Road Safety – momentum building

I was cheered to read on the British Cycling website that the campaign to cause a review of the position taken by U.K. justice system to cycling accidents has succeeded.  This is the first step in changing the way the law is interpreted on cases involving injury or death of a cyclist.

As I’ve written before, the law does not currently enforce the correct attitude to injuries or death of cyclists by other road users.  British Cycling is seeking to correct this attitude by making the distinction between accidents (as they are currently termed) and incidents.  The connotations around ‘accident’ infer that no one is to blame whereas an incident will have a more serious and targeted blame element.


Sidi – Cycling Shoes

Following up on my last post on Cycling Shoes, its now several months since I started using Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbons and they are  still superbly comfortable both for easy rides and long blasts under the kosh.  I opted for white(!) but my intention was always to use these on drier days…

White shoes may look lovely but white is plainly not an ideal colour for cycling shoes on dirty, wet Scottish roads; nice shoes are best kept for brighter days or kept covered behind Belgian booties when run-off or rain is just around the corner.   Sidi over-socksWhite may be easier to keep clean if the material were different and the white Vernici Sidi Ergos  would have my vote for this, though they still use a white heal collar which will go grey unless groomed with something that can shift the dirt.

What then for the commute in our very transient bright spells this summer?

Something not white and easier to cope with some start stop at traffic lights than Look pedals and cleats. I’ve finally opted for SPDs and MTB shoes on the commute after 25 years of commuting using Look pedals. It is way easier and makes perfect sense in the cyclo-cross world so why not for the commute.

Sidi Eagle 5s  – 2012

Sidi Eagle 5 MTB 2012 – Dark to hide the dirt!

These are a very comfortable shoe but are without any heal-cup reinforcing which makes for a more relaxed fit. I opted for exactly the same size as their road shoe counterpart, the Sidi Genius 5 Pro road shoe.  They diverge significantly in feel to  road shoes, leaving a lot more room for thicker socks. When we add this to the aforementioned relaxed fit around the heal-cup they do feel less secure which requires more tension on the ratchet and velco straps to alleviate successfully. However, this extra-room is something that can only be of benefit to cooler days in spring and autumn where chilly mornings and evenings can be covered in comfort with just an extra thick pair of socks and Belgian booties.

Sidi Ergo 2 Vernici

The first thing noticeable about these is that the Vernici fabric is easier to clean,  secondly that in terms of comfort, the Vernici fabric is maybe not the best thing out there as it feels quite stiff and not malleable like the fabric on the Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon road shoe which, incidentally, feels like a very secure fitting pair of leather gloves…lovely.

Sidi Ergo 2 Carbon Vernici – 2011

The carbon sole on these is immensely stiff and as has been said elsewhere, can take a bit of time to break in. So, these are not immediately as comfortable as the Sidi ‘5’ range but they are a Pro level road shoe.

In terms of fit, with a like-for-like shoe size, the last and upper is identical in fit to the Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon.

The security provided by the ratchet and dial is significant and you can quite easily squeeze the living daylights out of your feet. Making adjustments with the dial or ratchet whilst riding is a breeze compared to     a full velcro strap where you have to look down to see you’ve positioned the strap correctly.  The ease of adjustment is most noticeable when the intention is to go tighter for a prime or sprint; loosening off is a little more tricky but easily done whilst riding.

In terms of deciding on a favourite I’ve not used the Ergo 2’s enough yet but they are getting better with each ride.  The Sidi ‘5’ range is certainly a good quality and comfortable product and the best shoes I’ve used so far….

Sportive St Andrews 26 August 2012

This charitable sportive event starting in St. Andrews, Fife, is open to all abilities with three options, from 45 miles to 80 miles across rolling roads in Fife on 26 August 2012.  The sportive event website is as follows: which has details of the three routes available.  This looks to be an excellent event with support, marshalling, feed stations and even transponders to give you an accurate measurement of your time.

Entries are available via Entry Central.

The event is being organised to raise funds for the excellent work carried out by the charity, ‘Chest, Heart and Stroke, Scotland‘.

Cycling shoes

Cycling shoes are great and when they work and don’t hurt we just don’t think about them.  You can see where this is going; I’ve been getting instep pain for a bit over a year – a common problem – and didn’t do anything about it.  I’ve come to realise that it may or may not be the cycling shoes that started it, but they’ve not helped.

I’ve used my recently retired shoes for too long with regular use over 4 years the carbon sole on my Nike Poggio 3’s had started to lose its stiffness, though not that I’d notice as this is such a small incremental loss.  It was only when I went to my new Sidi shoes that it became clear that they were much stiffer.

My shoes over the years have been:

Adidas Eddie Merckx
A great pair of shoes with a resin sole. 

Vittoria – Stephen Roche
My first pair of shoes that were Look compatible.

Look Carbon
These were extremely well put together with a carbon sole and three wide velcro straps – as good as the Greg Lemond Carnacs of that era and very comfortable.

Time Equipe
A two velcro strap shoe in white. Lemond used these in 1989 with a toe-clip strap to give extra security, this made them look even more cool!

Time Pro Equipe
A very comfortable shoe that was not dissimilar to the Look Carbons but at over double the price.


Nike Poggio II
After the expense of the Time’s I went with Nike in the Armstrong era.  These were much cheaper and considerably lighter.   The straps were a bit on the weak side and didn’t give such a secure fit.  These may be to blame for the begining of my instep pain as there was so little instep support.  Additionally, they were a signification change of position with the sole of the foot being much closer to the pedal axle compared to the Time shoes.


Nike Poggio III
These were a much improved iteration, with a firmer, more padded heal cup that really anchored the foot and a much firmer grip offered by the velcro straps.    As with the II’s the instep support is minimal.


Sidi Genius 5 Pro Carbon
To early to provide a long ranging opinion but they feel stiffer than the Poggios’,  have good instep support and the heel is well secured.  These were the easiest shoes to set-up that I’ve ever owned with very accurate markings on the sole making this possible.   After a bit of trial and error with the shoe plate on the right shoe, I was able to transfer the position to the left shoe and get it set first time with absolutely no adjustment necessary!  The serviceability of these shoes is also a considerable plus factor with spares available for the heal rubber and locking strap.

On the downside, the two velcro straps do not give such a clamped-in secure feeling as the Poggio III, however they are a very comfortable and well ventilated shoe.  Moving up the Sidi range to the Ergo II or Ergo III could alleviate this sense-of-security issue as the middle velcro strap is replaced with a dialed locking mechanism.


Tom Boonen’s (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) – how to position a stem on a carbon steerer

Cycling have a lovely picture [courtesy and Copyright] of Boonens stem set-up:

Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-Quick Step) Recently Replaced His Temporary FSA Stem With This 140mm-long Zipp Service Course SL Model.

A picture is worth a 1000 words – notice the careful use of spacers – one above as well as below to spread the load on the carbon steerer.  Many manufactures stipulate this but its often not put into action when you look at carbons’ these days. To not do this makes me think about  – yikes.

Scottish road safety campaign

Having just blogged about cyclist safety in February, I was just made aware of a new Scottish campaign, Pedal on Parliament whose manifesto is posted on their site  They have a second ride, targeted at Holyrood on 28th April 2012.  The manifesto they’re compaigning for goes like this:

  1. Proper funding for cycling.
  2. Design cycling into Scotland’s roads.
  3. Slower speeds where people live, work and play
  4. Integrate cycling into local transport strategies
  5. Improved road traffic law and enforcement
  6. Reduce the risk of HGVs to cyclists and pedestrians
  7. A strategic and joined-up programme of road user training
  8. Improved statistics supporting decision-making and policy

Admirable though this is, I think its missing something.  I believe that a media campaign whose purpose is to sell ‘cyclists’ to other road users through targeted education would mitigate a number of the safety issues we see today.  Positive stereotypes  and popular figures can do a great deal in this regard  – as I’ve said before about Mark Cavendish’s fantastic success story, he’s raised the image of cycling in the UK, just as Lance did in the US.

Putting it another way, perhaps using the media to improve the public’s prevailing  view of your average cyclist-in-lycra is a second and equally important target.  We need to sell a positive image of ‘the cyclist’ as your average law abiding joe because its true.

Think Bike Think Biker

The Think-Bike Think Biker TV campaign has adverts named after people to promote motor-cyclist safety and aims to make the ‘object-in-the-road’ not just an object, not just a bike,  but a human being on a bike.  We need something similar.

Mapping Cycle Routes

In a recent trawl of the web in search of a good route finder I started to build up some requirements.  Google Maps offers a lot but it would be really great to show of a bike run with an animated StreetView.  It appears people have thought of this already’s  main failing appears to be that it relies on Google to store the way-points with the impact being that the route is made the ‘quickest’ by default.  Not ideal when you want a bike run on back roads.  If these could be embedded into the URL then this could solve this issue.

Still its an excellent effort.

Google Static maps has a great deal to offer – one of our favourite Cafe stops: