I thought I’d give it a couple of weeks before I started gushing about it. So here goes.
OMG. It’s brilliant.
It’s a testament to the builder that this machine has survived so long and still works – it spent a decade in the Get Cycling fleet. In and out of vans, usually with several bikes piled on top of it, or strapped to a trailer spending countless hours hurtling around the country in the pishing rain. To say nothing of the abuse it suffered when it got to where it was going, riding round and round in circles in a muddy field or dusty school yard in-between crashes. I exaggerate for comic effect but it’s not too far from the truth. Roadshow bikes do have hard lives. The original box was crushed by the over enthusiastic use of a cargo strap – and replaced by a monstrosity which weighs twice as much as the original. Why it needed to be quite so ‘well built’ escapes me since the original lasted a decade. But hey. The frame had a re-weld a couple of years ago when a crack was discovered in one of the box’s steel stays. And that’s about it. It ran and ran and ran, got a strip down and a rebuild, powder coated. And then the business changed and they stopped using it.
So now it’s mine!
The first thing I did was replace the rear wheel (a Nexus 4) for the one I had recently built for the Africa Bike (featuring the awesome Fallbrook Industries NuVinci CV hub). Actually, the Nexus has been brilliant, never skipped a beat, but the NuVinci is an awesome thing. A more in-depth review of which will follow shortly.
The original centre stand needs a bit of work to stop it falling down at the slightest bump. So I lashed it up with a bungee and fitted a nice Swiss two legged stand that’s been knocking around the spare parts bin in search of a bike for several years. And in a flash of mild inspiration I fitted a regular one-legged kick stand to the side of the box. God I’m good. Now I have a bike with three stands – there can’t be many of them about!
I take two of the kids (10 and 4) to school in it, transport shopping, bales of straw and compost hither and thither. It’s become my everyday bike of choice, though that may wear off in time… I went to town with the 10 yr old and her cousin on Saturday, bought half a ton of M&S’s finest and weaved our way home through the herds of tourists. It didn’t skip a beat. Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. I love it.
I fitted a Peregrine front tyre (again, one of those odd components I’ve had for years, almost as if it’s been waiting for this bike to come along…) and squirted some Stan’s into both tubes for some comprehensive insurance against flats. And a dynamo and a halogen lamp – I just need to wire them together. Next up: A set of handcrafted wooden mudguards is winging their way from Israel. I want to upgrade the chainset, front brake and possibly add a rim brake to the rear. A new rear tyre would be nice – the Bonty which came on it is looking weary. And long term – a lecky front wheel would be nice.
But the main thing is, of course, that box. The very thing which defines this bike. Built by a cack-handed monkey and bolted on squint. The new box shall be a masterpiece. The trouble is, I can’t decide what to make it from. A little more research is required… Tropical hardwood? Marine ply?
Carbon fibre composite honeycomb laminate…?
There’s a lot going on in this last pic: note the twin legged stand, the hub mounted Shimano ‘M’ brake, those awesome dropouts with integrated chain tensioners, the magnificent NuVinci hub in all its glory – drilled for lightness (snigger!) and the bolt-on/strap-on V brake mounting plate. Rear rack – at least some of it – is welded to the frame so is plenty strong enough to carry a whole human.