Monday, 23 August 2010

Bike piranhas

I noticed this bike a couple of days ago.  Almost new, it had been securely locked up outside the A4E offices on the corner of Greenwich High Road and Norman Road.  You occasionally see a missing front wheel on a locked-up bike, especially when it's got a quick-release front wheel.  But this is an entirely different kettle of fish - they didn't come tooled up to break the lock and steal the bike, instead they must have come tooled up for bicycle dismantling.

Front wheel, check.  Forks, check.  Handlebars, check....crank, pedals, saddle and stem, entire brake system (bar the disk on the remaining rear wheel) , entire chainset (bar the remaining cassette)

There are a few scratches on the frame but I suspect the bike was virtually new - it's still got a 54cm frame-size sticker on it - and the thieves damaged it while they were speed-stripping it.  They didn't touch the lock though - it must be indigestible to bike piranhas. 

The saddest part of this - well, apart from how the owner must have felt when he first saw what they'd done to it  - is that the thief, once upon a time, must have been a cyclist to be carrying and using the necessary tools.  So it's treason.  A hybrid and a low-bred.

Anyhow, even if you have a decent lock, be very careful about leaving your bike overnight in Greenwich.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A little follow up to ''I was right about the saddle''

I recently posted up an old Yellow Pages advert that someone found on Youtube, part of which had been filmed under the Point and on Maidenstone Hill.  Darryl, over at 853  posted a comment with a link to a more recent appearance of Maidenstone Hill on TV.  This time it was a BBC Christmas identity used in 2006 and 2007 - it starts at 5:56 on here

So alongside Maidenstone Hill in 2010

and Yellow Pages' faux-nord depiction, complete with mocked-up corner shop
I can now add a surprisingly wintery version
Earlier clips show a giant snowball being pushed up the streets.

Screenshot (at 6:01):
Yesterday (Trinity Grove looking onto Dutton Street, Maidenstone Hill behind):
This screenshot (6:03) had me fooled for a while
Until I reversed the image

and made it match up with this
Even standing on tiptoes I can't get as high up as a film crew can so you'll have to imagine cherry-picking about 30 foot higher and looking down.  The POV of the camera is just about opposite from the Trinity Grove photo above.  The chimney pot changes from background to foreground.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

The best brown bread made from da mental vaporz

A couple of random ''faded'' photos.  Here's one of the many Daren bread bakery adverts, this time in Daneville Road, SE5, Camberwell.  It's just occurred to me that, going back to my childhood, I have absolutely no memory of Daren bread yet these painted adverts have been up all that time.

As ever, you try to make out the words.  I've no idea about the text above DAREN.  And almost invariably, you find deciphering the words is made harder by different layers.  So this is all I can make out:

Made from......

And here's one in Bermondsey, as you might have guessed. (It's in Tanner Street, SE1)
The left-hand side of the frontage has long-since disappeared.  Was it IRON & WIRE WORKS?  ...CKLE & Co.?
And a curiosity: something that was once internal but is now external, made with some fairly hefty metalwork. 
My first thoughts were that it was an oven within a now-disappeared building.  But the three partitions above the iron doors, what were they for?  And to add to my perplexity, the upper part doesn't appear to join up with the chimney.  So maybe it's not an oven after all.  I couldn't see a street name and have forgotten the name of the adjacent street.  But it's on a dog-leg dead-end street off Arthur Street.  There's no name marked on google maps and as it's a bit off-road, there's no street view.  This is the closest I could get from street view - the air-extractor to the left is visible here

Here's two side-by-side window bays in Barnham Street, SE1. I can't decipher the one on the left and the one on the right appears to say J ROOM  - but suspect there may be two layers.

Friday, 13 August 2010

I was right about that saddle though...

Many thanks to Bunneh for posting this up.  It's an old Yellow Pages advert that I'd never seen before, in which a northern lad is dreaming about getting a racing bike. His dad is talking down his expectations - about that kind of bike without proper mudguards and chainguard and with a razor-sharp saddle.  ''Mebbe next year, eh...''  And then, come his birthday...yes you've guessed it....

(For some reason - it worked when I tested it but it hasn't embedded  - here's the address anyway.)

 But the main reason why I liked the clip was because when the lad sets off up the hill, I suddenly realised that I knew this ''northern'' street.

Because it's Maidenstone Hill, all the way north in London, SE10 - a street which I ought to recognise because my very first ever girlfriend lived at the top of that hill.

I couldn't take a photo from the first floor, but this is how it looks from the street - note the corner shop in the ad was once a corner shop but hasn't been one for over 30 years - they've just dressed up the outside
So down the hill I cycled, got back to a computer to see how they compared.  So I started the youtube video again and went ''hang on a minute..." because if was only after coasting back to Deptford that I realised the opening shot was also up that hill.  But there was no way Google Streetview could have that image on streetview because it's not a road.  Right, off up Point Hill for the second time. Here's the opening shot:

And here's the view from the path.
(I was going to take a closer picture but there was a woman with a child at one of the windows and I thought I might get taken for a snooper.)

Greenwich, bikes, nostalgia...right up my street.

Talking of Greenwich, bikes and nostalgia, here's a curiosity about Witcomb's cycles in Deptford (now gone)...the presenter fails to cycle up Hyde Vale and remounts up by the drinking trough.
The video's here

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Rights of passage.

This is simply to add to Deptford Dame's blog post about a very dangerous junction.  I've seen a number of near misses and come across scary accounts from cycling forums.  I've even seen a copy of an email from TfL which appears to explain why this dangerous junction exists:

''We have considered changes to signal timings but we found this to be detrimental to overall junction capacity''

Actually, this statement is a little misleading - it reads like they're talking about considering making a change, whereas in fact it's really a question of changing back, because they've already changed it from a three-phase traffic light to a two-phase one.  And they're not going to change back because it would be detrimental to overall junction capacity.

I could always approach this from a cyclist's point of view but, you know us cyclists, we're always moaning and jumping red-lights and knocking down old ladies in Westminster.  Well perhaps the reason why it's not worth arguing from a cyclist's perspective because traffic engineers have a very limited understanding of cycling.

So let's look at how it is for cars, vans, people-carriers - they might understand the problem better.

This is the junction:

 To the right there are two vehicles stopped, the people-carrier waiting to go straight on, the van waiting to turn left.  They are on a green light so both waiting vehicles should have priority over oncoming traffic because technically the oncoming traffic is crossing a lane of traffic.  But a car has started to turn right in front of them and claimed priority.  Behind the turning car in the middle of the picture, back at the traffic island there are two cars and a van approaching.  But there's a bit of a gap - the van can go safely after the car has passed...

So the van has now gone yet the people-carrier driver hasn't made much progress because the 2 cars and a van have advanced and claimed their apparent right to the road by driving across his path.
 Right, there's now no oncoming traffic, maybe it's safe to cross now....well, almost.  From where the driver got stopped there is no way of knowing whether it's either legal or safe to cross because there are no traffic lights visible from where he got stopped.  Would you drive across the A2 without knowing what the lights were doing?

In the face of a stream of traffic turning across your path when you want to turn up the hill you may want to drive on the other side of the road.  Illegal but possibly the safest option.

 Here's a rarity - I've only ever seen it happen once.  A particularly vigilant driver has seen and waited for the car to emerge from Deal's Gateway and pass on towards Greenwich.  Tip: if you want to see this happen again, you might want to bring a chair, some sandwiches and a Thermos along with you.

Ok, I give in, here's a cyclist after all....he got across alive but not without having to swerve onto the wrong side of the road to avoid the white van seen passing out of shot on the left.

I thought it might be a good idea to see whether the residents of Deal's Gateway, who must repeatedly have to face this situation, so I wrote.  No reply.  Today I spoke to Gareth, the Estate Manager for Deal's Gateway, and he obligingly came out and had a look with me, seemed sympathetic and understanding of the problem but .... 

Tomorrow then, if I get the time, I'll see whether it's possible to drag some police/wardens on bikes out to have a look at it.

EDIT: due a spot of confusion on my part I mistakenly demoted Gareth - I've corrected the error.  Congratulations on getting your old job back.  Gareth also asked if I would remove part of the text which I have also done....

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Famous last words....

Two weeks ago, while returning over Tower Bridge after a spot of two-wheeled exploring, I noticed that there was a lot of mudlarkery going on on the shore of the Thames below the Tower.

I wrote at the time:

Surprising that it's possible to dig up artefacts at such a shallow depth in the heart of London.  I would have thought that they'd all have been whisked away  many years ago.

And what do I see this morning?  A story on the BBC website about a  rare find:

A linked article from the East London Advertiser  confirms that this mediaeval roof finial was found on that very shore by a mudlark.  Experts at the Museum of London believe that the finial, which would have adorned the ridges of roof tiles around the 12th or 13th Century, was made near Woolwich.

I like the thought that back in the middle ages Woolwich was producing articles that adorned the roofs of the city.  Sceptics, though, might see it as a forerunner of the garden gnome....