Thursday, 27 March 2014

Still no sign of a new place

With only 6 weeks to go to the 14th May  deadline there is no sign of a new place.  We arranged for an email to be sent out to the Transcoco contacts list (with thanks to Sue) and got a response from a local storage firm.  The fact that we got something straight away was encouraging and the offer of a small lockup was appreciated however the site would not be accessible at the weekend.
I investigated a garage that was for sale however the location and state were far from being ideal.  So for options:
  1. We could find a quite shed/garage/lockup somewhere and do some interesting bike projects.  We would advertise and the very keen would seek us out.  We would not be in Corsham.
  2. We arrange to have a market stall every Saturday in the centre of Corsham with a lockup close by.  We would use 'loadie' bikes to transport the spares/bikes/gazebo/kit etc.
  3. We would deploy a 'pop-up' bike shop around Corsham school/Springfield centre area. Again 'loadie bikes would be used to transport the kit.
Options (2) and (3) seem to entail a lot of set up and set down time which is frustrating.  Also the range of repairs would be limited without access to a workbench wheel jig etc.  Option (1) is tempting as it would provide the opportunity to learn how to braze or weld with the option of building better trailers and other bike related devices.
It's a shame that we haven't got a place as I think Corsham needs more bike journeys and fewer cars and parking spaces.  I notice that the space in front of the Corsham court gates are now No Parking with just about the most ugliest signs that could possibly be imagined being used.  Well done some tier of local government.
The Historic Gates to Corsham Court are now a fetching No Parking Sign

  The Guardian have also reported that cycle take up is not as strong in the rural areas as it is in the cities.  Will the 600 students who destined to make their way to Harthem (on Harthem Lane) each week contribute to the scary prospect of carmageddon occurring in Corsham.  When the old community centre is demolished it will make way for.. you guest it, a car park.  

It does not have to be like that...    

cycling to work
A bicycle park in Amsterdam. Forecasts that the UK would soon become a nation of cyclists, much like the Netherlands, have proved wildly optimistic, with lack of cycling infrastructure partly blamed. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP

Monday, 17 March 2014

It's all lies!

We were at Sheldon School in Chippenham this week where we did a Dr Bike.  The weather was cold sunny and dry which brought out Sheldon's cyclist and we had a full day of brakes and gear fixing.
Nick servicing a Bike a Sheldon School

No sign of Josh's wooden bike which he is keeping under wraps.

With this event came the news that our tenure at the Community Centre will be terminated on the 14th May.  To be comfortable we need to be out two weeks prior to that date at the start of May giving us 6 weeks to find a new place and move.
There is not much to go on however, we have made some more connections and the word is getting out.  We have embarked on bike selling programme hoping to clear the decks before the deadline.  There are three on ebay at the moment.  We seen to sell at least 5 a week to clear all bikes.  We will keep the best frames and all the components however most of the wheels will have to go.

Saturday was a good day with a steady throughput of customers.  At and end Ken came in to show us his latest build, a Reynolds 931 stainless steel bike which he has just built.  It oozes quality fitted with main Campag, Planet X and SRAM kit having given up on the dream of it being all British.  Hay even the Hope bearings are made in Japan.  Ken will be riding it up Mt Ventoux on it this year so lookout for him.

Ken's latest Build - Reynolds 931 Stainless

The was also a chap from Trowbridge to told us that Campag 9 STis work with 8 speed shimano cassette and he was riding a bike that had the arrangement to prove it.  He has been in the trade and he knew what he was talking about.  We will try this soon.

I went to see 'The Armstrong Lie' at the Pound on Saturday along with most of Chippenham Wheelers.  It was a sell out.  It's a documentary about Lance Armstrong who won and then was stripped of 7 Tour De France wins.  It reminded me of 'Breaking Bad' series where a Chemistry teacher who is hitting 50, has to supplement his lack lustre career by working at a car wash, is then diagnosed with incurable cancer and so decides to 'cook' Crystal Meth to supplement his income without telling his family including his brother-in-law policemen.
The story becomes tail of control, power and manipulation, not about money, where 'Walt' the main character, takes on a new persona as a driven gangster prepared to kill and control people in order to keep the truth from getting out.  This is also Lance's story, albeit without the guns, where in order to keep the performance enhancing drug taking a secret, he manipulates, bullies, threatens and does everything in his considerable power to exert control.  Old Friends and colleagues become the victims as it gets increasing more difficult to control events.
The film is compelling and well worth seeing,  I'll certainly see it again.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

The Problem with old bikes and some creative solutions

Here's our dilemma, we have sold 7 refurbished bike this year however we have received 10 bikes in the last two weeks.  The workshop is getting full of bikes that need working on and we haven't time. The problem gets more acute given that we have to leave the Community Centre by the 14th May 2014 and we don't have anywhere to go.  In practical terms we must be out in 6 weeks.

What do we do? Well some are given to Robin to strip down so that they can go into the scrap metal bin with maybe a brake adjuster or even a saddle being reclaimed.  That leaves 6, which are a Saracen road bike, GT childs bike , Raleigh ladies bike, a shockingly bad Raleigh 1980s mens racing bike, some random kids bikes and another that escapes me.
To get these up and running would take us about 2 working days which we spend on maintenance jobs.  Next week somebody else will clear out their garages and 4 more bikes will magically appear and the problem gets bigger.

Some creative solutions could be:

  • To spray paint a complete bike a primary colour, place a spindles advert on it and lock it in town.  Advertising is something we are not good at and this sounds like a good start.
  • Create a hanging basket installation out of bicycle frames.  The idea is not as mad as it seems.  Tim has the welding equipment, there are loads of frames, build a good base for it and bolt it down.  Place a community notice board on it for local events.  Oh yes and find a gardener who will supply and tend the plants.  It does need considerable artistic input which could be supplied by Bath University Arts dept. who are resident in Corsham.
  • Make a Dome out of the wheels.  It's been done before so its not very original but it uses the wheels.
  • Sell some bikes.... maybe.
 I'll let you know how we get on and what solutions we come up with.  In the mean time the Trek 850 is finished.

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Just found this very inspiring piece of art work by Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei – “absent” @ Taipei Fine Arts Museum (Part II)

It's an incredible art installation based on the bicycle, well actually 1000 bicycles.  Its a triumph of aesthetics, design married to engineering.

you can see other images here

Sunday, 2 March 2014

What's up and coming

I just thought I would show this mountain bike that should be ready next week.  The frame is a great Trek 850 with GT CrMo forks.  It will make a great bike when its finished.  I've just put 6 new bikes on the main site see

Trek 850 in the making
here is the pile of kids bikes that are waiting for a new owner.  A lot of these are marked as £10
Kids bikes for sale

Saturday, 1 March 2014

1st Day of Spring

Winter is finally over and today the sun came out with a vengeance.  There were not many punters in the bike shop today but a refurbishment of a Gary Fisher MB should keep us busy till next week.  I suggested that we go for a ride as the day looked so good.  And with a couple of calls we had a group of 9 heading off to Lacock.

The ride was great despite only being 16 miles.  It was scenic, quiet and almost dramatic when 4 buzzards took off into the sky in front of us, free-wheeling on thermals.  We headed to Biddestone on Chippenham Lane where Edgar kindly made us tea and we discussed the finer points of urban development in the local area.

We have three months to find new premises.  We may need to dive into a garage or two over the summer before something permanent is found.  In the short term we have jobs at Ivy lane school and Sheldon school in Chippenham.  There is also the Bike festival in Katherine Park on 23rd  March 2014 12.45-2.45pm where we hope to have a stall.  see

I'm going to start a email list for people to want to attend our rides.  They will usually be on a Saturday afternoon and will be very sociable.  If you would like to be informed - you may not get much notice, then email me and I will put you on the list.

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