Brighton Sportive 2nd October

This was the third sportive I have entered and was organised by Evans Cycles as one of their “Ride-It” events.

I opted for the short route (30 miles) when I booked this as I expected it may be cold and/or wet.  I was completely wrong, it was probably one of the hotest days of the year.

The route was well signed and pleasant, mostly along country lanes, with the climb up Ditchling Beacon after 15 miles.

As it was so hot I was glad when I finished and could get out of the sun.  I was also pleased with my time of 1 hour 49 minutes 9 seconds (16.49 mph average).

Redhill YMCA Sportive 4th September

This was the second sportive I have entered and was organised by Redhill cycle club and the YCMA with profits going to the YMCA’s Sovereign Appeal to benefit local children with disabilities and their families.

I choose the mid route (109km / 66Miles).  The route was generally pleasant, well signed and mostly avoiding main roads.  The weather remained dry for about the first 60 miles, then the rain that had been threatening all day came.  This led me to miss a sign just after Outwood Mill and head back towards the A25.

I ended up doing about 70 miles (and being very wet), so was happy with my finish time of 4 hours 33 minutes 30 seconds.

TortoiseSVN Commit dialog OK grayed out

Recently I had an issue where the OK button was grayed out on the commit dialog. This was confusing. The command line client was working correctly and the repository was fine.

It turned out that I had forgotten about the property tsvn:logminsize which was set to 10.

This property defines the minimum comment size that must be entered before you can commit your changes.  This stops changes being committed without any comments.

If I had entered my comments first the OK button would have been enabled.

Hope this saves someone else some time!

Quickball Car Cycle Carrier Review

I recently purchased the Paddy Hopkirk (Mont Blanc) Quickball cycle carrier after reading the reviews on Amazon and the review.  This carrier requires a towbar fitted to your car and the carrier clamps to the towball.

I was a little unsure about how good this rack would be but I am very pleased.  Fitting is very fast, and once fitted it is very secure.  So far I have only used it to carry one bike, but believe it will be fine with two.  I use a couple of extra bungee straps to secure it, and also use a trailer board as it obstructs the lights.

If you have a towbar and are looking for a relatively cheap way of carrying one or two bicycles then you should definitely consider this.

Simple Cycle Storage

I recently purchased this wall mounted cycle storage to create more floor space in the garage. Fitting was a simple case of drilling 3 holes and screwing the rack to the wall.

It is advertised as being able to hold three bikes, however I think this is optimistic. I use it with two full size adult bikes and it works fine.

Great value for money!

Fibre Flare Review

I have been very impressed with the Fibre Flare Light. It is a highly visible light, viewable from all around as it is has a fibre optic core. The manufacturer claims it is visible from up to 300m.

I had several positive comments about it on the recent Reigate Cyclosportive, and I am certainly happy that it increases my visibility greatly, and regularly use it in the day time too.

It has clips at each end and comes with straps for those so can be attached in a number of ways. It will clip on the back of a cycle jersey, but I tend to use it either down my seat post or clipped across my panniers.

Definitely recommended!

Reigate Sportive 3rd July

Last Sunday I entered my first cyclosportive event, the Reigate Sportive organised by Southern Sportive.

A sportive is an organised cycling event designed to target your own goals. The Reigate event had three distances (full, mid and short), each with gold, silver and bronze time bands. I opted for the mid route (101km / 62Miles). Electronic tags were provided for the timing along with two checkpoints on route which also provided much needed food and drink.

The event was very well organised and well signed throughout, no need to refer to the map. The weather was also very good. Hardly any wind and the sun was out. If anything it was too hot.

I was pleased when finished the event in 3 hours 55 minutes (silver band).

MySQL compare NULL equivalent to an empty string

Nearly all MySQL’s string functions return NULL when a NULL value is used for comparison. Although this is correct sometimes it is useful to compare NULL as being equalivalent to an empty string (although they are technically different).

One exception in MySQL’s string functions is the CONACT_WS function as this skips NULL parameters after the separator argument.

This means it can be used like this to compare NULL as being equal to an empty string:

CONCAT_WS('',value1) = CONCAT_WS('',value2)

This will return true if value1 and value2 are any combination of NULL and empty string.

WordPress code highlighting

I finally found a code highlighting plugin for WordPress that I like; CodeColorer.

This works on the server side, so there is no need for JavaScript support on the client browser.

The side effect of this is that I’ve had to re-visit all my previous posts to remove all the formatting I had manually applied.


Iñtërnâtiônàlizætiøn – This is string I found some time back which is very useful for testing internationalization issues. I can’t remember the original source of this. Please let me know if you know!