Four Wheels, Five Speed

17/12/2010 § Leave a comment

I’m not one of these car hater types.

I love cars, big engines and loud exhaust notes… I’m not an environmentalist, if you see what I mean.
But what I do hate is traffic wardens. Little Hitlers who weren’t good enough to get into the Police Force but still have to exercise some authority, flexing their little badges and wilding their cameras to show that you’ve made a very minor civil infraction that bothers no one.
And what gets me is that the person in front was clearly parked within five yards of a junction, the person behind had two wheels on the road, two on the pavement. The former is dangerous to all, the latter means the pavement is restricted, yet they get away scot free, and I get a f***ing £70 fine for parking parallel to a drop kerb for a church that no one uses.
Ticket issued at 7.01AM. I mean… come on.
And they said that my classic Saab was black. It isn’t, it’s much rarer than black, it’s Odoardo Grey Metallic… you philistines.
Oh I’m pissed off, the c*nts


Now that’s put me in a spin…

12/12/2010 § Leave a comment

Despite me building this bike, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s far too nice a thing to leave locked up at work. It will be a target for the youths who don’t appreciate a classic bike, and will probably want to break it, so I’ve enrolled in the UK’s Cycle to Work scheme, where your employer, through salary sacrifice pay for a new bike on a hire agreement, then at the end of  the agreement you can buy the bike back from them. In essence, it’s a government tax relief scheme, but with added benefit, and you end up getting the bike at about 30-50% less than retail.

I was going to get a Giant VIA 1, but then I found a range of hand-built bikes, made of steel, not Aluminium (don’t like Ai frames) that are classically styled, and no more expensive than the Giant.

Seriously tempted by pretty much all the bikes they make. They’re things of beauty… have a look. Creme Cycles nice things await you.

A Question of Grips

12/12/2010 § Leave a comment

So the BSA Custom is almost finished… only a couple of things remain. The main thing that’s bugging me is bar grips. I’m still not convinced that I want to keep the bars I have, or swap them for my Humpert North Road bars that are currently living on the Dawes, but I can’t take them off until I get some regulation flat bars like the ones that came with the bike. Either way, I need grips. « Read the rest of this entry »

Final Build: Almost there!

05/12/2010 § Leave a comment

Well everything’s on… and I’ve taken it out on the road, adjusted gears, brakes and riding position. All that’s really left to do is find the right grips, period if possible or reproduction Raleigh grips, and do something with the chain case. I don’t know whether to paint it the same as the rest of the bike or do  better job on it. It’s pretty tatty when held up against the rest of the bike.

As it was such a nice day I thought some outdoor natural lighting would do it all a lot more justice than even more pictures of it in the flat. So, for your consideration, with the rear mudguards held on with zip ties – Imperial Frame meets Metric fittings, has a fall out – the BSA in an almost state of readiness.


Just a few things left to do, and it's done.

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Elbow Grease

04/12/2010 § Leave a comment

When I got this BSA, the wheels were in a pretty sorry state. Pitted and rusted, the back was worse than the front, but they were both fairly brown. Still… with some copper wool, 600 Grit wet and dry, WD-40 and about an hour for each wheel, they’re looking pretty damn good for a pair of 30 year olds that have essentially been left out in the rain.

After & Before. 1 Hours per wheel. Lots of polishing.


The final fix is coming along nicely too. With two new purchases today of a chain tool and a pair of cone wrenched to finish off the jobs that need doing – especially tighten up the front hub as it was very wonky*.

All that needs doing now is: finish positioning the brakes, fit the mudguards, lacquer the chaincase / paint it the same grey as the rest of the bike… don’t know yet,  find the right bars & grips combination I’m happy with, sort out the chip in the paint (my fault), find and fit a rack, reflectors, lighting…

Christmas. I said I’d have it done by Christmas and it will be done.


Decisions Decisions

02/12/2010 § Leave a comment

Just found out that my employer does that whole Cycle to Work Scheme… so I’m thinking, why ride my pride and joy custom bike to work when I get a new (but classically styled) bike through work, and pay for it at discount over the space of 12 months? Hmm, but what to have?


Giant Via 1 – 3 speed

Schwinn Coffee – 3 speed.

Pashley Roadster 26″ – 5 speed

All a bit of a tricky one. The Schwinn and the Pashley are nice – especially the Pashley – but something about the Giant, despite being the most basic yet most expensive of the three speaks to me most. Maybe it’s because it’s so stripped back to a classic style frame, with the mixte style top tube, I don’t know. Then again, I’ve never liked Aluminium frames. They’re too unforgiving and brittle. I like the flex of a steel frame – the other two have this.

What to do gentle reader? What to do?

Final Build: The First Fix – update (now with snaps)

02/12/2010 § Leave a comment

Well I would be bringing you lots of pictures of this, but it seems WordPress is playing hard-to-get today and won’t let me insert any pictures, gallery page or slideshow… which is a shame because this thing is looking good.
I got the frame home last night and started about bolting on the brake calipers and handlebars. Sadly, those nice Nitto Porteur bars are just too narrow. If peddling in any direction other than dead ahead, I’ll be hitting the bars with the knees. Not ideal.

Other than that… it’s all going together nicely. Pictures to follow.

  • The Premise

    Everyone seems to wear all kinds of strange luminous tight fitting clothes when riding a bike? Why? Because they think they're being professional cyclists, but really they're going to work, going to the shops, peddling to the pub.

    This is utility cycling. Going from one place to another, but not in a time trial.

    Let those that enjoy the feel of Lycra continue to do so. Let those that spend a fortune on a high tensile aluminium or carbon fibre space-age frames continue to do so. Round here there's only a few caveats. Steel frames, hub gears and chain-cases are regular finds. Trouser clips are optional, but not required, and there's very little mention of new contrivances, just old finds and restoration jobs.

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