Entries by alien8

Cardboard Lid

After last years collision that left me with soft tissue and nerve damage (that is still not resolved..) I’ve started doing short rides to try and acclimatize to the outside world after being on a Kurt Kinetic Rock & Roll since last October.

Now, helmets are very much a black/white.. but for me it’s a world of grey. One thing that I do care about is whether stuff works. I’d done a lot of reading into various damage profiles of some helmets and frankly been quite shocked. When I found this product it really made me think - there has been so much research done in so many other areas but the foam helmet.. not a lot other than aero improvements…

Then I came over this. Developed by Anirudha Surabhi, an industrial designer who had been involved in a crash and been shocked at the performance of his own ‘top end’ helmet he set about designing something better…

  • absorbs far more impact ‘When tested against the British Standards (EN 1078) at the Imperial College, Kranium absorbs more than 3 times the amount of impact energy when compared to regular cycling helmets.’

  • can be reused after an impact - ‘5 times’ is quoted by them.

‘Kranium has also proven to last more than one impact. During the testing phase the same helmet has been tested 5 times consecutively and it still proved to pass the standard. Polystyrene helmets however are rendered useless after a single impact. It has also been impregnated with a compound to make the cardboard water-proof.’

All interesting stuff.

What’s even more interesting is that the German manufacturer Abus, has licensed it.

How did this come about?

Popped out to Velorution and had a good chat with Jonathan Cole who runs Bikerepublic. Distribution is via Cycotic.

explaining the helmet

There are 2 in the range - a clear one that shows the internals very nicely and a racy looking black version called the ‘Ecolution’ http://www.velorution.com/abus-ecolution-aks2-helmet-with-kranium-d2-liner/




There’s little doubt that this isn’t going to challenge the supremecy of the roadie classic helmets - the Catlike whisper plus etc as they are much much lighter. But when testing it in the shop it did seem it was lighter than the ‘Urban’ helmets that are very popular. (Bern’s etc)

I’ve got one. I’ll be testing it when my urban riding starts at some point in the (hopefully near) future.

If you want one, you can get them from here: Velorution, London

(and are now shipping 4-5 a week to the US when I spoke to them last weekend)

I Can See Clearly Now with Optilabs

For the last few years I’ve been riding with Rudy Ketyums. I’m not (for various reasons) ready to do the laser eye surgery thing. (changing prescription being one of them)

I do like the Rudys. I do. The changeable lenses, good coverage at speed and a good setup of internal clip in lenses by my optician that means in road bike position I can see well (slightly elevated optical centres). It’s also easy to swop the lenses for different conditions. They also look nice.

I also dislike the Rudys. They feel heavy after hours in the saddle. It’s a pain carrying round the case and the spare lenses. They mist up easily between the 2 sets of lenses.. and the killer blow.

The frame has now failed twice in the same place and it’s held together with tape. Great look. Broken Rudys

The first frame was replaced by a Premier Rudy Optician partner here in .UK - they are still waiting for the second. They’re getting really awful service :(

Anyway, it dawned on me I could use a pair of prescription sunglasses with transitions style lenses for 90% of my riding.

RX format lenses for the Ketyum frame were frankly $silly money and really not easy to get in the UK, so I looked around.

Reading a few forums Optilabs seemed a good company to try. Reasonable prices, not far from central London so not too bad to get to - customer service didn’t have any horror stories, so I dropped them a call.

Spoke with a lovely lady who surprised me by asking ‘which frames do you want to try?’ She suggested a new frame that had just come in as well as the two that i’d picked out from the road cycling section of their site.

They sent out a sample box…

Starting to plan my pre-race activities - wondering how I could get any quality bike time whilst attending the little Security event DC19 aka DEF CON held every year in Las Vegas. Would it be $$$ for temporary gym membership and the hell of the stationary bike? or should I pack up my trusty Brompton and take it with me.. choices choices.

Twitter for the win, #defcon tag for the win++. A couple of people http://twitter.com/gdead & http://twitter.com/punkrokk have come up with a really fun group event.

Security geek ride in Vegas, on the Thursday morning (Day 1 of the Con). You can read more about it here : https://forum.defcon.org/forumdisplay.php?f=587

Now to persuade Byron that he really does want to come down and do this :)

London Snow

So we’ve had a few days of the white stuff. Saturday saw about 20cm of snow come down in a couple of hours across parts of the South East England. Since then it’s been below 0 Celsius (sub 32F) so it’s still here, no chance of melting yet..

Other parts of the UK have had much more than this. Carlton Reid of Bikebiz and more says it best We left for school early to get to badminton club at 8am. It was cancelled: the teacher was snowbound and stuck in traffic. Maybe she could get herself a more reliable form of winter transport?

Snow covered bikes

this tweet from Buffalo Bill sums it up:

Main roads passable, but many patches of black ice, most side roads either covered in snow or simply ice. Be careful! #londonsnow

New British Prime Minister is a cyclist


Photo: AP via Daylife

“Loving it that we don’t do motorcades in this country. PM’s Jaguar just gave way to several bicyclists on its way to Downing Street.”

How to lock your bike securely

There’s a new campaign about bike security in London. People don’t know how to lock their bikes :(

Here’s one video that has been produced to support it:

Tweed Run London 2010

Bikehugger attended the Tweedrun London 2010 event last Saturday as AM was a head marshal.

Much fun and frolics were had as you can see in this jolly fine video from Swamibu.

400 Cyclists were quite a sight as we were going through central London. It was the first event of this kind in London with no Police escort and no planned road closures - it’s felt this went very well indeed with no major incidents occuring.

Worries over an increase in numbers were unfounded, many photographers were waiting at the Tea stop as the sheer number of pictures on Flickr shows.

An excellent day rounded off with very fine G&T’s from Hendricks Gin one of the very fine sponsors. (Brooks England Pashley Bicycles, Hendrick’s Gin, Rapha being the main sponsors of the event)

tweedrun-AM AM is wearing his Father’s Harris Tweed Dunn & Co jacket, a TweedRun ‘Dashing Tweeds’ Cap, ShuttVR Jersey, Swrve WWR 3/4’s with ShuttVR Pro Bib Shorts underneath, White gloves (Giro, 3DO armour) for clear indication to the other riders. Shoes: Sidi Dominators with Speedplay Frog cleats. The bike is a Moulton.

Image courtesy of Mark from the ibikelondon blog who has a great writeup of his own here with his own great video.

Particular thanks should go to Teddy and Jacqui who worked tirelessly for weeks in putting this event together. You have no idea how many meetings and bits of paperwork they had to fill in. Really.

Here’s looking forward to 2011 in London - but before that - the Tweed Run is heading to Toronto & New York in the Fall

Pip pip!


collected eurobike award last year,

article for when Cycloc is in US market for when A* stocks it?

amazon US link?

Bikehugger affiliate tag?

Shutt Velo Rapide Pro Bib Shorts

Getting back into longer rides as winter departed, I needed decent legwear. I had been considering the Assos F.I. Uno S5 after being fitted to them at last years Cycleshow in London. I knew Assos country of manufacture could vary and was interested in their ‘made by ethos’.

As I was looking around and reading forums and twitter I did see more and more mention of Shutt VR - An English company who made their products in England! This is a rare thing so I thought, why not try them?

Shutt VR were a relatively new entrant to bike clothing - one formed by bike fanatics during a ride!

What better basis could there be for starting a bike related company?

A quick phone call to Simon, a credit card number handover proceeded and a Jersey and a pair of Pro Bib COOLMAX shorts were on the way.

Yes, I bought the item I’m reviewing. I’m sorry, I will really try not to do this again.

I decided to only write something after using them in a variety of rides - I was appointed a head marshal for the Tweed Run London and this meant a number of ‘Recce rides’ through central London and good time on the bike. Additionally a 40 odd mile trip or two gave me a good feel for how they performed when used in non-urban sustained speed situations.

First of all then, the pad.


This pad converted the oh so hard Specialised Toupe into a sofa. A 5.5 hour ride (Tweed Run London 2010) no problem at all. Whilst doing faster paced stuff /climbing and moving around the saddle it was way better than the Specialized shorts that I had been using before.

The pad itself has multiple layers - the gel layer plus additional padding. It was superb. A back to back comparison with an equivalently priced Specialized item was not even close. This pad is VERY good.

A non riding comparison was made with a pair of Assos Fi Shorts from a friend - we agreed the feel of the pad was similar.

Next, do they stay in the right place?

Pro Bib leg grips

Short answer yes. The leg grips worked, no skin irritation resulted. Slight indentations were left in my legs afterwards.

Will they last? I think so and here’s why:

Pro-Bib panel stitching

The seams were compared to the Assos. Almost identical. No loose threads, no irritation from the seams.

The lycra itself seems quite thick and strong - there’s no sign of any wear yet - will report back on this.


Pro Bib fit

I’m 5’ 11”, 145(ish) lbs - Medium worked pretty well. If I’d been taller I think the next size up would be the one I’d go for.

They’re long enough on my legs to be comfortable - they don’t feel ‘short’ shorts.

Summary: Good value shorts, awesome pad.

Note: My set is part of the first production run - no white trimming and a few other changes. Check here for the latest details. They’re on twitter here

Worn for : 200+ Miles total - Single long rides of up to 5.5hrs.
Saddles : Specialised Toupe (non-gel), Fi:zi’k Aliante Gamma

Publisher note: @alien8 hosted our Mobile Social Worldwide in London last year. We rode with him and London Fixed Gear crew with lorries next to our ears. The recent spike in deaths has the community reacting.

“Too many cyclists are being killed each year by lorries on the streets of London. Something has got to be done.”*

The call went out after the third HGV (Lorry/Truck) related death occurred in London.

Cyclists killed by HGV this year in London, UK

Professor David Vilaseca-Perez, 46 from South Bank (February 2010) Muhammad “Haris” Ahmed, 21, a 4th year Medical student (March 2010) Shivon Watson, 28 years old, a designer and musician from Bow (March 2010)

There has been more press coverage of this issue: The Evening Standard and London SE1 with some interesting observations in their forum

Online Cycling Community call for action.

When Jack Thurston says ‘Please come to Critical Mass this Friday’ it pays to listen. Not the biggest fan of CM he has a compelling case for attending this time.

Side note: I highly recommend The Bike Show Podcast

Mark who writes iBikeLondon published an analysis of stats that can be summarised as:

“Collisions with HGVs were the cause of 69% of London’s cyclist deaths last year. In 2008 this figure was 88%. There can be no doubt that lorries are the primary source of cyclist’s deaths in London.”

Rob of Real cycling has his own take on the events and links to CityBeast’s cycle accidents map

Io of VeLo LoVes the City has a very interesting post with respect to the time restrictions of HGVs and a scary video of the London Mayor narrowly avoiding injury or worse from an HGV as well as a link to that video of the truck pushing a sideways car down a road.

The more cheerful reason to be out tonight is that it’s the LFGSS Rolling Birthday Party. with over 100 riders planning to be there.

Southwark and Hackney Cyclists are going to try and lead the Mass to the 3 sites.

For these reasons - for the first time in quite a while - I’ll be at Critical Mass tonight.

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