by the king’s writ; and, if he that was indicted was convicted of the same, he was to lie in the king’s prison a year and a day; and to pay three years value of his estate, having just sufficient allowed out of it to maintain him; after which the king was to have two part, and he that received the injury one; then the convict was to find 12 sureties that he should never do the like again.

From Volume 01: comprising the period from the Conquest in 1066, to the death of King James the First in the year 1625 (Column 22)

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Cycling and Weight Loss

April 10th, 2012 by Biky Nick

Many novice and would-be cyclists come to me and cry, “Nick, Nick, please tell me, is it true that cycling can cause weight loss?”

I understand the heart-felt pain behind the question. Having read many alarming articles in newspapers both in print and on-line about the link between diabetes and the sedentary lifestyle, it comes easy to the human mind to turn this on its head and surmise that activity will cause weight loss.

Let me begin with some reassurance to put your mind at ease: cycling in and of itself will not cause weight loss, so there is no need to put your new bicycle back in the shed and begin walking again for fear of ending up looking like a gangly Tour de France cyclist with overly pronounced varicose veins.

The primary methods by which you maintain your weight are eating and drinking to supply the calories coming in, and activity to take the calories out. However, ‘activity’ is rather broadly defined here, because the vast majority of calories you take in are expended by a process called ‘living’ which is also referred to as your Base Metabolic Rate. Say you are a well-built lad of 6 foot tall and weighing in at 15 stone. Say your walk to the pub, or work, or wherever it is you walk, and back (at half an hour each way) would cost you about 300 calories. Now that you have your bike, you can do the same journey in 1/3 of the time, so for the same distance, you would only be expending 170 calories. If this does not reassure you, please also bear in mind that you will have an extra 40 minutes in the pub — go ahead and have an extra pint, which will give you an extra 180 calories which more than covers the expense of getting there. Also note that just sitting on your settee for an hour expends nearly 200 calories, and if you combine that with some vigorous eating, you are almost using as much as you would be if you spent the time cycling.

As you can see, you need not dread the dreaded weight loss as a result of cycling, so you can go right ahead and come to my shop to buy yourself that bike you have promised yourself for so long.

Please note that where the word ‘calories’ is used, ‘kilo-calories (kCal)’ is meant. This to remain in line with the common confusing usage you will find everywhere despite ‘Joules (J)’ having been designated the SI unit for energy output since Napoleonic days.

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25 Things To Do With A Bike (An Occasional Series) — #1

April 4th, 2012 by Biky Nick

The first of my 25 suggestions to you of things to do with your new bicycle is also the most obvious one: you can cycle.
As soon as you have purchased a bike (and cycling gear, and well-fitting shoes, a cycling map, reflective jacket, rain protection, liability insurance, cycle damage and loss insurance, a helmet, panniers, a puncture repair kit, a chain lock, and a wheel lock, all of which can be purchased from my shop), you will want to take it on the road.

Now you will be asking yourself, whither do I cycle? Take your cycle map and draw a rough circle around where you are, representing the distance you can plausibly travel in the time you want to take. If you have never cycled before, you may need to perform some test rides to establish a time frame. Remember that you will need to double the time, if you are also cycling back, or treble, if you plan to return by public transport. Now look around the circle and notice any intersecting interesting sights. Pick one, eat lunch, and off you go!

These people have just been to see that interesting little white church. If they had been travelling in the car, they would have whooshed past a white blur and they would never have known to stop and have a look. Cycling really gets you out and about, seeing things and taking the moral high ground!

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Biking is apparently quite healthy

April 3rd, 2012 by Biky Nick

It is rumoured that riding your bike frequently can improve your health. Research has shown this, so it must be true.

Just look at all these healthy people on their bikes. You can see the customized wheels increase drag so that your work out is even harder than you thought it would be, and the cardio vascular benefits are enormous! Come buy one of my bikes so that you can be a healthy fucker too.

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