All entries for September 2006

September 29, 2006

Covered cycle parking on main campus

Covered Campus Cycle Stands

There are no facilities secure enough for overnight parking of valuable bicycles.

Lockers suitable for cycle clothing are administered on a departmental basis. So if you need one, contact your departmental secretary.


September 01, 2006

Should I have bought a new bike?

Imagine my shock and horror when I turned my my city bike over and saw this:

With rust holes like that, I thought, it won’t belong before the bicycle collapses. It’s no use trying to claim on the five year warranty on frame and forks as it ran out a year ago. And a repair might not be very cost-effective. Not only must the rusted down tube be cut out and replaced, but the whole bicycle re-sprayed since the new steel won’t be painted and the heat from the welding will burn the paint on the steel which isn’t replaced. On the other hand, my bicycle isn’t one of those toy bikes which sell at a hundred pounds or even less, a replacement of similar quality might cost £500 or £600.

I considered the purchase of a new city bicycle. Were I to buy one I’d want one with a full chain case. A chain case protects not only the right trouser leg from greasy dirt but also the chain from rain and salty water. The latter, one of the most corrosive chemicals that you can find outside of a factory or laboratory, is common on main roads in winter, a result of the practice of throwing salt over the roads in an attempt to prevent ice formation.

I asked in a couple of cycle shops about bicycles with full chain cases. One man just shook his head, another mentioned Pashley. A local firm (Stratford). Yet Pashley only a give a five year warranty on frame and forks, while my touring bicycle has a fifteen year warranty. Their city bicycles also only have three gears and have a rather old fashioned styling:

Pashley Princess-Sovereign

While I’m always a bit wary of the latest technology, I’m concerned that something that looks like it came out of the 1930’s will have the reliability of a vehicle built in the 1930’s. I understand, for example that the Sturmey Archer three speed gear has remained unmodified since 1937.

Consequently I’m rather drawn to bicycles made for the Dutch market. In the Netherlands cycling is still an activity pursued by a large number of people for practical purposes such as commuting or shopping. The argument that utility bicycles made for sale in the Netherlands market have kept up with developments over recent decades seems plausible to me.

They have more modern styling and 7 or 8 speed gears:

Azor Highlander

Gazelle Esprit

There’s a retailer in Oxford for Gazelle, who appear to offer a 10-year warranty against material and manufacturing defects on the frame and forks.

Still talking with my cycling mates, I was persuaded to try a repair. That did mean taking all the parts off the frame and forks which took me five hours. I’m awaiting the results…


September 2006

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