Sunday, 30 August 2015

If The Shoe Fits...

I am a creature of routine. I am also extremely hard to please. So when I find something that works exactly as I want it to, is comfortable, aesthetically pleasing -- hopefully all three! -- it's sometimes hard for me to give it up and move on.

As the years go by, I exercise more foresight: the moment I realise something works for me, I buy up as many as I can (a) afford, and (b) reasonably justify storage space for! If something goes on sale at a dramatically reduced price, I worry that means it's about to go out of production or out of stock so I order a supply to last several years! This is why I have safely stashed away: four pairs of my favourite trousers, two new pairs of my favourite walking shoes and a Smartwool cycling jersey identical to the one I wear most often. 

But sometimes I get caught out, having enjoyed the use of a particular brand or model only to find I can no longer get an exact replacement. 

So, having worn out my beloved Shimano R320 cycling shoes (a model that Shimano has discontinued in favour of the new and improved and staggeringly ugly R321) and Speedplay Light Action cleats (a flawed but wonderfully knee-friendly design)... what was I to do?

Sunday, 16 August 2015

New Lease On Life: Tom's Marlboro

A story from the Luton & Dunstable Cycling Forum's Bicycle Recycle program...

Here is one of the bikes from a van-load of about 20 that came to us from a Sustrans project in Luton when it wound down. This was the only road bike in the lot:  a Marlboro Medallion which had a mid-1980s lugged steel frame, steel-rimmed 27 inch wheels, 5-speed with downtube shifter, unbranded brakes. Completely unremarkable in every way. 

Tom is my boss. He lives about 10 miles away from us and is often on the same train as me each morning into London.  He has a young active family. They live just off a shared use path built on a disused railway line. The family has one car. Tom has for a number of years commuted between his house and the train station using an "old beater" chosen deliberately for its calculated lack of appeal to bike thieves. Or so Tom thought. Until two weeks ago when, just before he and his family went away for their summer holiday, he left it unsecured at the train station and came back that evening to find it gone. 

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Strange Yet Familiar: Lesli's 1985 Trek 420

When confronted (yes, "confronted" -- there's no other way to describe the 'smack into a brick wall feeling' of getting that call from siblings halfway round the world saying it's time to come home if you want to have that one last visit with your elderly and increasingly frail parents) with an unexpected one week stay in Oregon this summer, I realised two things almost immediately. One was quite obvious really -- this was going to be emotionally a very difficult time. The second decision followed hard on the first but for many would not have seemed so obvious:  I would need a bike to ride. 

Saturday, 1 August 2015


Most of the bicycles donated into the Luton & Dunstable Cycle Forum's recycling program are pretty predictable:  old 10 speeds, mountain bikes and 'bike shaped objects', almost all from the lowest tier in terms of price - and quality. 

There is the occasional exception, such as the Kerry children's bicycle that came in last March.

Today, we got something equally unusual:  a Bickerton folding bicycle. 

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