Thursday, 18 September 2014

Top 5 Commuter Bikes UK

Top 5 Commuter Bikes UK - Intro

Cycling is in growing both as a sport and as a means to getting around if the latter is more important to you, and you use you bike day to day for getting about, then this list if for you.

I have based this list on the assumption that low maintenance is of the utmost importance. So to that end I have favoured the following features:

  1. Hub Gears
  2. Disc Brakes or Hub Brakes
  3. Dynamo Lighting
All of these features make for more expense, but ultimately mean that the bike will serve you better as a work horse.They are Ordered in Price High to Low.

Although a bikes tires should not be a deal breaker, you should set them at top of you priority list, get the most puncture resistant tire you can afford, if you go to you bike in the morning and the tire is flat, you'll be back in the car.

Top 5 Commuter Bikes UK - 1 -Revolution Shadow 13 - £999

From Edinburgh Cycle Co-op this beauty has a gates belt drive, this replaces the chain with a lube free rubber belt. Which require little in the way of maintennace, and do not get every thing covered in oil.

 This is a sporty offering and would in my opinion need mudguards. Dynamo lighting would be nice but battery variants would suffice.

Top 5 Commuter Bikes UK - 2 - Cube Travel SF RF - £790

Available from discount bikes de, this bike costs around 1000 euros, it has everyting going for it and apart from its sporty riding position ( a draw back I think) is an ideal commuter.

The description describes this bike as a sports tourer. And would be better suited to the more macho rider. The ride position would suggest more weight on the hands, which may not suite every one. But if you have longish distances to travel, then this more aerodynamic ride position may be of benefit.

Top 5 Commuter Bikes UK - 3 - Electra Amsterdam Royal 8i - £750

For the true Dutch experience why not go choose this bike, with 8 speed hub gears and roller brakes (similar to drum brakes) you will have versatile and capable bike.

Top 5 Commuter Bikes UK - 4 - Pashley Roadster Sovereign - £695

If a laid back approach is more your style, and you live in a fairly flat area this is a great bike at a great price.

Hub gears, Hub brakes, Hub Dynamo. Mudguards, wide saddle, upright ride. Nail on the head. If you value comfort over speed then this is the bike for you. Sturmey archer drum brakes are very good.

Top 5 Commuter Bikes UK - 5 - Challenge Crusade - £109

My wife has the ladies version of this bike, which comes from argos. It is a perfectly functional commuter bike, and for the money you just can not fault it. It will require upgrades. But if you a new to commuting and want to get on the road for cheap then you can't go wrong.

This a very cheap but for day to day use expect to pay out another £120, on brakes and tires as those provided are not great. It does work as is though, and will certainly last you long enough to decide whether cycle commuting is for you, or rather you'll be getting back in car / tube / bus / train.

Environmental Consultants London

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Are you Funding Putin's War via your Energy Bill?

Funding Putin's War via our Energy Bills - Intro

If you are reading this on a mains powered PC or Macintosh in the UK, chancing are you are indirectly funding Putin's War against the Ukraine.The fact is that the UK is heavily dependant on fossil fuel imports a large percentage of which comes from Russia.

Funding Putin's War via our Energy Bills - Coal

UK Government Data released March 2013 show our growing dependence on imports.

In 2012 around 40% of our imported coal came from Russia. We use 96% of this coal in producing electricty.

Based conservatively on current coal prices this would indicate we are pumping around 2 billion pounds a year in to Russia's Economy.

Of course there is no telling how much of this is spent on invading other countries, but some of this amount is bound to trickle down.

Funding Putin's War via our Energy Bills - What can I do?

The quickest and simplest way to avoid funding Russia is to switch to a 100% renewable energy supplier.

Many of the larger supplier have green tariffs but these are not very good, to make sure your energy is 100% renewable, and that you will be funding expansion of the UK renewable infrastructure you should switch to Ecotricity.

For example EDF spend £18 a year on building new  energy sources. Ecotricity spend close to £300 per customer.

The UK renewable capacity is growing, decreasing our dependence of Russian Coal. By choose a company like Ecotricity you can accelerate this trend.

So there is hope. But in order to effect a change it will require 1 or 2 phone calls. Don't put it off do it now, it will take less time than watching an episode of "X Factor" or "Jeeves and Wooster", and could mean that in 15 years time we can tell the then Russian President (probably still Putin) to stick their coal where the sun don't shine.