X Kyle M Thompson

Kyle Thompson's Internet Treehouse blog

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Specialized Langster

I went to Bath after work today and bought a friend's old bike off him, I'd been meaning to try a road bike for a while and I wanted a single speed/fixed speed bike too, the opportunity to combine both came up so I went for it.

I got home, fitted my pedals, adjusted the saddle and set off on my regular commute route to see how I did. Apart from a few problems setting off from stationary in a higher than usual gear I managed all the hills non stop and even overtook people for a change. In fact the 13 mile route I managed in just over an hour, not bad for a fat bloke on an unfamiliar bike I thought. I attempted to cycle up my local very steep hill when I got home - one that I struggle to manage using my Brompton's lowest gear. I slowly ground to a halt with little chance of setting off again. That will be my next challenge.

Luckily it's quite an attractive bike too - I say luckily, as it's going to have to live in my living room!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Do humans dream of electric cars?

I've just got home from a talk that my friend Martyn invited me to. It was a chap from Sustrans ostensibly about about alternative travel - ie not being so reliant on cars and stuff. However in the question & answer session afterwards he did seem to go off on a personal crusade about sustainable living.
Now, I'm all for being as environmentally friendly as possible: Yes, I do have a car but it's one of the lowest emissions cars available at my price point and anyway I cycle to work on average nine and a half times out of ten. This chaps vision, as I understood it, was for a future where we all lived in self reliant communities, which sounds quite nice.
Our orator seemed to go further with his living local plan, asking that we forgot about the outside world and concentrated solely on ourselves and our neighbours. Whilst I like to support British and local companies as far as possible, I also feel very strongly that today we live in a global world. I don't mean a world of global consumerism, but a world where the troubles and concerns of our neighbours and friends we've yet to met near by and all over the world affect our daily lives. How much of the news we read today concerns conflicts, tragedies and successes overseas, often in places that we may never have been and most likely never will? One question asked of this chap was how could we address the energy uses and waste of other developing and developed countries? He responded by telling us that we needed to concentrate on ourselves first, advocating a life we have not seen for a number of centuries.
Whilst I understand his sentiment of trying to get mankind out of a lifestyle of reliance on transport and the fuel it requires, the way we live today simply cannot become the one he desires. If we all suddenly lived in our idyllic sustainable communities without outside influence or any way to influence others then the world would be a poorer place. If we could not learn of, or help our friends and neighbours in their time of need or work toward adverting tragedy then one day we might be plowing our perfect field for the next crop whilst a cloud of toxic waste or a missile headed our way, and we'd be none the wiser and then we would wish we had done something about it.
The way to combat harmful effects to our world is not to hide ourselves away and do our little bit. The way to save the world is by shouting loud, twittering like mad and involving everyone we know to make the world a better place, one that all mankind can enjoy.