Monthly Archives: January 2013

In defence of the BSO

images The BSO or more generally known within the cyclist fraternity as the “bicycle shaped object” is a much maligned creature on our highways and byways today. They are cheap, basic bicycles, usually bought from the likes of Tesco or Asda (other corporations are available) whose very existence brings cries of derision from those who class themselves as “serious cyclists” but are they all that bad? Right, let’s get one thing straight. As a cycle for the everyday cyclist or heavy user they aren’t all that good. They are heavy, usually built from steel, have components from the dark recesses of some Chinese workshop and, if built up at all, will be built up by people who have little knowledge of bicycle mechanics and so will perform badly. Things don’t look to rosy for them do they?

But look, these aren’t supposed to be for the already converted. They are aimed at people who want to have a bike to go down the local disused railway path or canal tow path (don’t forget to read the Greenways Code by the British waterways board.) possibly as the first activity the whole family can get involved in bar watching the television. As a cheap and readily available way of getting people off the couch and onto bikes, they are unsurpassed.

“But the pure crapness of them will put people off cycling” shout the two wheeled ones. This could be true, having ridden my fair share of them, they are not as wonderful as, say a Trek or Specialised but then again a Dacia Sandero is no Ford Focus either. Do people who buy these “car shaped objects” get put off driving? I think it’s time to think of the BSO as what it really is. It’s a cheap bike and all the better for it.

  • They allow people to get about in the outside (real) world, on their own or as a group.
  • They are affordable to most if not all incomes. Money becomes less of a barrier to cycling and cycling becomes a classless activity.
  • If you’re looking for work, it can allow you to look slightly further afield, increasing your chances of employment Many people used to cycle to work before the boom of motoring, mostly on bikes that weighed a ton! Why not learn from the past?
  • They get more people onto bikes than any other form of bike out there. All these people can’t be wrong, maybe they just need your help?

They can’t be all that bad then surely?

Most of the problem of “crap” BSOs are that of build and maintenance. If there were more people out there who would stop looking down their nose and help those who have one maintain it, not only will they return to you come time to upgrade (build up a rapport with them and make them feel welcome and they will return) you can revel in the satisfaction that another person has seen that cycling is not only a wonderful green and healthy pastime but it is a truly legitimate form of transport for daily life. All this because of a small change of attitude.

It’s time to learn to love the BSO.

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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Inane ramblings


Support your local shops

In deference to our cousins across the border in Birmingham, I’m Black Country and proud of it. So In support of our local community I’ll take a moment from time to time to publicise local shops and places from my locality here on my blog.

Please click on the links and visit the sites. For those who are unaware there is a difference (Oh but there is, and a big one at that!) you might learn a bit about this important area of England.

Firstly a shop just around the corner from The Cradley Cycle Works who specialise in Black Country apparel.  Teet Shirts.

Another is a place to visit to learn more about our rich and varied history here in the Black Country. The Black Country Living Museum.

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Posted by on January 9, 2013 in Inane ramblings


Rosa Parks seat

Rosa Parks seat.

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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in News


Life’s a gas!

One of the joys of creating bicycles for me is the forming of once individual tubes and bits of old bicycle into a whole new shape, be it a cargo type bike or recumbent or just a plaything that’ll go nowhere. To this end, I MIG weld the parts together (that’s why all my bikes that I build are steel so far!)

MIG welding, to me, is one of the most relaxing pastimes any creator can learn. Whoa, don’t get me wrong, my welds, although strong, are definitely not in the super duper, wow look at that weld type of weld but given practice and a fair bit of frustration, they will get better.

So, this morning, I get up and think it’s about time for the next project bike. A nice cargo bike to go shopping on, I think. Frames (I have a few) sorted and a shape is formed in my head on what it should look like.

Check tools. Grinder. Check. Cutting disks. Yep. Spanners and accompanying bike dismantling ephemera. Uh-huh. Welding wire. A bit but enough to  get me started. Gas. Ah, gas.

Guess who didn’t check if the gas was turned off then the last time he used it then? The saving grace was that I’m sure that there wasn’t a lot of gas left in the bottle anyway but I really could do without being so stupid. You see, I’m what you would call ‘ in between paid employment ‘ right now so money, as you can guess, is so tight it squeaks as our wonderful government decided as I was self employed over the past few years; now work in that field has dried up, they ‘aint going to help me in ways of money. I paid my taxes (unlike some larger, more profitable organisations I can mention), I even paid my national insurance but it seems the money I paid in is not to help me but to give ‘Jeremy and Rebecca’ on a joint income of 80 grand (but individually not earning more than 50 grand each, oh no.) help to raise their little brat of an offspring (no doubt called something stupid like, Boxcart or Cherryade). Bitter? Moi? What do the department of stealth and total obscurity want to do to help someone who wants to branch out and make a difference to this world in any way they can? Nothing. Nada. Not a jot. Thanks, it makes me proud to live in this wonderful democracy that they call England (plc)

Ranting aside, this site is about bikes, not politics.

This leaves me with a dilemma. I need to make things to a) make money and b) stop me going insane while I look for other paid work. I need money to buy gas. I have no money. I can’t buy gas. I can’t make things. I can’t make money. Bugger.

So if any of you who’ve got this far in this post without falling asleep know where I can get some gas from (it’s CO2 in a 14kg bottle. You know, the sort used in pubs to make lager go all fizzy) drop us a line. You could even make me believe that people aren’t all bad after all!

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Posted by on January 7, 2013 in Inane ramblings


From the Mantle to the Chipper: Thoughts on the Last Days of Christmas Trees

Scroll down to see where these guys wind up.trees-tile

As long as I’ve lived in the city, I’ve had a fascination with curbside trash, not in garbage bins, but things from people’s homes that have been cast to the street.  Furniture, sporting goods, kitchenware, mattresses (often with signs to clarify their bedbug status), boxy TV’s that have been replaced by flat screens.  Sad objects out of their element, waiting to be collected, re purposed, burned, or hopefully given a new home.  At times I find it humorous, at others depressing, but always interesting, like little clues about our society, our consumption habits, tastes, neighborhoods, and individual households.

At this time of year, the curbside Christmas tree is a ubiquitous city sight, everywhere at the moment, and trickling off for a few months (some of the above photos were shot as late as April). They are particularly interesting because they…

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Posted by on January 5, 2013 in News


Finding Motivation Early in the Morning

Rev Rider

The alarm rings at 4:45 am.

It is dark.

It is cold.

I’m tired.  I need sleep.

I don’t think I’ll ride.

I turn off the alarm, roll over, and my thoughts continue:

Those guys will miss you, and you’ll catch flack.

Mike B will hold you accountable.

It’s not that cold … wimp.

You will get behind in your miles.

You are in training for the Flèche.

If you don’t ride, you are restricted to 1400 calories today.

If you are going to lay here debating about whether or not to ride, you might as well get up and ride.

And so I climb out of bed, get ready to ride, and make it to the Rusty Bridge on time.

There are a total of 6 people out in the 23° F temperatures and we ride.  We ride fast for a little while.  We ride slow at times.  And…

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in News



For Sale: Custom Trail/Hybrid

Trail/Hybrid based on Claude Butler Urban 500


Well, here’s another beauty from the Bowels of the Cycle Works!

Based upon a Claude Butler Urban 500 frame in Aluminium, this bike has been the subject of a wide range of upgrades to make it into quite a lovely all purpose bike, ready for the weekend jolly or longer distance commute.

Fitted with lightweight 28 spoke wheels and all purpose tyres more suited for road and occasional trail/canal towpath use.

Avid ‘V’ brakes with upgraded multi weather brake blocks.

Stem with adjustable angle to make it one of the most comfortable bikes I have ridden for a long time.

Shimano triple chainring and wide ratio gearing: This bike will climb anything that’s put in front of it or makes the post work hill climb a doddle!

Carbon fibre front fork. Forget heavy front suspension forks weighing you down. This alternative is so much lighter and gives the bike a far more responsive feel yet still removes that road/light trail “buzz” from your hands meaning you can ride comfortably for longer.

In conclusion a wonderful all rounder that could just be every bike you want for day to day.

This will be checked over before sale but don’t forget, this is a used item and will obviously show signs of wear and tear. Why not e-mail me on cradleycycleworks @ gmail . com or ring me on 07564 003 864

Priced to sell at £200

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Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Bikes for sale


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My new year’s resolutions – helping the environment more


2013 (iStock21783157)I tend to consider September, with its emphasis on back-to-school new beginnings as more of a new year, however every January I do try to make some new year’s resolutions.

Some studies indicate that by the end of January, a third of people will have broken their new year’s resolutions, and by July more than half will have lapsed.  I try to ensure my resolutions aren’t too grandiose, thereby making them more achievable.

You can set resolutions for many different aspects of your life: family, relationships, health and fitness, foodgardening.  Some of my resolutions for 2013 are to be a bit more environmentally friendly.

I’ll ditch the single serve yogurt cups

Buying yogurt in large tubs (that can go in the Blue Box) is better than single serve yogurt cups (which currently go in the garbage).  I’m picky about which yogurt I like, and…

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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in News



Bicycle Repair service for Cradley

Got a bicycle? Need it repaired?

The Cradley Cycle Works will look after your bike, weather it is a £5 scrap man special to a £1000 cycle to work scheme bike, we don’t care. All we want is to help you to continue to enjoy it!

We know you may not have the time or the skills to make sure your bike is as good as it could be so we can help by maintaining and servicing it for you. Hey, we’ll even do it while you’re at work so you aren’t without your steed!

Any job, doesn’t matter how small. Don’t matter to us, just give me a call!


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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in News



The Cradley Cycle Works need you!

Have you got an old bike or bikes festering in your shed or garden? Want rid?

Don’t give them to the scrap man to flog to China! you could help a local business instead!

By donating your bike to the Cradley Cycle Works you will be helping your local community by allowing it to be either:

  • Refurbished for use as transport by others in the community who haven’t a bike and can’t afford an expensive one and need to get around.
  • Broken for parts to help other bikes in the community stay on the road.
  • Made into a useful cargo bike for the use of local businesses for local deliveries or just as an eye catching promotional tool.

The Cradley Cycle Works is not for profit – all money will be ploughed back into the business to develop it so it can help the local community.

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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in News


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