Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where has the Thames Path gone?

This weekend, I decided to check out the North Greenwich stretch of the National Cycle Route 1 with my girlfriend for a bit of leisurely (and what I hoped to be scenic) cycling along the Thames, seeing that it is only a stone's throw away from where I live. Starting off from the Greenwich town centre, we were surprised to find that the cycle path came to an early abrupt end as the a property development (Lovell's Wharf) quite literally stood in the way of the Thames Path. After a minor detour, we got back onto the route following the signs down the side of the Blackwall Tunnel Approach (A102). This bit of the route is on cycle path shared with pedestrians on pavement. Unfortunately it was very badly maintained and also full of broken glass. The route finally took us away from the busy A102. However, at this point, the cycle path also degenerated to a sandy dirt track (I believe the area is called Delta Wharf). It was so bad that we had to get off and push the bikes for a couple of minutes. The route did get better afterwards once we passed the O2, but for some reason, another development decided to stand in front of us on Mudlarks Boulevard. By that point, we got so fed up that we turned back and cycled home.

P.S. I have since found a couple of very insightful articles on

See and more on

P.S. I have also found this rather non-informative announcement on the Greenwich Council website: What about a simple map?

Greenwich Council, please look after the Thames Path! It is one of (y)our biggest assets.

Power Grips and CRUD Roadracer MK2

Every now and then, you buy a piece of bike gear and it just works. You don't feel the need to spend hours surfing the net reading product comparisons / reviews trying to convince yourself that it was money well-spent. I have just bought two of these products.

Power Grips

Frustrated by being left behind by fellow commuters who can seemingly accelerate at will in their clipless shoes up Blackfriars Bridge every morning, I want some kind of foot retention on my beater steel singlespeed. I am not a big fan of toeclips and straps as I never seem to be able get the adjustment right. Having come across the Power Grips pedal straps a while ago, I decided to buy a pair of second hand ones from eBay. Each Power Grips strap is essential a big fat piece of laminated strap that goes from one corner of your pedal to the opposite diagonal corner. (Ah yes you do need pedals with toeclip mounting holes on them in order to fit the Power Grips) The idea behind this diagonal setup is that as you straighten up your foot inside the strap, the strap will naturally tighten around it, giving you a firm attachment to the pedal, and they really do work! They are surprisingly easy to get into and out of, and the leverage you get from these things far exceeds that I get from toeclips. They accomodate even my chunky walking shoes (for those miserable rainy days)...

CRUD Roadracer MK2

Feeling much too impatient to wait until good weather to go riding on my new roadbike, I bought the CRUD Roadracer MK2 mudguards from Condor London the other day. I guess, most people, upon opening the box, would be surprised to find that the product looks more like a bit of plastic Airfix kit than a pair of mudguards, and yes installing the mudguards involves "building" them from bits, and it took almost half and hour, but for me that was actually quite a bit of fun! The Roadracer is designed to fit roadbikes with up to 25mm 700c tyres with minimal (as little as 5mm) tyre clearance. The mudguards do not require eyelets, and they are impossibly lightweight. Once installed, they feel pretty firm and do not rattle annoyingly like some metal mudguards do. The MK2 version provides complete coverage for the rear wheel. The rear blade drops all the way down to the seatstay "wishbone". (I had to chop a bit off the bottom with a knife as it was a bit too long for my frame) In additional, it is sculpted very cleverly to stop any water from spraying onto right hand side of the bottom bracket - the chainset area. The really cool bit about the Roadracer is that it comes with little brushes that keep the sides of the guards from touching the tyres, keeping them reasonably centred at all time. I cannot imagine a better set of mudguards than the Roadracer MK2 in terms of coverage on any roadbikes. Last but not least, they sit so snuggly around the wheels that I do not find them ruining the aesthetics of the bike at all. You almost don't notice they are there!

I have not had a chance to see whether it will keep the backside and the bike clean in a proper deluge, but so far I can say it is a piece of really well-designed kit.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Who says researchers are humourless creatures?

Now embeddable widgets are available for Mendeley groups too. Click on the Embed link at the bottom of the "About this group" box on any public group pages on Mendeley.

By the way, who says researchers are humourless creatures?

Creatively named research papers is a group in Economics, Philosophy, Psychology on Mendeley.