Tin Foil and SPuDs

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So back in the day when I was about half the size I am now but had at least twice the hair you could tell if someone was vaguely into their cycling as they used toe clips.  I can remember the right of passage when I first strapped my feet in and pottered off into the Welsh hills, the instant ability to pull on the upstroke making a huge difference and the backwards motion to release becoming so second nature that it was the first thing I did when I got back on the bike a few years ago after a long break.

What I noticed when I returned (apart from everyone wearing helmets) was that now you could tell if someone was vaguely into things because the toeclips had gone and people were riding clipless – which means they are physically attached to the pedals through a cleat system.  I bought some (and the required shoes) and off I went to get used to this new (for me) system, only had one mishap and got used to clipping in and out pretty quickly.  My brain still wants to pull back rather than a flick out of the heal but the overall feel is the same, solidity in the pedal stroke.  I must admit however that off road I’m not as sure footed, the micro second longer it takes me to clip out means that mentally I have a bit of a panic when anything tricky comes along and I’m toying with the idea of switching to flats until my skill levels hopefully improve a bit.

Now there are a few different systems to clipless but basically off roaders and CX riders use a variant of the SPD system often referred to as SPuds or SPuDies which have the cleat recessed in the shoe enabling you to actually walk when off the bike whereas the Look roadie system renders you penguinesque when attempting to walk off the bike.

However over the last few years I’ve become aware of a serious flaw with riding clipless and that’s when the temperature drops, you have the cold metal of your pedal attached to a lump of cold metal on your shoe which transmits through to your feet leaving them painfully cold.  Overshoes can sort out the wind chill, rain and general cold but not do anything about the connection point.  Ah ha says I Twitter will have the answer.  Lots and lots of very useful suggestions came back but one simply said use tin foil.  What ! Further investigation revealed that if you cut out some tin foil and put it under your insole it prevents the cold from the metal getting through.  Well that sounded like the sort of solution I like.  Cut out and fitted last night and this morning temperature was about 3 Celsius and low and behold the tin foil did the business.  Huge thanks to the mighty @spandelles for the tip who also writes a nice cycling blog here .  So the conclusion – Tin Foil is not just for Jacket Spuds, it can keep you toes toastie and clipped into your SPuDs

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December Photo Fun

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Photo Credit: UCLA

Well back in the summer me and the kids decided to do a photography project, blatantly stealing the themes idea from the Guardian newspaper.  The difference for us was a) the kids were going to set the themes and b) we were going to use social media via twitter and this blog to run it.  This would help all of us to educate ourselves about these new mediums and to show the kids some of it’s incredible creative and connective possibilities.  At the time I had no idea what we were doing but realised that even if no one else took part we had a great summer holiday project.  The project for us worked really well as there was always time during the holidays when you might be at a loose end but we always had the project – either to get them looking for what they were going to take a picture of or in showing them all the pictures that came in from all over the place.  This was the most amazing thing, people I didn’t know suddenly started joining in and spreading the word.  I realised very quickly that SummerPhotoFun was the wrong theme as people in Australia started taking part (much to my kids utter bemusement).  It was also good to see other children take part through their parents, we had children in Ireland and American as well as this country put in photos.  The collections each week were amazing and are worth having a look at if you have not seen them.  The whole summer project went really well and several people asked it were going to do it again so we thought that we would link it to another holiday period but not call it Winter as we’ve realised it might not be winter where you are – hence DecemberPhotoFun

So the idea is simple, each Saturday in December i’ll tweet out the theme first thing in the morning that my kids have decided on (my address is @ianstreet67).  Take a snap and put it on twitter putting my address in the tweet and ideally using the hashtag #Decemberphotofun.  I will retweet everything and will also collate all the photos into a weekly posts on the blog.  This time round I’ll use the lovely new way of displaying photos in WordPress (and might experiment with comments as well).  So please do join us and spread the word, all are welcome, no matter what age whether you have kids or not this is about putting the social into social media.  There are some great themes, with the first one starting tomorrow.

Week 1 – Theme – Material – Close of week Friday 7 December

Week 2 – Theme – Structure Close of week Friday 12 December

Week 3 – Theme – Motion  Close of week Friday 21 December

Week 4 – Theme –Temperature  Close of week Friday 28 December

Week 5 – Theme – Magic – Close of week Friday 4 January