Cycle Museum in Provence By Lew Lawton

 The Musee Comtadin du Cycle     Great Cycle Museum in Provence

I have been fortunate to have two cycling trips to France this year.  My first was to Bourg D’oisans to give me an opportunity to tackle some of the Alpine climbs such as Alpe D’Huez.  In September I was off to Provence to show a friend the routes up Mont Ventoux.  On one of our days off we decided to have a relatively flat ride to Pernes-Les-Fontaines, which just south of Carpentras,  and visit The Musee Comtadin du Cycle.

I had heard from a friend that the museum might be a bit
difficult to find but worth the effort. Luckily we first found a museum about
the local French Resistance and when we enquired about the Musee du Cycle a
very enthusiastic lady insisted to taking us there in person.  Turns out she is one of the museum’s

My friend was correct it was well worth the trip.  The museum has many cycles of all sorts of
vintage and type on display.  The museum
book (5 euros) only shows a handful of the exhibits which are in at least five
rooms, although the museum is expanding to another floor next year.

 My favourite bike in the book is a 1897 Bicyclette Acaten with a rack and pinion drive.  Single speed unlike the recently proposed multigear system from America.  Another fascinating thing was looking at the various chains employed.  For example The Bicyclette Course built by P.Fageot Aine in 1895 has a roller chain with about an inch pitch. The front chain ring (le plateau)  has 17 Teeth and the rear cog (le pignon) only 8.  One the museum’s favourite display is a 1936 Terrot Velo de Course features “un derailleur a trois […]

By |October 8th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Cycle Museum in Provence By Lew Lawton

Monty Python Bicycle Repair Man

Lew thought you might like to remember the Monty Python Bicycle Repair Man Sketch. Things may have moved on but even the Mobile Cycle medic can not change a crappy roadster into a flash racing bike!!! Not with a bish and a bosh anyway!!

By |October 5th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Monty Python Bicycle Repair Man

Lew’s Latest Podcasts

This page features the podcasts that Lew Lawton produces for broadcast each Friday morning around 9.15am for Swindon 105.5, the community radio station for Swindon by Swindon.  The podcasts are sponsored by our friends at Mitchell Cycles
10th Jan 2020  Cycling Weekly 5000 Challenge and a Challenge from Swindon Travel Choices 
Lew meets two people who are setting challenges aimed at getting more people cycling and people cycling more miles.   Find out more at   and

PS When you sign up for the CW challenge you get an email in which there is a link to the PDF of their 2020 Mileage chart
13 Dec 2019  Christmas Gifts for Cyclists
Lew has been on the hunt for Christmas gifts for the cyclist you are struggling to buy for.  There a wide selection from £8 to £50 in this edition.
some of the web sites mentioned ,,,,,,  

Here’s a picture of those Kilometre markers available from

6 Dec 2019   See 15 Nov
29 Nov 2019  Edn 61 Recycles Swindon Be Bright Be Safe Be Seen Campaign
Lew went to see Chloe Kirwan of Recycles Swindon to find how any cyclist can get free advice on being bright, being seen and staying safer on Swindon’s roads this winter, and while he was there he also found out about donating bikes and the Recycles very own cycling club.
Recycles Phone Number is 01793 401834   and you can contact Chloe by email chloe [dot] kirwan [at] salvationarmy [dot] org [dot] uk.    To find Recycles on Facebook look for Recycles, Booth House

22 Nov 2019  Edn 60   Proposed Closure of Day House Lane
A call for action for anyone who walks, runs, cycles or rides a horse along Day House Day. Lew explains that Highways England needs to do some […]

By |June 28th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Lew’s Latest Podcasts

Lew’s Ventoux Adventure

This is my belated Mont Ventoux Blog  12-14 Sept 2017

You can probably trace my adventure to Ventoux back to that fateful day on July 13 1967 when my Hero Tommy Simpson died during the Tour De France.   At the time I had no idea whereabouts in France this mountain was, but as young, ambitious, but not very good schoolboy racing cyclists, my younger brother and I were distraught.  I remember my father buying and writing a card to Helen Simpson.
Years and years past.   My father, who had been active in days of the British League of Racing Cyclists (BLRC) and as a former president of the British Cycling Federation often went in some form of official capacity to the Tour De France, died.  We found a large framed Black and White photo of Simpson  in his Peugeot rainbow jersey after he won the World Championships.  
I have no idea what happened to that photo, but I have seen many similar in print over the years.
By the time of my father’s death I was well into my Army career and had not cycled for a while.  It was not until 1990 that I purchased a bike to ride to work from my married quarter in Colerne to my office in Corsham. Between then and now my interest in cycling has grown and grown to the stage where my wife, Betsy, would say I am fanatical.
Between 2003 and 2009 I completed four multiday bike rides in Sinai, China, Peru and Nepal, as well as a couple of London to Brighton’s.  If there was a bug, I had it!
Two or three years ago whilst visiting friends in France to watch a stage of TdF, the […]

By |October 9th, 2017|Cycle Events, Cycling in Europe, Training, Travel, Uncategorized|Comments Off on Lew’s Ventoux Adventure

Lew’s Ventoux Playlist

To help keep the motivation going I created a playlist of hi energy tunes to play whilst climbing Mont Ventoux.  Each ride was 2 to 3 hours riding, continually pushing the pedals over gradients ranging from 5 to 13%.  I kept the volume low so I could hear any traffic.   PS I have just invested in the latest Bone Conduction Ear Pieces which leave my ears open.

My Mont Ventoux Playlist
Killer.  Adamski   Openning lines “Lonelyness is the killer”
Feel the vibe  Axwell
9pm (till I Come). ATB
Sandstorm   Darude   Actually no sand just rocks
Nightmare. Brainbug
Operation Blade. Public Domain
Saltwater. Chicane
Greece 2000. Three Drives
Blow Ya Mind.  Lock’n’Load
The Theme. Jurgen Vries
Strange World.  Push
Everyday.  Agneil and Nielson
Beautiful.   Matt Derey
Time to Burn.  Storm
Rhythm of the Night.  Corona
Not over yet.   Grace   once at the top it is over
Born Slippy.   Underworld
Lady hear me tonight.   Modjo
Take me to the Clouds above. LMC Vs U2   title says it all really
Touch me.   Rue De Silva
It feels so good.    Sonique   yup at the top it does feel so good
Out of touch.   Uniting Nations
You’re a Superstar.  Love Inc.  I felt like a star
The Weekend.   Michael Gray
Good Luck.   Basement Jaxx    not that I needed good luck
I Like the Way.   BodyRockers   did anybody like the way I moved?
It’s Love.  Goldtrix
Praise You.    Fatboy Slim
Rock da House.  Tall Paul
Bullet in the Gun.   Planet Perfection
Resurection.  PPK
Castles in the Sky.  Ian Van Dahl
Tocas’s Miracle.   Fragma
Pretty Green Eyes.  Ultrabeat
Fly on the wings of Love. XTM
THe Logical Song.  Scooter
Set You Free.   N Trance
The Power.  Snap
Pump up the Jam.  Technotronic
Everybody’s Free.   Rozalle
Dreamer.    Livin’ Joy
No limit. 2 unlimited.  (Check out the lyrics for mountain riding)
The Key, The Secret.  Urban Cookie Collective
Sunshine after […]

By |September 28th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Lew’s Ventoux Playlist

Motorists driving too close??? Help Do Something About it

I received this letter from  Paul Tuohy Chief Executive Cycling UK

Would you be prepared to donate a small sum to help educate bad motorists for the benefit of all cyclists ??

Dear Lewis

For the majority of cyclists throughout the UK, close passes can be an almost daily occurrence. I don’t need to tell you how intimidating they are, we all know it, and all want something to be done about it.

That’s why today Cycling UK has launched our Too Close for Comfort campaign: to put an end to dangerously close overtaking.

We’ve seen the excellent work done by West Midlands Police with their innovative and cost efficient ‘Give Space, Be Safe’ operation. Plain clothes officers out on bikes have been pulling over close passing drivers, and using a ‘safe pass’ mat have educated (and prosecuted where necessary) them on how to carry out safer overtaking.

I want to see every police force throughout England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland doing the same, which is why we need to raise £12,000 and are appealing to you to help us. With this money we will, make sure every police force can educate drivers how to overtake vulnerable road users safely, just like West Midlands Police.

But why should we have to stump up our cash for the police? It’s simple really, years of government cuts has left them under resourced where we would like to see it most: roads policing.

Our campaign will help make cycling safer, not just for you, but your family, friends and everyone else

We only need 1,200 of our members to donate just £10 to make this happen and put an end to overtaking that is too close for comfort.

I hope I can count on your support – […]

By |March 10th, 2017|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Motorists driving too close??? Help Do Something About it

West Midlands Police to prosecute bad driving

West Midland Police recently tweeted the picture above and said that prosecuting bad driving was a sure way to improve cyclists’ safety.   I agree, both as a cyclist and as a motorist.

Lets hope they start putting bad drivers before the courts BEFORE they maim and injure someone and NOT after.

follow  @WMpolice   Their tweet on 16 Sept read “Anyone encroaching inside that safe passing distance could be prosecuted for driving without due care and attention.”

By |September 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|Comments Off on West Midlands Police to prosecute bad driving

My Top 10 Tips

How to keep your bike in good condition

Your bike can give you years of service if you look after it.  Granted you may not want to do all your own servicing but some basic preventative maintenance will keep your servicing bills down.

Here are my TOP 10 Tips …..

 Keep the chain and all parts of the gear mechanisms as clean as you can, especially both sides of those little jockey wheels on the rear mech.  You can buy a cheap sprocket brush and some concentrated de-greaser fluid to help.
Once clean and dry you should LIGHTLY oil the chain.  Use a synthethic Wet Lube for normal riding in the UK.  One drop on each link roller is all you need. Too many folk over oil the chain, or worse oil it when it’s dirty and wonder why it wears out quickly.  Expect 1500 miles from a well looked after chain.
Buy a chain wear guage and replace your chain when it become 0.75% worn.  Doesn’t sound a lot I know but bear in mind 1% would be 1.14 links extra length on a standard chain.
Keep your tyres well inflated.  In dry condition at or very near the max recommended pressure (never over).  This will reduce the incidence of punctures and the tyres will “roll” better and you’ll go faster.  In wet or muddy condition you can reduce this to midway between min and max pressures.
When you clean your bike, take a few moments to check the state of your brake blocks.  Don’t let them wear unevenly or too far and check that the faces are not picking up specks of aluminium from the wheel.
Modern Aluminium wheels also wear out.  Many have […]

By |October 14th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on My Top 10 Tips

Coaching for Junior Cyclists

Now the younger cyclists get a chance to go racing in a safe environment.   British Cycling coach Sean Bolton has set a great series of activties aimed at getting more youngsters into competitive cycling

To take part and find out where and when   go to



By |April 1st, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Coaching for Junior Cyclists

Pitfalls of buying 2nd Hand bikes

A few words of warning about buying 2nd Hand bikes…….

Just left a customer in Watchfield who bought two bikes 2nd hand from an Auction site.   The bikes were in clean condition but sadly plagued with faults which had not been disclosed.

A litany of problems including:

2 out of 4 Gear shifters not working in most gears, gear cables very rusty
Rear Tyre perished
Freehub not rotating correctly (this could have resulted in a nasty fall)

The estimated cost of repairing all these items and getting both bike running safely was in excess of £150.00

Naturally the customer decided it was not worth the expense.  I was able to cannibalize one of the bikes to get the other is a reasonably rideable condition

I hate being the bearer of the bad news and also don’t like charging folk for my time when I haven’t been able to resolve the issues, so I loose out too.

There are some good 2nd hand bikes around which have been outgrown, or the owner has been bitten by the cycling bug and is upgrading his old steed to a better model.

If you are looking to buy a second hand bike and don’t know much about bikes then go to a reputable shop that may have some part X models in or to one of the growing number of Bike Recycle centres which are being set up, often as social enterprises.  A good example is Re-cycles in Swindon run by the Salvation Army.

Or take someone who is knowledgeable in cycle mechanics with you

Other things to be wary of:

Avoid stolen Bikes .  Ask for the frame numbers before you agree the purchase.   Never agree to exchange your cash for a bike in a pub car park […]

By |March 19th, 2015|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Pitfalls of buying 2nd Hand bikes