The War On Cars

I’ve only had it into the shop once and this was to take advantage of a rollout of improved kickstands for the GSD. The shop though had a pretty woeful attempt at fitting it and I ended up doing it myself. I’m generally quite handy with this sort of thing so I’m happy having a go.

So far I’ve had to:

  • replace the chain
  • replace rear sprocket
  • replace inner and outer gear cables (forgot about this in my post earlier, so add £40 to what I’ve spent)
  • replace brake pads (forgot about that too, add £20)

Total spend now adjusted to £120. Over 4 years…

The cable routing was a realy pig though and took me hours and was fristarting to get right. I would recommend getting a shop to do it.

Top tip: tie a draw string, or the new cables, to the old ones when you pull them out, and it’ll allow you to pull the new ones back through afterwards.

oh I did manage something like that but it took some thought over how best to do it. The pig was that, being a cargo bike, the cables and outer were very long and also routed very tightly inside the downtube, through and round the motor housing, then in amongst other cables at the back.

Then, after it was all working smoothly I noticed that fully laden the gears were more difficult to adjust. I guess the frame flexed a bit and pulled on my routing.

just had a thought while catching up on this thread

during the lockdowns, driving a car was one of the few things people did that felt like freedom

I wonder how much that has played in to helping the conspiracy theories


But also, not getting the feeling that I was going to get run over every five minutes when walking or cycling, and active travel routes getting set up without a million years of waiting and a thousand consultations felt like a taste of freedom.

I get you, though.


I would absolutely love to have one. I can’t even have a bike right now. Apartments really stink :frowning:

Seattle has the powered rental bikes, so I use them on the rare occasions I’m out withou my son.

I remember going out for a walk at 5pm on a weeknight in that first lockdown and the traffic being like 8am on a Sunday morning. It was glorious.


I know this sounds weird, but I vividly remember how fresh everywhere smelled during lockdown, and how quiet it was.

Air and noise pollution are an under-ratedly shit thing about cars in cities


There’s a path along the river and then a pedestrianised street to get from my house to the station and ‘town centre’ (that is really just a retail park for people to drive to). It comes out on quite a busy road and some days the difference in air quality is really noticeable - you can taste the fumes in the air as you get close to the road (it’s almost as bad as going into New Street station).

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The road about twenty metres away from my house was a major cut through between main roads before the pandemic, completely unsuited to it mind. It was blocked with bollards in the lockdown and still is, although people regularly put them down. Nevertheless the drop in traffic noise was very noticeable, with the result that Mrs f and I were commenting in bed this morning how noisy the spring birds are today


This week construction work began on one of the busiest roads in Helsinki: Mannerheimintie (named after Field Marshal Mannerheim, (mis)remembered as the military hero who helped ensure Finland’s independence). About 5km in length, it runs south to north from the very centre of the city to one of the main routes north to the suburbs and the rest of the country.

As part of the work, the city plan to remove a number of pedestrian crossings from the road. They claim that there are too many crossings that don’t have traffic lights, and that these pose a risk of injury and death to pedestrians because the street has so many lanes (2 on each side, plus tram tracks in the middle). Yes, once again the crossings are the problem, not the things that actually cause the injury and death.

But, get this: besides outright removing some crossings, they also plan to change the status of others from pedestrian crossings to “crossing places”, where car drivers will have right of way. No joke. In the city’s mind, the way to solve the problem of dangerous crossings is to remove any extra duty of care that other road users might have had towards pedestrians and cyclists. It’s completely insane.

It also runs against so much of Helsinki’s explicit branding as a 15-minute city and as “the world’s most functioning city”, whatever that means. Mannerheimintie has multiple tram lanes that converge on it and loads of bus routes – there is little need to be driving a private car along it.

Apparently there are plans to make tens of these crossing places around the city. Their advocates argue that there are too many existing pedestrian crossings, and that, in and of themselves, they don’t make crossing the road safe. Well, obviously not, but as if the best solution is to get rid of them, rather than to ask exactly why crossing the road might be so unsafe.

Argh, I’m exploding in a mixture of fury and flabbergast writing this.

Here’s a link to a news article on the construction work. It’s in Finnish, but it contains a video at the bottom showing the pedestrian crossing removal/rebranding: Helsingin historian suurin ja vaikein työmaa alkaa Mannerheimintiellä – katso kartalta, miten sen voi kiertää.

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and £8.90 per person in London, apparently.

Two kids from my neighborhood just got killed by a guy driving his giant white pickup the wrong way over a bridge with his lights turned off . He was apparently drunk. I don’t understand how drink driving is so accepted here. I don’t understand how oversized trucks are accepted, the victim’s car was crushed almost flat.

Such a shitty selfish society.

I genuinely hate driving. I hate that I can’t get to work without a car and that my job involves driving.