Nuts

The Best Bike Story This Week

The Lulu rocking the Bullitt on the school run today #thelulu #copenhagen
Yesterday I took back ownership of my own Bullitt cargo bike, when The Lulu and I picked it up at Larry vs Harry. You might have heard it was stolen back in March. After a week or so, I resigned myself to never seeing it again. I lived in hope, because another time it was stolen, the Danish internet helped me get it back.


On Sunday evening, I got this photo sent via MMS and on Facebook. WTF. My bike parked outside Larry vs Harry. It was found at Christiania by a guy named Danni and taken from there and put outside Larry vs Harry. An amazing story. I called Danni and he was all like “no problem…”.

I got the details of the story yesterday when we picked it up from Claus. And it is amazing.

I realised I know Danni. I chat with him every year at the Svajerløb – Danish Cargo Bike Championships and I chatted with him at the recent bike flea market. Ironically, about whether or not I had found my Bullitt.

Danni’s own Bullitt is well-known here. He extended the frame to make it extra long. This shot is from the flea market a few weeks back. He has a kid around the same age as The Lulu, too.

So it turns out Danni was out for a ride on his motorcycle and ended up at Christiania. He saw three Bullitts behind the Månefiskeren café and he recognised one of them. Mine. Still with the map of Copenhagen on the cargo bay and even the Copenhagenize Design Co. logo sticker intact.

Danni rode his motorbike home to Hvidovre – a suburb of Copenhagen – and returned with his minivan. He put my Bullitt in the back and went to a bike shop to buy a lock. He then drove it to Larry vs Harry and locked it outside the shop. He let Claus from Larry vs Harry know it was there and he, in turn, notified me.

How amazing is that. 30 km and a couple of hours out of his day. Just to get the Bullitt back for The Lulu and I.

I’m speechless. Grateful. Amazed.

Thanks Danni. The Lulu is making him a drawing and I’ll figure out a suitable gift.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Cruiser brand 3G Bikes expands with urban and city models

WHITTIER, Calif. (BRAIN) — 3G Bikes is offering three new models in the urban/city category, to complement its beach cruiser bike models. The new G’Linda and Melrose women’s bikes and the Chicago men’s bike are designed to offer dealers high margins with attractive retail price points

BikeRadar staff bike: Lapierre Zesty/Spicy

Life as a technical editor for one of the largest cycling websites in the world is admittedly a dream gig but it’s not without its downsides (I know, I know – cry me a river). It sounds ridiculous from the outside but constantly riding different bikes does get old and just as my colleague Oli Woodman noted several months ago, I likewise longed to once again have a personal bike – one that I actually paid for and could just mindlessly ride without constantly having to take mental notes. Having sold my beloved Santa Cruz Blur TRc a few years ago, it was once again time to go shopping.

I’ve always preferred downhills to uphills but I also like to earn my turns so I wanted a do-it-all mountain bike that was light and efficient enough to climb on for hours on end but tough enough to truly attack rough descents. My list of requirements seemed straightforward enough, at least initially:

  • 150-160mm of travel
  • New-school geometry with a low bottom bracket, long front end, and a slack head tube angle
  • A neutral rear suspension design that didn’t require any goofy shock valving to pedal well. It also had to use a standard shock mounting system that would also allow me to test various rear shocks
  • A frame that was stiff but also quite light. I’m not particularly heavy and generally punch well below my weight class in terms of climbing ability so I wanted all the help I could get
  • Room for a water bottle inside the main triangle. There’s far too much horse and cow poop on our local trails to make under-the-down tube mounting practical, plus I find that location generally sucky regardless
  • Something semi-rare that I wasn’t going to see everyday at local trailheads

After months of searching and plenty of candidates being eliminated for various reasons, I ultimately decided to take a leap of faith and went with a Lapierre, wholly sight unseen and without the benefit of any test ride whatsoever. My British colleagues have long praised Lapierre’s longer-travel mountain bikes and as the company only recently started selling on these shores, I knew I wouldn’t see that many of them. The burlier Spicy model that I ultimately wanted unfortunately wasn’t available but since the Zesty AM uses the same frame (just with a more weight-conscious component build), I plunked down the cash for a Zesty AM 927 and eagerly waited for the box to arrive.

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The 150mm-travel OST true four-bar rear end definitely ticked one of the boxes

Since the stock Zesty AM wasn’t quite what I was after, the bike as it stands today is ultimately quite different than how it was delivered. All I’ve kept from the original build are the SRAM XX1 transmission and Avid XO Trail disc brakes (which, I should mention, have been utterly trouble-free). The original 150mm-travel Fox 32 Float was quickly replaced with a far superior 160mm-travel RockShox Pike RCT3. And even though I’m a self-professed tech nerd, I still prefer to make decisions for myself so the fancy RockShox e:i auto-adjusting electronic rear shock system (along with all of its associated wiring, sensors, and battery) was jettisoned for a RockShox Monarch Plus.

You can read more at BikeRadar.com

By admin on April 15, 2015 | Nuts

Choreography of a Copenhagen Corner – Desire Line Analysis


Desire Line Analysis: Choreography of a Copenhagen Corner
Cyclist Behaviour at a busy Copenhagen cycle intersection
By Marie Lindebo Leth – Anthropologist

For the next study in our Desire Line series we have picked a renowned Copenhagen bicycle hotspot: the Søtorvet / Dronning Louise’s Bro intersection. Over 40,000 bicycle trips are made through this intersection at a daily basis, making it one of the busiest in the world in terms of cyclist volume.


Such numbers create a special need for appropriate bicycle infrastructure in order to accommodate the bicycle users crossing this point. At Copenhagenize Design Company we have asked ourselves how we can determine the actual needs of bicycle users, and what solutions would be appropriate. This quest requires a greater understanding of the relationship between urban infrastructure and cyclist behavior, which is why we have conducted a Desire Line Analysis of this intersection.


The value of studying cyclist behavior
This study was conducted in collaboration with eight students from 4Cities, an international Urban Studies Master’s programme. Eight great and passionate students who tackled this analysis with professionalism.

Lorena Axinte (Romania), Jamie Furlong (United Kingdom), Elina Kränzle (Germany), William Otchere-Darko (Ghana), Lucie Rosset (Switzerland), Guillén Torres (Mexico), Mäelys Waiengnier (Belgium) and Devon Willis (Canada).

In order to identify how cyclists interact with infrastructure, and with other cyclists and road users, the students positioned a video camera and a few observers at the intersection between the hours 7:00 and 19:00 on a day in November 2014.



One particular spot in the intersection is the center of attention for this study. When cyclists approach the intersection, coming from North East along Søtorvet and want to turn right onto Dronning Louises Bro, they tend to either ‘cut’ the corner by riding onto the pedestrian zone, or run a red light when turning right. At Copenhagenize Design Co. we are interested in digging deeper into this behavioral pattern and understand the scale of, and reason behind the exhibited behavior.


Knowing how and why bicycle users consistently choose particular routes and strategies can help us understand priorities and motivations of bicycle users and inform our solutions – design-wise and political – in order to better accommodate their needs while paying mind to other road users as well.


What are Desire Lines?
At Copenhagenize Design Company, we have developed a method for determining how bicycle users actually navigate within the built environment and what routes they choose to take in various situations. This method we call Desire Line Analysis. By observing a bicycle user’s trajectory through a course of a road, we can determine the most traveled through routes – their desire lines. Desire lines are the easiest and most convenient ways of getting from point a to point b for bicycle users, and conceptually they should be distinguished from actual infrastructure with its pre-established paths. Desire lines might correspond with pre-established paths, but sometimes they don’t, and this is where they reveal flaws in the infrastructure that at the same time create opportunities for improvements.


Six Desire Lines
Based on our video footage we identified the cyclists’ desire lines, first by tracking their point of departure – Øster Søgade or Gothersgade – and then by observing their destination – straight ahead, or right onto Dronning Louises Bro.


However, in this Desire Line study our main focus is on those cyclists turning right. We discovered six general desire line categories that cyclists use when turning right onto Dronning Louises Bro.


The desire lines above illustrate that cyclist typically chose one of following six trajectories or strategies when making a right turn:
1. Following the official bike path – this desire line accounts for cyclists who turn right when the traffic lights are either green or red.


All other desire lines below are drawn by cyclists that “cut”, i.e. they ride from the bicycle path up onto the sidewalk, cutting the intersection in order to arrive at Dronning Louises’ Bro.


2. Avoid the pedestrians – cyclists who zigzag or change their path in order to avoid pedestrians.
3. Cut in the middle – cyclists who did not cut immediately, but followed the path for a few more meters than category 4 and 5, before deciding to cut
4. Cut following the path – cyclists who ride onto the sidewalk and proceed by mimicking the bicycle path until they are close to the traffic light ?
5. Cut right away – cyclists that cut the sidewalk as early as they can, without trying to follow the path.
6. Cut last minute – cyclists who cut just as they arrived at the red light. (we suspect that when being confronted with a red light, people prefer riding on the sidewalk rather than waiting at for the light to change).


Shortcutting to keep the momentum
The question of what motivates people to cut the corner in order to arrive at the bike lane on Dronning Louises Bro is central to this study. In order to get closer to an explanation, we will first distinguish between cyclists who cut when traffic lights are red, and those who cut during a green light – where they could just as well have followed the bike path without stopping.


The first group – cyclists who cut the corner during a red light – is the largest of the two. In particular, cyclists coming from Gothersgade, arriving on Øster Søgade, then turning right, were more prone to cutting the corner when the light was red. This is probably because they most often arrive at a red light in the intersection. Traffic lights in this area are timed to provide cyclists coming a different direction – Øster Søgade via Fredens Bro – with constant green lights that follow the speed of the average cyclist – the so called ‘green wave’. This, however, means that cyclists coming from Gothersgade will have their momentum disrupted when they arrive at the Dronning Louises Bro/Øster Søgade intersection. Thus, using the wide sidewalk as a quick way to avoid waiting for the lights to change can be tempting.


The second group – cyclists who cut the corner while traffic lights were green – most often did so when there was a considerable number of cyclists in front of them, causing a queue for either turning right or continuing straight ahead. Such a situation creates an incentive to improvise a shortcut by riding across the sidewalk to get to Dronning Louises Bro.


During the twelve hours we spent observing the intersection, only a few cyclist-pedestrian conflicts occurred. We are convinced that the considerable width of the sidewalk plays an important role here, since it leaves enough space for both pedestrians and cyclists to navigate around each other.


Most played it safe
We also found that of all the cyclists travelling through the intersection (i.e. those who went straight along Øster Søgade and those who turned right onto Dronning Louises Bro), the majority acted “correctly” (i.e. they did not cut or go through a red light, but rather followed the traffic laws correctly). During midday (11:30- 13:30), 72% of cyclists acted correctly (following the traffic laws) and only 28% acted incorrectly or inappropriately (going through a red light or cutting). Similarly, during rush hour (15:30-17:30), 76% acted correctly and only 24% acting incorrectly.

This means that on average 74% followed the traffic law, meaning that they respected red lights and stayed on the bike path instead of cutting the corner. The remaining 26% performed some form of law breaking act.
However, during the morning rush hour, an average of 50% cyclists either cut through the sidewalk or jumped the red light, when heading towards Nørrebrogade from Øster Søgade. 58% were male and 42% were female.


Right-turners bent the rules more often
While on average most cyclists acted correctly (74%), when looking at right-turning cyclists exclusively, the difference between those who followed the rules and those who didn’t, was less significant. Among cyclists who turned right onto Dronning Louises Bro, 52% acted correctly, while 48% acted incorrectly. Of those acting incorrectly, 35% went through the red light and 65% cut through the sidewalk.


This ‘improper behavior’ might be connected to a phenomenon we have observed before; the so-called ‘domino effect’ where the actions and routes taken by one cyclist is copied by other cyclists behind him or her. In this sense a specific action legitimizes or inspires other cyclists to perform similar actions. For example, we noticed that once a cyclist is cutting, others start to follow suit. Conversely, when none in the front of the line cuts, the cyclists queueing behind also tend to stay in the group.


Fewer cyclists run red lights during rush hour
In the early afternoon (13:30-15:30), many more cyclists acted incorrectly, an average of 68% cut or went through a red light, as opposed to a daily average of 48%. We suspect that this is because there are much fewer cyclists, cars and pedestrians on the road during this time of the day, and thus it is easier for cyclists to cut the intersection or slipping through a red light in a safer way, without getting noticed as much.


Only 16% of all the cyclists we observed went through a red light (i.e. actually going through the red light on the bicycle path, not by cutting). Although the average is quite low, as mentioned above, larger numbers of cyclists were going through the red light at certain points of the day: in the late morning (9:30-11:30) an average of 27% of cyclists coming from Gothersgade went through the red light, and in the early afternoon (13:30-15:30) an average of 41% of cyclists coming from this street went through the red light. Again, it seems like cyclists are more likely to run a red light in between rush hours. In fact, only 3% of cyclists went through the red light from Gothersgade during rush hour. This observation supports our theory that a higher volume of road users creates a lesser incentive for cyclists to go through a red light.


Lessons learned
Our study confirms findings generated in previous desire line studies, showing how bicycle users create routes based on what is faster and most convenient, regardless of whether appropriate infrastructure is there or not. Although it sometimes means that bicycle users will follow the informal lead of other cyclists, and circumvent traffic rules in order to get to their destination, considerations regarding safety and/or public shaming do appear to inform their decision making.


Only 1:4 of the total number of bicycle users we observed actually broke the law. When they did cut the corner, they strategically picked different routes through the pedestrian zone in order not to collide with each other, and only very few conflicts between cyclists and pedestrians occurred.


To make a long story short, bicycle users are motivated to keep momentum going, and depending on the circumstances, some are ready to circumvent formal rules and collectively improvise their own in order to make their travel easier, if existing infrastructure does not accommodate their needs.


Copenhagenize Fixes
So where should we go from here? Depending on the priorities of city authorities, different approaches could be used to mitigate the percieved ‘improper cyclist behavior’ in this intersection.


  1. Considering the volume of bicycle traffic, the most obvious retrofit would be creating a cycle track in an arc across the corner to allow cyclists to turn right unimpeded by traffic lights. A similar solution is already in place on the opposite corner, leading cyclists across a sidewalk to Vendersgade from Nørrebrogade. As we understand it, one department in the City of Copenhagen would be against this – worried about protecting the architectural integrity of the location. This is rather silly, considering the fact the City had plans to rip out of the grassy knolls formed by WW2 bunkers, cut down the trees and sanitize the whole area. That idea died, fortunately, but it is clearly a sign that change can happen at this location. The basic fact at this location is that the majority of cyclists are turning right and the minority are heading parallel to The Lakes. Desire Lines are democracy in motion. People voting, as it were, with their feet and bicycle wheels.
  2. As we found from the research, the main reason for cutting the corner or going through the red light is that cyclists coming from Gothersgade are trying to bypass the red light and simply maintaining their momentum. Especially in the busy rush hour it would be beneficial to time the traffic lights for cyclists coming from Gothersgade so that they continue in a smooth flow up Nørrebrogade. Maintaining, respecting and legitimizing the momentum that cyclists need would eliminate the need for cutting the corner.
  3. It is with good reason that allowing right turns on red is steadily becoming law all over Europe. Making this the default at this intersection would also impact the behaviour positively. It is not the be all, end all solution at this location however.
  4. The wide swath of sidewalk is currently a kind of “shared space” that works well at this location. Making the area shared use would require little physical change and would formalise the behaviour of the cyclists. A fun idea, but it is important to maintain a design standard and throwing a mixed use area into the well-functioning infrastructure design tradition may not be a good, permanent solution.


If you wish to read the entire report on this study please go to our company website. It’s downloadable from there.
Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

By admin on April 1, 2015 | Bike News, Law, Nuts, Safety
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

How to service a Fox fork – video

For suspension forks to work effectively they need to be in as friction-free an environment as possible. That sounds easy enough until you consider the grubby places we mountain bikers ride our machines.

Given the relatively low weights and forces at work when riding a mountain bike off-road (in comparison with, say, aircraft undercarriage struts on landing) the fork has to be clean and well lubed if it is to be able to move rapidly enough to isolate you from the shocks.

To keep the outside out and the insides nice and oily, forks are fitted with seals. Telescopic forks usually have upper leg ‘stanchions’ and lower leg ‘sliders’, and the two pieces should move over each other with minimal effort. Servicing your fork’s seals reguarly will keep it running smoothly.

In the video below, BikeRadar’s James Tennant explains how to perform this procedure, which is known as a 30-hour service. He’s using a Fox 34 air-sprung fork, but the method applies to all Fox air sprung forks. It’s important to note that this does not replace the annual service that your local Fox centre should perform.?

How to service a Fox fork

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Video: How to service a Fox fork

Related: How to service a Fox shock

Tools needed

  • Sockets
  • Mallet
  • Fox Float Fluid
  • Suspension fluid
  • Hex keys
  • A large syringe, or some other way of measuring liquid
  • Pick
  • Rag
  • Degreaser
  • Paper cloth
  • Gloves

Remove the lowers

Clamp the fork in a workstand, unscrew the valve cap and release all the air from the fork.

Use a 2mm hex key to undo the lug screw from the rebound or compression dial : use a 2mm hex key to undo the lug screw from the rebound or compression dial

Then use a 2mm hex key to undo the lug screw from the rebound or compression dial depending on what what fork you have.

Use a socket to remove the nut from the right-hand leg. Socket sizes will vary, and some forks may use crush washers, which you can usually reuse. Do the same for the other leg, before returning the nuts to the thread.

You now need to tap out the internals – many people recommend using a drift for this, but as long as you are very careful, you can use a socket and mallet to release the internals from the leg.

You now need to tap out the internals: you now need to tap out the internals

Position a tray or bucket under the fork to collect any suspension fluid that may leak.

Place the socket on the end of the nut, making sure it’s not in contact with any part of the fork internal.

Take a soft mallet and gently tap the socket until the thread is released. Be extremely careful while doing this – if you bend one of the rods, it will be expensive to replace.

One the internals are free you can remove the fork lowers, then wipe down the internals with paper cloth: one the internals are free you can remove the fork lowers, then wipe down the internals with paper cloth

Once the internals are free, you can remove the fork lowers. Let the excess fluid drip away, then wipe down the internals with paper cloth.

Clean the seals

Use a pick to remove the foam rings that sit just below the seals, in each leg.

Press the rings into paper cloth to remove any old suspension fluid and dirt, then immerse them in Float Fluid for a few minutes.

Use a pick to remove the foam rings that sit just just below the seals, then press them into paper cloth to remove old suspension fluid and dirt. then immerse them in float fluid for a few minutes: use a pick to remove the foam rings that sit just just below the seals, then press them into paper cloth to remove old suspension fluid and dirt. then immerse them in float fluid for a few minutes

While the rings are soaking, you can get to work on cleaning out the inside of each leg. Spray in some degreaser, then use a rag wrapped around a long, thin item such as a large hex key to ensure that there is no dirt inside, or around the seals.

…then use a rag wrapped around a long, thin item such as a large hex key to ensure that there is no dirt inside, or around the seals: …then use a rag wrapped around a long, thin item such as a large hex key to ensure that there is no dirt inside, or around the seals

Finally, carefully return the saturated foam rings to the seals – the Float Fluid will be used to lubricate the fork stanchion.

Replace the lowers

Return the fork lowers and wipe off any excess fluid.

Use a syringe to insert the correct volume of suspension oil in each leg – take a look at the Fox oil volume chart if you are unsure. Remember, this is suspension oil, not Float Fluid.

Use a syringe to insert the correct volume of suspension oil (not float fluid) into each leg: use a syringe to insert the correct volume of suspension oil (not float fluid) into each leg

Compress the fork fully and refit the nuts, not forgetting any crush washers you may have removed earlier.

Retighten the nuts, being careful not to over-tighten them – check for the correct torque values on Fox’s website, and use a torque wrench if you have one available.

Compress the fork fully and refit the nuts. use a torque wrench if you have one available: compress the fork fully and refit the nuts. use a torque wrench if you have one available

Finally, refit any dials you may have removed.

You now need to pump 10-20psi of air into the fork, and give it a few compressions, in order to circulate the oil around the internals.?

After that, you’re ready to set your sag and ride. If you’re not sure how, our guide will help you.








Street Photography from the World’s Youngest Urbanist

Lulu Street Photography_40
Everybody sees their city differently. What does the city look like through the eyes of The World’s Youngest Urbanist? Lulu-Sophia keeps delivering a solid flow of pure observations about city life. She also grows up in a home filled with cameras and has free access to all of them. What about putting those two things together, I thought.

Some Canon camera, be it 5 or 7D is usually lying in the window sill at our place. I often find photos on the memory card that Lulu-Sophia had taken of people out on the street in front of our flat. She just started picking up the camera and shooting. A couple of years ago I started handed her the camera when we’re riding around on the Bullitt cargo bike.

I never say what she should take photos of. I just say “take photos if you want”. Totally up to her and no big deal if she doesn’t. Sometimes I don’t notice what she does but when I load the photos onto the computer, I get to see what she sees. And it is quite wonderful.

I’ve made a little set of her street photography work on Flickr?from when she was five but here are some of her shots from the urban landscape. Both from the flat and from the Bullitt.
Lulu Street Photography_38
By and large, she photographs people. Still Life must be like watching paint dry for a five year old. Humans, please. Except, perhaps, for a pretty red bicycle (farther down) that caught her eye.

Lulu Street Photography_5 Lulu Street Photography_26

Lulu Street Photography_41 Lulu Street Photography (2)
People doing things. Transporting themselves, waiting for someone, observing – in their own way – their city. Humans watching humans.

Lulu Street Photography Lulu Street Photography_20

Lulu Street Photography_13 Lulu Street Photography_23

Lulu Street Photography_32

Lulu Street Photography_9 Lulu Street Photography_14

Lulu Street Photography_7 Lulu Street Photography_18
There are many bicycles, mostly because it’s like shooting fish in a barrel in Copenhagen. You can’t take a shot without a bicycle in it. When shooting from the flat, she shoots cyclists and pedestrians.
Lulu Street Photography_12

Lulu Street Photography_42 Lulu Street Photography_17

Lulu Street Photography_16

Lulu Street Photography_34 Lulu Street Photography_2

Lulu Street Photography_11
And of course, the set wouldn’t be complete without a shot of your big brother, Felix.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Nantes: A City Getting it Right

Cours des 50 otages - Pistes cyclables

A French translation of this article follows the English text.

The city of Nantes in France will host the global bicycle conference Velo-City?in June 2015.?Before showing up, Copenhagenize Design Company decided to do a scouting tour.

Nantes and its 600,000 inhabitants – including the immediate suburbs – is one of the French cities that decided to implement an ambitious cycling policy. They dared to innovate and to make strong political decisions. We find that inspiring.

To begin with, watch the Velo-City 2015 promotional clip. In this video, Nantes demonstrates that they understand that creating a bicycle-friendly city is not just about building infrastructure but it’s most of all about developing a life-sized city where bicycles are merely one of the tools to create an active, creative and liveable city – albeit one of the most important tools. Nantes presents in the video its inhabitants, its urban spaces and its activities.

We have to admit that we have been impressed by the diversity of features included in the bicycle policy. Far from being only focused on building infrastructure, Nantes expands the initiatives to include everything that can support rebuilding a bike-friendly city; services for cyclists; parking; a bike share programme; long and short term rental bikes; collaboration with the local associations, etc.

Bicloo Zone à Trafic Limité

The implementation of their policy has been a success if you consider the fact that the number of cyclists has increased and the modal share rose from 2% to 4.5% between 2008 and 2012 (5.3% in the city-centre). Most importantly, the bicycle users in the city are largely Citizen Cyclists and not hard-core “avid cyclists” dressed in racing gear.

First step – Reducing the Number of Parasites
During rush hour, many streets are still highly congested but when it comes to traffic regulation within the city-centre, Nantes has made a crucial decision: the through traffic has been completely removed from the heart of the city thanks to the creation of a Limited Traffic Area.

The main boulevard running through the city is now only accessible to bicycles, public transport and authorised vehicles (taxis, delivery trucks, shopkeepers), meaning that most cars and motorcycles are no longer welcome. On this boulevard, just like on a pedestal,?cyclists ride a 4 meter wide cycle track, slightly elevated. Even if we can criticise the fact that the cycle track is very different from the others (bi-directional, in the middle of the street, elevated), we notice that the Municipality has decided to showcase to the inhabitants that the cyclists are very welcome in Nantes – and prioritized. In addition, the city continues transforming symbolic car-centric places into pedestrian areas (such as the Royale square and the Graslin square). Nantes is Copenhagenizing and modernising itself.


Place Graslin

Building Several Kilometres of Bicycle Infrastructure
In addition to their wider focus, Nantes has, bien sur, built numerous kilometres of separated bike lanes. The colour chosen for the bike lanes is a very light orange. At the intersections, this colour communicates clearly that the space is dedicated to cyclists and orange stripes along the lanes strenghten this communication in some areas.

But let’s look at the infrasturcture in detail because it is the backbone of any cycling city. The lanes are wide enough to host the current number of cyclists (3 meters wide for the bi-directional lanes). But when the modal share will really increase, will it be sufficient to cope with the user’s flow and capacity? Is the infrastructure capable of evolving and expanding? We’re not sure.

Piste cyclable?

Piste cyclable

Piste cyclable bi-directionelle?Piste cyclable

A Clear Strategy Can Still Suffer from Drawbacks
We must mention that one clear drawback and that is a lack of homogeneity in the bicycle network. The diversity the design of the infrastruture is such that without a strong knowledge of the city, you can easily lose track of the network. For instance, bicycle lanes are randomly designed. They are in the middle of the street, on the right of car traffic, on the right or left of the tram, shared with buses or pedestrians suddenly for a few metres, first monodirectional then bidirectional. It’s a guessing game at times.


Despite the consistency of the orange colour and the creation of two main routes – north-south and east-west- the network remains very complex and not at all intuitive. It makes it quite difficult to get a clear mind map of the bike route you’ll be riding. Moreover, the bi-directional bike lanes already show some limits as this infrastructure is too narrow to host the cyclists at the intersections during rush hour.

The physical complexity of the bike infrastructure has two main impacts. First, the speed of the cyclists is reduced, which turns cycling into a less competitive solution compared to other means of transport (12 km/h in Nantes vs. 15,5 in Copenhagen and 20 km/h on the “Green Wave Routes”). We know for a fact that a bicycle user wants to ride from A to B as quick as possible.

Secondly, the difficulty to visualise a clear cycling itinerary can become a serious deterrent to getting new cyclists onto the infrastructure. This might challenge the ambition of the city to increase the modal share. Can Nantes really reach their declared target of 15% model share for cyclists without making cycling the most practical and easiest choice? Not likely, as it is now.

This challenge is common in many French cities that, on the one hand, develop ambitious cycling networks but, on the other hand, make them too inconsistent when it comes to the type of infrastructure.

Increase the?Diversity of Services
Like so many French cities, Nantes implemented a bike share scheme – the Bicloo – relying on user-friendly stations (880 bikes and 102 stations). But the city also offers the commuters the opportunity to combine bicycle and train through the development of a bike-train-bike concept (similar to the BiTiBi project). Indeed, let’s imagine that an inhabitant of Nantes Métropole cycles from home to a nearby suburban train station, he/she can park the bike under a shelter (or, even better, in a secure bike parking facility at the main train station in Nantes). Then, he/she gets on the train and upon arriving in the city-centre, he/she can rent a bike for a day and return it to the same place before taking the train home. ?The City of Nantes has also developed secure bike parking, long term rentals and air pumps and they allow folding bike on the trams – the Cyclotan – as well as offering citizens €300 euros subsidy for buying a cargo bike. allowance when buying a cargo-bike.

Bicloo - station


Bord de l'Erdre

Le Lieu Unique


Important information for our followers attending Vélo-City 2015 – we have already found the Copenhagenize HQ ?- near the conference venue. A lovely place on the Erdre river. See you there in June 2015.

VERSION EN?FRANÇAIS

Nantes – Une ville qui a compris?!

La Ville de Nantes (France) accueillera en Juin 2105 la conférence mondiale Vélo-City. Avant de venir y participer, Copenhagenize a décidé d’aller y faire un petit repérage.

Nantes, 600.000 habitants à l’échelle de l’agglomération, est l’une des villes françaises qui a mis en place une ambitieuse politique cyclable et qui n’a pas hésité à innover en la matière et prendre des décisions politiques fortes. De quoi inspirer.

Pour commencer, visionnage de son clip de présentation de Vélo-City 2015, où Nantes montre qu’elle a compris que créer une ville cyclable c’était avant tout créer une ville humaine où les vélos ne sont finalement qu’un des éléments d’une ville active et agréable à vivre. Nantes y présente majoritairement ses habitants, ses espaces publics, ses activités urbaines.

Ensuite, il faut bien avouer que nous avons été impressionné sur la diversité des éléments de sa politique cyclable. Loin de s’être uniquement focalisée sur la construction de pistes cyclables, Nantes a élargi ses initiatives concernant le vélo sur tous les fronts?: services aux cyclistes, parkings, vélos publics, travail avec les associations locales…

Résultat, la part modale du vélo est passée de 2 % à 4,5 % entre 2008 et 2012 (5,3% dans le centre-ville), mais surtout les cyclistes sont des usagers de la rue comme les autres et non des hard-core du vélo, de vrais «?Citizen Cyclists?» (cf. le blogpost sur Copenhagen Cycle Chic).

Deuxièmement, des kilomètres d’infrastructures cyclables
Nantes a construit des kilomètres de pistes cyclables complètement séparées de la circulation automobile.?Orange pâle, c’est la couleur choisie pour marquer les pistes cyclables. Aux carrefours, cette couleur affirme la place des cyclistes et des bandes peintes le long des pistes vient parfois judicieusement renforcer la lisibilité du réseau.

Les pistes sont actuellement assez larges pour accueillir les cyclistes (3 mètres de large mais en bi-directionnelle), mais qu’en sera-t-il quand le nombre de cyclistes augmentera véritablement.?Toutes ces infrastructures seront-elles adaptables?


Une ombre au tableau
Toutefois, il faut tout de même signaler un bémol?: le manque d’homogénéité du réseau cyclable. La diversité du type de pistes cyclables est telle que sans être un fin connaisseur de la ville, on en perd très vite la lisibilité. La piste cyclable se situe parfois au centre de la rue, parfois à droite des voitures, à droite ou à gauche du tram, partagée sur quels mètres avec les piétons ou les bus, elle peut-être mono- ou bi-directionnelle…
Le réseau est trop complexe et malgré la signalisation des axes majeurs nord/sud et est/ouest, difficile d’avoir une carte mentale claire de son itinéraire. Par ailleurs, les pistes cyclables bi-directionnelles montrent déjà leur limite aux heures de pointes, les endroits d’attente aux intersections autant rapidement saturés.

La complexité physique du parcours alternant entre différents types de pistes cyclables à deux impacts majeurs. Il réduit la vitesse des cyclistes et rend ainsi ce mode de déplacement moins compétitif face aux autres modes de transport (12km/h à Nantes contre 15,5 à Copenhague et 20km/h sur les «?Green Waves?»). On le sait, un cycliste utilise son vélo principalement parce que c’est rapide et pratique. Par ailleurs, la complexité de lecture du réseau peut dissuader certains usagers à se déplacer à vélo et limite l’augmentation de la part modale. Est-ce ainsi possible d’atteindre 15% de cyclistes??

Cette remarque est en fait la principale critique que l’on puisse faire aux villes françaises de manière générale. Elles innovent mais complexifient leur réseau.


Une diversité de services?
Comme des dizaines d’autres villes en France, Nantes dispose d’un service de vélos partagés – le Bicloo – et de bornes facilement accessibles (800 vélos et 102 stations). Mais elle permet également la combinaison de transport – vélo-train-vélo (cf. le projet européen BiTiBi). En effet, imaginons qu’un habitant de la région nantaise se rende de son domicile à sa gare locale à vélo, il trouve – à défaut d’un parking sécurisé – un abris à vélo. Il prend ensuite le train et une fois arrivé à la gare de Nantes, il empreinte pour la journée un vélo public et le retourne à la gare lorsqu’il vient reprendre son train.

La Ville de Nantes a développé également des parkings sécurisés disponibles sur la voie public, des pompes à vélo, un vélo pliant autorisé dans le tram – le Cyclotan -, une aide à
de 300 euros à l’achat d’un vélo-cargo, un vélo à disposition des étudiants…


Information à tous nos lecteurs participants à Vélo-City 2015, nous avons déjà trouvé notre QG à deux pas de la salle de congrès, un lieu unique au bord de l’Erdre où nous aurons plaisir à vous retrouver.

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

Swiss Family Cargo Bike


No big bicycle urbanist article this time. Just a simple tale of what happens when you loan out your cargo bike. During the summer, a Swiss family from Lausanne checked into my Airbnb room. I have had only wonderful experiences with being an Airbnb host. Half of my guests know my work through the company or through this blog or had the link sent by someone who does, so I get to meet many likeminded people. The other half just like the look of the place so I get to meet fascinating strangers and welcome them into our home.

The Swiss family were cool. They kind of just rocked into Copenhagen without any definitive plan. They just wanted to come here to see this cool, bicycle-friendly city. They even brought their kids’ bikes with them on the plane. They had vague ideas of renting a cargo bike – preferably a Bullitt – and riding around the region but were disappointed to discover that Bullitts couldn’t be rented and the other places that rent three-wheelers were booked. I was using my own Bullitt at the time, so they enquired about the Triobike three-wheeler I have in the backyard. I said that it probably wasn’t THAT great to ride on longer trips, what with the wind and whatnot, but they just shrugged and smiled. They were up for anything. And off they went.

They cycled up the coast north of Copenhagen to the north coast of the island of Sjælland that Copenhagen is on. Then back down again. Then over to Malmö in Sweden to ride around the region. The kids rode their bikes and when one got tired – they were four and six – they just put the bike and kid in the cargo bay and continued.

I heard about their journey but I just received the photos in my inbox. It was, by all accounts, an amazing, epic journey. There are, of course, cycle tracks criss-crossing the nation – especially the island of Sjælland – so THAT was no problem, but respect for doing a few hundred kilometres as a family on a three wheeler, two small kids’ bikes and one extra adult bike.

Pit stop at a gas station. Not for gas, obviously.

Heading north from Copenhagen. Stopping at Charlottenlund.

They had camping gear with them, too.

Always fun with some off-roading.

Ooh. And picnics.

Lakeside camping with pre-requisite Danish beer.

Old building-visiting.

Off to Sweden.

A break back in Copenhagen at Baisikeli’s café.

Thanks to Simon and Sonia for the photos so I can see what they got up to on my bike!

Copenhagenize the planet. And have a lovely day.

50 ways to be a better mountain biker this winter

With dark days, darker nights and weather that’s verging on the criminal side of foul, it’s little wonder that mountain bikers sometimes have a hard time keeping their spirits up when the winter months draw in.

Still, with all that spare time on your hands it seems somewhat foolish to spend it polishing your top tube. We think winter is the perfect time to take a close look at everything in your life to do with bikes and find out just how well it works.

From maintenance tips for bike and body, to skills advice and valid excuses to spend your cash on bike-related stuff, we hope our list of ideas to boost your riding will encourage you not to hang up the wheels until summer but instead keep you out on the trails whatever the weather, making the most of what can be a very beautiful (and productive) time of year.

Get motivated

1 Own goal

Pick a target and give yourself something to aim at. There are now enough events of all sorts on the race calendar to keep you amused every weekend of the year. Cross-country, enduro, endurance, downhill, cyclocross… the list is endless and once you’ve picked your poison you’ll have plenty of motivation to get fitter and faster.

2 Ride, don’t race

Some people just don’t like closed-circuit mountain bike racing. If you’re convinced it’s not for you, then look elsewhere for a goal to keep you going over the winter. Check out adventure races, which mix running and riding with navigation and often require plenty of brainpower and hill skills as well as fitness and riding ability. You could also have a crack at a long-distance cycle route; while they’re not usually technically challenging, the point-to-point nature hits the spot for many people, and they traverse some beautiful parts of the world.

3 Mini adventure

Escape the humdrum and tackle something a little more adventurous. Bivvying is still the method of the moment but we’re fans of bothying and credit card touring, too. Simply fill a small pack with overnight gear, then take the scenic route to a bothy or bike-friendly B&B/guesthouse/hotel. Repeat for as many days as you can manage.

4 Foreign climes

A week of winter sunshine can’t be beaten for lifting your mood. Bike tester and photographer Seb Rogers says: “Spend the money you saved for a new fork/wheelset/whatever on a holiday with your bike instead.” Make sure your chosen location isn’t going to be under 10ft of snow, though…

Clean up your act

5 Feeding stations

Whether you’re whippet thin or could lose a few pounds, take a look at your eating habits. There’s usually room for improvement and always room for more fruit and veg. Fuel the engine consistently and healthily and you’ll notice a big improvement in your riding.

6 Hydration, hydration

When the temperature drops it’s easy to forget to drink enough liquid when you’re riding, but dehydration is just as damaging in the cooler months. Keep sipping through the chilliest rides and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

7 Yoga

Tack a weekly yoga practice onto your riding schedule and you’ll feel the benefits almost immediately. It boosts strength and flexibility, aids breath control and helps you to focus. Look for a local class with help and guidance if you’re a first timer, then check out a DVD in the comfort of your own front room.

8 Bend and stretch

Regular stretching is an overlooked part of any rider’s arsenal. The jury is out over whether it’s best to do it before, after or even during rides, but we prefer to do it in front of the TV while the post-ride tea is brewing. Target any existing problems but don’t neglect the rest of your muscles. View it as preventative maintenance rather than emergency treatment.

9 Catch some Zs

It doesn’t matter how hard you ride, if you don’t make time for your body to recover, you won’t reap the benefits. Sleep is massively important for muscle repair and regeneration so make sure that you get plenty.

Boot camp

10 Learn to love being out of breath

“Far from just being the domain of racers, embracing exertion means you’ll go further, faster and become fitter. Plus, it always helps justify the extra slice of cake at the end of the ride!” Oli Pepper, directeur sportif, Morvelo.

11 Push yourself

“When you think you can’t pedal that hard for a second longer, keep going for a count of 10. You’ll be amazed how much faster/further you’ll soon be going.” Guy Kesteven, BikeRadar tester in chief

12 Cross training

Indulge in a little cross training – a weekly run or swim will boost your all-round fitness markedly. If you’re an adrenaline fiend consider hitting the local climbing wall as an alternative; it’ll increase your flexibility as well as strength and give you the buzz that keeps you absorbed.

13 Spin the night away

It’s a last resort in many people’s eyes but if you’re seriously time crunched then get the turbo out and indulge in some interval sessions. Keep them hard, fast and, most important of all, short to avoid the mind-numbing boredom that comes from pedalling your legs off while going absolutely nowhere.?

Back to basics

14 Pins and needles

Take advantage of some fettling time to get your riding position sorted out. Niggly aches and pains are often caused by something as simple as incorrect saddle height or handlebar rotation or poorly set up SPDs. Pay attention to what your bike looks like, and what you look like on it, to try to work out what’s going wrong.

15 Eat strong

Use the winter downtime to figure out what you can and can’t eat when riding hard. At its most basic this could just mean training yourself to take on adequate amounts of carbohydrate while exercising; move it on a notch and you’ll be looking at testing different sorts of energy drinks, bars and gels to find out which combinations work for you.

16 Back to school

If you want to make the most of your training then it makes sense to brush up on the theory so you really understand how your body works. Pick up a dedicated training book and immerse yourself in the principals of periodisation, lactate thresholds and power output – your friends and family might not welcome a full reprise but you’ll be able to put the knowledge to good use once spring rolls around again.

17 Trials on tarmac

Break out of the knobbly-tyred mould and hit the blacktop for a slightly cleaner mid-winter experience. If you don’t want to splash out on another bike then stick slicks on your mountain bike: you’ll miss out on the rolling benefits of 700c wheels but you’ll still find the speed and apparent ease of road riding utterly refreshing.

Sort out your kit

18 Experiment with bike setup

“Alter your bike setup. Try different riding positions, play with tyre and suspension pressures, experiment with component choice and so on. Work out what works best for you in different situations and don’t just bow to fashion,” says John Ross, racer extraordinaire.

19 Lose weight, not cash

Throwing money at poor performance is a quick fix, but shedding excess flab is a more cost-effective, and healthy, way to speed things up. As an incentive, only buy new kit once you’ve earned it by dropping those pounds.

20 Go minimal

“Don’t be afraid to take just the? bare essentials out with you: if you’re only blasting around local trails of an afternoon a pump, puncture repair kit, spare tube, tyre levers, multi-tool and some snacks should be all you really need. Make things easier and ditch the pack: get a saddle pack or strap your spare tube to your saddle rails, get a bottle boss mount for your pump, and stick the other kit in your rear jersey pocket. And, last but not least, use a water bottle rather than a hydration pack.” Matt Skinner, former What Mountain Bike editor.

21 Audit your backpack

Dig out your usual riding pack. Open all the pockets, turn it upside down and give it a good shake (preferably not over your best white carpet). You’ll be amazed at what you find…

22 Reduce, reuse, recycle

Do you chuck your punctured tubes away? Get the patches out and fix them instead. It’s a purposeful non-riding bike task to do when the weather is vile and is far better for the environment (and your pocket) than sending them to the landfill.

23 Lending library

If you’re mechanically minded and in need of costly specialist tools, consider starting up a tool library. Rope in some friends, work out what you need and then split the cost; you’ll have access to expensive items like thread taps and headset presses but without having to bear the financial burden alone. It does mean that someone will have to take the role of library co-ordinator though.

24 Charitable acts

Clear out your boxes of bike bits and take everything you haven’t touched for a year to your local bike recycling project or cycle jumble. The parts will go to a great home and you’ll have space to start accumulating those worn chains, gripless grips and split tyres again.

25 Spring cleaning

If you’re a novice, learning how to properly clean your bike and relubricate its drivechain is one of the most useful skills you can learn to keep your ride running smoothly. If you think that’s below you, then take a close look at your bike – we bet you’ll find parts that could use a little attention, because ours are exactly the same.

26 Cable magic

Shifting performance is one of the first things to go when the trails get sloppy. Whip out old inners, flush outers with dispersant and fit new inners; it’s one of the quickest ways to get a lacklustre ride feeling neat again, and costs peanuts.

27 Shop local

If you’re lucky enough to have an LBS (local bike shop) nearby, then make the effort to use it. They might not be able to match online/mail order prices but it’s likely that you’ll gain more from their experience and advice than you would save shopping online. If there’s something you’d like to be able to buy from them that they don’t stock, then give them some constructive feedback. Taking the time to develop a good relationship will make buying bike bits even more pleasurable – you might just be glad of it when you need an urgent job doing at 5pm the night before a big ride.

28 Tool school

Learn how to fix your own bike. From the most basic trail skill of replacing punctured tubes to tackling a strip, clean and rebuild of a full-suspension frame, there’s little that can’t be done once you have the knowledge. Start with the small things and work up – there are plenty of resources available to help you learn and you can even go on a training course if you want to take things further.

Be inspired

29 Feel the love

“Be in love with cycling. To be a better cyclist you need to feel the passion. True love will drive you out of bed on windy Sundays, remove the temptation to take the car to work and blind you to the trudge of constant bike cleaning. Love comes from squirrelling away beautiful cycling experiences. Ride more, love more, ride more.” Fi Spotswood, adventure racer.

30 Catch up on your reading

Long dark winter evenings confined to barracks make the perfect opportunity to seek out motivation. No, we’re not talking about the latest YouTube hit; there’s a huge amount of inspirational writing available in a variety of formats from regular riders’ blogs on the internet to more involving reading material published in good ol’ paperback format.

31 Break out the popcorn

Bigger bucks, better kit and innovative techniques have boosted the bike film industry in recent years. Fire up the DVD player and prepare to be amazed.

32 Get connected

Love it or hate it, the growth of social media makes organising days out and finding riding buddies significantly less arduous. With Twitter lists and ‘tweet ups’, Facebook groups and forum rides popping up all over the place, it’s a great way to get involved with like-minded fools. Just beware of the difference between some people’s online persona and their real life personality.

33 Take out a newbie…

As anyone who’s experienced the joy of basking in the glow of a new convert to the cause will tell you, nothing quite beats taking out a novice for their first ever mountain bike ride. Make sure they’re properly equipped, be prepared to weather a few sticky moments and have a stash of sweets on hand ready to ease progress, and you’ll find the experience thoroughly rewarding.

34 …but not your partner

We’d recommend that you don’t press-gang your partner onto the trails. Sending him or her out to learn the basics with an impartial third party if – and only if – they express an interest, is usually far safer and more diplomatic for all involved.

35 Time crunched

Make the time to ride with your friends. It’s easy to blame work and domestic arrangements for keeping you away from regular rides, but the company and laughter will keep you riding happily through the worst of the winter weather. We all have the same number of hours in the day; it’s how you use them that matters. As Debbie Burton, full-time mum and keeper of the Minx Girl cycle clothing website, says: “Just ride your bike whenever you can. Nipping to the shops, half an hour free? Get out on your bike.”

Practical steps

36 Go exploring

“Escape trail centres. Do it now. Maps aren’t scary and there’s a big world out there.” Seb Rogers, tester and photographer.

37 Skills school

Brush up on your trail skills. Take an outdoor-specific first aid course, learn the basics of get-you-home bike repair, make sure you know how to read a map and use a compass. You’ll probably have need to call upon one or more of these skills in the coming year and they could even save your life one day.

38 Map magic

Expand your horizons by researching new places to ride. Use the web to find out about places that interest you, then buy an OS map and get plotting. Guidebooks are a big help to the adventurous rider, but nothing beats finding your very own secret singletrack out there in the back of beyond.

39 Local knowledge

To get the very best out of an area you’re visiting, consider employing a professional guide. Many people don’t see why they should do this in the UK, but you’ll benefit from their legwork and knowledge of the local trail network, the local economy will get a boost and they’ll be able to tailor the riding to suit the kinds of trails you’re looking for. Check out trail centres, tourist information centres and local bike shops for prospective candidates.

40 Dig day afternoons

The trails don’t fix themselves and a great way to give something back is to participate in a maintenance day. Alternatively, adopt a local trail as ‘yours’ and make a habit of stopping every once in a while to trim back encroaching undergrowth and stop up chicken runs or widening puddles. You’ll get a warm glow and the trail will love you back.

41 Eyes open

Be nosey – ride with your eyes open. Investigate the patches of woodland, scrub and wasteland tucked between the houses; it’s likely there’s a trail or two right under your nose.

Expand your skill set

42 Improve your riding

“If you want to ride like a big bowl of awesome, just get your chin up and look well ahead. While you’re at it, let’s have elbows out, move your hips, open your legs, open your mind and relax harder.” Ed Oxley, trail guide and skills guru.

43 Top technique

We all have our mantras to ride by. Mike Davis, tester, says: “Bend your elbows – the tip to end all tips.”

44 Vision power

Former What Mountain Bike editor Matt Skinner has these words of wisdom: “Looking up and further ahead will allow you to see things in good time so as not to get caught unawares. As a result, you’ll pick better lines, and ride better/more smoothly.”

45 Harden up

We’re big hardtail advocates here at BikeRadar. Resident snapper Seb explains why: “Ride a rigid hardtail through the winter, or at least a hardtail. You’ll go much faster when you get back on a susser.” Super-smooth trail surfer Steve Worland goes one step further and recommends that you own at least one off-road bike without suspension (big tyres excepted) and ride it regularly.

46 Skill up

Many riders who wouldn’t think twice about splashing hundreds of pounds on hardware baulk at spending a fraction of that on some skills training, yet booking yourself in with a guide for the day is one of the most fruitful ways to boost your skill level and enable you to make the most of your equipment.

47 Positive spin

Boost your efficiency and you’ll be able to ride harder for longer while expending less energy. Develop a smooth pedalling rhythm and learn how to select the right gear for a given section of trail; you’ll climb better and have more energy left for the downhills.

Time to have fun

48 Vroom vroom

Make motorbike noises just for the hell of it. Mountain biking is all about fun after all, and who knows, it might even make you go faster!

49 Stop blaming your kit

It’s easy to make excuses for riding badly. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We all do it and sometimes alarmingly frequent. It’s often the best way to learn, and it keeps other riders entertained. Just try not to make them too painfully!

50 Get out and ride!

Turn off your computer and go out for a ride. When you get back plan the next one – it’s habit forming, this mountain biking lark. What are you waiting for?

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.








50 ways to be a better mountain biker this winter

With dark days, darker nights and weather that’s verging on the criminal side of foul, it’s little wonder that mountain bikers sometimes have a hard time keeping their spirits up when the winter months draw in.

Still, with all that spare time on your hands it seems somewhat foolish to spend it polishing your top tube. We think winter is the perfect time to take a close look at everything in your life to do with bikes and find out just how well it works.

From maintenance tips for bike and body, to skills advice and valid excuses to spend your cash on bike-related stuff, we hope our list of ideas to boost your riding will encourage you not to hang up the wheels until summer but instead keep you out on the trails whatever the weather, making the most of what can be a very beautiful (and productive) time of year.

Get motivated

1 Own goal

Pick a target and give yourself something to aim at. There are now enough events of all sorts on the race calendar to keep you amused every weekend of the year. Cross-country, enduro, endurance, downhill, cyclocross… the list is endless and once you’ve picked your poison you’ll have plenty of motivation to get fitter and faster.

2 Ride, don’t race

Some people just don’t like closed-circuit mountain bike racing. If you’re convinced it’s not for you, then look elsewhere for a goal to keep you going over the winter. Check out adventure races, which mix running and riding with navigation and often require plenty of brainpower and hill skills as well as fitness and riding ability. You could also have a crack at a long-distance cycle route; while they’re not usually technically challenging, the point-to-point nature hits the spot for many people, and they traverse some beautiful parts of the world.

3 Mini adventure

Escape the humdrum and tackle something a little more adventurous. Bivvying is still the method of the moment but we’re fans of bothying and credit card touring, too. Simply fill a small pack with overnight gear, then take the scenic route to a bothy or bike-friendly B&B/guesthouse/hotel. Repeat for as many days as you can manage.

4 Foreign climes

A week of winter sunshine can’t be beaten for lifting your mood. Bike tester and photographer Seb Rogers says: “Spend the money you saved for a new fork/wheelset/whatever on a holiday with your bike instead.” Make sure your chosen location isn’t going to be under 10ft of snow, though…

Clean up your act

5 Feeding stations

Whether you’re whippet thin or could lose a few pounds, take a look at your eating habits. There’s usually room for improvement and always room for more fruit and veg. Fuel the engine consistently and healthily and you’ll notice a big improvement in your riding.

6 Hydration, hydration

When the temperature drops it’s easy to forget to drink enough liquid when you’re riding, but dehydration is just as damaging in the cooler months. Keep sipping through the chilliest rides and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

7 Yoga

Tack a weekly yoga practice onto your riding schedule and you’ll feel the benefits almost immediately. It boosts strength and flexibility, aids breath control and helps you to focus. Look for a local class with help and guidance if you’re a first timer, then check out a DVD in the comfort of your own front room.

8 Bend and stretch

Regular stretching is an overlooked part of any rider’s arsenal. The jury is out over whether it’s best to do it before, after or even during rides, but we prefer to do it in front of the TV while the post-ride tea is brewing. Target any existing problems but don’t neglect the rest of your muscles. View it as preventative maintenance rather than emergency treatment.

9 Catch some Zs

It doesn’t matter how hard you ride, if you don’t make time for your body to recover, you won’t reap the benefits. Sleep is massively important for muscle repair and regeneration so make sure that you get plenty.

Boot camp

10 Learn to love being out of breath

“Far from just being the domain of racers, embracing exertion means you’ll go further, faster and become fitter. Plus, it always helps justify the extra slice of cake at the end of the ride!” Oli Pepper, directeur sportif, Morvelo.

11 Push yourself

“When you think you can’t pedal that hard for a second longer, keep going for a count of 10. You’ll be amazed how much faster/further you’ll soon be going.” Guy Kesteven, BikeRadar tester in chief

12 Cross training

Indulge in a little cross training – a weekly run or swim will boost your all-round fitness markedly. If you’re an adrenaline fiend consider hitting the local climbing wall as an alternative; it’ll increase your flexibility as well as strength and give you the buzz that keeps you absorbed.

13 Spin the night away

It’s a last resort in many people’s eyes but if you’re seriously time crunched then get the turbo out and indulge in some interval sessions. Keep them hard, fast and, most important of all, short to avoid the mind-numbing boredom that comes from pedalling your legs off while going absolutely nowhere.?

Back to basics

14 Pins and needles

Take advantage of some fettling time to get your riding position sorted out. Niggly aches and pains are often caused by something as simple as incorrect saddle height or handlebar rotation or poorly set up SPDs. Pay attention to what your bike looks like, and what you look like on it, to try to work out what’s going wrong.

15 Eat strong

Use the winter downtime to figure out what you can and can’t eat when riding hard. At its most basic this could just mean training yourself to take on adequate amounts of carbohydrate while exercising; move it on a notch and you’ll be looking at testing different sorts of energy drinks, bars and gels to find out which combinations work for you.

16 Back to school

If you want to make the most of your training then it makes sense to brush up on the theory so you really understand how your body works. Pick up a dedicated training book and immerse yourself in the principals of periodisation, lactate thresholds and power output – your friends and family might not welcome a full reprise but you’ll be able to put the knowledge to good use once spring rolls around again.

17 Trials on tarmac

Break out of the knobbly-tyred mould and hit the blacktop for a slightly cleaner mid-winter experience. If you don’t want to splash out on another bike then stick slicks on your mountain bike: you’ll miss out on the rolling benefits of 700c wheels but you’ll still find the speed and apparent ease of road riding utterly refreshing.

Sort out your kit

18 Experiment with bike setup

“Alter your bike setup. Try different riding positions, play with tyre and suspension pressures, experiment with component choice and so on. Work out what works best for you in different situations and don’t just bow to fashion,” says John Ross, racer extraordinaire.

19 Lose weight, not cash

Throwing money at poor performance is a quick fix, but shedding excess flab is a more cost-effective, and healthy, way to speed things up. As an incentive, only buy new kit once you’ve earned it by dropping those pounds.

20 Go minimal

“Don’t be afraid to take just the? bare essentials out with you: if you’re only blasting around local trails of an afternoon a pump, puncture repair kit, spare tube, tyre levers, multi-tool and some snacks should be all you really need. Make things easier and ditch the pack: get a saddle pack or strap your spare tube to your saddle rails, get a bottle boss mount for your pump, and stick the other kit in your rear jersey pocket. And, last but not least, use a water bottle rather than a hydration pack.” Matt Skinner, former What Mountain Bike editor.

21 Audit your backpack

Dig out your usual riding pack. Open all the pockets, turn it upside down and give it a good shake (preferably not over your best white carpet). You’ll be amazed at what you find…

22 Reduce, reuse, recycle

Do you chuck your punctured tubes away? Get the patches out and fix them instead. It’s a purposeful non-riding bike task to do when the weather is vile and is far better for the environment (and your pocket) than sending them to the landfill.

23 Lending library

If you’re mechanically minded and in need of costly specialist tools, consider starting up a tool library. Rope in some friends, work out what you need and then split the cost; you’ll have access to expensive items like thread taps and headset presses but without having to bear the financial burden alone. It does mean that someone will have to take the role of library co-ordinator though.

24 Charitable acts

Clear out your boxes of bike bits and take everything you haven’t touched for a year to your local bike recycling project or cycle jumble. The parts will go to a great home and you’ll have space to start accumulating those worn chains, gripless grips and split tyres again.

25 Spring cleaning

If you’re a novice, learning how to properly clean your bike and relubricate its drivechain is one of the most useful skills you can learn to keep your ride running smoothly. If you think that’s below you, then take a close look at your bike – we bet you’ll find parts that could use a little attention, because ours are exactly the same.

26 Cable magic

Shifting performance is one of the first things to go when the trails get sloppy. Whip out old inners, flush outers with dispersant and fit new inners; it’s one of the quickest ways to get a lacklustre ride feeling neat again, and costs peanuts.

27 Shop local

If you’re lucky enough to have an LBS (local bike shop) nearby, then make the effort to use it. They might not be able to match online/mail order prices but it’s likely that you’ll gain more from their experience and advice than you would save shopping online. If there’s something you’d like to be able to buy from them that they don’t stock, then give them some constructive feedback. Taking the time to develop a good relationship will make buying bike bits even more pleasurable – you might just be glad of it when you need an urgent job doing at 5pm the night before a big ride.

28 Tool school

Learn how to fix your own bike. From the most basic trail skill of replacing punctured tubes to tackling a strip, clean and rebuild of a full-suspension frame, there’s little that can’t be done once you have the knowledge. Start with the small things and work up – there are plenty of resources available to help you learn and you can even go on a training course if you want to take things further.

Be inspired

29 Feel the love

“Be in love with cycling. To be a better cyclist you need to feel the passion. True love will drive you out of bed on windy Sundays, remove the temptation to take the car to work and blind you to the trudge of constant bike cleaning. Love comes from squirrelling away beautiful cycling experiences. Ride more, love more, ride more.” Fi Spotswood, adventure racer.

30 Catch up on your reading

Long dark winter evenings confined to barracks make the perfect opportunity to seek out motivation. No, we’re not talking about the latest YouTube hit; there’s a huge amount of inspirational writing available in a variety of formats from regular riders’ blogs on the internet to more involving reading material published in good ol’ paperback format.

31 Break out the popcorn

Bigger bucks, better kit and innovative techniques have boosted the bike film industry in recent years. Fire up the DVD player and prepare to be amazed.

32 Get connected

Love it or hate it, the growth of social media makes organising days out and finding riding buddies significantly less arduous. With Twitter lists and ‘tweet ups’, Facebook groups and forum rides popping up all over the place, it’s a great way to get involved with like-minded fools. Just beware of the difference between some people’s online persona and their real life personality.

33 Take out a newbie…

As anyone who’s experienced the joy of basking in the glow of a new convert to the cause will tell you, nothing quite beats taking out a novice for their first ever mountain bike ride. Make sure they’re properly equipped, be prepared to weather a few sticky moments and have a stash of sweets on hand ready to ease progress, and you’ll find the experience thoroughly rewarding.

34 …but not your partner

We’d recommend that you don’t press-gang your partner onto the trails. Sending him or her out to learn the basics with an impartial third party if – and only if – they express an interest, is usually far safer and more diplomatic for all involved.

35 Time crunched

Make the time to ride with your friends. It’s easy to blame work and domestic arrangements for keeping you away from regular rides, but the company and laughter will keep you riding happily through the worst of the winter weather. We all have the same number of hours in the day; it’s how you use them that matters. As Debbie Burton, full-time mum and keeper of the Minx Girl cycle clothing website, says: “Just ride your bike whenever you can. Nipping to the shops, half an hour free? Get out on your bike.”

Practical steps

36 Go exploring

“Escape trail centres. Do it now. Maps aren’t scary and there’s a big world out there.” Seb Rogers, tester and photographer.

37 Skills school

Brush up on your trail skills. Take an outdoor-specific first aid course, learn the basics of get-you-home bike repair, make sure you know how to read a map and use a compass. You’ll probably have need to call upon one or more of these skills in the coming year and they could even save your life one day.

38 Map magic

Expand your horizons by researching new places to ride. Use the web to find out about places that interest you, then buy an OS map and get plotting. Guidebooks are a big help to the adventurous rider, but nothing beats finding your very own secret singletrack out there in the back of beyond.

39 Local knowledge

To get the very best out of an area you’re visiting, consider employing a professional guide. Many people don’t see why they should do this in the UK, but you’ll benefit from their legwork and knowledge of the local trail network, the local economy will get a boost and they’ll be able to tailor the riding to suit the kinds of trails you’re looking for. Check out trail centres, tourist information centres and local bike shops for prospective candidates.

40 Dig day afternoons

The trails don’t fix themselves and a great way to give something back is to participate in a maintenance day. Alternatively, adopt a local trail as ‘yours’ and make a habit of stopping every once in a while to trim back encroaching undergrowth and stop up chicken runs or widening puddles. You’ll get a warm glow and the trail will love you back.

41 Eyes open

Be nosey – ride with your eyes open. Investigate the patches of woodland, scrub and wasteland tucked between the houses; it’s likely there’s a trail or two right under your nose.

Expand your skill set

42 Improve your riding

“If you want to ride like a big bowl of awesome, just get your chin up and look well ahead. While you’re at it, let’s have elbows out, move your hips, open your legs, open your mind and relax harder.” Ed Oxley, trail guide and skills guru.

43 Top technique

We all have our mantras to ride by. Mike Davis, tester, says: “Bend your elbows – the tip to end all tips.”

44 Vision power

Former What Mountain Bike editor Matt Skinner has these words of wisdom: “Looking up and further ahead will allow you to see things in good time so as not to get caught unawares. As a result, you’ll pick better lines, and ride better/more smoothly.”

45 Harden up

We’re big hardtail advocates here at BikeRadar. Resident snapper Seb explains why: “Ride a rigid hardtail through the winter, or at least a hardtail. You’ll go much faster when you get back on a susser.” Super-smooth trail surfer Steve Worland goes one step further and recommends that you own at least one off-road bike without suspension (big tyres excepted) and ride it regularly.

46 Skill up

Many riders who wouldn’t think twice about splashing hundreds of pounds on hardware baulk at spending a fraction of that on some skills training, yet booking yourself in with a guide for the day is one of the most fruitful ways to boost your skill level and enable you to make the most of your equipment.

47 Positive spin

Boost your efficiency and you’ll be able to ride harder for longer while expending less energy. Develop a smooth pedalling rhythm and learn how to select the right gear for a given section of trail; you’ll climb better and have more energy left for the downhills.

Time to have fun

48 Vroom vroom

Make motorbike noises just for the hell of it. Mountain biking is all about fun after all, and who knows, it might even make you go faster!

49 Stop blaming your kit

It’s easy to make excuses for riding badly. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. We all do it and sometimes alarmingly frequent. It’s often the best way to learn, and it keeps other riders entertained. Just try not to make them too painfully!

50 Get out and ride!

Turn off your computer and go out for a ride. When you get back plan the next one – it’s habit forming, this mountain biking lark. What are you waiting for?

This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.