Strava – Are you protected?

Strava is a great tool, most of the riders I know in the club use it. However, it can be used for more sinister reasons. If you don’t apply some simple precautions anyone can view your profile. It will show them where you live, any pattern of activity and if you’ve described your bike, what type of bikes you own.

I’m told  a gang of professional bike thieves were arrested in the North of England after they researched ‘unprotected’ Strava accounts to target houses were high value bikes were kept. It crossed my mind that many people probably don’t know about the importance of  Strava privacy settings. So here, courtesy of Strava Support, is the information you may want to consider to make things just a little more secure:

Creating a Privacy Zone

On the website, go to your Settings page by hovering over your profile picture in the top right and selecting “Settings”.

Click on the Privacy tab on the left side of the page.

Enter a location in the text field provided under “Hide your house/office on your activity maps”, select the size of the privacy radius, and click “Create Privacy Zone.”

How it Works

The portion of your activity that starts or stops within your privacy zone will be hidden from other Strava athletes who view your activity. You will be able to see data inside your privacy zone, but other athletes will not.

  • If you stop in a privacy zone during the middle of an activity, this portion will not be hidden.
  • Your privacy zone will be automatically applied to all past and future activities.
  • GPS location-based lat/long coordinates can be used in place of a street address for cases where there is no street address.
  • Only one privacy zone can be applied to the start or end point for each activity. So if you have multiple, overlapping privacy zones, only one will be applied to each start or end point.
  • If a friend starts their activity from within your privacy zone, the portion that began in your zone will not be hidden on their activity.
  • You will not appear on any segment leaderboard that starts/stops within your Privacy Zone and you cannot hold or earn any KOMs/CRs on those segments. Removing a Privacy Zone will reinstate your segment matches and any associated KOMs/CRs.
  • Your Privacy Zone will be respected when you share on Facebook.

Manage Followers & Block Athletes

From your profile page, you can easily manage your current followers from the “Following” tab. When you block an athlete, it stops him/her from following you again, seeing certain Profile details, or accessing your activities. You will be removed from his/her list of followers and Activity Feed. Someone you’ve blocked will be able to see your activity entries in public areas like segment leaderboards, club feeds, and segment explore.

E bike conversions

Are you considering purchasing an E-bike but you can’t bear the thought of not being able to ride that fantastic bike you been using for years?

Mr Cycles in Seaford, has a solution. They can convert your old bike in an E-bike for a fraction of the cost.

The conversions use crank-drive kits that are UK legal.The battery is a lithium-ion 13Ah/468 Watt hour capable of a range in access of 50 miles. 

The cost of this wizardry? The price for a fully-fitted conversion is £800.   


If you want to know more or fancy a test ride then pop down to Mr Cycles and have a go.




Horses and Cyclists

Horses are a common sight on many of the country roads where we cycle, especially in the Arlington, Ripe, Chalvington and Chiddingly areas. They are usually very well ridden, the riders are friendly and there’s rarely a problem. However, I’m aware that some cyclists are unsure what to do when they encounter horses so, as an experienced ride leader for road cyclists, I thought it might be helpful to suggest a few tips. So here goes: 

  • Never ring your bell when near a horse. If you do then it could startle the horse and you’re likely to be rebuked by the horse rider. 
  • Always talk to the horse rider in a calm voice, never shout. 
  • Always pass a horse at a moderate, steady pace, ie not too fast. You’ll probably need to slow down but there’s no need to stop unless the horse looks agitated in which case the rider may tell you what to do. 
  • Always give horses a wide berth when passing and only pass when it’s clearly safe to do so. 
  • When approaching a horse from the rear ask the horse rider if it’s OK to pass. Don’t pass until they say so; sometimes they will tell you to wait. 
  • When you pass a horse from the rear tell the rider how many cyclists are following you if you’re the first rider to overtake. 
  • When approaching a horse from the front switch off a flashing front light if you’re using one. 
  • Talk to the rider as you pass to demonstrate to the horse that you’re friendly. The weather is usually a good subject; riders usually appreciate this. 
  • Never cross a level crossing if a horse is already on the crossing or about to cross it. (Horses can get a shock if they touch a rail which could be nasty if a horse bolted. (That’s why some level crossings have posts for the horse rider to touch to discharge any static). 
  • Above all, never do anything to startle or frighten a horse. 

Please regard these tips as just suggestions rather than golden rules. They work for me and are based on my many years (decades, in fact) of cycling along country roads and passing horses as well as advice from horse riders. 

Just occasionally, I come across a horse that looks unsettled in which case I always keep a good distance from it and wait. Usually, the horse rider will signal to pass when they have the horse under control or will pull the horse off the road and into a field. 

I hope this is helpful advice. However, I’m always willing to learn so I’d very much welcome comments from any horse riders reading this. 

Happy cycling, 


‘Safe Pass’ Scheme for Cyclists in East and West Sussex by Summer 2018


The Sussex PCC (Police and Crime Commissioner) Panel were today, 27 April ’18, advised that the Safe Pass scheme first introduced by the West Midlands force will be introduced across Sussex very shortly….Agenda item#7 attachment.

This is an extract from the attachment (key points in bold):

‘5) The West Midlands Police have been carrying out an award winning, hugely successful initiative called the “Close Pass Operation”, based on the philosophy that “if poor driving makes people too scared to cycle, it’s a police matter”, and that “people who drive poorly around
cyclists are likely to do so around other road users so it benefits all”. Since the operation has been implemented the WMP have reported a 50% drop in poor overtaking. and a 20% reduction in the number of cyclists killed or injured, this confirms it is a hugely effective use of limited resources, representing excellent value for taxpayers.

In November 2017 it was reported that Sussex police were evaluating the initiative, however there has been no further action regarding the implementation of such an operation.

Does the Commissioner have a view about Close Pass Operation? Is she satisfied that Sussex Police are moving quickly enough to adopt best practice from other forces in respect of protecting our cyclists? Mr Tweed of East Grinstead

Officers carrying out a road safety operation tackling the issue of drivers not allowing cyclist enough clearance during overtaking.

I understand the importance that the residents of Sussex place on road safety which is a key feature in my Police & Crime Plan.
I am aware of the Operation Close Pass initiative that was launched by West Midlands Police last year and resulted in a significant
reduction in the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured on their roads The Sussex Safer Roads Partnership (SSRP) has now had an
opportunity to look at the Operation to assess its appropriateness and feasibility for Sussex. I am pleased to confirm that Sussex
Police will be introducing a similar scheme, led by the SSRP and supported by the Road Policing Unit.
The Force intends to name the scheme ‘Safe Pass’ based on nudge theory to present motorists with the subconscious opportunity to pass cyclists safely, rather than closely. Sussex Police is currently finalising the operational delivery plan for the scheme and is working towards officially launching this scheme in June 2018.’ 

NB. I’ve emailed Sussex Police for more information about roll-out arrangements and await a response.

This arose out of the the ‘Close Pass’ operation to improve driving standards and shouldn’t be confused with the Safe pass programme in the construction industry!

Roger Lambert

27 April 2018

Cycling Rejuvenates your Immune System study finds

Cyclists touring along the Cuckoo Trail

We’re all aware that cycling is good for one’s health but the news this week that cycling keeps your immune system young is a real bonus! It’s based on a study of 125 long-distance cyclists, some in their 80s which found they had the immune system of 20-year-olds. You can read about it in a Guardian article.

The type of cycling described is similar to the Cycle Seahaven touring rides so this is great news for the tourers. There are three touring rides each week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) which usually clock-up over 100 miles.

Next week the touring rides are to Chilley Farm Café on Sunday (36 miles), Muddles Green on Tuesday (30 miles) and Bexhill on Thursday (44 miles), a total of 110 miles over those three days. So, if you’re not already a tourer, why not try one or more of these rides. Details are on the Rides Calendar. All include climbs up Chapel Hill so, as you puff your way to the top, you’ll have the comforting thought that you may be rejuvenating your immune system.

That said, all types of cycling are healthy exercise. Now that the weather is improving I’m sure there will be an even greater selection of rides on the Rides Calendar. The important thing is to keep cycling.

Happy cycling,


Puncture Repair the Cheats Way

During last Sundays ride to Brighton Marina, one of our riders suffered a puncture. To save time I decided to use a puncture repair spray to keep us moving.

The spray is designed to repair and inflate tubeless or punctured inner tubes instantly without tools and without taking the wheel off the bike.

A couple of the ladies on that ride hadn’t seen this method of puncture repair before and were impressed by the ease and speed of the repair. They thought it was an ideal solution for ladies riding alone who aren’t confident about repairing punctures in the field; I know a few blokes like that too!

So, for the benefit of those individuals that don’t know about this option, here is a link showing the product in action.

The can is small enough to fit in a pocket or backpack and doesn’t weigh very much. It inflates the tyre as it seals the hole and more air can be added afterwards if required (I’ve never found this necessary on a 27.5 tyre). The manufacturers suggest that you replace the inner tube once you return home but again in practice I’ve found you can keep going (till the next puncture at which point a new inner tube is required).

This spray, from Decathlon in Brighton, costs £2.99, but I’m sure there are other similar products/suppliers. The manufacturers say it will repair holes up to 1 mm wide but I’ve used it twice to repair tyres with small slashes of 3 mm and it’s worked fine (after a bit of seepage through the hole).

So if you’re not confident fixing punctures or you simply can’t be bothered because it’s pouring with rain, cold and muddy (which is why I carry one on my commute) then you might want to consider giving it a go? That said, I would strongly recommend that everyone learns how to repair a puncture, because whilst this stuff is good it won’t fix everything.

I’ll be looking to arrange some puncture repair classes soon. Maybe with a bacon butty incentive. (Den?)

Have fun.


The Kent Coast Viking Trail


Three members of the Touring Section and one guest rode the Kent Coast Viking Trail this week.  You can find the route we took here .

The 32 mile route follows the Kent Coastline around it’s eastern limits, it is predominantly flat or easy hills, with a large proportion of the ride on shared traffic free paths, quiet country lanes and a short distance on seafront roads.

The route is extremely well marked and easy to follow. On our grading system it would be a level 3B ride. I would recommend the route as suitable for families if the riders are competent to use the road sections. There are many pubs and cafes along the route.

From the car park at Minster, the route heads to the coast at Reculver, The route passes through Reculver and then follows the Sea Wall to Westgate, on to Margate, then Broadstairs where we stopped for lunch.

The Abbey Ruins at Reculver and the view across the Thames Estuary



After lunch we headed and Ramsgate where there is a replica Longboat, before turning inland to the start point near Minster

Viking Longboat at Ramsgate                                              Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial


On completion of the ride we visited the Spitfire and Hurricane Memorial (Free Entry) and Manston Museum (Adult Entry £2) at the now closed Manston Airport (Former RAF Manston). These two museums are well worth the visit.


Happy Cycling Dave






Bike building for dummies #2

“I must have a prodigious amount of mind; it takes me as much as a week, sometimes, to make it up!”

Mark Twain

Having picked up my brand new (to me) bike frame and decided that I was going to build it myself, I thought that I should jump right in.  But where should I start?

Wheels.  Definitely wheels.  Not only because they are one of the only parts of a bike that I can confidently name without resorting to my bike parts diagram, but because they are big and substantial.  And easy.  And wheels are wheels aren’t they?

I had a look online and found these at random because they got good reviews…. So I asked the helpful people at Friston MTB what they thought.  This was the first response I received which was brilliant because it was so detailed, but raised a whole HOST of questions that I didn’t know the answer to:

Confirm the spacing of the rear axle requirements. The wheels above are 142 and won’t fit if the Singular Hummingbird is the same. The front wheel in this set is a boost hub and will only fit into forks that are new and will accommodate such wide spacing.

Do you want a singlespeed specific rear hub i.e. One which will only carry one cog ? These have many advantages and the spacing and dishing is completely different to a 10/11 speed hub.

Do you want a tubeless set up? Most rims will accommodate a tubeless set up – some with rim tape others without ?

How wide a tyre do you want to run ? Although here you will be governed by the rear dropout in the frame. However you may decide to run a 29+?front tyre which would require a wider rim ?

Eeeekkkkkkkk. My answer to all these questions was ‘I don’t know’. Not a clue.  Lots and lots of people went on to recommend Hope Hubs with a reliable rim.  The hub for those of you who don’t know is the bit in the middle of the back wheel that attaches to the frame.  I was beginning to feel ever so slightly overwhelmed.

Everyone likes a 69er, right?

Then, a little bit later in the thread, another key point of info was shared:

Just looking at the Hummingbird specs and the few bits I have found say it’s a 69er, 26″ on the back 29″ front but others may be able to confirm.

WTF?  A 69er?  How did I miss that flipping key piece of information when I was on Fleabay?  What the heck is a 69er and why on earth would you want one?  All I had done before buying the frame was look for a review online.  Singular as a brand seemed to be very beloved by most owners and the one review I found rated the Hummingbird:

And the instagram from Singular sounded perfect for me:

The Singular Hummingbird is a frameset we have developed for the smaller rider. It can be used either with a 26″ wheel and a suspension fork up front, or a 29″ wheel with the dedicated rigid fork. It also has the versatility of running gears, singlespeed, or an internally geared hub.

Singular Hummingbird. the front wheel doesn’t look THAT much bigger, does it?

The idea apparently is that you get the rolling power of a 29er on the front and the nimbleness (and less weight) of a 26″ wheel on the back.  I was quite scared it was going to be the Frankensteins monster of bikes, but when I found some pics it looked OK though…

Bugger.  I obviously missed the fact that you could have a 29” wheel up front, but the rear would be 26”.  Oops.  What had I done?  Had I bought the proverbial pig in a poke?

General consensus on Friston MTB was that it would still be a fun bike to ride.  Still, my head was ready to explode with possibilities and options for my wee bike, to the point where I was so overwhelmed with options that I may very well have done nought and left my lovely frame hanging on a nail in the garage.  Taking a deep breath,  I made the decision to just build the damn bike with whatever I could find / am given and then worry about upgrading at a later date to carbon rims / tubeless / wings / fission powered bike lights.


When a fellow Friston MTB’er said that he had a 26” rear wheel for sale, I decided to embrace my odd little bike frame and just get on with it.

Another meeting in a car park was arranged, this time in a pub car park, thankfully with no dogging references on google maps this time.  The lovely Jim mentioned something about spacers which obviously meant NOTHING to me.  Google helpfully explained that spacers are little round bits which go either side of the hub to make the frame and other assorted bits sit in the right place.  There were two on the wheel already which meant that it fitted perfectly to the frame.

I now had a unicycle!  

Can you spot the deliberate mistake?

I was well chuffed.


That is until a week later when I had a couple of fellow CSH’ers round on a Friday evening for a quiet drink.  They both admired my Singular frame, but it was Tim who found the courage to tell me that I had the rear wheel on the wrong way round!

Not a brilliant start.  But a start nonetheless.

Next time: Pedalling english as a foreign language….


Bike building for dummies #1

Rule 12:  n+1

‘The correct number of bikes to own is n+1.

While the minimum number of bikes one should own is three, the correct number is n+1, where n is the number of bikes currently owned. This equation may also be re-written as s-1, where s is the number of bikes owned that would result in separation from your partner.’

I fully blame my competitive streak and Ellie.

‘Try my single speed’, she said.  ‘You’ll love it.  Your gears are slowing you down.  I’m on holiday from Wednesday, why don’t you borrow my bike while I’m away?’

I LOVED it.  I was expecting it to be hard, but actually it was probably really similar to cycling my bike on hills.  It was just like being in a low-ish gear, all the time and  So on ‘2’ on the left hand side (I only have two big rings) and probably 4 out of 10 on the right hand side.

Because it was lighter than my bike, I felt like I was flying up the hills and had got fitter overnight.  Which I obviously hadn’t.  Back in 2015, when I first joined Cycle Seahaven, I couldn’t work my gears at all, just didn’t understand whether I should be changing up or down, pressing the left hand one or the right hand one, so for quite a few of my initial rides I just boshed along, caning it up the hills as fast as I could, getting up out of my seat.  So going back to that frame of mind and attacking hills made sense to me.

The bike was a Niner, rigid (which means no suspension) and made from steel.  I found out afterwards that being made from steel is a good thing for a rigid bike as the steel apparently has a bit of ‘give’, unlike carbon and aluminium which are stiffer.  You learn something every day.   I didn’t really miss the suspension, I mostly do cross country and although it was pretty bumpy going downhill on chalky bumpy paths, in general it was OK.  I’m not really a bomb craters sort of girl so that wasn’t a problem.

I loved it so much I didn’t want to give it back….Which is when Rule 12 came into force.  It was time for n + 1.

Step #1:  Choose a frame

But which bike to go for?  All I knew for sure is that is sounded like steel was a good idea and I liked the big 29er wheels as that is what my existing bike and the borrowed single speed used.

The problem is that there isn’t anywhere where you can go to try out lots of different single speed bikes.  I did try a cycle shop in London after a tipsy lunch, but was extremely disappointed to find out that they only sold road bikes. Which sort of makes sense but I felt like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman: ‘I’ve got money to spend in here’ and no bugger even approached us to see what we were looking for!

So I looked at bikes online until my eyes were bleeding.  So many choices!  I could go for a safe option, a factory built model like the Kona Unit, or perhaps an On-one In-bred 29er.  (I decided against the On-one because I emailed them and they didn’t reply.  Their loss!)

Or maybe I could try to pick up a frame and have someone build it for me?   I thought this sounded like a good idea as then I could have it built how I wanted.  For example, all bikes come with a standard saddle.  Having had blisters on my lady parts at the end of my Tanzanian ride which meant I couldn’t sit down comfortably for a week, I am actually quite particular about my saddle.  (It’s a Selle Italia Gel Flow Diva, BTW, if you’re interested.  It has holes for your lady bits which means it meets Rule #61.   Brilliant!)

Selle Italia Diva Flow. No more blistered lady bits.

It seemed like a bit of a waste to pay for a bike with a saddle and then immediately discard it to be replaced, so I decided to start looking at second hand frames online.  I liked the idea of reusing and recycling and it *should* be cheaper too as a bonus.

I trawled Ebay and pinkbike looking at frames.   I searched for bikes that my fellow MTB’ers own.  The Salsa Mariachi got great reviews and is beloved by its owner, but he’s on the 3rd frame as they have a tendency to break in the same place.  Another Mariachi owner said that his also broke in that same spot, so that ruled it out.

I looked at the Cotic Soul, but 26inch wheels ruled it out.  I had loved the Niner I rode, but they are an American brand and hard to find here.  I considered a Surly Karate Monkey too.  Not just because it wins hands down the bike name of the decade prize, but they seem to be a great ride from the reviews…

It’s fair to say that I was bamboozled by choices.  Something will become something of a theme…

Voyeurism & Dogging

I found I had also become a bike voyeur.  As I cycled alongside my fellow cyclists, I was doing sneaky sideways glances, checking out their single speed stallions from the corner of my eyes. Which is how I came across Singular.  They’re a small British company and have a small range of good quality bikes, and my fellow MTB’er loved his Singular Swift, although he said that there weren’t many of them around.

I headed back home after my Sunday morning ride and checked Ebay.  There was a Singular Hummingbird for sale, steel frame, 29 inch wheels, single speed, fairly local (Dartford) and ending in 6 hours!  It seemed like a sign and would put an end to wasting hours fruitlessly mooning over random bikes online.  I swiftly made an offer – and won!  Yay, decision made!

We arranged to meet in a Tunbridge Wells park the next day for me to collect the frame.  I was slightly concerned that Google maps seemed to indicate that it was ‘Dogging Central’ but on the basis that I had my husband and 4 children with me, I thought it was probably safe enough.

Less than 24 hours after putting in my bid,  I was the proud owner of a Hummingbird Swift Frame in medium for the total sum of £230.

I was chuffed with myself for making a decision.  Discussing it later in the pub amongst ourselves, I was inspired by my girlfriend, who had just got a new bike frame from the Friston MTB group and was really pleased with it.  The guys on the chat group had been super helpful, giving loads of advice.

‘Maybe I could do that’, I thought.  ‘But maybe I could build the bike myself.  I know loads of blokes who will be happy to advise me as to what I need and can probably help me out if I get stuck.  And it would be a BRILLIANT way to find out how bikes work as I literally have no idea.  What could go wrong?’


Next Week:  69ers, more car parks, and a brand new language….