Karl Roche

family, cycling and communications



Bike Test: Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 (2016) review

So my local bike pusher shop owner, Duncan at Wallington Cycles, has been giving me test rides on the latest Giant Bikes. Last one was the Propel, and before that the Defy Advanced Pro. He is a very bad man.

Today, I finally got a ride on the latest TCR Advanced Pro 1.  Not a bad looking machine and it goes pretty damn well too. Just a shame it wasn’t the middle of summer. Continue reading “Bike Test: Giant TCR Advanced Pro 1 (2016) review”


Another cycling flashmob – Chris Hoy

Becoming a bit of theme in London these days. Read the full story on Cycling Weekly.

Join the next Stop Killing Cyclist die-in, Nov 27 #NoMoreCoffins

The third annual die-in and vigil for people killed while riding bikes in London will be held later this month outside the TfL HQ on Blackfriars Road.
Continue reading “Join the next Stop Killing Cyclist die-in, Nov 27 #NoMoreCoffins”

Test ride: Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2

I’m certainly a fan of the Giant Defy – I have a couple. So when my local bike shop, Wallington Cycles, said they had one of the new Defy Advanced Pro’s for testing I had to have a go. Continue reading “Test ride: Giant Defy Advanced Pro 2”

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Cycling Debate: Just more talking and hand waving?

Yesterday was Cycling Debate. Three political parties had a chance to say how much they would do for our towns and cities, to help more people cycle.

Continue reading “Cycling Debate: Just more talking and hand waving?”

YouTube editor, you’re twisting my melons man

Yesterday was a lovely day in Surrey. Took a ride down to Box Hill to do hill repeats and of course strapped on the video camera. Continue reading “YouTube editor, you’re twisting my melons man”

More Shimano Sports Camera cycling footage

Been out with the Shimano Sports Camera again over the weekend and took a few videos. Kind of getting used to the camera now and it is very easy to use. I do love the small size and the way that it “hides” on the bike. Continue reading “More Shimano Sports Camera cycling footage”

“Serious talks on London’s segregated cycle lanes”

Listening is the first of many steps, but the protests by Stop Killing Cyclists are working.

TfL spokesperson confirmed that TfL are in direct talks with Stop Killing Cyclists (SKC). If you don’t know, SKC is a grassroots, non-funded group of cyclists keen to see change, who put their point across with direct action across London, highlighting the lack of funding and inaction from government at all levels.

More on this on the Stop Killing Cyclists Facebook community.

(Image from the South London Press.)

South London Press

Can we have safer roads for people?

Cyclists are organising a die-in at TfL HQ later this month in protest over a month of tragedies. 

It must be hard for you to have missed that in the last two weeks, 6 cyclists have been killed in London. Even friends and family that don’t often talk about cycling as much as I do have been talking about it. Even they have said  that HGV’s seem to be a problem.

All this came after Boris opened a short stretch of segregated cycle lane in Stratford. After the first death the day before, in quick succession we saw innocent people being crushed under the wheels of lorries and buses across the capital.

London Cycling Campaign held a vigil after one of the deaths at Bow.

Apparently the Mayor of London thinks that headphones are more of a problem and has recently said he would support a ban on cycling with headphones but not one which would remove HGV’s from central London during rush hour. Now, I think riding with headphones is stupid too but they haven’t been the cause of the deaths and many reported (and unreported) injuries each day. It’s deflected the attention from the real issue and blaming the victim at the same time. Olympic champion, Chris Boardman, has called for Boris to stand by verbal commitments he gave Chris earlier in the year.

It’s not just central London though. Croydon is much further south and experienced it’s own tragedy when a cyclist was killed by a bus.

Many people are now calling into question  what credibility Boris has left.

Considering so little of what was promised has actually come to fruition in London, a grassroots organisation has sprung up on Facebook to bring together cyclists from across London for a peaceful protest outside the TfL HQ in south London. Full details here. Their page says:

“After 15 deaths and innumerable injuries on London’s roads over the last year, (6 deaths just in the space of two weeks this month), London’s cyclists have had enough.”

If you would like to join the protest or just like to find out more visit the Facebook page.

Join the #TfLDieIn on 29th November at TfL HQ

Get lost in the lanes – if spring ever shows up

Jack Thurston of The Bike Show has put together a new bike touring book, “Lost Lanes.” It’s published on April 15th and covers 36 rides around Southern England which is currently experiencing the coldest March I have ever seen.

What is really interesting about this book, apart from the writing and photos, is that it comes with access to GPX downloads for your bike sat nav or smartphone app to help you find your way around the routes. Considering how many sportives can’t even put together a decent map this is a great enhancement and combination of traditional and new media.

Lost Lanes by Jack Thurston
Lost Lanes by Jack Thurston

Check out a 64 page preview of the book on issuu.

I’m wondering if there will be any other integration with social media, so those that go on the rides can share their experiences. This would be a great opportunity to build a living document of the routes that capture stories and tips which will vary depending on how long they have been riding and at which time of the year they went. May also be a chance for people to get together and ride the routes together.

Follow Jack on Twitter.

How Brussels started to see past the car

I’ve not seen a better portrayal of how the car has come to dominate the way we live and tie us to a failing way of transport that costs millions.

I’ve always associated Belgium with bikes, so I was surprised to watch this film that blew that out of the water.

‘Brussels Express’ is a film about bicycle messengers in Europe’s most congested European city. Before you rush off, muttering something about bicycle messengers, blah, blah, I was almost the same.

It’s a very well made film and I love the characters. Karl-Heinz, the bike messenger, talks about the time he started his business 10 years ago and how the city has changed. He is pretty incredulous at how people just sit in their cars and accept it as if it is normal.

Other interesting insights comes from the mayor of Stockholm. His visits to Brussels just leave him gobsmacked at how impossible it is to move around the city. It’s not just rush hour, it’s grid locked at every hour. He then talks about the way Stockholm transformed by introducing congestion charging* even when around 60% of people were against it. Then when they saw the benefits, that was reversed.
Anyway, a lovely video, well worth the 20 mins.


*IBM helped implement the congestion charging system into Stockholm – this was a bizarre coincidence (read more)

Cycling podcasts

I clean my bike every week. It’s not the most expensive, lightest or fastest bike in the world but it’s mine and I like to take care of it. But cleaning can get a bit dull at times, especially in the winter and autumn when the weather isn’t so great outside. Continue reading “Cycling podcasts”

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