About Mr Happy Cyclist

I originally used the sobriquet Mr Grumpy Cyclist for this site, as a reference the the Grumpy Old Men TV series and partly as an attempt at irony. However, I realized that, since I started cycling a lot I was not really all that grumpy at all, particularly when cycling, as I really did enjoy cycling the 25 mile round trip to work and back. I can get a bit annoyed by some of the antics of a minority of drivers, though, especially┬á when they put my life at risk just to save a few milliseconds off their journey time or to get to the next set of traffic lights half a second earlier. Having retired from paid employment at the end of 2014, I don’t get quite so many miles in as I did when commuting, but still like to use the bike as much as possible

I restarted cycling around Easter of 2010, when my daughter suggested we do the 60 mile Manchester to Blackpool ride to raise money for The Christie cancer hospital. They, along with a wonderful surgeon at The Royal Bolton Hospital, saved the life of my lovely wife over the previous year, and are still doing so (but that’s another long and continuing story). I had been an occasional (O.K. very occasional) cyclist for the previous 15 years or so, though I did cycle to work for a while before that.

The Manchester-Blackpool ride was in July 2010, and then I started cycling the 25 mile round trip to work about 3 times a week from September onwards. In cycling to work over the period from September to December, I cycled just over 1000 miles, lost about 4 inches from my waistline, lost nearly 2 stones in weight and saved about 20 gallons of diesel fuel.

At the end of October 2010, I bought a cheap video camera for my helmet and started recording my commutes on video, joining the rapidly expanding ranks of the camera carrying bicycle commuters.

I did, of necessity, learn an awful lot of stuff very quickly about how to cycle in rush hour traffic, partly from experience, partly from other people’s experience and partly from reading. I would particularly recommend the book “CycleCraft” by John Franklin. I also found it useful in the summer of 2012 to take advantage of the free one-to-one cycle training that is offered through Transport for Greater Manchester.

I decided to put some of my own experiences here to add to the stuff that’s already out there; reading is one thing, but it’s good to see (and discuss) a variety of examples. I would also welcome any constructive feedback on my pages, particularly if it helps to improve my own riding style and habits.

I post example videos on YouTube, some of which are embedded in my pages on here. You can view my YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/MrGrumpycyclist/.

38 Responses to About Mr Happy Cyclist

  1. Mick Craig says:

    Hi, I found your video channel through a bit of Googling – some quite terrifying stuff there. What camera(s) do you use? I like the quality of video and adding some cameras would be helpful for my wife and I on our daily commutes. Thanks in advance!

    • MrHappyCyclist says:

      Hi. I’ve been off the bike for a while until last week because someone drove a car into the back of myself and my daughter on our bikes; scary stuff indeed. I’m just writing a blog article about that.
      I use a Contour Roam on my helmet facing forwards, and a Chilli Technology ActionCam3 720p HD attached to the seat post facing backwards. (You’ll be able to see the latter in a picture on the next blog article.) I heard recently that Contour went out of business, but I also heard someone has bought the company, so hopefully they will still be available.

  2. Chris says:

    Hey Mr Grumpy/Happy,

    I’m looking for some reassurance and advice about cycling in to Manchester. I’m moving back to Manchester soon and will probably end up cycling to work at some point too. However, I’ve only really done my cycling in and around Cambridge, which tends to be more cycle friendly. How is the East lancs bike lane stretch from Astley all the way though and into Castle St/A6? I’ll then be on my way through town to end up near openshaw college. I kind of know what to expect in and around town, but the east lancs looks and bit confusing as there is a lot of switching sides etc.

    Maybe I’ll see you around near salford uni, I’ll give you a wave if a see you! ­čśÇ

    Chris

    • MrHappyCyclist says:

      Whilst Greater Manchester is far from the most pleasant place to cycle, I don’t think it is particularly dangerous either compared to other places. As far as the East Lancs Road is concerned, I haven’t really used it much as it’s not on my route to work and I wouldn’t choose to ride there for pleasure. It is possible, I think, to ride it mostly (or even exclusively) off the main road, but a lot of it is shared paths with pedestrians, and there are stretches that have “Cyclists Dismount” signs at every bus stop, which makes them pretty well useless for most people. You could use the A572, which is the road taken for part of the Manchester-Blackpool bike ride and doesn’t seem to bad, though I don’t know what it’s like in the rush hour.

      • Chris says:

        I see that you use bolton road that is parallel with the A6, how do get from there across the other side and end up back on the A6 just before the bridge and salford university?

        • MrHappyCyclist says:

          I turn right at the mini roundabout into Langworthy Road, then left at the lights into Eccles Old Road, which takes me down a bus lane through the underpass onto the other side of the A6.

  3. Darren says:

    A fantastic feature on BBC1’s Crime Watch this morning, it’s great to see like minded cycle commuters sharing similar views on Britains roads. Thank you for the growing support.

    DW

    • MrHappyCyclist says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I was very pleased with Gareth Walker’s message. It has usually been more about red light jumping cyclists and pavement cycling in the past, but there is an increasing emphasis in GM Police on what I would see as the main cause of danger, poor driving.

  4. Wayne Parkes says:

    Hi,

    I am conducting a debate regarding Manchester and it’s attempts to be a safe ‘cycling city’ next Friday on North Manchester FM.

    Would you like to be part of this?

    Many thanks,

    Wayne.

  5. Hi

    I have been inspired by you and operation considerate to purchase a camera or two, especially after being knocked off recently. May I ask what kind of camera set up you use? I understand that its best to get a 960p format one. Would you also recommend a rear camera?

    Thanks

    • Hi.

      Sorry, I missed this message until now. I have a Contour Roam camera mounted on my helmet, which I’ve had for about 6 years now. I did have a rear camera, which was a Chilli Technologies ActionCam, but that was stolen and I haven’t replaced it yet, but yes I do recommend having one.

      Regarding the format and field of view, I wrote this article, which may be helpful: http://www.happycyclist.org/?p=1840

      Cheers

  6. Dave says:

    I have a video of you riding up the side of a bus with a six inch gap. If you expect others to leave you over a meter gap don’t you think you should leave the same.

    • Firstly, you are making the fallacious, and frankly ridiculous, assertion that riding a 15 kg, human powered bicycle at low speed close to the metal and paint of a stationary or slow moving metal box, is equivalent to driving a huge, dangerous, 350 horsepower machine weighing around 13 tonnes, at 30 mph or more close to the flesh and bones of a human being.

      Now, let’s see exactly what it is that you claim to have. I presume you aren’t lying, so you should be able to produce the evidence. I’m particularly interested to see how I managed to fit a 60cm wide handlebar through a 6 inch gap!

      As a test of your honesty, let’s make a deal. I’ll put on a motorcycle helmet and let you wave a cotton wool bud around my head. Then you’ll stand there without any protection whilst I swing a baseball bat around your head. Surely, by your logic, those two things are the same.

      • Dave says:

        Is that a threat?

        • No, it’s a simple, and very widely used, analogy to illustrate the absurdity of your argument. But I suspect you already know that.

          • Dave says:

            Yes, I’ve viewed a number of your videos and realised you have not only a short temper but also a foul mouth. I hope you don’t have the same aggression when out with your younger relatives. If that’s the language you use regular it goes to show where your road rage comes into it. You should change your name back to Grumpy. Better suited

            • So predictable; you people always resort to ad-hominem attacks once you have been called out on your nonsense comments.
              Yes, I do sometimes get annoyed when some idiot in a motor vehicle puts my life in danger. So what?
              Now, when are you going to produce that evidence for your first assertion? Or were you just lying?

    • Keith says:

      Dave, really, ”six inches’, an infant couldn’t even fit in that, let a lone a bicycle?!

  7. Dave says:

    Not lying at all. Also notice on one of your videos that your temper/road rage put pedestrians in danger when in some sort of a fit you mounted the pavement and came close to colliding with a passenger alighting from a bus. While I do have a lot of respect for cyclists, I do not condone riding on pavements, ignoring traffic lights and other signals and markings like Keep Clear boxes. Not to mention travelling the wrong way up one way streets and wriggling in and out of lanes rather than wait in the queues at lights.

    Its about time you had a good look at your own actions as you appear to be forgetting what you should be doing when your mind is so much on others.

    Do you have somewhere I can send you a video of yourself to upload on this site.

    • Thanks for that picture. It didn’t take much digging to find out that you are the dangerous lunatic that nearly hit me when you were driving the yellow bus in May of this year, showing that far from having respect for cyclists, you think nothing of casually putting other people’s lives in danger whenever you feel like it. Did you enjoy your encounter with Greater Manchester Police? I will let them know that you have been in touch.
      So, to reply:
      You are lying about the blue bus video you linked to. In the video, you can very clearly hear my footsteps as I walked along the pavement.
      I never ride on pavements unless they are designated shared use ones.
      I don’t ignore traffic lights, but I see a lot of drivers going through red ones. In fact, one of my biggest fears is being hit from behind by a red light jumping motorist when I stop at an amber or recently changed red light.
      What other signals are you referring to?
      As I said below in reply to the picture you posted three times, the keep clear box at that point is for traffic queueing at the traffic lights ahead. That is the correct place to wait for oncoming traffic when turning right there. The fact that a supposedly trained bus driver doesn’t know that is rather embarrassing for you.

      • I have let GM Police know that you have been contacting me. I am now free to publish the evidence I gave them. Here it is. If you really think that is the action of a reasonable person, then you really need to give up driving now.

      • Keith says:

        I would like to see this picture/linked video that this dave sent.

        He does sound like a right Wally.

  8. Dave says:

    Cyclist rides on pavement Lucky woman slow getting off bus or would have been hit by cyclist.

  9. Dave says:

    [IMG]http://i63.tinypic.com/10qxnrn.png[/IMG]

    • The keep clear is for traffic queueing at the traffic lights ahead. That is the correct place to wait for oncoming traffic when turning right there. Have you actually got a driving licence? If so, you really need to go and get some more lessons.

  10. Dave says:

    Happy Cyclist Cant Read large letter “KEEP CLEAR”

  11. I just watched the video with the yellow bus. Dave clearly drove dangerously there. If you pause the video you can see at about 15 seconds the front of his vehicle is almost at the centre of the lane, while the rear is inches from your handlebars. Dave, you’ve had a warning from the police. I suggest you wind your neck in and learn from this experience, lest you also receive a warning from your employer, of the “you’re sacked, get out” variety.

  12. Dave sounds like a right twat. Fits in well with many of the drivers I come across daily in Manchester (especially bus and taxi drivers).

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