Monday, June 30, 2008

Cardboard Cycle, and a Bobby’s Bike Ban

Two stories to emerge from England over the last few days:

Phil Bridge, a 21 year old design student from Manchester, England, has designed the ultimate “Cheap” bike, made of cardboard.

A cycle made from re-cycled material; you can’t get any greener than that. Phil hopes his bike will sell for around fifteen British Pounds. ($30.)

The plan is that the bike will be so cheap, no one will steal it. Don’t count it, have you ever noticed that hotel coat-hangers are made without hooks, because people steal ’em. And if thieves don’t steal it, vandals might set fire to it.

No doubt, the honeycomb construction will ensure a sweet ride. I am wondering, will it come in a box, and will the box cost more than the frame? Here’s an idea, the box could be the frame. Now that’s thinking outside the box.

My apologies Phil for having fun with your project. As long as your business doesn’t fold, you’ll probably end up making a packet and retiring early.

All joking aside, I congratulate Phil Bridge. Whether or not this project turns into a practical application, anytime someone brings the concept of the bicycle to the forefront of the daily news, this is a good thing.

In addition, Phil has captured the media’s attention, and obtained worldwide publicity which, in of itself is a huge achievement.

Read the story in the Telegraph

The second story could be straight out of a British police comedy movie.

It is a news item about a British Bobby banned from riding his bike. The reason, he hasn’t passed the cycling proficiency test; even though Officer Nick Barker (Right.) has ridden a bike without incident since he was a kid.

It gets worse; it appears there are not enough police cars to go round, so Nick must ride the bus to patrol the three hamlets (Very small villages.) of Halstead, Knockholt and Badgers Mount, in Kent, in the South East corner of England.

If Nick happens to be in Knockholt and an incident takes place in Badgers Mount, he is at the mercy of the local bus schedule.

Let’s hope the crime rate is pretty low in this neck of the woods; never-the-less let Nick take his cycling proficiency course, and get him back on his bike pronto, before the local villains get hold of a bus time-table, and have a field day.

This story in the Daily Mail


Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to find out exactly what this "cycling proficiency test" consists of that someone who has been riding all his life may not necessarily be able to accomplish. The original article says,

"If officers use a mountain bike for operational duties they are required to complete a training course.

"The purpose of the course is to ensure that they have all the relevant skills and knowledge to make the best use of the bike within their role."

Sounds really complicated. Maybe they're supposed to be skilled downhill racers. Somehow I doubt it.

Anonymous said...

I remember seeing both stories. I never took the cycling proficiency test. Funnily enough when I was nine I wasn't interested in cycling. I'm sure if I had taken it 21 years ago, it wouldn't make a jot of difference. But, rules are the rules you know...

Anonymous said...

I wonder what the purpose of the cycling test is? It isn't like a bike is a gun, and without proper training you could end up doing much more harm than good. You don't need a license to cycle if you aren't a police officer, why would you need one if you are?

The only reason I could think of would be wanting to make sure all officers opting to cycle are able to respond to problems with a reasonable speed. Sticking him without a bike or a car doesn't seem to solve any problems.

Anonymous said...

It's not a bike Dave, it's a Dandy Horse. Where's the bloody crank?

Dave Moulton said...

We tend to forget that there is a whole generation who probably never rode a bike to school, or some who have never even owned an adult size bike.

To send someone like that on the street, on a bike, to do a job as a police officer with no training would not be right. I think this is the idea behind the cycling proficiency test.

However, if someone like Nick Barker is already performing his job on a bike, at least let him continue to do so while he waits to take the test.

I see a hole for a crank; maybe the crank is extra.

Anonymous said...

I thought the hole was for a stick to rest your feet when you were going down hill? Although I don't see that either, so it's probably an extra too.

Anonymous said...

15 GBP? Wishful thinking. Tires and wheels will cost more than that. Add drive chain and you're far above the 15. Shifters anyone? Legal lighting requirement? Bell? Don't see this flying at that price.

Anonymous said...

RE: the copper and bike test.
- he is not a police officer, he is a pcso (police community support officer) which means he has very limited powers and certainly not those of a full serving officer

- The Mail is rather erroneous in describing it as a cycling proficiency test given that bikeability has replaced that and it hasn't existed as such in about 30 years.

- the training referred to is almost certainly a police bike handling course which all officers are required to complete before riding a bike in a policing situation, something which is considerably different to use for commuting and general use. My understanding is that it involves learning to ride at speed over obstacles such as stone paved steps, dismounting at speed, obstacle avoidance (pavements, posts, pedestrians)

Here's a site which gives good examples: of the sort of training undertaken.

As such the story is classic Mail hype and little substance.