Cycling 10: Jeremy Riggs of Jezzers Jaw Jabberings

Jeremy Riggs’ blog, Jezzers Jaw Jabberings, is subtitled "Pointless blatherings on anything and nothing — mainly nothing". Yet as a fellow London cyclist I find that his cycling posts — especially this one — are particularly erudite and so I thought I’d subject him to the same terrible 10 questions I’ve asked other cycling bloggers over the past six weeks or so…

How long have you been commuting by bicycle, and what made you decide to do

only just returned to
commuting by bike in the New Year. I’d wanted to give it a go for
ages but decided to start when the company I work for joined the
Government-backed Cycle-To-Work scheme.  I used to ride to work when
living in Montserrat
in the Caribbean some years ago. Then I needed a mountain bike for the
as many of the roads were pretty rough and ready and steep. I still
my mountain bike and before signing up for the new bike made sure I
could get
up the worst hills on the way to work. 

One of the other incentives for
getting back on a bike was searching through the blogosphere and noticing how
many other people do it on a regular basis.

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Cycling 10: Warren of Limited Warren T

Do you work in radio? Do you ride a bike?

I only ask because I’ve got a little theory brewing: if you work in radio you’re more inclined to be a cyclist. This is because out of the five people ‘interviewed’ for Cycling 10 (so far) three of them, including Warren T, work for radio stations… it can’t be coincidence, can it?

Anyway, now it’s Warren T’s turn to answer London Cycling Diary’s probing questions about… what else? … commuting by bicycle.

How long have you been commuting by bicycle, and what made you decide to do it?

I probably shouldn’t count the times in the early 1980s so I’m going to say that I’ve been commuting by bike for three years or so; I started riding occasionally after my company moved their offices to an office park closer to my home. The bike path that is a mile away from my house runs through the office park and right by my building.

Two years ago I was sitting at a stop light in my mini-van when I was rear ended by a commercial truck at around 35mph. The 19-year-old driver wasn’t paying attention. The van was totalled and while I was waiting for the settlement cheque, I started riding full time.

I much prefer an enjoyable ride through the woods to sitting in traffic.  I have yet to buy a vehicle to replace the van.

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Cycling 10: Rodney Olsen of The Journey

It’s Thursday again, which can only mean one thing: time to put another fellow cyclist under the spotlight as part of London Cycling Diary’s ongoing "cycling 10" series. This time it’s Rodney Olsen’s turn to step up to the plate — or the starter’s blocks, as the case may be.

How long have you been commuting by bicycle, and what made you decide to do it?

I didn’t even learn to ride a bike until I was 16, but it
was back then that I first started commuting by bike. I didn’t commute
by bike all that regularly and the cycling stopped when I got my
license and a car at 17. I guess I cycled because I couldn’t drive.

I started to regularly commute by bike some years later and
for a while it was still a mixture of riding and driving. I guess I’ve
now been commuting only by bicycle for around 10 years.

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Cycling 10: Adrian of Adrian Fitch’s Random Ramblings

Adrian Fitch is a fellow London cyclist who commutes to work. His blog, Adrian Fitch’s Random Ramblings, is billed as "a bit about cycling, a bit about genealogy, a bit about radio but mostly a lot about nothing at all". Here are his responses to my 10 questions about commuter cycling…

How long have you been commuting by bicycle, and what made you decide to do it?

I’ve been commuting regularly since last spring. The main reason
I started was to get healthy. I had tried going to the gym but
struggled to find the time and motivation.

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Cycling 10: Chris of Life Cycle

Chris Lewthwaite, a Queensland-based cyclist, maintains the blog life cycle. His posts, often about awe-inspiring rides through lush, leafy landscapes, are always accompanied by stunning photographs. Here are his responses to my 10 questions about commuter cycling…

How long have you been commuting by bicycle, and what made you decide to do it?

I have been officially riding to work since 1999, but I was doing "other" transportational riding before that.  In fact, when I was growing up in the country, it wasn’t unusual for me to ride to the next town to visit friends or do the family’s shopping.

I started riding to work specifically because I got frustrated with the inefficiency of public transport in this city [the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia], and didn’t want to pay mega bucks for a car (I was a student at the time).  I figured that if I was already riding up 1,000 metre mountains on weekends, a ride to work or uni shouldn’t pose any problems.

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Introducing a new series…

If you believe everything you read, commuting by bicycle is soaring in popularity, particularly in areas of the Western world dominated by motorised traffic. Figures released by the London Mayor in late 2005 — at about the same time I started cycling — revealed that cycling across the capital had leapt by 100 per cent in just five years. Judging by the amount of people I see on the road, even when the weather is miserable, I reckon the boom is still happening.

But what makes people decide to get on the bike, and what is their average commute like? What do they like about cycling? What kind of kit do they use? And what advice would they give to someone thinking about becoming a regular cycling commuter?

I thought I’d put these questions — and a few more — to some fellow bike bloggers and post their responses in a new series I’ve dubbed “Cycling 10”, which I’ll post on a semi-regular basis.

The first kind soul to answer my 10 questions about cycling is Richard Masoner, aka Fritz, from the US-based Cycle-Licious, a news-based blog that’s always jampacked with interesting cycling snippets…

How long have you been commuting by bicycle, and what made you decide to do it?

I used a bicycle to get to class and work while in college 20 years ago and I just never stopped. There was a pause of a few years when my children were very small and my commute distance was long (20 miles). I started up again when my truck (yes, an evil SUV) broke down in 2002. I just hopped back on the bike and somehow I never got around to fixing the truck.Can you give a brief description of your route? These days I live 40 miles from work because my wife attends graduate school; we decided that one of us should be close to the children during the day and the housing situation worked out where my wife is two miles from her school campus. My usual commute is mixed mode bike-bus-train-bike, with the final bike leg being a 3.5 mile (6 km) jaunt on surface streets through very busy San Francisco Bay Area traffic.  I sometimes extend this last leg by stopping at a different train station.

What’s the best thing about commuting by bicycle?

Even after 20 years I still love riding to work. Cycling puts me close to the people around me and to the environment. Rather than segregation in an enclosed cage, I’m completely exposed. It’s exhilarating and reminds me that I’m alive.


And the worst?

In the San Francisco Bay Area, heavy exposure to car and truck exhaust is my greatest concern. Unfortunately, there’s not much I can do about the air pollution. I can drive, but that only adds to the problem.
What sort of bike do you ride?

Bikes get banged together on the train, so my usual commuter rig is the bike I bought as a college student in 1987 — a CroMo steel Centurion road bike. I converted it to a fixed gear about four years ago because I lived in Colorado at the time — derailleurs and brakes aren’t always compatible with ice and snow. I also ride a 2002 Trek 1000 (aluminum or “aluminium” for you Brits) and a 2007 Specialized Roubaix (carbon fiber ooh la la). If I feel like punishing myself, I’ll occasionally drag out my old, heavy, fat tire GT hardtail mountain bike. All of my bicycles are equipped with SPD MTB pedals.

What’s your favourite piece of cycling kit/clothing/gadget?

My bike commute is short enough that I normally wear street clothes while commuting. I’m in the computer industry, but I’m not really a gadget freak — I prefer minimal clutter on my bike and body. My bike computer is usually the only accessory.  I always ride with front and rear lights in the dark.
Helmet or no helmet?
I completely oppose all efforts to mandate helmet use for casual and transportational cycling. Nonetheless, I do usually  wear a helmet. I may doff the lid in very warm or humid weather.

Cycle lane or no cycle lane?I appreciate bike lanes and use them where available, though I won’t go significantly out of my way to use a path or laned street. My commute is a mix of narrow streets through commercial and residential areas that are striped and not, and a very busy arterial that crosses a major highway with striped and non-striped areas.Are you a member of any cycling organisations/clubs? If so, which ones?

I’m a member of the League of American Bicyclists and the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition. In the past, I’ve been active with Bicycle Colorado and Bicycle Longmont. 

What would you say to convince someone who is considering commuting by bicycle to get on board their bike?

The big concern most people seem to have is safety. Even if they have the intellectual knowledge that cycling is about as safe as driving in the U.S., the visceral fear can be difficult to get past. I offer to meet the newbie bike commuter at their home or at the train station and ride with that person. I’ll set a date — “I’ll meet you tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m.” — and I’ll show up. They’re now obligated to ride with me to the office.

Fritz leads virtualization technology bringup for the x64 group at Sun Microsystems. He lives in the hills near Santa Cruz, California, where morning fog waters the towering coast redwood trees. His blog is at