Letters

This article was published in 1998, in Newsletter 17.

Tough tyres

Readers of Keir Finlow-Bates’ review of Greentyres in Newsletter 16 might be interested in my experience of a rival brand. I had already found the tyres on my new Raleigh (Continental Top-Touring) to be far superior to any I have previously used. I had not suffered a single puncture in a year of using them. Before a touring holiday in Israel in the summer I fitted a new pair of Top-Touring 2000. The original tyres were still in good condition, and are still doing excellent service on my wife’s bike.

I quickly discovered that, perhaps because cars are driven until they fall to pieces, Israeli roads appear to function as extended scrapyards. And because in the hot weather people need to drink a lot, and then just chuck the bottles out of the car, taxi or bus windows, the whole is gracefully overlaid with a thick patina of coarse-ground glass. It is a credit to Conti that I suffered no punctures at all for the duration of the holiday, nor have I in the six months since.

The recommended pressure is 70 psi (a helpful motorist in a service station in Jerusalem nearly had a fit when he saw what I was doing to the air line!) and they appear to be happy to be over-inflated. The Editor’s Note to Keir’s review is important: you are unlikely to put this much air into them with a hand pump. It’s also worth digging out the thorns, flints and glass each time you check the pressure.

I found the 2000s a trifle softer than other tyres I have used, with a slight feeling of roll on corners (as Keir reported with his Greentyres). But I would not go back to other brands. Though an expensive outlay (of the order of £16 apiece) they are very hard-wearing. I suspect in the long run they are if anything more economical than the cheap-‘n’-cheerfuls of the high street. I bought mine by mail order, but I know that Chris’s Bikes stock them.

Douglas de Lacey

Stripe shared-use pavements

Since the war there have been too many tragic accidents in Cambridge involving cyclists. Cambridge is a city where cycling is a tradition but the danger is inevitable and growing. Ideally there should be properly built cycle paths as in Holland. But where impracticable cyclists should continue to be allowed to share path ways with pedestrians. As a pedestrian and cyclist and motorist I appreciate the problems of each, but all have obligations as well as rights.

Road users have well established rules of the road (enshrined in the Highway Code). You drive on the left; you overtake on the right. Why not regulate footpaths in the same way? You walk or ride on the left; you overtake on the right. What could be simpler than that?

A correspondent in the ‘Times’ has recommended a white line down the middle of the pathway. It would remind users where they should walk and where cyclists should overtake. As a reminder the line would not need to be continuous and there could be scarcely a less expensive remedy for the present problem. Cyclists should not be expected to put their lives in danger unnecessarily.

non-member M Boston,
13 Trumpington Road,
phone 355975

Fumes

I wonder if cyclists are ‘less polluted’ than car drivers (see Newsletter 16). Having hammered down the A10 from Landbeach, I stop at the A14 roundabout breathing about once every 3 seconds.

This is a factor of several more than when I’m at rest, so I get to sample a lot more air. Even if the concentration of pollutants is lower than in the ‘car tunnel’, the amount must be higher.

Is there any research which establishes whether the effects of pollution are determined by concentration or amount?

Adrian P Stephens