by Derek Morrison

Riding abreast dialogue flowed
As they joined the busy road
Single up! Came leader’s behest
They ignored; they knew best
Important to assert two-up mode
They all know the Highway Code
Behind; impatient engines gunned
But closed ears this cue shunned
Single up! Came leader’s shout
Again failed to insert some doubt
Single up! Came leader’s scream
Words still flowing like a stream
Riding abreast dialogue flowed
Until silenced; as heads hit road.

Commentary Continue reading

Severn Beach

by Derek Morrison

2nd Severn Crossing from Severn Beach
1. Second Severn Crossing viewed from Severn Beach village.
Attribution: Matt Buck [CC-BY-SA-3.0]
Click to view larger image.
Severn Beach has history
Once Blackpool of the West
Only ghostly echoes now remain
As commuters build their nest
Shirley’s Cafe near the shore
Mug of coffee from an urn
Silent juke-box in corner
Turntable doesn’t turn
Giant slab of fruit cake
Adds to energy store
At value-for-money prices
That tempts you into more
Visit near empty promenade
See Severn Bridges in the sky
Listen to the whisper
Of past’s fast-fading cry.

Continue reading

Letting go

by Derek Morrison

Inner voices replay triumphs of past
But inner whispers say cannot last
Essential self-delusions of being human
Curses every man and woman
But when age or injury make you slow
The final triumph is to just let go.


I cycle with a lot of very fit people. Some are older and some are considerably younger. Some are competitive and some are not. Unfortunately, age and injury don’t respect temperament or talent, which is particularly hard for those who are used to putting in the extra effort and miles to achieve results. But for all of us eventual decline and degradation is the only certainty. The challenge is achieving a graceful decline. I strive for this nirvana.


by Derek Morrison

If all the roads we could hack
Turning all to one cycle track
There would still be no fix
Man would still wield his sticks
Asserting rights over others
True path only for the brothers.


My part of the UK is blessed with a particularly long asphalted path for non-motorised traffic and pedestrians. I often muse on what life would be like if dedicated cycling routes were actually considered to be the key elements of the world’s sustainable transport infrastructure rather than the network of increasingly frenetic roads we actually have. In this alternative universe where cyclists were in the majority and individual motorised transport was (or returned to) a minority activity I suspect we would still generate conflicts and tensions. Would we need motorways (freeways) for cyclists so that the fast ‘serious cyclists’ weren’t inconvenienced by the slower, learners, children, pedestrians, dogs? Currently, navigating the multi-use non-motorised vehicle pathways we currently have can be like an obstacle course at peak times, bank holidays, and weekends with different types of cyclists and pedestrians all trying to co-exist – and sometimes not.

You people

by Derek Morrison

You tell ‘your people’ to slow down
He turned to see her wrinkled frown
What ‘people’? He somewhat fazed
You ‘people’ her face now blazed
Her eyes had scanned his attire
It was this that had set the fire
His uniform was of the hated ‘others’
No individuals, just bands of brothers
No logic here could be applied
Her ears were deaf when he tried
Like one car driver who holds the crown
Who can tell ‘her people’ to slow down.


This rhyme reflects a not uncommon experience of what it is like to be ‘the other’, i.e. a member of a perceived minority who are perceived as troublesome, or at least inconvenient. It is based on the recent experience of one of the group of cyclists I was with at our refreshment stop Brockweir Cafe and Farm Shop just outside Tintern in the UK. As he was waiting in the queue to pay for his refreshments an elderly lady seeing his cycling attire decided to issue her message about cyclists in her neighbourhood.  She actually used the words ‘your people’ and seemed totally immune to the illogic of her protestations. A few weeks later, passing through Tintern, a male car driver again having mechanical trouble communicated through his wound down window about ‘you people’ to our little group of fellow travellers.  Something to ponder about being in a minority – particularly a growing one?

Big Brother toolkit

by Derek Morrison (first posted 3 May 2015, updated 13 May 2015)

Fly6 cycle cam

Over on our other site CyberStanza I recently published a poem called Big Brother. The basic thrust of the poem was that our increasingly portable capture and communicate technologies risked turning us all into something akin to George Orwell’s Big Brother, i.e. the all seeing, the all knowing State in which all transgressions are detectable. So today, I would like to report back on my first impressions of a new addition to my personal Big Brother toolkit, i.e. the Fly6 rear cycle light and video camera, i.e. a cycle cam (pictured). This circa 120g  wonder looks just like a compact rear light and, unless told, most people wouldn’t know that it was a very effective video camera that captures both near high definition images (720 pixels at 30 frames per second) and audio. I’m not sure whether its discrete presentation is a good or a bad thing. I would like vehicle drivers behind me to modify their behaviour before they expose me or other cycle riders to avoidable risk; rather than the Fly6 be a source of evidence after the fact. So, from that cycling safety perspective, it almost needs to shout out that it’s a recording device. But my first impressions of this device – which was developed by an Australian duo and funded as a Kickstarter project just over a year ago – are pretty favourable. Continue reading

Cotswold Airport

by Derek Morrison

CotswoldAirportToday’s (28 April 2015) circa 80 mile cycle ride with Bath Cycling Club was from Bath in Somerset to Cotswold Airport near Cirencester in Gloucestershire.  This was the first ride by club members to this very interesting destination. Cotswold Airport has a long provenance and, although now used for civilian purposes, it was once RAF Kemble plus home to the Red Arrows air acrobatic team. It was great to see it is still a hive of aeronautic activity ranging from flying clubs and lessons, aircraft maintenance, and scrapping. Its long runways means that even wide bodied aircraft can land but there are no scheduled services and so this is an airport unlike any other you are likely to visit with plenty to see. The AV8 Restaurant on the airport was our lunchtime stop and it is situated right next to the control tower. The food was very good and generously proportioned and the facilities were spotless. Plus, on a sunny day you can sit out and watch the aircraft take off and land. So certainly worth a visit particularly since its aeronautical pedigree may not protect it from housing development for much longer (a “sustainable village” has been proposed).

GPX download available below. Continue reading


by Derek Morrison

The Ship Inn, Saul
The Ship Inn, Saul
Attribution: David Stowell [CC BY-SA 2.0]
Click to view larger image.
Today’s (14 April 2015) excellent 84 mile cycle ride was from Bath in Somerset to Saul near Frampton On Severn in Gloucstershire.  A cloudy start was soon replaced by continual sunshine in which the temperature slowly climbed to make it a two water bottle day.  The lunchtime stop was at The Ship Inn in Saul (pictured) which I highly recommend. The staff are friendly, the food was excellent, the setting is marvellous, the toilets were pristine, and the price was a very reasonable six pounds for lunch.

I would score this destination as a 10/10.

GPX download available. Continue reading

Big Brother

by Tonwins Thims

Big Brother graffiti in France
Attribution: Paterm [CC-BY-SA-3.0]
As well as this VeloScience project we also curate another blog called CyberStanza  which is a poetry site with the theme of learning, living, and surviving in a technological world. Occasionally, there’s a poem posted over there that’s also relevant to the cycling community. Each poem also includes some level of evidence-based commentary (plus links and resources) so that readers get some sense of background to what informed the verse(s).  For example, the poem Big Brother reflects on the increasing use of highly portable cameras on our communication devices, transport, and sometimes on our attire. So give it a look and comment on CyberStanza if you like.

Girl’s bike

by Derek Morrison

RaleighLadies1930sTIt’s a girl’s, he had loudly protested
But much time had his dad invested
In fixing chain and Sturmey-Archer gears
So such protests fell on dad’s deaf ears.

His road sense was much in doubt
So after work dad took him out
He now felt a growing sense of pride
For just like dad he now could ride.

But Mean Town boys they did laugh
It’s a girl’s, their taunts would chaff
Because no money was the reality
So girl’s bike it would have to be.

As confidence and stamina grew
He began to adopt a different view
From Mean Town now a transient escape
So the world took on a different shape.

Out in the country he found such peace
For here the taunts and bigotry cease
From Mean Town the distance was too great
To be reached by it’s “the other” hate.

The shabby gift from person long expired
A freedom machine on which he never tired
For it taught him that from such unlikely tools
Can arise a new path to different schools.