Just to make you aware of a couple of well-dressed young teenagers riding around the Bermondsey St area. They are in possesion of a couple of very nice bikes and one of the youngsters (age approx. 15 years?) was in possession of a rather large spanner, about to help himself to some of the bike 'bits' (gears me thinks!) on some bikes chained to railings in our large private courtyard. I confronted them and then told them to b*gger off. Apart from the usual bravardo and back-chat, they were not threatening - more suprised at being confronted by a bare-footed woman I think! One teenager is caucasian, the other black/mixed race.
Watch those bike bits!!
yo dude thats not gonna help anyone I see teenagers on bikes every day....most given the chance would strip your bike clean so trust me when I tell you and anyone else who reads this.
take all easy to remove parts off your bike when locking it up, this will discourage thieves from giving it a second look thus saving you from getting on the f**king Bus......
"take all easy to remove parts off your bike when locking it up"
Now, let me see:
Lights, trip computer (speedometer to you and me), saddle, wheels, brake cables... if you include easily removable with a spanner then: brakes, gears, pannier.
Behind this flippant remark is a more serious comment: London requires several SECURE bike parking facilities, to make it easier for cyclists (or potential cyclists) to park safely.
As an example, there used to be a shop in Holborn called Bikepark. For £1 you could park your bike in their secure lockup. The shop is still there, but they no longer offer the parking facility. Shame, since now, whenever I cycle into the West End for some shopping I have to lock it in the street and pray (which is difficult for an atheist like me).
Oh yea and Martin cut down on the crap you attach to your bike. Not only does it cost you loads of dosh and tempt thieves but also it's a mugs game all that speedometer...you think it will help when an unlicenced cabby runs you off the road. Dude lights, helmit and a yellow vest is all you need.....less is more and costs less GET IT!
I have two bikes. The first (which I rarely use in London) is a custom built road bike (aka. racer, I suppose), which I built whilst at uni nearly 20 years ago. Reynolds 531 tubing, Shimano 600 groupset... fantastic.
My second bike is a Saracen Kili Pro. £1500 of seriously heavy duty mountain bike. Bought 6 years ago it has taken me on trips as far afield as Canada and China.
I have no car.
Neither bike was aquired out of some "poseur"-esque desire, but because of a passion for extremely well built machines.
Incidentally, the mechanical efficiency of hub gears is somewhere around 60%, compared to about 95% for derailleur gears, which is why you don't see Tour de France riders ith hub gears.
Fair enough Martin. This thread reminded me of my road racing days when my big adversary used to ride round south London at high speed on a butchers bike. The only give away was the Look (clip in) pedals.
He was quick!
And be interesting to see how David Millar gets on in the TdF prologue tomorrow.
Hmmm. Most of the world cannot set up a set of derailleurs to 95% efficiency, 85% is more normal, and I have always been led to believe that hub gears achieve over 70% - and they certainly are not temperamental. They don't cause the chain to come off just as you're dashing in front of that bus either!
I'm sure your bikes are beautiful pieces of machinery, but they're not commuter bikes (not in SE1 anyway). So if you're worried about your bits, then follow my advice.
Better still get a Dutch bike with only 1 gear, and then you don't need to worry about your efficiencies!
"They don't cause the chain to come off just as you're dashing in front of that bus either!"
If you buy a bike with good gears (Deore XTR, for example) you will find that the chain never comes off.
Fascinating how people spend many thousands of pounds on their cars but consider those who spend a fraction of that on good bicycles as poseurs "with more money than sense".
The point is taken that a cheap and cheerful bike is less likely to be stolen (or rather, it is not a large loss if it is stolen). However, what I'm (admittedly, since it's my main hobby horse) banging on about is that we should be investing in better security facilities for bikes. I personally would not mind paying a nominal fee to park my bike if I knew that it is being parked with a decent level of security. Unfortunately, the lack of security at places like Kings Cross station, etc, make it difficult to use the bicycle as an effective adjunct to commuting.