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’m not really all that grumpy at all, particularly when cycling, as I really do 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  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.

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 have, of necessity, learned 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 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/.

8 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! :D

    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.

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