Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Free Cycle

My bike has now officially paid for itself. Since I bought it I've saved over three hundred quid on Tube tickets, which easily covers the cost of the bike (£80 second hand off eBay) plus all the bits and bobs like locks, saddles, panniers and servicing - and even little MMVII's child seat (a Leco, which is worth a blog entry in itself).

So the obvious thought crossed my mind... does that mean I'm allowed a new bike then? Now don't get me wrong, my bike's pretty good in many ways, but it is a bit old and creaky. For example, while I don't think I need 24 gears to cross Waterloo Bridge, only having 3 does make it hard work for an old duffer sometimes. The dynamo is truly terrible. The back brake ain't all that. And so on.

My ideal bike would still be a Dutch-style 'Town Bike' - I do regularly use all the features, even the built in lock. Just maybe slightly better all round than I have at present. So let me fantasise a bit... I want:

  • A good strong frame with absolutely no sporting pretensions whatsoever
  • For riding comfort, the largest frame I can actually get astride (in my case that's about 21")
  • Also for comfort: traditional large wheels - 26" or maybe even 28"
  • Full mudguards - and I quite like the look of those 'coat guards'
  • A men's (high) or unisex (medium) top tube to bolt MMVII's saddle to
  • High swept-back handlebars for a proper sit-up-and-beg riding position
  • Comfortable saddle (I hear good things about Brooks leather saddles, once you've worn them in)
  • Built in rear wheel lock - ideally also with an extending cable. Great while dropping MMVII off at nursery
  • Hub gears still, but more than 3. They come with up to 14 gears now, which is getting a bit unnecessary I think: 5 to 8 would be plenty.
  • I'd also love a 'coaster' brake at the back, where you pedal backwards to slow down
  • A hub brake at the front as well - plus a built in hub dynamo
  • LED dynamo lights with capacitor 'stand' light, so they stay on even when you're stopped at a junction
  • A kickstand
  • A proper traditional bell - or possibly even a horn
  • Fully enclosed chain guard (why on earth would you leave oily mechanical bits like that exposed to the weather?)
  • Rear carrier, ideally with luggage which doesn't look like a bike pannier
  • Maybe a front carrier too
I genuinely drew up the above list before I stumbled across this, which - apart from the chain not being completely enclosed - is pretty much perfect:

Yum. It's a Velorbis Churchill Classic 21", it's Danish designed, German made, and it costs about 6 months' worth of not going on the Tube. Tempting! Darling MCMLXX, can I get one if I PROMISE to keep riding it through the winter...?

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