only in Scotland …

Tyre sabotage brings race to halt
Police are investigating after carpet tacks were spread across roads bringing a major cycle race to a halt.

Just a few reasons why sabotaging the Étape Caledonia was wrong:

  • it’s a charity event – it was supporting Macmillan Cancer
  • it’s the only mass-start bike race of its kind in the UK
  • the roads were closed for three whole hours; c’mon people, it’s not like it’s days of inconvenience.

At least the race will go on next year.

wildlife and environs

(the abandoned donut shop has quite a history)

I also saw and heard a woodpecker: local woodpecker.

rather a new wearer of clothes

batavus crescendo
So my quest for the Sensible Bicycle is over; I found it. Or rather, it found me, for bicycles have lives of their own.

Curbside Cycle had a sale. They also had, for reasons known only to the manufacturer, been sent just one of their top-of-the-line Batavus Crescendo Deluxe city bikes. I took it for a test ride in the ice and slush of the Annex. It did everything just right.

Here’s how it measures up to the checklist I wrote about in 2004:

  • Fully enclosed chain — yup. Batavus have a really clever clip-together sectional polymer chainguard.
  • Full mudguards — for sure.
  • Hub gears — 8 speed hub gears, no less.
  • Dynamo lights — a front dynamo hub, no less. Slight marks off for a battery rear light, but it does make the wiring simple.
  • Proper carriers — a really nice alloy one, with built in pump and elastic strap.
  • Anything but rim brakes — roller brakes, in the hubs. I was initially sceptical of their gentle action, but they can stop you to almost the limit of adhesion of the tyres, so they do work well.

The one thing it does have, but I didn’t think I’d need, is suspension. It irons out the uneven Scarborough spring roads rather well.

I love the manual; it’s written for sensible riding. Basically, most advice is given as Talk to your Batavus Dealer. The similarity to a modern car manual is striking; just you get on with riding the thing, it implies, and we’ll worry about fixing it. Tellingly, the English language section is the back; these bikes are much too sensible to waste on those silly Anglos.

I’ve barely walked the length of myself in the last few months, so in even short distances my legs let me know about it. It’s freezy out, but dry and bright – I must go out on my bike again.

(the title’s from that early eco-geek, and it’s the other half of the widely-misquoted:

I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes. If there is not a new man, how can the new clothes be made to fit?

– Henry David Thoreau, Walden

For me, it’s perfect; not merely do I not require new or special clothes to ride it, but I have become a new wearer of clothes by it.)

If you need to find me, you know where I’ll be …

no, this is really the Sensible Bicycle

Inspired perhaps by seeing Dianne‘s very nice Bachetta recumbent last night, I went looking for the state-of-the-art — and I found it in the form of the Flevobike GreenMachine: fully enclosed chain, mudguards, hub gears, disc brakes …

I remember the GreenMachine as a concept machine in the cycling press a decade ago, but Ben has seen one, so they must be real. Only problem is the price; I’m not going to see one for under $5000 …

I think I’ve found it …

Batavus Personal Bike

I was at the Dutch Bike festival last weekend, and I think I found the Sensible Bicycle. Curbside were showing the Batavus Personal Bike. It’s lovely. At $1400 for the 3-speed, though, I’m not just about to trade in the old Stumpjumper.

I’m not wild about the squidgy roller brakes, and the dynamo really should’ve been built into the hub, but these are very minor things. Wonder if the company would let me expense this instead of getting a transit pass?

his & hers superbes

Two Raleigh Superbes, on Yonge St

The small image doesn’t do them justice, but I saw two Raleigh Superbes locked together near Dundas on Yonge.  These were the deluxe ones with the locking steering column and the front dynohub. Lovely bikes, definitely sensible.

free bikes at 892 Kennedy Rd

6 or so slightly rusty open-frame roaders; some Raleighs, a Dunelt, and maybe a couple of Eaton’s Flyers. None look rideable, but if you were a three-speed/coaster brake fiend, there are parts galore.

nice bike

I found a picture of the bike I probably enjoyed most of all I’ve ever owned:

1996 Fisher Nirvana, with many mods
It was originally a 19967 Gary Fisher Nirvana, but by the time this picture was taken, the only original things were the frame. the stem, and the beautiful curved bars. Everything else was swapped out, mostly due to wearing it out from my daily commute.

It wasn’t that it was a very expensive bike. It was just right; a nimble climber, nippy through traffic, yet stable enough to be ridden home when tired.

I still have the saddle; it’s on my Brompton. I gave the bike to Eddie Moore before we left. I wonder if he still has it? He still has it.

Lansing Square hates bikes

I meant to add to the last posting that I got stopped in the lobby of Lansing Square and told that I couldn’t bring a bike in since it was a fire risk. Now, I’ve never had a bike catch fire, so you think the concierge was being a jobsworth?

to work, and back again

Biked to work today, and just got back. Maybe not the smartest choice of a day — second hottest of the year, with thunderstorms threatened — but I made it. Going there was rather slow, as I got lost a couple of times, but coming back was faster than transit.

If I felt really nerdy, I’d post my route as GPX, but it’s a bit twisty.

king ov shim

To round out the Dawes Super Galaxy, I got a pair of used Sun Tour Superbe non-aero brake levers from Bicycle Specialties. Wouldn’t you know it though, but one of them was for thicker (Cinelli?) bars than the narrow GB Randonneurs that are on my bike.
Armed with a sharp knife, a straight edge, and an empty can of Irn Bru, I cut myself some shim stock to fill out the gap. The lever has a little lateral play, but it’s not moving up or down any. I am the king ov shim!

a joy forever

a thing of beauty

I finished fixing up the brakes on the Super Galaxy, and put new handlebar tape on the bars. I still suck at fitting bar tape; should’ve stuck to my old standard Benotto tape, which, while almost useless for shock absorption, is cheap and easy to fit.

Once all was fitted, I took it for a spin. The new brakes are a delight; very positive and extremely powerful. I will enjoy riding again.

(And yes, you bike nerds, there is no straddle cable in that picture.)