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Alan Paterson

Like most of our contributors Alan pays the rent and keeps the wolves at bay by herding words. Unlike any of our other writers Alan learned his craft at Oxford and by working for some huge companies. So if you think you’ve spotted in an incorrect use of language in any of Alan’s contributions to VeloBalls, well, you’re wrong.

Number of Entries : 6


The internet has been the biggest boon to cyclists since the tarmac road. It’s transformed the purchase of everything from bikes to bits to clothing; enabled access to vast amounts of information; and, best of all, opened up lines of communication between riders from all over the world. Take a real life example. I’ve just discovered that I’ve worn out my freewheel – the bunch of cogs that sits on the back w ...

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Bike helmets maybe the worst thing to happen to society

If you want to raise apoplexy in a serious cyclist, mention helmets. No other subject is so guaranteed to drive them into a frenzy of indignation. (Something for which, it has to be said, serious cyclists do tend to have something of a talent.) What do they get so worked up about? Why don’t they just chill? And why do so many of them refuse to wear helmets, when they’re so obviously a good idea? Well, the t ...

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Buying bikes on ebay – the pain, pleasure and a secret weapon

There has never been a better time to be a potless cyclist. Time was, getting a decent second hand bike was a real challenge. First, you went to your local bike shop to check out the two or three Bob had in that were something like what you were looking for. But pretty soon it would become clear they weren’t what you were looking for after all. Then it was the classifieds: bad ads, with little information, ...

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Taking apart the hub had been the easy bit…

Back in the olden days, when I was somewhere in that strange hinterland between ten and teen, when glue was still something you used to stick Airfix Spitfires together and Gameboys had not yet been invented (and televisions were black and white – can you imagine?), Dave and I used to pass many a happy hour taking our bikes apart and putting them back together again. It was not an entirely pointless occupati ...

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Five tips that could improve the cycling experience of 25% of cyclists by 25%

Looking around me on the roads of London, I see an awful lot of cyclists who are doing themselves no favours at all. So here, in no particular order of priority, are five tips that could improve the cycling experience of 25% of cyclists by 25%. Get your saddle and handlebars set to the correct height – which is probably higher than they are now. Sit on the saddle and put your heel on a pedal. Is your leg st ...

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John doesn’t want to die

I know quite a lot of people that I think should be on a bike. John, for example. John’s at the age – mid-40s – where things start to spread and immortality is no longer guaranteed. Plus I know he loathes travelling on the tube, which also costs him getting on for a hundred quid a month. So there’s no doubt in my mind that John should get a bike. But he won’t. Why not? One reason, I suspect, is the capital ...

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