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Cycling: The stats

2 Mar 2015 05:56:09

Cyclists

It is clear that more people are cycling in Great Britain than ever before. The steady rise in bike riders has coincided with an increased awareness of cyclists as road users, and the creation of safer areas and lanes for cyclists. There have been campaigns highlighting the importance of cycling safety and awareness, and more cycling-centric things like shops, riding clubs, cafes, events, websites, chat rooms, and cycling-friendly roads then there has been before. Along with the campaigns and infrastructure, brands like Proviz have continued the trend to ensure cyclist safety. As bike technology advances, so too does the clothing and accessories for bike riders, with Proviz leading the pack. It is clear that the U.K. has truly embraced cycling as a popular past time and mode of transport.

The CTC Cycling Statistics have found that 43% of the population owns or has access to a bicycle, and that 8% of the population (around 3 million) cycle 3 or more times a week. It might not seem like much, but the increase in urban areas has been quite substantial, with cycle use on main roads over the 2012/13 financial year being 176% higher than in 2000. Along with this, 741,000 people use a bicycle as their main form of transport for getting to work in England and Wales, up by 90,000 from 2001. The data collected, mainly through the National Travel Survey and the Consensus, points to a definite increase in bicycle use. It’s not just the amount of people cycling either, it is also the mileage clocked by cyclists, which is up 20% over the last 15 years, to about 5.1 billion kilometres in 2013. 

Not only do these increases in cycling point towards a welcome improvement in health and wellbeing, they also show that people aren’t relying on cars to get them around, which in turn has a positive impact on the environment. It’s really a win-win!

We have definitely come a long way, but statistics still show that we are lagging behind most other EU countries. The Dutch cycle the most, unsurprisingly, with 43% of the population saying they cycle every day. Malta, however, is right at the bottom, with a massive 93% of people saying that cycling is something they never do. It is by no means a competition, but this really shows how far the U.K. has come with embracing cycle culture and how much further we can go!

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Bike Rides for Charity

10 Feb 2015 02:48:39

People cycle for many reasons; it may be for their health, for the environment, for monetary reasons, or social ones. No matter the motivation it is always a personally rewarding pursuit, but it’s easy to forget that cycling can also benefit others. There are more charity bike rides in the U.K. than ever before, and more opportunity for people to raise money while doing something they love.

Cyclists

Why not start 2015 off by setting yourself a challenge to complete a charity bike challenge by the end of the year? There’s an event to suit all fitness levels, and you will find cycling all the more fulfilling when you know it’s going to a good cause.    

London to Reading Bike Ride – Sunday 29th of March 2015

The London to Reading ride is great for those who are looking for a smaller but still rewarding challenge. The 40 mile ride takes you from the outer fringes of London to the beautiful countryside, and then finishes in Christchurch Meadows in Reading. For those riders just starting out, this is the perfect route, and you support the British Heart Foundation along the way. Visit www.bhf.org.uk for more information.   

The Cambridge 100 and the Cambridge 50 – Sunday 3rd of May 2015

Taking you through Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire & towards the Norfolk coast, this circular ride allows you to choose between two lengths, 100 miles or 50 miles. This is a perfect ride for all ages and fitness levels, and you get to take in the gorgeous countryside as you raise money for the Prostate Cancer Research Centre. For more information and for registering, visit the Prostate Cancer Research Centre website.

Challenge Cancer London to Brighton – Saturday 26th of September 2015

This scenic ride is a great for everyone, whether you are a novice or a die-hard cyclist. The 100km may seem daunting at first, but there are many options for cyclists to make the ride a bit easier. It begins at Smithfield’s Market in Central London, and takes you down to the coast of Brighton. You can choose to do either the day or night legs, or you could even do the round trip, completing 200km in total. If you do choose the night leg, it is especially important to remain visible. Make sure you have your high visibility gear on so you can enjoy the ride safely! Visit the Cancer Research UK website to sign up.        

Raising money by taking part in bike challenges can be hugely rewarding, but remember that your safety should always come first: pace yourself, stay hydrated and always wear appropriate high visibility gear; especially if you’re riding at night! Check out our full range of cycling clothing and accessories here.

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Extreme Survival

6 Feb 2015 07:58:52

We are always in awe of stories of human survival and endurance. The harrowing tales of what the body and mind can achieve in the face of adversity never cease to amaze and inspire. We wonder what we would do in the same situation, whether we would be able to survive. It just goes to show how far some people are willing to put their bodies and lives at risk for their love of exercise and adventure. Their passion is admirable, and when things go pear-shaped, their ability to survive is even more so. The stories may shock us, scare us, or even motivate us, but before you take your morning run or your cycle to work to the next level, take a look at these extreme stories of survival. 

 

Survival 1

Aron Ralston: 

He made world-wide news even before James Franco portrayed him in the 2011 film 127 Hours. The story of Ralston’s survival left people in disbelief after he was able to get himself out of the worst of situations. While hiking through canyons in Utah, Ralston fell down a crevasse and his arm became trapped underneath an 800 pound boulder. With very little food and water, he survived in the canyon for five days before he made the decision to amputate his own arm using a dull knife. He then miraculously climbed down a 65ft wall and walked until he was found by hikers. His ability to survive such an ordeal made headlines, and he has since climbed all of Colorado’s peaks.

snow survivalSimpson and Yates:

Trying to survive on your own may seem bad enough, but it is harder still when the life and death decisions you make will also affect your friend. Joe Simpson and Simon Yates set off together to climb a mountain in the Peruvian Andes, but found their adventure turning bad when a snowstorm set in. To navigate through the snow, they decided to rope themselves together, but then disaster struck as Simpson fell and injured his leg. Yates decided to lower Simpson down the mountain, but as another snowstorm hit, Simpson was left dangling in mid-air.

Yates had to make the hardest decision of his life and in order to survive, he cut the rope holding them together. Miraculously, Simpson survived the fall and slowly worked his way down the mountain. Once they were both at the bottom, Simpson said that he too would have cut the rope. 

cycling survivalLucky Cousins:

Mountain biking through California’s San Gabriel Mountains took a frightening turn when a group of four cousins went missing overnight. The group survived freezing temperatures with some only wearing shorts and t-shirts. As it started to get dark and they could no longer ride to find their way out, the group credit a single lighter and an emergency blanket for getting them through. They gathered as much wood as they could and made a fire, huddling around it as temperatures dropped to 3 degrees Celsius. The search party set out in the early hours of the morning and found the group by following the tire marks their bikes had left. It just goes to show how important it is to be prepared for your ride. Luckily it was their bikes that brought them to safety. 

Mountain survivalTough Granny:

Survival stories are not just for the young and fit. In 2009, a grandmother survived 11 days lost in the Spanish Pyrenees after she was separated from her hiking group. The French woman wandered off from the group and then fell down a 60ft ravine, leaving her lost in Ordesa y Monte Perdido National Park. The 62 year old only had her hiking clothes and a small amount of water. She survived by sipping rain water and foraging for wild herbs, relying on her meagre supplies and walking apparel to shelter from the elements.

This grandmother’s story shows just how important it is to set off on your adventure (no matter how extreme) fully equipped. Whether they are walking, hiking, climbing or riding, in most cases, it is the few items the survivors had on them that led them to safety. So before your hike, or even the next time you cycle to work, make sure you are prepared. These stories of extreme survival are awe-inspiring, but they should also act as words of warning.      

So take a leaf from the adventure book and check out our full range of outdoor safety clothing and accessories here!

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Cycling in Winter

4 Feb 2015 00:12:02

winter cycling

It’s the time of year when cycling can seem a bit more daunting. Pavements may be covered in snow, the roads could be slick with that invisible hazard: ice, and the short days mean more cycling in the dark. Before you head out onto the road, it is important to take all of these conditions into consideration. You don’t want to be caught off-guard on your way to work in a serious patch of black ice. Your safety should be your main priority (and that of your clothes!).

However, cycling isn’t impossible in winter and is fine as long as you are properly prepared; take a look at these handy tips before you next head out.

  • Always check the weather forecast for the days ahead, and also on the day before you ride. It’s important to know what’s happening out there, particularly when conditions can change overnight. Always take note of any rain the day before, as this may freeze as temperatures drop overnight and leave the road covered in ice. Snow is easy enough to see from your window, but it is often difficult to judge how deep it is and how heavily it’s falling.

    The Met Office provides detailed weather updates, so make sure you take a look and gauge whether it’s safe to ride. 
     
  • Choose your route carefully. You may not be able to take your normal route, so try to stick to salt treated roads. Most major roads will be treated first, with smaller ones to follow, so if in doubt stick to bigger, higher traffic areas and make sure you use extreme caution. Also, avoid riding in the gutters, as this is where ice is more likely to form and debris to collect. And lastly, take it easy while breaking. Stopping suddenly on an icy road could cause you to lose traction, so gently tap on the break instead.
     
  • Be fully prepared. Always make sure you have bicycle equipment for all weather conditions. When there is a likelihood of snow or ice on the roads, a bigger tire tread will provide you with more surface coverage, and therefore more traction. If you can, upgrade to studded snow tires, or tire chains, which grip into the snow. 

 

It is also important to be highly visible in bad weather conditions. Navigating through rain and snow is hard enough already, so make sure you can be seen and motorists can react and manoeuvre appropriately. The Proviz REFLECT360 Jacket is perfect for times like these, as the jacket is made from a 100% reflective outer-shell. Remember, your safety and the safety of others is the number one priority when cycling in the winter months.

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Top 3 New Year’s Resolutions

8 Jan 2015 00:02:22

... (and the three most commonly broken!)NYE fireworks

2014 has drawn to a close. Christmas has well and truly passed, the fireworks at midnight have faded, and the thing on everyone’s lips is New Year’s Resolutions. As well-meaning and optimistic as yours may be, the likelihood of you keeping your New Year’s Resolutions isn’t great. In fact, most people don’t even come close. It’s a sad state of affairs. Here are the top 3 most commonly broken New Year’s Resolutions; and a bit of helpful advice and motivation to help you keep them:

1) Lose weight

Post-Christmas, this is on everyone’s mind. You’ve eaten your way through the silly season and now you’re faced with a new year and the idea of a whole new you. Unfortunately this resolution is easier said than done. Most people start off well (could this be a post-Christmas guilt?) but then fall off the bandwagon not long into the New Year. The trick is to start small. Don’t set yourself massive, unachievable targets straight away. It’s also important to be healthy, try to combine your new diet with exercise. Go for a run or a ride around your local park. Good thing Proviz has got you covered there with a great range of high visibility running and cycling jackets!
 

2) Learn something new

This is a hard one, depending on what goals you’ve set yourself. Again, it’s best to start small and not set yourself up to fail. Try familiarising yourself with your goal before you jump in. Make sure you know everything there is to know about it. This will start you off well, and even though you might stumble at first, if you have a good grounding knowledge of your chosen area, you can find out where you went wrong, and where to go next.
 

3) Be less stressed

Ah, the idea of living a stress-free life. It sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? But unfortunately this New Year’s Resolution is one of the hardest to stick with. It’s impossible to remove all stress from your life, but you can come up with ways of making it more manageable. The simplest thing is to give yourself just 10 minutes a day to do something that you love. And, on top of that, a proven way to relieve stress is to get some exercise. Throw on your running jacket, pop in your headphones, and go for a walk or a run. You’ll be surprised at how quickly your mind clears.   

 

Try giving yourself a bit of extra motivation by kitting yourself up with some of our great hi-visibility jackets. You’ll look great and the extra safety they provide means you have one less thing to stress about! Check them out here!

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We’ve all had those near misses. That one narrow escape that has left you marvelling at what could have happened. But all you can really do is think about the ‘what if’s. Proviz, however, have gone one step further and created an interactive video that allows you to take control of those close calls. The interactive experience follows a young father on his way home from work. He cycles through London’s busy streets at night, riding alongside traffic and past large turning vehicles. Aptly named Out of the Dark, the video allows you to see what happens to the cyclist with and without reflective riding gear. 

The video begins as the husband leaves work late and begins to ride home. He is in plain trousers and jacket, with a black bike helmet. The video shows how hard it is to see the rider when he is on London’s busy roads. However, when holding down the button in the centre of the screen, the cyclist’s jacket becomes illuminated. This clever tool demonstrates just how reflective the Proviz REFLECT360 jacket really is. If you hold down the button, the cyclist rides safely through the traffic and arrives at home to his wife and child. But if you release the button, his jacket loses illumination and his ride home doesn’t end well. These different scenarios occur at stages throughout the video and allow you to see the advantages of riding with a highly reflective jacket and what could happen if you aren’t visible to drivers.   

Video Clip

The team at Proviz teamed up with the UK’s leading ad agency AMV BBDO to create the interactive cycling video, and are quite proud of their achievement. Not only does the video show the REFLECT360 jacket in all its glory, it also highlights the need for riding safety, particularly at night. As part of Proviz’s commitment to cycle safety, for every REFLECT360 jacket purchased through the video, Proviz will donate £5 to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Not only are you protecting yourself when you purchase a jacket, you are also supporting the safety of other riders. What could be better than that! 

Proviz co-Founder Anthony Langly-Smith comments “We hope viewers will play around with the video and share it with friends and family so that as many cyclists as possible are aware of the safety benefits of being seen at night.”

So why not jump onto the website www.outofthedark.tv and take the interactive ride for yourself!

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