Monday, 27 August 2012

A family of bikes...

Most of the bikes we pick up have a tale to tell or bear the marks of an experience or some adventure... I think children's bikes must bear more marks than most. The other day I was lucky enough to meet with a family of six who had asked me to recycle some of their bikes. Looking at them I was struck immediately by how clearly the bikes reflected the growth of their children, from first wheels (and the removal of stabilisers) to the independance of the big wheeled mountain bikes...brilliant

I thought this was great, I can still remember attempting my cycling proficiency- wobbling around the cones in the school playground...come to think of it I can't remember whether I passed or not!

Friday, 17 August 2012

How does he do that?.. Danny MacAskill

When I was alot younger my friends and I would gather on our bikes in the little park at the back of our houses. We'd construct ramps out of old bricks and bits of board that we'd found lying around and spend the afternoon taking turns to race off the end...hoping that we wouldn't be the one to fall off and embed six tons of gravel in our knees (which, with a sinkfull of dettol, our mums would have to carefully pick out later). Jumping off the top of that ramp felt like a real achievement, particularly on my mates grifter, which had 3 gears and weighed as much as a car. It's summers spent in the park falling off my bike that make me appreciate how amazing guys like Danny MacAskill are, someone showed me this video the other day and its blown me away- have a look and see what you think

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Knitting bikes

I think its fair to say that my partner is as passionate about knitting as I am about bikes. Living with a knitter means that I'm never short of a jumper or two, living with a bike addict means that my partner is forever bored to death with endless conversations about small bits of bicycle. The other day when talking about a couple of bikes that had come in with nasty saddles we got to talking about what the possibilites might be. Up until that point damaged seats were removed and stored in a dark corner of the workshop...until some remedy could be found for their decrepid state. She disappeared and returned a couple of hours later with this solution...

 A fabulous knitted seat cover!

...and in her other hand was this, a bike sock to protect the frame from nasty boots and heavy locks....thanks chicken!

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Recycled saddlebag

Sometimes its nice to get away on the bike with no more than a puncture kit and a drink. I used to have a lovely leather brooks tool bag that sat under my seat for exactly this purpose, but age got the better of it and after making a few repairs to the straps i've decided to retire it. Sitting there instead now is my tetrapack saddle bag- made from a recycled milk carton, its cheap, easy to make and less likely to be stolen. Here's how to make your own...

Your going to need, an old drinks container, a couple of old spokes, some gaffa/ duct tape, a pair of pliers, a holepunch and a sharp knife/ scalpel.

using the scalpel, cut into the side of the carton across the two shorter edges and ONE of the longer edges

This should leave you with a flap which (hopefully) will still be attached to the carton, if its not- find another carton and start again!

Next up you'll need to make yourself some buckles, take your pliers and your spoke and bend it into a buckle

Buckle making takes a little practice but is really easy to do, they should look like this (look left) when they're done

Your buckles should be the same width as the straps you're going to make. Using a length of duct tape attach your buckle to one end. I never realised how difficult it was to cut a length of duct tape- after several aborted attempts I ended up asking for help to hold one end.

With the buckle attached and at the top, begin to wrap the length of duct tape around the back of your carton- at the front trim the tape to meet the edge of your carton.

You will now have your buckle attached to the back of your carton. In order for the saddlebag to attach to the seat you'll need another length of duct tape which is attached in line with the first buckle on the underside of your flap.  Stick this around the flap and onto the outside face until the second piece of tape has reached the buckle. 

 Fold over this length of duct tape so that you now have a strip of tape which is joined by its two sticky edges and forms a strip which will fit into the buckle

Your carton saddlebag should look something like this. You now have a saddlebag which is perfectly functional- you can hold the flap closed with a piece of string or innertube tied around the outside.  I use a tag to hold mine closed- if you'd like to do the same read on...

 To hold the flap down (to keep the weather out) you're going to need a leftover piece of spoke, a piece of inner tube, some pliers and some scissors....and some more duct tape!

Stick a piece of Duct tape onto the flap in the middle of your saddlebag

Make a hole in the new piece of tape on the flap. With the flap held closed mark on the main carton where the hole sits, reinforce with more duct tape and make a hole which should then line up with the hole on the flap.

From the piece of spoke cut off two short pieces from which you are going to make a treasury tag, using the piece of inner tube

It should look like this, either snip a small hole 1/3 of the way down each end of the inner tube and thread the bits of spoke through or simply snip the ends and tie a knot.

Here it is, finished and attached to the bike. Due to its un-environmentally friendly plasticied in/ outside, these cartons are remarkably weather is the duct tape.

As with most things, its easy to make if you know how- if you get stuck making yours drop me a line and i'll try to help.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Coventry Cyclist August update

There's very few good guides to what is going on locally. The best that I know of is the Coventry Cyclist put together by George Riches. It offers a monthly summary of everything cycling going on in and around Coventry. George has agreed to let me share a few bits on the Blog, but if you'd like your own full copy send him an email to:

Coventry Cyclist- August 2012

WANTED! Volunteers for a 20's Plenty campaign for Coventry


Are you interested in contributing time to a campaign on 20mph speed limits without road humps? The 20's Plenty for Us campaign is the UK leader and is free to join. They have 146 Campaign groups across the country and support anyone who wants 20mph limits for their community.

Click on the links above for more information or ring/ email Anna Semlyen with any questions. 07572 120439

Job in Bike Shop


Trek Bikes are opening a shop in North Coventry (Gallagher Business Park).

Sky Rides


"Sky Ride City" Traffic-free rides (closed roads, no traffic) at Birmingham & Leicester (other cities also). Birmingham Sunday 19th August, Leicester Sunday 26th August 2012. Website
It's a pity that we don't have one in Coventry!

Connect2Kenilworth Cycle/Pedestrian path


Coventy Sport Survey


Bradley Wiggins wins the Tour de France and Gold at the Olympics. Will this bring a change in attitudes to cycling in Britain? Or are sports things you pay money to do in buildings?
See the council's Sports and Leisure Survey 2012 Why not a cycle path along the Sowe Valley? So that everyone can get a bit of cycling in and the sporty types can access the lanes of Warwickshire without braving heavy traffic.
Please complete the questionnaire no later than Friday 24 August 2012.

Happy Cycling!

George Riches,