May 20th - A small result. The bike racks at Birmingham New Street Station - relocated to a dark corner on the the opening of the new concourse - were formerly only bolted to the ground and could easily be disassembled by thieves to steal users steeds. I noticed this morning that the ordinary nuts securing the Sheffield frames had been replaced with shear nuts, which are nigh-on impossible to remove. For added security, they’ve been bonded on with thread lock adhesive. This makes them much more secure.
I hope Network Rail have learned something from the bad publicity here. It ain’t rocket science really, is it?
May 7th - On the subject of other people’s bikes, just when did children’s trikes evolve into bonkers apparatus like this? It requires a HGV license to push, I’ll bet.
These things seem to be following the same trajectory as baby buggies; once a small thing born of convenience and fun, they’re now hugely complicated pieces of kit that don’t seem to fit anywhere easily.
April 12th - I love Moor StreetStation in Brum. Not only is it a lovely, light airy and atmospheric station, but on the whole the staff are more relaxed and customer focused than their competitors. Coming through tonight, I noticed some inconsiderate muppet had locked their bike to the security railings by the ticket barrier inside the station. If this had been a Virgin Station, the bike would have been removed and it all would have been rather tetchy. Here, they sellotape a warning notice to the bike, which considering it’s not actually a trip hazard, makes sense. That’s a nice approach.
December 3rd - A grainy, long-distance shot across Moor Street Station in a rain shower. I noticed this cautionary warning in the bike shed between platforms 2 and 3. Some careless cyclist - perhaps in a hurry - has locked their bike up by the front wheel. A thief has come along, and just opened the quick release, left the wheel locked to the stand, and made of with the rest of the bike. They may even have nicked a front wheel from an adjacent bike to replace it. Bastards.
If you’re locking your bike up, use 2 or more locks with the ‘Solid Secure’ rating. Use different technologies - one chain and one D lock, for example. Thieves rarely come tooled up to deal with both. Always lock through the frame, and a solid object if possible.
Bike thieves a the lowest of the low. Don’t make it easy for them.
October 9th - A real, live hipster and his fixie at Moor Street Station. Interestingly, this is one of the few double sided hubs I’ve ever seen being ridden of the fixed wheel side. Respect for that. It’s a remarkable bike. He loses points in the style stakes for the backwards cap and overloaded rucksack, mind. A good illustration of the variety of cycling.
September 28th - By chance, on my return journey. I came upon this group of cyclists in Birmingham city centre. From twitter conversations, I realised they were a bunch of Birmingham City Councillors, who were on a guided ride of the city to experience what it’s like for cyclists. Interestingly, there were no Tories present.
It’s bloody lousy, we’ve been telling you for years, damn it…
August 1st - I was in Telford today. I noticed that to alleviate the congestion and overcrowding in the cycle shed, we have a new cheapo rack to use. Sadly, it’s of the worst type available - a wheelbender. So called because bikes fall over in them and end up with buckled rims, they’re also weak and the tubular supports will normally break off with a sharp kick. Trying to lock to them is lousy, too.
Still, they’ve just had the car park sorted and there wasn’t much left for the cyclists, clearly…
March 27th - I’ve seen this curious ladies bike around Lichfield before. Today it was locked up at 5:45pm outside Wilkinson in the city. I think I’ve featured it when I caught it locked up outside Waitrose. I’m trying to decide if this is a modern copy of an old design, or just a well preserved old bike. Rod brakes, original looking Sturmey Archer 3 speed hub, authentic rust in places. it’s a very individual bike, and I’d hate to ride it. I bet those brakes are evil at the best of times, mores in the wet. It fascinates me that the owner locks it - no chance of a fast getaway on that. A real oddity.
February 27th - I like bike cargo hacks. This one was locked in the stand at Telford Station, and is rather well executed. A standard plastic crate, of the kind you can buy at hardware stores and DIY chains, with holes drilled in the bottom. Secured with cable ties, the ensemble only loses points for the untrimmed ties. Love the reflector and rear light attached to the box itself. Wonder what the rider carries?
January 28th - I’ve not mentioned much about the bike technology on this blog, which is a bit odd, really, because without it, I wouldn’t be able to ride like I do. One of my favourite innovations of the last ten years or so is the road disc brake. This model - the Avid BB7 - is designed to work with road, rather than mountain bike setups and levers. It is cable operated and stops you on a sixpence, wet or dry. There’s no rim wear, no rubbing, and the pads last for ages. Maybe not quite as good as a top-end set of hydraulic discs, but not far off in my opinion. All my bikes have disc brakes, fantastic things.
May 24th - This is the evening commute film from the same trip. Changing trains at New Street, Birmingham, this time for a Walsall bound train, at about 5pm. The crowds, the dreadful lifts, the bustle - not a single part of this interchange will improve with the revamp of New Street, which is primarily about providing a ‘retail opportunity’. Note that the bike is being pushed and not ridden throughout.
The soundtract is from Mainframe, unofficially called ‘I make my way back home’, officially just ‘Track 4’. Check them out at http://mainframe-music.info/- a great blast of eighties synth-goodness, mostly made on an Apple II computer in 1983.
April 9th - Another leisure run out around Staffordshire and south Derbyshire. Plenty of buzzards, kestrels, rabbits and songbirds. Sadly, unusually high levels of roadkill at the moment. Oilseed rape is coming on, and the air is beginning to smell of pollen and green. Blossom is well advanced with cherries, apple and the continuing blackthorn showing well.
BrownhillsBob biked every day for the thirty days of April 2011, part of the #30daysofbiking project, but enjoyed the process so much that he carried on. @ years down the road, he's still cycling every day and recording a little bit of every journey.