Sunday, 15 December 2013

2013 review

The shop was open for that last time on Saturday the 14th December.  Next Saturday 22nd will be our Christmas meal and we are closed on the 29th.  Spindles will open again on 4th January 2014.  2013 has been a mixed year.  The move to the snooker room last August was a hit as we went from the dingy changing rooms to the light airy massive Snooker room and for once Spindles looks like a shop.  However, the impending demolition of the Community Centre is ever present and it dominates the conversation in the workshop.
We didn't have a huge number of commissions this year however we did have one or two blinding donations with the Gios the highlight.  We did get plenty of donations at the lower end of the market and we have started leaving them around Corsham with tags on saying free to a good home.
The project now consists of Edgar, Nick and me(richard); Josh and Alistair are regular volunteers; Tim is the unsung hero not forgetting the two Bens.  Last but not least is Robin makes 9 making the  doughnut run to My Loaf a significant task.  Josh and Alistair will move on to University in September 2014 so we may need more volunteers to replace them.
Spindles will have to move by May 2014 and morph into something that its next home can accommodate.  The most likely next home is a lock-up garage with no lights or facilities.   Sounds grim, but we have been very lucky with our premises, The Pound Arts and the Community Centre.   We have probably sold over 100 bikes, done countless maintenance jobs along with spares and accessories.

Thanks everyone for your support over the last year.  Have a great holiday and we hope to see you next year.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

This is one for Twich

That is from Kickstarter.  Somehow I'm just not convinced, the box is too high causing instability and its open to the elements.  Panniers are just a better solution!

this is more promising

Monday, 25 November 2013

New Home Required for Bicycle Workshop

We heard this week that our application to use the Methuen Centre play ground has been rejected due the fact that Wiltshire College run courses on a weekend there, 'sometimes'.  We are therefore still after a new home: workshop, garage, old barn, anything that can be made into a bike workshop.  The space we have defines what we can do.  We currently occupy the snooker room the community centre which is a great space for a bike shop that will be demolished in 6 months time.

With half that space we could not offer a range of reconditioned bikes and would be much more 'picky' about what we would take on.  Our ever growing collection of wheels would need culling and the work bench would have to go.

The recent cold is bringing back memories of previous years trying to work outside with numb fingers on the verge of frost bite.   At lease this year we can be inside this year and stay warm and dry.

The red bike is looking good with its new coat of paint see below.  There are a number of gear issues to overcome but it should be ready in a couple of weeks.  My trawl of stems and bars for this bike turned up some Cinelli models I didn't know we had as well as some red Schwalbe Blizzard tyres, one of which is fitted.

Red Raleigh Touring Bike
The Sirius that we acquired has a hole in the right chain stay where there shouldn't be one.  It looks like its been caused by the chainset rubbing on the metal.  How the rider did not notice this is just impossible to imagine.  It can be repaired but we will not sell it as the possibility of it collapsing is just too great.  No wonder it was binned.

There were recent cycling fatalities in London (6 in two weeks) and closer to home in Bath and Bristol in the last few days.  I don't want to say anything about 'answers' as there are too many opinions already out there.  I would like to morn their passing and empathise with their families and the people who were driving.

Just for the record I don't drive

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

I was intrigued by this bike helmet design, yes they are wearing a helmet.  watch the film.  The cost is £350.

Marketing blurb from the website

Hövding is a revolutionary bicycle helmet, a new innovation designed for the modern cyclist. Not only one of the safest helmets on the market, but also a discrete chameleon that easily becomes part of your outfit using the changeable shell.

Unlike other cycle helmets, Hövding is worn as a collar around your neck. The collar contains an airbag that will inflate and protect the head in the event of an accident. Compared to ordinary cycle helmets, Hövding provides the best shock absorption in the world.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Did you know a bike must have a reflector by law!

It was cold and wet when I arrived this morning at Spindles.  Twitch was there as usual and for the first time there were no customers.  November is the month were cycling seems to tail off, its permanently dark and cold.   Josh arrived and started to sand down the frame I had been working on.  The theory in that a couple of coats of oxide primer should fill any pitting and sanding the oxide to a smooth finish is good prep for a top coat.

A kids bike came in that had FAILED the basic safety test at the school Bikeability meaning the the respective student could not taken part in the classes.  This was a traumatic experience all around however an examination of the BMX bike in question revealed sloppy brakes, a loose head set and crank.  The BMX required new gyro cables, which are a bit fiddly to insert, plus some minor adjustments and the bike was good to go.  Hold on - the fatal flaw in this job was the missing reflector and after checking almost every bike we managed to bolt a 1970s model reflector to a modern BMX.  I wish I had a photo.

The kids road bike (built from an MB frame) is a great success as the kid in question is getting up at 6 in the morning just to go riding.  Well done Josh for keeping going on that one and also for developing the Spindles font which is soon to make an appearance on the web site. The font is based on bike chain and is currently being turned into a true type font.

Watching Paint dry on the Raleigh

Sunday, 3 November 2013

An Experimental Road Bike

Josh  has finally finished the experimental road bike made from of a Trek mountain bike frame, for a 12yr old.  The standard kids road bike that are available on-line do not have good gears or components.  The challenge was to make a kids road bike from a MB frame with STI shifters for £200.
With 8/3 STI Sora shifters and a new drive train its turned out really well.  The big problem was getting the STI to shift the MB front changer, it took hours of fettling with different mechs and adjusters but he finally cracked it.  There's the result complete with Kojak tyres.  There will be some tests and a fitting before its finally accepted.

The onset of winter means fewer customers however we have sold a large number of kids bikes over the last couple of weeks.  I have started stripping down the Raleigh 531 frame ready for painting you can see the pitting on the steel in the following detailed photos.  I have so far used a rotary steel brush to get at the areas of rust then various grades of sand paper and emery cloth to get it smooth.   I'm hoping that the primer acts as a filler in these areas, it may take a little bit of work but I'm hoping for a reasonably smooth finish.

One of the tricks I'm going to try is to encase the Raleigh badge in wax before I start the painting process.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Web site update

We had a bit of a photo session the other day,  we were not all present - 2 missing,  but the sun was shining and its been a while so here's the result.  Last Saturday there was 9 of us beavering away at different times comfortably outnumbering customers by a fair margin.  That last comment is probably not fair as we have had loads of customers through the door and have recently taken 2 commissions. All we need is chairs and tables and we could open a coffee shop

Josh's experiment bike - a mountain/road bike cross for a child, is coming on and should be finished next weekend.  Photos to follow.  The pictured bike is the 1930s delivery that came from the the Duke of Cumberland pub which use to be at the bottom of Priory Street.  Well done Ken for rescuing the bike.  We still cannot shift the seat pin but Robin has sanded and scrubbed his heart out getting it ready for painting.

There is still no end of kids bikes.  Two weeks ago we left a kids bike outside of the Springfield centre hoping it will go to a new home but the good people of Corsham left it be.  Luckily, someone came in looking for a bike for her daughter and Edgar remembered it was still there.  Result.

My hope is that we get another building to house Spindles next year as our current home will be demolished next May and our accumulated pile will have to be disposed.  

I've recently put together two new bikes - An 8 speed Nexus hub gear Trek and a Carrera commuter bike, see below.  The Carrera came from a skip with no wheels and a semi stuck seat pin.  With new wheels and a cable tidy up its a great new bike.

The Trek was the only frame we had with horizontal drop out.  We have has the Nexus for a while which we got new.  I was surprised how quickly the gearing came together to make a great little bike.  It may not sell very well as the frame is a little untidy and the nexus alone is £150 brand new.  So the bike should see for £200+

I finally updated the main spindles website and integrated some modern sliders for the header and gallery.  Josh is also doing a spindles font based on chain links- a novel idea.  There are also Tee shirts being desiged as well - just in time for Christmas.  Now there's a thought....

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Autumn Sunshine

The warm sunny weather was perfect for a bike ride last Saturday,  We took a route through Biddestone, Castle Combe, Nettleton, Ford and back home.  Even Robin didn't seem to mind the long climb out of Long Dean and Ben flew up the hills.  The first Saturday in the Month is the new day for the Spindles' rides and we did well to down tools at about 2:30pm and set off.  The route also included a tea stop and a chin wag about the project and where we go after the community centre is flattened.

On the 12th October we will hold the first maintenance workshop for anyone who wants to learn how to maintain their bike.  This costs £10 an hour for individual tuition.  Please email us if you are interested as we can only fit two in starting at 2.00pm and 3.00pm.

We had a great donation the other week, a Dunelt delivery bike which is probably pre 1939.  It's in reasonable condition with all the right bits, we have added some new tyres and have rubbed down the frame.  It should make a good advert bike in the High Street.  It's a rare opportunity to get a museum piece like this and there is a queue of people who want to ride it when it's finished.

Dunelt Trademan's bike in bits

The Logo
   There is a museum specialising in tradesmans bikes which looks like its got a similar model

Original advertisement for the bike

Other bikes that have been acquired include a Raleigh Touriste, 531 frame with Brookes saddle, see below,  Here the paintwork is scrappy and its difficult to decide whether to do a full paint job or touch up? Should it have STI shifters or bar ends?  It always comes down to what the customer wants and what they are prepared to pay.  If it had a good paint job with STI 3x8 shifters then £300+ would not be unreasonable but that would almost be the cost of production.

Next Ride Saturday 2nd November 2:30pm

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Spindles on the radio, Bike rides, Bike maintenance

Spindles on the BBC
Last Friday Edgar was interviewed on the BBC Radio Wiltshire by Graham Seaman who was doing a 2 hour long program on vintage bikes.  Edgar's interview starts about 12:30pm (half an hour into the show) and last for 8 minutes or so.  Fame at last for Edgar and Spindles.  Or maybe not as there was no tangible increase in the Internet traffic hitting spindles web site. see for yourself as I've put it onto the web - click on the link below.
BBC Wiltshire Radio Interview
At the Pound Arts
Josh represented Spindles at the Repair Cafe which was held at the Pound Arts centre.  This is going to be a regular Cafe on the last Saturday of the month.  How did it go Josh?

Ride on Saturday
Our monthly ride has changed to the first Saturday of every month so this weekend 5th Oct, there will be a Spindles Ride starting at 2.30pm and going to a local cafe.  The other dates this year will be November the 2nd and December 7th.

Bike Maintenance Saturdays
The second Saturday of the Month will be maintenance days where you can learn how to fix your bike.  The sessions will start at 2pm and finish around 4pm.  It's £10 for an hour of individual training.  Please email us for a slot if you wish to attend.

If you just want to use one of our specialist tools then you will be welcome to come along.  We currently have the following

  • thread cutters for bottom bracket, 
  • 1" and 1 1/8" steerer
  • Headset removal and setting tools 
  • reemers
  • Park Wheel jig and spoke tension guage
  • rear hanger alignment tool.
Kids Bikes
We still have too many kids bikes and they need to go soon.  If not next weekend then they will go on ebay.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

World Car free day 22 September 2013

Kids bike Accumulation
The last few weeks at Spindles has definitely established a pattern which consists of a busy period in the morning up to about mid day leaving us to complete the jobs hopefully by 4pm.  Some people return to pick up their bikes armed with a donation  kids bike.  We have accumulated over 8 kids bikes over the last few weeks and if they don't sell by next weekend they are going in the 'Give n Take'.
Most of these we will hope to sell for between £5 and £10 but as they take up too much room they will have to go.
Small Racing Bikes
Speaking of child bikes we have had requests for racing bikes that would be suitable for ages around 11 which is a difficult spec as the wheel sizes still need to be small.  There are many on line options using 24" wheels however these are expensive for what they are.  One option is to use a mountain bike frame and fix 26x1.1 road tyres.  Using rigid forks and narrow drop handle bars it could be a good solution to the problem as there are plenty of lite MB frames around.   We will be building one up over the next few weeks and I'll put up some images when its done.

Removing Rust
I showed Ben how to remove rust using tin foil and water.  Its an easy option if there is not too much rust and is good on Chrome.  After testing it out on a kids bike he progressed to the delivery bikes that was donated by Ken last week. He showed real enthusiasm especially when the real paint colour shone through with the application of T-cut.  Ben now has a project.

World Car Free Day
I've just found out about World Car free day which is an opportunity to not use motorised transport and get out on bikes.  It's on Sunday 22nd September see for details.  Living Car free is a challenge especially for those living in the country side or with families.  Making it easier to cycle with the use of dedicated car free cycle paths is a big step forward that could be taken.  I listened to some of the parliamentary debate on cycling that too place on the 2nd September last.  There were a lot of positive noises but getting firm action will take a long time.  One reason for this can be seen in Corsham where a recent cycle path implementation on Valley Road illustrates that negative mind set that needs to be overcome.  This cycle path consists of white lines painted on the road which peter out near a junction or road island thus still giving the car the priority.  Many people are afraid of cycling on the road as they feel vulnerable and exposed.  This particular cycle path does nothing to alleviate this issue.  Only when priority is given to bikes in urban places will there be a mind shift of perceptions.

Sunday, 25 August 2013

We need a new home

March 2014
We need to vacate these premises by 31st May 2014 to make way for the car park of the new Community Centre that is currently being built.  Please get in touch if you know of a place we could move to.

We have moved - but only around the corner
August 2013
Spindles has a new shop.  We have moved from the dingy changing rooms to around the corner into  the snooker room which has made a fantastic bike shop.  It will not be long there as the whole community centre will be demolished around the summer of 2014.  However we will enjoy being in the snooker room as its a very usable space.  The following satellite view of Corsham Community Centre shows where we are now.

Yesterday there was a veritable torrent of customers wanting bikes fixed or wanting a reconditioned bike.  I wonder if we have turned a small corner in Corsham where people are looking to use bikes for transport.  There were some people asking for bike to enable their children to get to school, some wanting road bikes, a lot of maintenance plus some donations of kids bike.  We managed to get through them all by 4:30pm.

Here are some shots taken yesterday of the work space and the shop
Spindles Bike shop - New open air space to work

Spindles - a lot more room 

We can now work inside when it rains

Some of the current collection of bikes and frames

Just in a Sirius 653 bike with Mavic changer and Cinelli Criterium Bars and stem

This Sirius bike came in yesterday as a bike that had been dumped.  Its an interesting offering from the German bike manufacturer with Reynolds 653 which is a mixed frame set of 753/531.  Its a light bike which has seen a lot of miles.  The frame is a hideous colour which dates it to late 1980s or the early 1990s.  There's a mixture of components that indicate various upgrades at certain points.  The large flange hubs are good quality Shimano however its only 12 speed with a 125 dropout.  The first job will be to strip it down and get it repainted.

This Sirius has seen better days 

653 tubing but the colour is terrible

Mavic rear changer is quite a solid piece of engineering

brakes are Shimano

The paintwork has crackled 

Cinelli Criterium bars and stem

4 Adjustable Spanners - which is best

Some time ago I lost my Rothenberger 6" spanner which was a disaster as it one of the must useful tools in the box.  I knew that the standard Draper tool from B&Q just does not do the job so I looked on line and found a Facom 6" on ebay for about £15.  This proved to be a disappointment as the jaw is very wobbly.  In frustration I look on line again  and found a Bahco again for about £15.  May be this would be better but no - its slightly better and is made of better quality steel but its just not as good as the Rothenberger.

A couple of months later my Rothenberger turned up and the Facom and Bacho became surplus to requirements but the story does not end there as at a car boot sale last week I got a very nice Alloy Drop Forged (Spain) 6" adjustable for £1!.  This was actually just as good as the Rothenberger which I also bought at a car boot sale for £10.  It's not only the quality of the jaw mechanism but its also the quality of the alloy which makes the Rothenberger and the Spanish offering so good.

From the Left - From Spain £1, Facom (£15), Bahco (£15) and Rothenberger (£10)

Saturday, 3 August 2013

My Great Grandfather

I thought I had lost this photo of my Grand Father Thomas Parry that was probably taken in Llandegla, North Wales around 1890 or so.  My Mum says he died in Winsford Cheshire around 1908 of a probably heart attack.  The bike looks far too big for him but it does look like he has got a Brooks Saddle similar to the one I have.  

I quick look on Google maps and I think I've found the place where it was taken.  The building is very similar and there seems to be a new road but this is definitely it

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Classic Problems

Monthly Ride
There wasn't a ride today as 2 of us were away so only Nick and Josh on duty supported by Robin.  There will be a ride soon so watch this space.
Our Classic Problem
We were asked this week whether we have any frames suitable for Single Speed conversion.  looking around the bike shed there were not many road frames - if fact one which is detailed in the pictures below.  Its a Raleigh Lenton Sports 531 frame from the 1950s with nice decals but a bit scrappy.    These frames are a classic problem as they require a lot of time to turn them into something which at the end of the day, is not desirable.  It has horizontal dropouts but getting 27 inch wheels or the right brakes to work effectively is hard.  It could also do with a respray and new transfers which would be around £100.
What do we do with it?  I'm open to answers

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

July it must be Tour de France

Spindles has been busy over that last few weeks and we have sold a lot of bikes which is great because the shed was getting a bit full.   The Argos (Holdsworth) was converted to a single speed and we have sold a number of other bikes to get the stock down.  Now the Bad news, the football team have reformed and want their old changing rooms back so we have to move.  Fortunately, the Community Centre have offered us half the snooker room so we will be moving but not far.  This will happen over the next few weeks.

Froome is leading the Tour de France, the sun is shining and bikes are becoming mainstream across the UK.

We will still need to move when the Community Centre is knocked down next year so
do you know of any empty building in Corsham near to the main High Street?
We have gone through most of the barns - Enterprise Inns (the owner of the Flemish Weaver) wanted too much money for the Barn at the back of the pub.  The Old Guides hut, at the back of the Tourist Information centre is used by Corsham council as 'storage'.  There must be something out there.
We should plan to increase cycling in Corsham by 100% in three years!
Judging by the number of people turning up on Saturday mornings recently, this could be achievable.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Single Speed Bob Jackson

There was a comment made by a friend at the Castle Combe Bike show yesterday regarding hub gears which went something like, '.. I really want Sturmey Archer gears to work but they just don't .. I changed to an Alfine and it worked first time...'  I felt a bit like that after doing the Bob Jackson conversion using a five speed Sturmey Hub gear.  I just could not get it to work consistently and the ticking noise, that accompanies certain gears, becomes annoying after a while.
Going to an Alfine defeated the object of the exercise as this would increase weight, so I decided to go the other way - single speed - and so built myself a new wheel - KingKong flip flop with Rigida Chrina to match.  With a thought to my knees I used a 21T free wheel to begin and went out for the first time about a couple of weeks ago.  The experience has been a revelation.  I quickly noticed the increased acceleration and started to understand how track bikes might work.  The hills were not as hard as I though they might be, OK its harder work than the usual low gear but the rate of assent is so much better.  I have only been defeated on one hill (out of Long Dean) and friend tell me that the use of SPDs would solve that one too.
I'm looking forward to breaking-in the saddle over the summer.  Maybe even a night ride.

Bob Jackson Single Speed

FSA Gimondi with TA Specialites chain ring - looks better than that originally supplied

King Kong Flip Flop - 21T - will reduce this number over time

Brooks Champion Special


Disc brakes and front suspension

At having received a request for a disc brake bike with front suspension I had a quick search in the Bike shed and came up with the following bikes, non of which really suit the request but by combining certain parts my come up with a candidate bike.

Claud Butler Rock - 7005 - 20" frame

GT Aggression - 6061 alloy - 20" frame

Rock Hopper Pro - 19" frame

Cross Sprinter 17 inch
The latter Cross has the best condition wheels and tyres - hardly used - Both spindles have solid axles indicating cost cutting compromises.  The rest of the bike is in poor condition.  The Front wheel on the CB could take V brakes.  The specialized is the most convincing frame but the CB has the better forks.   There's no prizes for guessing where the better components are but if you needed to build a convincing bike out of these scrap heap parts, which would you choose?

Sunday, 26 May 2013

A Summer of Cycling - Single Speeds - Castle Combe

It was great to go on a ride yesterday,  I knew we had some jobs left over from last week and the shed was crammed which is not a good sign.  Nick was there as always when I arrived at Spindles at 9:30,  quickly followed by Josh and Robin with Alistair completing the compliment.  Edgar is currently in Turkey.  Some of the jobs were easy however an upgrade to a disc mountain bike proved unachievable.  We had some lovely racing bikes in for a quick fix along with a lot of enquiries about mountain bikes.
I was keen for us to finish early and go for a ride on the updated Bob Jackson,  yes the five speed Sturmey Archer hub has been replaced with a King Kong flip flop.  Tim arrived on his new Thorn Sherpa, Nick dusted off his Ken Bird, Josh was on his Look Spectrum and king of the mountains Ben on his upgraded Viking, completed the crew.
I haven't ridden a single speed since I was 10 which was a Halfords kids bike in a fetching pink, what were my parents thinking of?  I was surprised by how quickly the 531c frame could climb provided the commensurate energy was provided.  Towards the top of Neston I instinctively went to change gear which did not exist and so just put more effort in.  An interesting question came into my head, what would be the difference in speed over the same course between my Mercian with its 27 gears and the Bob Jackson?
The trees are now in full leaf at last,  the standing water that was around some of the fields a while back, a testament to the rain of the last 12 months, have finally subsided and its summer.  Josh announces that he's doing the 100mile sportive next week at the Castle Comb cycling festival, he's 17 and already doing serious distances on a bike he put together himself.  Spindles will also be at Castle Combe riding bikes, building bikes and hopefully selling bikes.  I would like to do an all night ride this summer and see the sun come up

See you at Castle Combe

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Cannondale Mountain Bike Single Speed on Ebay - SOLD

SOLD - This Cannondale 20" frame has been around for some time and was turned into a Single speed as a project.  The frame is either an M2000 or M1000 from between 1990 to 1996.  Its does not seem to have the decals to support this  I cannot find the serial number on Vintage Cannondale web-site but is BI-0301 as far as I can make out and it is located on the inside of the RH seat stay.  The frame is completed by Pepperoni Forks.

Condition of the frame- The structure is sound but there are a lot of scuffs and scratches particularly around the chain stay and on the forks.  Some of these have been highlighted in the images below

The headset is 1.25" and is brand new
There is a new saddle and seat post
The rear brakes are new Suntour self energising Cantis whereas the front are some very good cantis of unknown make.
 The FSA 175 cranks hold a new Talon 44 tooth single speed chain ring
The rear sprocket and cassette conversion is also new as is the singulator.

Other components are used including some great tektro brake levers and bar ends.

The Rims are Mavic 231 and Ritchley Rock under slick tyres.

Here are some images

Picture shows the frame number on the RH seat stay

A lot of scuff marks on  the inside of the chain stay

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