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.

is it about a bicycle?

It’s either a great tribute to the variety of different bicycles that Batavus produces, or a boneheaded lack of standardization in their product line, but I can’t seem to get a pump from Curbside to fit my bike.

When I test-rode it, it had a Batavus-branded pump. When I got it a week later, no pump. Went back to get a pump; took it home, it was 1cm too short, and would fall out. Took that back. Got a second pump, slightly longer. Took it home; it was 1cm too long. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to this.

It’s not as if this is a frame fit pump, where frame size matters. It’s to fit on lugs on a carrier rack. You would have thought that a sensible bicycle would have had a sensible standard …

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?

wheeee!

Dawes Super Galaxy at Main St Station

I got the Super Galaxy back from Cogs yesterday. They’ve done a great job of fitting slightly raised bars and thumbshifters, and repacking all the ancient bearings. It rides like a dream; I was only planning to ride from Gerrard back to Broadview TTC, but I zoomed all the way along Gerrard to Main St station. And this was me having hardly been on a bike since last year.

I think the rear derailleur may be on its way out, ‘cos it still makes clonky noises in lowest gear. But it’s looking great, and running great, and best of all, Cogs did the work for a very reasonable price. I am happy.

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.

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.