commute cycles

Not a lot of people know that I cycle to work every day. I don’t actually own or drive a car. It means we save a small fortune every year, and it also means I don’t end up with a backside the size of a small planet.

I see all kinds of idiocy while weaving my way through town each morning and evening - most of it brought about by trophy mothers heading off for coffee mornings after dropping their children at school in ridiculous chrome emblazoned monster trucks.

Sometimes I swear under my breath. Sometimes I swear out-loud.

I ride a single speed “Charge Plug 0″ by the way. It’s about as minimalist as you can sensibly get. No gears, no mudguards, and no idiotic cycling computer. Just me, my legs, the bike, and occasional swearing.

Recumbent trike made lighter with carbon fibre

Image courtesy of Attwater

Custom Composites, UK has helped Advanced Velo Design to launch a stronger, lighter version of its high-performance recumbent trike.

Specialists at Rochdale-based Custom Composites, part of the Attwater Group, helped Advanced Velo Design improve the strength of the Windcheetah trike’s chassis while reducing its total weight from 12.5kg to 10kg.

Karl Sparenberg, Managing Director of Advanced Velo Design, said, ‘The original Windcheetah was designed as a training aid for athletes looking to push the speed record higher for human powered machines. It was soon realised the immense fun that could be had, and so the Windcheetah went into production for anyone to enjoy.’

Windcheetah was the first commercially manufactured trike in the world in the early 1980s. With its roots firmly in the performance end of the market, only sympathetic changes have been made as materials and manufacturing techniques have become available.

The most recent innovation, the For Race Only variant of the Windcheetah, was designed with a specific customer in mind, as Sparenberg explained, ‘We were approached by a lady who suffers from Parkinson’s disease – she wanted to liberate herself from riding the heavy machine she was using. It had an electric motor to assist her on the hills or if she got tired during her ride, but if the batteries ran flat, she was left stranded.

‘The idea was to build a light enough machine to dispense with the additional weight of batteries and motors, then she would be freed and have the ability to get home under her own power.’

Removing weight was a priority – previous trikes had been made from aluminium and titanium. Custom Composites provided carbon fibre tubes and tuned them to be strong, lightweight and compliant with safety standards, and the trike was designed to remain a comfortable ride.


April 25th - Although still very cold for the time of year, there was no trace of snow when I rolled into Telford that afternoon. On the contrary, with the trees and hedgerows coming into leaf a little bit of urban magic has returned to my life: the lovely green tunnels that form the cycleways of the new town.

They are absolutely beautiful and a joy to ride upon…