Chiswick Cycle Watch’s Inaugural Newsletter
Homefields SNT Officer Ken Howes on local life on two wheels
Welcome to Chiswick Cycle Watch’s first newsletter. With the weather improving cycling is an even more appealing mode of transport, way of getting fit or a pleasant way to spend time with the family.
Personally I started to cycle seriously a couple of years ago as it took as long to commute by car as to cycle and the time spent cycling at just under an hour either way was the most exercise I’d had in years or had the time for!!! This rapidly led to a collection of bikes, one for every occasion and on to being a cycle trainer for the police and a cycle mechanic as necessary. In the course of all this I’ve come across a couple of pieces of kit I’ve found very useful, some cheap places to buy it and some web links for information and freebies which I’ve included below.
My current favourite piece of equipment is an AIRZOUND bike horn which I brought for £26.99 from Action Bikes. Run from a small pressurized plastic bottle which you pump up yourself using a standard car type pump, the noise this extremely lightweight air horn makes is amazing, roughly comparable to the new bull horns the fire brigade use on their appliances and it certainly gets you noticed!!! I’ve still got the ping bell for use when a pedestrian strays onto a cycle path in front of me but for making road traffic aware of your presence this is unbeatable. In fact I like it so much I’m buying another to go on my motor cycle.
The other aspect about being noticed is being seen. All cycle shops stock a range of good quality Hi Viz clothing specifically for cyclists but even Poundland sell a cheap and cheerful version. In fact Poundland is actually a good place to go for several items and their puncture repair kits and sports glasses are especially good value. Add a decent cycle helmet and pair of cycling gloves and you’ll be adequately protected.
Another source of cheap equipment are the Tesco Extra stores. These bigger Tesco’s stock lots of parts including cheap inner tubes and the track pump, which is now around the £12 mark, is very very good and better than other brand names which cost upwards of four times the price. It’s also better at inflating car tyres than any foot pump I’ve ever had to use.
Best of all they are completely FREE including the post and packaging. Also until the 16th June 2009 TfL are providing a FREE personal travel advice service in Hounslow Borough. To book a visit phone Personal Travel Solutions on 02085835270 and an advisor will come to you by appointment. I found it very useful and it covers all forms of transport not just cycling.
Sustrans at www.sustrans.org.uk is a charity for encouraging sustainable transport. They created the National Cycle Routes shown on the TfL maps. They are also currently offering a free cycling pack. Register at for yours at www.sustrans.org.uk/default.asp?sID=1175074542859
I’m also a member of the London Cycling Campaign. www.lcc.org.uk A great source of cycling information totally specific to London and if you join your membership includes free legal cover and 3rd party insurance.
Finally, on a bit of a sad note Julian Mason is leaving Action Bikes after 13 years but our loss is British Transport Police’s gain as he starts as a Police Constable in June. Charlie Batterbee, the assistant manager, is being promoted to manager and so the same quality advice will still be available. Personally, I’d like to thank Julian as without his commitment, enthusiasm and support Chiswick Cycle Watch wouldn’t have happened.
Well that’s about it and I hope you all have a good summer.
Yours in cycling
Kevin HOWES PC 201TX