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Monday, 30 August 2010

Out in Style

Last night I was out on the tiles in celebration of bank holiday Sunday.  Stop one was the Lass O’Gowrie for some proper ale (Sweeney’s, due to the only other ale being made by Greene King).  Upon leaving I noticed one of the fabled bike parking loops attached to the lamp-post outside the pub.  I have read about these on several bike sites, including the Grauniad Bike Blog, but this is the first time I have spotted one in the wild.


Quite a nice idea, and also facilitating going to the pub by bike, always fun.  Next stop was The Font, outside of which I saw this parked up:


The best part of this for me was not seeing a Raleigh Chopper out in the wild, but the fact that someone had chosen it as their means of transport for a night out in Manchester.  And I thought I was cool for having done the same thing with my Twenty.  Raleigh Chopper owner, I salute you.

Fair Transport

As I promoted in my previous post, on Saturday I was at the Finders Keepers craft and vintage fair in Didsbury, providing human powered transport for Tallulah Taboo’s stall.  It had been a while since I had last ridden the Yuba (August has been quite bike-light) and I really enjoyed being able to use it for something useful.  The fair was quite enjoyable, although the vast majority of the things on offer seemed to be aimed at the more female end of the market.  Seeing as the fair was craft and vintage, maybe in the future I could get together enough vintage bike stuff to set up a stall of my own, providing a money-spinning refuge for the many distressed-looking husbands and boyfriends you tend to see at this kind of event.


I didn’t get a shot of the bike on the way there due to a sudden downpour which made me less enthusiastic about taking pictures.  This is the stall as it was set up when the doors were opened.


A selection of the pretty, shiny things on offer.


A complementary Tallulah Taboo fridge magnet on its new home, the Yuba top-tube (some bending required).


The remaining stock and display materials packed up and ready to be taken home.


The elusive me being caught on camera whilst setting off.


Riding off into the sunset.   

The exercise also helped to alleviate some of the wisdom tooth pain (I find cycling is a good distraction from things like toothaches and other pain in areas of the body not used to drive the bike).  On the way back i bumped into a group ride which included a tandem.  Quite a few of them seemed interested in the Yuba, reinforcing my feeling that lots of people would own cargo bikes if only they were more aware of their existence.  All in all a good day, I look forward to boosting Tallulah Taboo’s green credentials again in the future.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Tallulah Taboo at the Finders Keepers Fair

I have been waiting for a valid excuse to plug my friend’s home-business, Tallulah Taboo for a while now, and the opportunity has finally come.  Tallulah Taboo is a “One (Wo)man show, creating individual pieces of art jewellery, or just plain pretty things to dangle from yourself or a friend.” On Sunday she will be running a stall at the Finders Keepers craft and vintage fair in Didsbury.  My valid reason finally came when I offered up the Yuba for use in transporting the goods to the fair.  I will be around at the show during the day.  I’ll do a proper write up after the event.  Doing favours is another great reason for owning the Yuba.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

3 Free Ways to Make Cycling Easier

I am writing this for the benefit of the hundreds of cyclists I see every month suffering because of at least one of these three basic and easily rectified problems:

1) Pump up your tyres.  The rolling resistance of a tyre not inflated to its rated pressure (usually printed on the tyre sidewall) is much higher than if it were properly inflated.  If you are finding cycling generally knackers you, check the tyres.  It is also worth noting that a tyre will feel hard before it reaches its rated pressure. If your pump has a gauge make sure you get the pressure to at least the minimum quoted on the side of the tyre.

2) Raise your saddle.  Again, if you are finding cycling tiring, especially around the knees it is likely that your saddle is too low.  When people are new to cycling they usually want that saddle low enough so put both feet down on the ground.  When you get more confident, it helps to raise it to the point where your leg is almost straight when the pedal is at its lowest position.  This is the height at which your legs are most mechanically effective, allowing you to put more power down, eliminate knee strain and not get so tired.  It is also worth making sure the right part of your foot is on the pedal, ideally you want a bit of toe to overhang but not the rest of your foot

3) Use your gears.  there are plenty of fixed gears and single-speeds in Manchester, and that is fine (although I see a lot of fixed gears being pushed along rather than ridden).  What is more common is people on derailleur-geared bikes who always cycle in the same gear, usually the highest gear or oddly the small-small chainring combination which isn’t a combination you are supposed to use.  I notice them overtake me whilst at the front of a queue at the traffic lights.  I then have to go around them as they struggle to accelerate in the highest gear the bike has.  You will fly off at speed from lights and also climb hills with ease if you are just willing to give the gears a try.  It is also worth noting that cycling at a higher cadence (revs per min) is easier in the long run due to the aerobic nature of this kind of exertion versus the generally more anaerobic nature of pounding slowly in a high gear.

To those who are suffering from all three of these conditions, I salute you for not having given up on cycling just yet.

Friday, 13 August 2010

DIY hauler

You don’t need to invest loads of money in a Yuba Mundo or similar cargo bike in order to go shopping for groceries by bike, all it takes is a little ingenuity and a sturdy frame.


Such as is provided by this old Raleigh Chiltern (I have seen a good number of these around Manchester).  The gentleman who owns the bike informed me that the rear rack was his own creation.  Quite an impressive capacity with some nice practical features including dynamo driven lights.