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Category Archives: Inane ramblings

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

 

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

 
 
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