Six people transforming the way they travel
In setting out to get my bike up and running and, probably more importantly, getting myself up and running with it, I have tried to avoid such displacement behaviour as shopping.
When I first looked at what I needed to get going – safe bike, locks, lights, pannier, outdoor gear, I realised that – if I needed all of this from new, the bill would be enormous. I had lost the lights and helmet that I had bought in the past, the key to the substantial ‘D’ lock, anything resembling a pannier (except for the gorgeous metal basket for the front that I had bought abroad years ago and which does not fit …. but then I have had an idea about that which involves a metal bracket and some rubber washers), the repair kit tools (and also the kit box which was my favourite bit), the bicycle pump, the bicycle clips and and the flexible, reflective strip that wraps itself around your arm or leg with a satisfying snap. The only reason I could put my hands to the pannier racks was because they were firmly attached to the bike and the bike was trapped in the shed.
The quest to round up these things and reunite them with my best beloved bike took a wee while but all were found safe and sound except for the side panniers which I don’t think I ever had anyway. This has saved me about £100 – a very rough estimate because all of the things can be bought cheaply or at quite high prices depending on the individual specifications of the item. For example a truly waterproof pannier will cost more than a similar one that is not waterproof – probably about £40 to £50. I was curious to see what gumtree turned up for would-be bicycle owners and it seemed to be quite easy to pick them up (the bikes, not the would-be owners) for around £50 to £100 depending what type they are, the condition they are in and the level of desperation with which the advertiser wishes to part with them.
During my quest I had visions of me being catapulted over the handlebars due to faulty brakes and I therefore decided that it was absolutely necessary to have the bike checked and serviced before riding it out on the roads. That was another (very fair I thought) £30 plus £5 for new rear brake blocks (… see?). So a grand total of £170 or £200 and you are good to go!
Now then, what if that amount of money is not handy just now? Freecycle? Of seven recent bicycle posts six were for bicycles wanted and one was an offer of a ladies bike that needed a bit of attention …. much like myself, I have to say. A more reliable source might be The Bike Station which has second hand serviced and checked bikes for sale – the average price is about £80 but prices can start at around £70. They also sell helmets, lights and locks at competitive prices but probably the best feature is the ‘fix your own bike’ facility where you can service your own bike with expert help and advice on hand.
So, the opportunity to become a cyclist can be a more complicated issue than one might think. I have found that I need to find double the ‘me’ time to get organised to both cycle and to take the dog for his walks – with the best will in the world a fox terrier cantering along beside you in the inside lane is not going to end well. The positive side to this ‘doubling up’ of health-giving activity is that I am probably out of doors much more and feeling healthier because of it. The dog, however, has still not forgiven the bike for taking over, as he sees it, as my best beloved companion.