Here’s is a sort of picture of my bicycle. The picture is still missing a few bits which are on the real thing such as brakes (!!), gear changers, chain, carrier, lights, generator and saddle-bag. I just haven’t got round to adding these things yet. The original was drawn in ArtWorks on an Acorn Risc PC so it’s easy enough to add bits as I feel like it.
The bike started off, many years ago, as a cheapo Peugeot. The only bit left now from the original bike is the handlebar stem. I soon learned that buying a cheap bike to ride around every day is a false economy. All the bits such as gear changers broke within a year or so of buying it. They also needed constant adjustment. I ended up replacing the frame sometime around 1986 with a good one made from 531ST tubing from Condor Cycles in Holborn, London. I stuck some reasonable wheels on around the same time but these got replaced with some really rather nice ones, built by Condor, after I ran into a pot hole and wrecked the others. There’s a nice Brookes leather saddle which I’ve had since 1985 or so; it fits me like a glove by now and probably still has another few years wear in it yet*.
Let there be Light
Schmidt hub dynamo
After years of running the lights from a bottle (tyre driven) dynamo I’ve now installed a new front wheel with a Schmidt hub dynamo.
It’s great. I no longer suffer from the dynamo slipping on wet roads, the lights come on at the flick of a switch and there’s no drag which I can detect (though the drag from the bottle dynamo was probably pretty much psychological anyway).
When I used the bottle dynamo I used to wonder why anyone used battery lights for my sort of riding. Now I’ve got the Schmidt I really can’t understand it at all apart from the cost (about £200 including a new front light).
The bike gets me the 10 km (about six miles for the metrically challenged) to work every day** plus a few day trips and occasional longer tours. That’s about it really. It’s just a bicycle.
* The saddle finally died on 17 May 2006 when one of the rails broke. Fortunately, I was about 200 m from a decent bike shop at the time and nipped in and bought another Brookes. Now all I have to do is spend the next month or so breaking it in (ouch!).
** And the 10 km back again, of course
Last changed: 17 May 2006
I’ve got a bike, you can ride it if you
like. It’s got a basket, a bell that rings and things
to make it look good. I’d give it to you if
I could but I borrowed it.
‘Bike’ from A Piper at the Gates of Dawn
(Pink Floyd/Syd Barrett, 1967)
Note for pedants
Yes I know that the sort of electricity generator used on a bicycle is really an alternator and not a dynamo but nearly everyone calls them dynamoes so I do too.
For the confused perhaps I should explain that a dynamo produces DC current while an alternator produces AC.
Perhaps we should call them generators instead? I dunno; it’s probably a losing battle.