Thursday, 25 September 2014

A shift in bicycle ecomonics

I friend of mine was after a racing bike and some weeks told me about some bike deals at Halfords which are indicative of an interesting trend in bike economics.  Take the Carrera below which is currently on at just under £250 new.


  • Exact Frame Size: 51cm
  • Frame Material: Alloy
  • Brakes: Tektro R312 Dual pivot
  • Number of Gears: 14
  • Chainset: PROWHEEL, AE-221C, STEEL 50/34T - 170mm
  • Frame: 7005 Alloy
  • Gear Shifters: Shimano Tourney, 14 speed

Its not going to win any awards for quality but there is something interesting here.  First is an alloy frame road bike with STI shifters, compact chain set and dual pivot brakes.  A few years ago the price tag on a 105 STI 9 speed shifters was about £250 however the 10 speed incarnations are now £130.  OK the shifters on the bike above are 7 speed and not nine speed but the interesting thing is that they decided what the entry level road bike price should be, what the spec should be and then created the components to fit the brief.  I don't know how it rides or how durable it is but its a challenge to a renovated bike for the same price.
The second thing is the 7 speed STI Shimano Tourney shifters provides opportunities to retro fit STI shifters to classic road bikes for those who do not want the L'Eroica gear shifting experience.  These shifters retail at around £60 and are probably better than the original 7 speed that occasionally crop up.  Its difficult to understand what the market would be for this,  any takers?
The bike industry will continue to push the price down for the standard entry level offering as long as cycling increases in popularity which I'm sure it will.  The quality will reduce but not significant to the occasional user.  Its the magic trinity of STI shifters, dual pivot brakes and compact chain set that people will be attracted to.  

Monday, 15 September 2014

Spindles Bike Recycling Project Corsham

What We Do

We provide skilled bicycle maintenance and sell high quality reconditioned bikes and vintage bikes. We have a good reputation in the town a for reliable and affordable service. We do not buy bicycles to protect us from handling stolen goods but we do accept donations.  The project is open for anyone whose interested to get involved and learn the skills of cycle mechanic. 
We have a number of volunteer helpers including, Robin, (aged 71),  Josh and Alistair, who are A-level students with a keen interest in bikes.  For the last 3 years we have been working with the charity Sustrans to provide 'Dr Bike' free maintenance in local schools as part of the NHS Healthy Schools initiative.
Over the years Spindles has saved 100s of bikes from going into scrap/landfill and has provided cost effective transport alternative for local people. 

What We Need

We currently do not have a location and so are looking for a small room/building that would serve as a community bike shop that would be open on Saturdays.  It would need to be secure at it would store tools and stock during the week.

Benefits for Community

Corsham and the surrounding area has experienced a visible growth in the popularity of cycling, which is helped in part by the well signposted and maintained Sustrans route 254 which passes through the town. There is currently no bike shop and so Spindles can meet this need.
Spindles and Sprockets Bike project ('Spindles' for short) is a Not For Profit community project set up in 2009 in Corsham by three cycle enthusiasts when the town’s bike shop owner retired. We (Nicholas Brakspear, Richard Moulton, Tim Lammin and Edgar Stringer) provide convenient, reliable and cost effective bicycle maintenance to Corsham and the surrounding towns and villages on Saturday mornings.
Spindles was initially launched at Corsham’s Pound Arts Centre where it was based for over 2 years.  During that time it attracted a range of people to the Arts Centre. It became a social focal point for local cyclists: from serious lycra-clad sports riders, stopping for coffee and pit stop repairs, to local school children needing a BMX puncture fixed. The Saturday morning workshop was a year round success.
During our tenure at the Pound Arts Centre, staff recorded an increase not only in cafĂ© trade but also increased interest in its other events and services.  At the end of 2011 the Pound Arts Centre obtained the long awaited funds needed to develop the building spindles occupied and thus Spindles and Sprockets moved to the Corsham Community Centre where we were for over 2 years.  Unfortunately our move to the community centre came after the plans for the new community campus had been put in place so we were unable to secure a position in the new campus.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Rides and other meditations

Spindles Ride
About 9 of us went for a ride this morning from the centre of Corsham to Marshfield and then finishing up in Slaughterford Fayre.  The morning was moody and grey with a hint of rain but we found our way through Biddestone, West Yatton, Yatton Keynell, Summer Lane, The Gibb, Burton, Marshfield to Sweetapples Cafe for locally roasted coffee when the sun came out. Colerne and Thickwood brought us to Slaughterford and the annual fayre.
Tim told us about the bike maintenance course that he is on in London which consisted of mending lots of punctures in the first day and fixing brakes in the second.  Tim is an experienced mechanic but needs the qualification and hence the course.  It's interesting that all the students are given new bikes to work on.  We all know that used bikes are a different proposition.  

Earlier in the week AM and I cycled to Bristol on the bike path.  It is a great source of inspiration to see what seems like the world on their bikes going at all different speeds and riding styles.  We stopped at Walmley for tea and to see the newly erected Dr Who 'Toilet' Tardis.  I was disappointed to see that Au Temps Perdu (old church reclamation/Bike Shack) has been knocked down.  An iconic end to the cycle way has been lost but I think Bike Shack is still going.  At Temple Meads there are now bars and cafes built out of yurts and shipping containers.  The yurt offering has good organic food and beers.

Next Week Tetbury    

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