British Cycling are launching a daily activity to keep kids moving during school shutdown (Covid 19 compliant)

British Cycling has today (Wednesday 25 March) launched a daily activity calendar to keep kids moving and help them to develop new skills, as millions across Britain adjust to life out of school.

The first activity, taking place at 11:00 tomorrow (Thursday 26 March), is Fingers and Thumbs, and the full calendar of activities can be found below. The full suite of games and activities can be accessed at any time here and participants can use this page to get the most out of the activities.

Using British Cycling’s HSBC UK Ready Set Ride games and activities, the daily activities will be shared through our YouTube, Facebook and Twitter channels at 11:00 each day, until Friday 24 April. They are suitable for children from as young as 18 months to eight years old, and many can be done without a bike – making them perfect for indoor play.

Launched alongside the Youth Sport Trust as a tool to help parents introduce pedalling to playtime, HSBC UK Ready Set Ride is split into three stages (Prepare 2 Ride, Balance and Pedals) which provide families with all they need to support children to start cycling.

The initiative was first launched following research by YouGov which showed that a third (33%) of all children cannot ride a bike.

British Cycling Chief Executive, Julie Harrington, said:

“The coming weeks and months are clearly going to be a challenge for parents and kids alike, but through our daily activities I really hope that we can help families to have fun and stay active together.

“While it’s true that the fabric of our sport – from elite racing to kids coaching – faces a period of unprecedented difficulty, I’m absolutely determined to ensure that we use the tools we do have at our disposal to make a difference wherever we can.”

Ali Oliver, Chief Executive of the Youth Sport Trust, said: 

“It is vital that we all take personal responsibility during these unprecedented times and play our part in helping to mitigate the impact on children of losing organised sport and activity both inside and outside of school.

“At a home level, it’s a really important moment to help parents manage children with lots of energy. Get them active for 20 minutes every couple of hours. Make sure they get their 60 active minutes a day. Being active is going to reduce their chances of being unwell. It will help them with remote learning. It will improve their concentration and it will make them feel better. It will help make being in the home a more pleasant and positive experience for everybody in the family.”

Luke Harper, Head of British Cycling Partnership at HSBC UK, said:

“The HSBC UK Ready Set Ride activities are perfect for indoor playtime or in the garden, and you don’t even need a bike to get started.

“The initiative is free to use for all, and is a tried and tested way to get your kids up and running on two wheels.”

Calendar of activities:

Once again the full suite of games and activities can be accessed at any time here and participants can use this page to get the most out of the activities.

Thursday 26th March Fingers and Thumbs
Friday 27th March Steady as You Go
Monday 30th March Swipe and Swap
Tuesday 31st March Jump
Wednesday 1st April Step it Up
Thursday 2nd April Twist and Pass
Friday 3rd April Stamp and Slide
Monday 6th April Wibble Wobble
Tuesday 7th April Scoot, Stride and Glide
Wednesday 8th April Speed it Up, Slow it Down
Thursday 9th April Box the Lot
Friday 10th April Criss Cross
Monday 13th April Dot to Dot
Tuesday 14th April I Spy
Wednesday 15th April Limbo
Thursday 16th April Pedal and Glide
Friday 17th April Zig Zags
Monday 20th April Corner Explorer
Tuesday 21st April Pedal and Limbo
Wednesday 22nd April Foot Down
Thursday 23rd April Ups and Downs
Friday 24th April Wave and Go, Figure it Out

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.


A way to reduce flat tyres.

There have been a few Facebook posts over the last few weeks about multiple punctures sustained whilst riding off-road. It is always the same this time of year.

For me, punctures are doubly inconvenient as I commute cross-country from Lewes to Seaford and in winter this means riding there and back in the dark. When I’m cold, wet and muddy it’s no fun fixing a puncture; so I thought I’d share my solution to this problem.

You probably already know that ‘tubeless’ tyres are generally the best way to avoid flat tyres as they self-seal (most of the time). However, getting a tyre to create an airtight seal on the rim has driven many a sane individual crazy. Tubeless setups can be messy if you have to take the tyre off as the sealant has a tendency to get everywhere (see picture below).

You can buy self-sealing tubes ‘off the shelf’ or make your own. I do the latter because it’s simple, cheaper and the self-sealant I use (‘Stans No Tubes’) seems to work better than fluid used in the commercial versions. All you need is a tube with a removable core (or valve) and a bottle of sealant. With the tube in the tyre and the wheel back on the bike you simply remove the core and pour in the required amount of self-sealing fluid. Once the tube’s core is replaced inflate the tyre as normal. Simple!
So what are the pros and cons?


  • significantly reduces the likelihood of a puncture
  • no requirement to use tubeless ready tyres (which in a tubeless setup can be difficult to fit without an air compressor)
  • reduced mess in the event that the new inner tube is required
  • cheaper than buying a commercially available equivalent, which in my experience don’t work as well. I would suggest buying a bigger bottle of sealant which is significantly cheaper


  • slightly heavier than using just a tube (or running tubeless)
  • the self-sealing fluid needs topping up roughly every six months and the life of the tube reduces to about a year (after which the self-sealing fluid starts to create large rubber lumps within the tube)

One other thing to remember if using this setup (or a tubeless setup) is that in the event you have to remove a tyre because the sealant hasn’t prevented a flat, you need to check for more than one thorn, etc. because the sealant may have already sealed previous punctures and the thorns might still be there.



Rides Calendar on mobile devices

As a reminder, our calendar can be made readily available to mobile devices by creating a homepage shortcut or, for offline viewing, by linking to the phone’s onboard scheduling software.

Details are shown at


How to prevent your bike from being stolen

Here’s a useful article that should help you to retain possession of your lovely wheels (and frame, and saddle, and  . . . ).  Just follow the link:

How to prevent your bike from being stolen

Beware – some of the videos in the article may cause serious stress and consternation to riders of a delicate disposition and a love for their bikes!

Be safe – it’s a dangerous world out there.

Bike Building for Dummies #3

Language is not a genetic gift, it is a social gift. Learning a new language is becoming a member of the club -the community of speakers of that language. Frank Smith

Having managed to create a unicycle from my Singular 69er frame and a rear wheel, ‘What next?’  

I asked the combined wisdom of the Friston MTB group and the answers were many and varied.  The lovely Kate suggested a saddle which was a great answer because I know a) what a saddle is and b) which saddle I wanted.  Practically unheard of for this bike build, I promptly ordered my Selle Italia Gel Flow Diva .

My favourite answer however was this:

Were you going single speed? I have a Middleburn 33t chain ring (barely used), a Velosolo 21t sprocket (unused) and spacers that I’m selling.

The chainring is 105bcd so will need the correct sized cranks.

These two sentences were literally incomprehensible to me.  In my head, I understood that this was in actual fact the english language, however it might as well have been cantonese.  With google as my guide, I managed to do a bit of translation….

Chain Ring is the big pointy wheel thing with teeth that the chain goes on at the front.  The sprocket is the little one that goes at the back.  They look a bit like this:



The ‘t’ in‘33t’ and ‘21t’ actually relates to teeth which are the pointy bits on the outside of the ring, which makes sense if you think about it and the number is how many teeth there are on the outside.  Now this is actually really important for a single speed bike as the size of these rings determine your gear ratios.

The gear ratio is basically how hard you have to push to get your legs and therefore your bike up to Bo-peep / Eastbourne Lane for example and apparently it’s something that can take a bit of tweaking to get right for you.  Ellie’s singlespeed was a ‘32 / 18’, so 32 teeth on the big front ring and 18 on the back one.  It seemed to work for me. I made it up the majority of the hills and it was OK on the flat if slightly irritating that it felt like I was pedalling like Billyo and not getting very far. But I was being offered 33 / 21….what difference would that make?

Another bit of quick googling showed that it would make a massive difference.

Gear ratio online calculator….brilliant for bike geeks. Including me!

The gear ratio for 32 / 18 is 1.78.  33 / 21 is 1.57, so it would be quite a bit easier as the lower that number is, the easier it is to pedal.  The gear ratio for a granny gear could be around 40 / 30, so 1.33 to give a bit of perspective if that helps.

So the 33 / 19 chain ring / socket set wasn’t for me….

The chainring is 105bcd so will need the correct sized cranks.

Bcd? Better cycle daily?  Bikes crash dully? Turns out that it stands for Bolt Circle Diameter. In the picture above, it would be the distance between the holes across the middle of the chainring.   This is basically the size of the mountings which attach the chainring to the cranks (cranks being the bit that the pedals attach to), so I would need to get the cranks first (or make sure that the cranks I got were compatible with that chainring).

AArrggghhhhhhhh……With fingers in ears, eyes closed, I rocked silently back and forth for a few moments before my head exploded.   At this point I had a glass of wine and gave up on chainrings, cranks, bcds and all that gubbins for the sake of my sanity.  Obviously I will have to revisit at some stage but for the time being, it is parked…

Calm once more, I was still keen to get on with doing something, ANYTHING to keep the bike build moving forwards.  Thankfully, a friend had donated some pedals and brakes which he had spare and was looking to declutter.   One of the pedals was stuck, but just needed cleaned and lubed up again to get it moving.  How hard could that be?

Well, I have to say it would have been easier if we had the right tools.  A set of spanners and a vice would have been handy, but we made do with an adjustable spanner, two pairs of hands, an allen key and a cloth to stop the flipping thing moving around all over place.  Once again, google and my ‘quick guide to bike maintenance’ book came in handy.  We basically had to take the inner bit out of the pedal, take it all apart, clean it thoroughly, then put it all back together again with a shedload of grease.

Things I have learned about pedals

  • There are 24 teeny, tiny ball bearings inside these pedals
  • The old rule ‘righty, tighty, lefty loosen’ rule doesn’t apply to all pedals.  It worked for one of mine but not the other and this is apparently correct.
  • It’s really important not to lose any of the aforesaid teeny tiny’ ball bearings
  • The inner core bit has lots of little parts which need ‘fettling’ which is fiddling about with all the little bits as you put them back together until it works.

We thought we’d done a pretty good job of cleaning / regreasing, so were a bit disappointed when the dodgy pedal was still stuck.  Luckily a passing bike guru (thanks Gus) was able to advise on the fettling element and with a bit more fiddling around we got it unstuck and working.  It only took an hour and a half….but another bit of the bike was ready.  Success!

Next time:  Wheels revisited…



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….


How to plan a new route

Ride leaders, have you ever thought, “I’d like to go somewhere different today.”  Cyclists, have you thought, “Not Firle Road and Bopeep, again?”

Don’t despair, help is at hand.  Cycle Seahaven has produced a video guide to help you to plan new routes.  It gives you the skills and tools you will need to explore many exciting new routes and find parts of the countryside you never knew existed.

You can access this at

When you’ve planned them, recce’d them, and proved them with a group, why don’t you put them on our website where you will find nearly 20 others with maps and directions.  Find them at “Rides and Events”, “Cycle Routes”.

Night road cycling, with Aldi, Lezyne and Ituo lights

Since the weekend I have refitted my WIZ20 dual LED, wireless light  on my commuter bike, and this has brought a smile back to my face, this light is good!!!  Since the clock went forward, I have been cycling with an Aldi  240 lumens COB type rechargeable bike light £12.99 and a Lezyne Zecto drive Pro 80l for £38 giving a total of 320 lumens for around £50 in total, I can not make a direct comparison as they are very different and even the price of the two is half the price of the WIZ20, but I think, it worth sharing my findings. The Aldi light is again very good value for money, but this is really a flood light with very little throw, so you end up having good light by your front tyre but not extending forward very much, ok on very well lit roads but not much good if you going at speed on badly lit roads , le Lezyne Zectro drive pro is kind of the opposite with a very fairly narrow beam but reaching a further. Both light are great to be seen but are not much good for you to see the ground and spot pot holes in time to miss them. The Zecto Drive Pro can double up as a rear light so this is quite handy to have a secondary light in case your main front or rear light packs up. The Aldi one in my mind is much better for dog walking or around the house as a torch, very broad beam , ok as a bike marker light or a flashing light. Both are USB rechargable.  Now going to the Ituo WIZ20 1500l for which I did a review for the club last year. Well, as I said, as soon as I turned it on, I had a grin on!   Nice broad light beam reaching far in front of your bike and still putting plenty of light by your front tyre. This kind of reminded me of the type of lighting you get from a car. The beam given by the WIZ20 is nice and safe for you to ride at speed in lit up or dark road, I had to turn it down to its standard low setting  250 lumens which does give you 14h. I have used it off road many time last year and this is also ideal for MTB if you want to go wireless  (this is also the one I usually lend to some of my new riders if they need a light) Like the others, this is wireless and USB rechargeable and its output is programmable. All this of course does come in with a higher price tag, under £100! Price of a Volt 800 or a Lezyne Deca 1500 but once you check the specs and start reading reviews you will see how good the WIZ20 is, specially for a light under £100!
I have not got any interest into this new firm apart from wanting to share what is a very good product with fellow cyclists. Luc. MTB 2B night ride leader