All posts by Wilf Forrow

About Wilf Forrow

I'm a retired IT consultant, and a touring and utility cyclist. I'm particularly interested in campaigning for better cycle infrastructure, and a member of Sustrans and Cycle Hayling, amongst others. I am fascinated by cycle technology, and especially folders.

Decathlon Northarbour opens Thurs 25-April

Decathlon is opening its store in Northarbour tomorrow (Thursday 25-April-2018), near the Tesco Extra, and they're offering free backpacks for the first day if you have a Decathlon account and card.

They do a fantastic range across all sports at great value, but especially cycling, and their bikes get great reviews.  Disclaimer:  I bought one of their fantastic folding bikes, and it's the most fun bike I've got - I'm certainly recommending it.

Previously, the nearest store was West Quay Southampton, which is a bit of a trek for us here.

More details at   https://www.decathlon.co.uk/portsmouth.html

Sustainable cycle parking at the Sustainability Centre?

One of favourite stops, the Sustainability Centre, is planning to transform their 'tired, old, inefficient MoD building' into an eco-friendly, state-of-the-art New Learning Centre.   

Update:  They've already raised £21,500 towards the £25,000 they need to apply for planning, so they just trying to raise the last £3,500.   We can earn them commission at no cost to us when we buy online at popular stores like Amazon, John Lewis and many more!  It all works through Give as You Live. 

More details at www.sustainability-centre.org/christmaspresents, or go directly,  www.giveasyoulive.com/join/sustainabilitycentre, where you'll see them under their official charity name, Earthworks Trust.  But of course they'd love any other donations as well.

I hadn't realised just how much they do, from education for schools, universities, teacher training, to camping, bee-keeping, recycling, ecology, forestry, nature, and lots more.  Our cafe visits barely scratch the surface.  And if the hill-climb to get there is too much for any of us one day, they can even do us a green burial  🙂

It's a big, high-profile, multi-million pound projectSustainability New Learning Centre that will need big funding from the lottery and other sources.  And that could help unlock funding for better cycling routes to get there.

They've asked informally for our input on cycle parking.  And unusually, in advance!  They know we don't like wheel-manglers, but what would we like?  We've said cyclists like to be able to keep an eye on their bikes, but it would be a shame to despoil such a beautiful site with ugly steel sheffield stands.

On our coast-to-coast at Whitehaven, we could have locked to leaping stainless steel salmon.  Elsewhere, we've locked to beautiful sculptures.

So my challenge to Portsmouth CTC is to come up with something more imaginative, maybe more artistic?  Something we'd be proud to use in future.  Over to you!

Be a scrubber for a day!

Joy and I are going to be scrubbers for the day next Monday.  Butser scrubbers, that is.  Why not join us?  The weather forecast is sunny!

Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP) has asked for  volunteers to help with some fun scrub bashing on the lower/southern slopes of Butser Hill National Nature Reserve from Monday 13th to Saturday 18th November.

They've been great supporters of cycling, whether mountain biking, cycling through on the Butser Crossing, or stopping off at the great tearoom for refreshments, so it's an opportunity to return the favour and strengthen the bond.

Teas & coffees will be available, and if you book in advance (via the QECP reception qecp.enquiries@hants.gov.uk or 02392 595040) a breakfast bacon sandwich and piece of cake!

The work will be supervised and with all tools provided. Participants will need to bring working clothes, waterproofs, boots, gloves, and packed lunch.

The day will start at 10.00am and finish at 3.00pm, meeting at the old A3 car park to the east of the motorway. Free parking, look out for the signs.

Joy and I can only do Monday, so it would be fun if you could join us, but if you can't make that, do try another day.

Organised by Tim Speller, Country Parks Manager.

Portsmouth commits to 10% of transport budget on cycling

Portsmouth City Council has just voted to commit at least 10% of its local transport budget to cycling.   It's a tribute to the tireless campaigning of PompeyBug, the Bicycle User Group, also known as Portsmouth Cycle Forum.

But also our Cycling UK national team was heavily involved.  It's great to see what our subscriptions help to pay for.  Being flat and a student city, Portsmouth is a big cycling community, and has pretty good cycle infrastructure (compared to Havant and most of Hampshire).  But it also has a high death rate, so there's lots more to do.

More details at: www.cyclinguk.org/blog/watershed-moment-portsmouth-council-back-space-cycling .  Well worth reading.

We need to hold them to it, and make sure it leads to real improvements in cycling, not just a spinning class  🙂

Roger Geffen at PompeyBUG, 17th November

Roger Geffen MBE, Policy Director of Cycling UK, is the guest of Portsmouth Cycle Forum (PompeyBUG) at 7pm, Thursday 17th November, when he will talk about the second phase of our national Space for Cycling campaign.  This aims to create better places for everyone, by enabling people of all ages and abilities to cycle for any local journey.  As well as enabling members of the public to call on councils to commit to planning high-quality cycle networks – and to finding the funding these will require – we are also creating a Space for Cycling toolkit.  This will support local campaign groups and councils to work constructively together on planning local cycle networks and prioritising schemes, using a suite of IT tools and crowd-sourced data. This will strengthen the hand of local campaigners – as local authorities seek their support for their funding proposals – while boosting their credibility, their visibility in the local media, and their supporter base.

This should be a really interesting meeting and a great chance for us to engage with Cycling UK’s national campaigns and to use them locally to help us make cycling work for the Portsmouth and Havant area.  Put the date in your diaries.

More details at  http://www.pompeybug.co.uk/2016/10/open-meeting-making-space-for-cycling-uk/

Photo sharing

Photos are a great way to share and remember cycling experiences, and we use them heavily on the website, the club magazine, and at club evenings.  While you can include the odd few photos in website articles, our website isn't really set up to store hundreds and hundreds, but don't despair.

Sharing photos on the web is getting easier and easier and can even be free.  In fact, we recommend uploading your precious photos and other files up to the web as a backup for when (not if) your phone or computer eventually dies!   Once they're uploaded, you can very easily share a link to them in a post, or by email - e.g. for use in the magazine, or club meetings.

It's not difficult these days.  The easiest and free way to get started is to register for a free account with one or more of the websites below, if you haven't already.  Here are some we've tried and can recommend:

  • Dropbox.  Great one minute intro here.  Brilliant if your main interest is occasionally sharing photos with others, and backing up your photos (and all your other files as well).  It gives you a folder on your computer that automatically syncs to Dropbox's website, and to any other computers, phones or tablets you have.  It's free for the first 2 GB, which is enough to store several hundred photos.  Highly recommended - the original and still the best - everyone should have a Dropbox!
  • Google Drive.   Good intro here.  Similar to and almost as good as Dropbox, but 15 GB free storage, and especially good if you already have a google account.  Google also offers to back up all your photos automatically,  totally for free if you don't mind slightly less than maximum resolution.
  • Google Photos - very new and trendy, but not recommended yet unless you're very comfortable with smartphones and computers.
  • Flickr.com.  Good intro here.  Great for organising and sharing your photos, and fairly simple to use.  It's the world's most popular photo sharing website, owned by Yahoo, and offers up to 1TB for free - that's 1024 GB - it's HUGE.

Once your your photos are uploaded, click the 'sharing' option to get a link (a web URL) to them.  Usually, you'll be sharing more than one photo, so best to first group them into a folder or album and share that in one go.  Simplest is to make them public, but it's pretty secure, as the link is usually so complex that no-one else could guess it, but if you're paranoid about security, and don't mind a bit of extra work, you can share them so they're only visible to specific named individuals.

As an example, I just created an album on Flickr of my CTC ride to Wiggonholt - you can follow the link here.

Do give photo sharing a try!

Alternatively if you just want to send one or more photos to someone without filling their email inbox, there are several free services that allow you to send your photos via a web site. Your recipient gets an email to let them know your files are available together with a link allowing them to download them when they're ready.

There are a lot of sites offering this service for free and without asking you to create an account first. You just provide the destination email address(es), your email address and the files you want to send. The web site does the rest. Beware, however. These sites have to earn their money somehow. Some ask you to give permission for them to send you and your recipient 'promotional material' which could be irritating at best and offensive at worst - so read the T&Cs carefully. This site...

www.wetransfer.com

... gets its revenue by displaying adverts as background images while you use the site, It seems to be benign. You can even upload files without providing your recipient's email address (they might not take too kindly to you giving their email address to a third party). You get a link you can email to your recipient privately. To use the free service go to the web site and click the '?' icon at the bottom right of the left-hand pane for more information.

Father's Day family outing and charity ride on Hayling

We're keen to encourage young cyclists.  Well Havant Rotary are organising a Father's Day family outing and charity ride, on Sunday, June 19th, 2016.  It starts from Northney Farm Field (opposite the Tea Rooms), then south down the Billy Trail to the beach, and back again for a barbecue and bouncy castle.  If you know any children or grandchildren, it's a great way to get them riding - or adults, come to that.  And prostate cancer is a very appropriate charity for Father's Day.

Riders set off after registering and collecting their free T-Shirt at Northney Farm Field from 10 am.   At the end of the ride there is a BBQ and activities back at the field.  Alternatively, you can picnic if you wish to bring your own food.

Find out the answers to our quiz!   No racing is involved so you have time to enjoy the ride and at the same time be sponsored to raise funds for Prostate Cancer UK and Havant Rotary‘s local Charities, or you can choose to donate your sponsorship money to your own charity.

This is a fun day for families who want to have an enjoyable day out with their children and bikes.  The 12 mile ride should take about 2 hours at a family-friendly pace (but you can turn round at any point along the way if it's too difficult!).  Why not get your wider family and friends to join in and make a real day of it?

Entry is only £12.50 for one adult and a child (under 18) and includes a free T-shirt. Additional children are £2.50  each to cover the cost of the T-shirt.  When you complete the entry form don’t forget to let us know the sizes of T-shirt you need!

Fuller details are on the Rotary website at events.havantrotary.org.uk or on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/events/502724423247667/

A game changing cycle helmet - and it's British

I don't ride without a helmet - my brain's too important to me - but if you do the research, current helmets aren't actually that safe, and they're uncomfortable, and bulky when you're not wearing them .  I've hunted high and low for something better, and now a British team has developed a game-changing helmet which I think is much safer, more comfortable, and folds up small when not in use.  And best of all, it's re-useable - you don't have to throw it away after a bump.  They're trying to raise enough money through crowd-funding to go into mass production, and they've only got 8 days left.

I really rate this helmet, and I think it deserves support.  I've ordered one for Joy and I, and I do recommend you take a look, and if you can,  support this brilliant improvement in cycling safety.  It's at  https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/headkayse-a-game-changer-in-cycle-helmet-safety#/story.  As with all crowd-funding projects,  there are risks, but they look pretty small to me.

Let me know what you think.

2015 CTC Photo Competition results!

Here are the results of the 2015 Photo Competition held at Bedhampton Hall last night, 26th Nov.  It was for a group of 6 photos, at least one of which had to include 'cycling'.

1st was Keith Wileman, number 13.
2nd was Wilf Forrow, number 4.
3rd was Martine Hebblethwaite, number 11.

You can see the pictures at:  https://picasaweb.google.com/107860504705085729694/2015CTCPhotoCompetition?authkey=Gv1sRgCL7gn6S0-bma7wE#slideshow/ 

Many thanks to Pat, for organising it, and to Sue for judging, and for passing on some great insights.  Please feel free to contact Pat for more information.