Archive | January, 2013

Snow Has Arrived, Please Cycle Carefully

22 Jan

Last weekend it began snowing in my area by the sea, which progressed to quilt the entire South-East of Essex. I’ve heard weather reports of it being much worse in other areas of the UK and hope that people keep warm and safe, which is what inspired me to write a bit for cyclists out there.

Looking out of my window, the snow appears to be turning to ice and my road has practically transformed into a street ice hockey rink. That noticed, I’d like to remind all of you dedicated cyclists to keep off the streets for the meantime because I’ve seen some hairy moments in the last couple of days involving cyclists and impatient drivers.

Icy Street in Essex, UK

The ice on my road makes it impossible for cyclists to travel.

Cycling through the snow isn’t an easy challenge to start and it could end up damaging your gear unless you intend to re-oil the gear set, chains, etc after each trip you make. Considering it only snows about a week out of the 52 in the year, you could save yourself a lot of hassle by just walking to work (don’t forget your wellies).

The big problem is ice and what you can’t see beneath thick snow. With car owners growing impatient of having to drive slowly and cyclists being hypersensitive to the road, the combination just spells trouble. The most nonsensical thing I saw this weekend was a cyclist riding in the oncoming traffic lane because it was the only clear part of the road – do yourself a favour mate and leave the bike at home!

So what can we gleam from this short and obvious blog post that we didn’t already know? Some of you cyclists out there need reminding is all. I’ve seen the dedication in many of you who have set yourselves a challenge to ride for a full year come rain or shine but I think you can give yourselves a rest in situations like this, especially when your safety is at such risk.

Let me know if you’ve seen any risky cycling during this period of snow in the UK in the comments below.

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Vintage Bicycle Refurb Update for 2013

8 Jan
BSA Star Rider

My BSA Star Rider

I’ve had the BSA Star Rider for a while now and there hasn’t been a huge amount wrong with it. I’m aware that to a lot of people it looks like I’m riding around on a rusty mess but trust me, this summer my bicycle will be the envy of vintage bike lovers everywhere.

 

The plan for this bike has changed several times and I think I’m ready to begin working on it properly now that the New Year is in full swing.

 

So far I have given the bike new tyres and inner tubes (made by Raleigh), which has given it a sexy white wall look from the 70s. I made sure to get the nearest exact replacements possible so I bought woods valves again – these are a bit of a pig when pumping the big full of air if I’m totally honest.

 

I also updated the gear shifter from the nasty broken one it came with to a white 3 gear Sturmey Archer shifter. It’s much nicer looking and contrasts perfectly with the matt black body paint.

 

This is the new plan, which I will stick to for 2013: continue to ride the bike while it works fully until the weather gets dryer. When the weather improves I will strip the bike of all its components until just the frame remains. I will then carry out all the steps necessary to re-spray and re-vinyl the BSA to as near its original state as possible. Then I will complete it by cleaning, greasing, and re-assembling the bike (hopefully in time for The Tweed Run).

 

This blog will document my bicycle restoration project as it progresses so that other people who wish to carry out similar projects can learn from my perspective. I’m hoping that this whole thing won’t be too difficult. So fingers crossed and get ready to follow my journey.