Saturday, 24 August 2019

Review of the LiteLok Silver

If you have been following me on social media, you would already know I already have & use a LiteLok Gold which I bought to use for the conditions of my insurance as well as peace of mind to know my Cruiser will still be there when I return. And I've had a fair few enquiries of what it is on my bicycle due to how I fit it as I ride not your usual style of bicycle so had to go with a different way to carry it.

Well not long after I started to use my LiteLok Gold, LiteLok came out with the new LiteLok Silver & I definitely liked what I saw of it online.

Photo courtesy of LiteLok

And a few months back I was asked to try out the LiteLok Silver & see what it is like compared to the LiteLok Gold. I was quite pleased to do so as I wanted to see what it was like. And when it arrived in the post, I couldn't wait to get it opened.

First of all it came in a nice sturdy box.

Lock came with its own carry bag,

And of course the lock itself with instructions & 2 straps to hold it to the frame (found these later on as didnt realise they were in the bottom of the carry bag) & a bunch of keys for the lock.

First thing I had to do was to wear it, something I couldn't do with the LiteLok Gold due to my slightly chubby figure.

And happy to say it fit round the waist quite nicely with room for a larger waistline. It didn't feel heavy or bulky having it around the waist.

Now to try it out... Unfortunately at same time to me going out on the bike with the new lock, I had issues with my disability getting worse & soon to be going into hospital in a few months time for a spine operation so lots to prepare for it (The road to recovery has taken a left turn...) & I also had 2 foster cats having kittens which has kept me busy since.


But I did take my Cruiser out for rides, mostly to do shopping around town & thus could try out the LiteLok Silver as well as use my LiteLok Gold.

As you can see it is smaller than the Litelok Gold, so I could easily fit the liteLok Silver within the frame with the LiteLok Gold using the supplied straps & the spare one I had as I require 3 to fix the Litelok Gold to the frame.

But also small enough to roll up & put in my panniers.

As for using the Litelok Silver, as I have already used the Litelok Gold I found that the lock itself works differently. Instead of clicking together both ends, the lock on the Litelok Silver slides together.

And unlike the Litelok Gold, the Litelok Silver requires the key to be in the lock when you lock it. With the Litelok Gold you can click it together without the key which I find easier but that is more likely due to being used to it.

But other than the different type of locking mechanism I found the Litelok Silver is no different to use than the Litelok Gold. It is smaller than my Large Litelok Gold so it did limit its use to lock around various parts of the bike &/or what you are locking the bike to. Weight wise it is definitely lighter so will benefit those concerned about weight on their bike when cycling, something that doesn't bother me as my Cruiser is no lightweight cycle.

So my verdict is that it is a good lightweight lock to use that helps give a peace of mind when securing your cycle, had I not used the Litelok Gold beforehand I wouldn't find the differences to be a niggle to me. I would likely have had bought 2 if I was to use the Litelok Silver than the Gold I have already as they are cheaper. 

The downside would be it doesn't have a neoprene skin available so would give me some concern to marking the paintwork on the bike. Also as it is Sold Secure Silver rated, that means for me I couldn't use it alone as my insurance requires Sold Secure Gold rated lock to be used so to be covered for theft, had it been Sold Secure Gold rated or I could use a Sold Secure Silver rated lock for my insurance I sure would prefer to use this lock as it is lighter to carry when cycling.

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

It's getting more urgent to get a usable eBike

If you have been following me for a lil while, you would know my disability has been getting worse. Well it looks like it has got far worse than I ever thought & continue to do so until I manage to get surgery but not to fix the problem as explained here: The road to recovery has taken a left turn & the end is nowhere to be seen! But it wont mean cycling will improve for me, in fact it could be more difficult & with months of recovery from surgery where cycling is not allowed then cycling afterwards is going to be more difficult than ever & it worries me the way things are it could stop me cycling if I don't find a way to make cycling easier.

Just today I wanted to cycle to go get shopping around town & my right leg was giving me jip, so I had to take the bus instead as just did not have the energy to push my legs into doing a local cycle ride & that was a struggle walking around. And looking on how much cycling I'm doing, it shows it is dropping.

There is an answer & have been trying to do this for over a year now.

But it just is not happening, the existing eBike is not sold or gained any interest wherever I post the sale, same with other items up for sale. And with no available funds to save from my wages, the next eBike is just not going to happen anytime soon or for when I will need it most after the operation & wanting to return to cycling.

So where do I go now, I want to continue cycling but way things are it is getting more & more difficult & eventually I will likely have to stop if I do not get a usable eBike. Ideally need to sell the existing eBike but if that is not going to happen, should I try Crowd funding again for the £700 I need for the eBike conversion kit?

I have tried so many ways to save/raise the funds up & just not working, so what do you guys think? How can I get the funds very soon before I go into hospital 4 - 6 months time?

Monday, 25 February 2019

Why are Chelmsford Authorities/Media so anti-cycling with regards to the High Street?

Note: Before you start to read this slightly lengthy blog, I am not an expert in legal practice or highway practices. I go with what I see & what I have found in my search for information to create this blog. If you know of any relevant information that would go with this bog, I be more than happy to include it. I apologise it is a tad lengthy, I just wanted to make sure I have included everything I have found when gathering information for this blog.

In the past Chelmsford High Street was like any other High Street of most towns & cities & in the 20th century it became filled with motor vehicles.


Then in the 90's long before the Town became a City, the Council decided to rebuild the town centre & pedestrianised the High St & adjoining roads.

In doing so they created shared paths around the town centre itself with very few places to cross through it & thus a ban on cycling on the High Street.




But the High Street is still classed as a public highway, drivers are still allowed to drive on it with certain 'conditions' for deliveries which if you ever spent time on the High Street it is never enforced.









With the usual result of damage to the street furniture, especially the trees.


And thus the Authorities with the local media help choose to target 'lawbreaking', 'anti-social' cycling & publicly announce this.

Now one thing they all fail to mention & not even mentioned if fines were issued within the guidelines of the Home Office Guidance (Support for police discretion when responding to people cycling on the pavement), just blanket fining anyone cycling in the pedestrianised area. If the person was cycling in a dangerous manner & thus meets the requirements of the Home Office Guidance, then I see no problem of that. But having seen them stop those cycling with care & likely fine them, then those issuing the fines are in the wrong & discriminating those who cycle & possibly have mobility issues. And when I challenge the local media, it falls on deaf ears when I try get them to see the real dangers which is not those who cycle but in fact those who drive!

But if you look closely at how the cycle routes go, there are sections of shared paths that go through the pedestrianised areas.




So they expect those cycling to get off & walk the short distance, irrelevant whether you can walk or not, can manage to push the cycle & likely get a fine if you choose to cycle across these areas carefully.

So you can't cycle across these areas but you can drive in the pedestrianised area at a greater speed than you would cycling & this is allowed! Does that sound so wrong to you?

And the signs are so contradictory too, here you can't cycle across if heading away from The Meadows but you can if you cycle across heading towards the Meadows.


And this bridge you have to walk across...


But you can cycle across on this bridge which from experience has a higher footfall...


Quite honestly there is no logic or thought gone into the cycling infrastructure going through the town centre when the pedestrianised area & cycle infrastructure was created. 

So the hysteria on dangerous cycling has been growing over the years, claims those who cycle are more of a danger than those who drive through the pedestrianised zones. So lets look at the facts than the anecdotal evidence of gossip.

I looked on 2 different sites for the data & in fact the only pedestrian casualties were with motorised vehicles not cycles & looks like you are more likely to be hit by a deer on the High St than someone cycling.

So should we ban motor vehicles & Deer from the High Street too?

Even TRL research back when the High St was pedestrianised shows that cycling in the pedestrianised areas is not as dangerous as made out to be. (Cycling in Pedestrianised Areas research 1993)

So who are these people flouting the law & causing a danger to others by cycling in the High St? 

I have observed the High St as I walk through & never seen any mayhem caused by anyone cycling at all. And those I have seen I have taken photos of them.

Here's a couple touring & stopping in Chelmsford for a break I guess, cycles & trailer heavily ladened & going through the High St barely any faster than people walking & no one battered an eye to them doing so.




People running businesses from their cycles

Families with their children...



Or just friends going to the shops together.



Older generation getting about as it is easier to cycle than walk.


Or just people using the the Cycle Infrastructure that goes across the High St.

And even the Disabled, those who find walking difficult or possibly impossible...


You can see the crutch strapped to the back & clearly he uses the cycle as the mobility aid & yet if caught he can be fined!

Even the Emergency Services use it to get about & why not?

Now those in Chelmsford City Council/Essex County Council (Chelmsford Local Highways Panel) realised this poorly setup cycle infrastructure is creating a barrier to cycling for many, along with much of the lack of cycling infrastructure in Chelmsford or poor quality ones that do exist. In regards to the poor connectivity of cycle infrastructure in the City Centre, well they 'looked' into this.

And the Chelmsford Local Highways Panel decided to stay in the past & spend another £25,000 to add even more signs to tell you to get off your cycles & care lil about your needs or requirements.

Sorry to those with disabilities, with families or run a business from your cycles or even the tourists. You are not really welcome to Chelmsford City Centre unless you can walk your cycles or go elsewhere to those who welcome you better.

And recently they had built new shopping complex Bond Street & they have created it as shared space where you are allowed to cycle! 


And as I was writing this blog for the past few weeks & collating the information for it, I started to see the signs appear & honestly some of them I say are down right dangerous! Who in their right mind would fit these signs onto bollards?


No cycling onto the pedestrianised area but how would you know if you are coming off the road?


This one is hidden by a tree & is too far into the area.

Still want you to walk across the 4M wide strip of the pedestrianised zone, don't care if you can't walk or able to push your cycle whatsoever!


Though would help if they had some the right way round...


But even the signs are confusing, as there is now a 'no vehicle' sign, despite drivers are allowed to drive on the pedestrianised area.


How would you like to take your knees out on these whilst crossing the access road on a dark evening?


Seems to be a lot of money wasted on signs in my opinion.

So it is all about safety of those who walk right? Despite the evidence saying it is safe. Well you would think so but when people including me ask the Authorities, especially Essex Police to keep pavements & shared paths clear from illegal pavement parking under the Road Traffic Act. You think they would right? I'm afraid not!




So why so much effort to fine those cycling in the pedestrianised area of the High St that are causing NO danger to others but refuse to fine &/or prosecute those deliberately parking & obstructing pavements & shared paths which is a far bigger danger to those using them? To me that is nothing more than harassment to those cycling & nothing to do with safety, especially when you know nothing is being done daily on the driving on & obstruction of pavements & shared paths by drivers.







So does every pedestrianised street have a ban on cycling? No, in fact some actually encourage it!

I have seen recently Ipswich High St now allows cycling in the pedestrianised zone back in 2016.

Also have been informed that they allow it in Leicester High St too.


Photos courtesy of @RantyHighwayman

Another location is Bolton in Greater Manchester where pedestrianised areas restrict motor vehicle access but not cycling.


Even in Colchester they have part-time pedestrianised zones where motor vehicles are not allowed unless under certain circumstances but cycling is allowed & I have cycled there myself many times & it has a high footfall but never an issue.



And in the Netherlands as shown a few times in this video by blogger Bicycle DutchRide on the Tilburg cycle demonstration route where those who cycle are guests in the pedestrian zones. 


And there are likely to be many others if I spent more time to research the UK & Europe.

Also I am not alone in this way of thinking, like this blog from As Easy As Riding A Bike: Cycling in pedestrianised areas

So Chelmsford City Council & Essex County Council if you really do want to encourage more people to cycle than drive like you claim in the consultation couple years back, then you really need to reconsider your backwards archaic 20th Century anti-cycling ban in the pedestrianised zone. The proof is there that it is safe & encourages more people to cycle, not to say make going to the City Centre friendlier for those with families &/or with disabilities/mobility issues & use their cycles as mobility aids. There's plenty of resources from those like Wheels for Wellbeing to back it, so how about leaving the carcentric 20th Century behind & move into a better, cleaner 21st century? 

Take it from a disabled person who relies on his cycle & walking stick, Wolf Simpson