Cheap as chips

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Received an email this afternoon from Bob Cordon Champ, a local old-bicycle enthusiast and published two-wheeler historian who told me he picked this up for just ‘a few pounds’ from the auction at Wintertons on Saturday. He tells me it is a Raleigh Traveller from 1981 and required little more then the tyres reinflating with the pump it came with and years of dust and cobwebs removed with a wash, then oiled. Just look at it, photographed the next working day, back on the road.

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For the first time I’ve pledged to try and do 30 Days Of Biking as it seemed a fun thing to do. At the time of writing there are over 4000 people who have done the same and it’s still not too late for you to do it. I’m going to try and do as many days as possible on this, so hopefully #30daysoffixie. The mudguard should catch the worst of the water from below. I’m buggered if it snows though.

Lichfield Re:Cycle – lets do it again

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Thank you to the people who came and said hello this afternoon down at Speakers Corner in Lichfield for the first Re:Cycle event. We had a few people turn up with their bikes for a check up or to learn how to fix and maintain them through being shown how to do it.

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Hopefully a few people went away reassured and more than a little empowered to have a go at tackling some things by themselves. As we said, if there is anything else feel free to get in touch and we can make arrangements to assist some more.

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I think we will do it again. When the weather forecast promises a fine weekend and when the volunteers are free we will turn up again in the same spot. As we were packing away someone limped past with a flat tyre. A small piece of glass removed and tube repaired she was on her way again. Another good day.

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Cycle Rides For All > first ride Sunday 30th March

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As the weathers so good it’s the perfect chance to get the bikes out of the garage and come on an early morning ride to Fisherwick Lakes. Less than nine miles at a leisurely pace with trained volunteer marshalls helping you get from A to B and back again.

Meet at 10AM at Freedom Cycles, Lichfield Bus Station (remember the clocks go forward an hour tonight!).

More information from the Lichfield District Council website.

Lichfield Re:Cycle > first event Saturday 29th March

Spring seems to be in the air and there are plenty of bikes coming out of garages, gardens or sheds in anticipation of the lighter nights and better weather. Re:Cycle is a project that aims to encourage people to cycle more by equipping them with the basic skills needed to maintain and ride their bikes. Bring your bike along to Speakers Corner this Saturday between 2 and 3 PM for a free bike check up, small adjustments, advice and more from our volunteers.

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We hope to have a couple of our free long term loan bikes to give away, including the one above, a 24 inch wheel mountain bike. Bikes like this one are the most common we have seen on the project so far. Not the most valuable, lightest or most glamourous but a typical example of the sort of entry level bike that folks use to get around on. Often the cost of the repair is more than the bike is worth. Earlier this week we helped a young lad who was one brake short of being legal. We managed to get him a new brake lever, adjust the other so it worked along with a couple of other minor adjustments to make him road worthy. He also told us he rode in the dark so we put on a couple of quids worth of Poundland lights on too.

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I’ve said before that I don’t think this project is competition to the bike shops, more that it is complimentary to what they offer, encouraging more cycling is good for them in the long run. The other strand to Re:Cycle is skill sharing and enabling people with bikes like this to make the adjustments and maintain the bike themselves. First repair is free, second one they need to learn how to do it themselves. There are people out there who are happy to show how to do it.

Bikes at Wintertons Saturday sale

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The Saturday Sale at Wintertons at Cross Keys in Lichfield this weekend has a few bikes in the auction this month. I passed by today and poked my head into the tool shed. The one above is an old Raleigh.

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I’ve been to the auction before and seen things go for as little as two quid but have no idea how much these may go for.

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As well as these there were a couple of dusty shed finds, all sold as seen. You can register on the day (bring proof of address) and I think you can bid online too. If you don’t bid on a bike consider this six foot tall wooden sculpture. Can’t decide if it’s meant to be a dog or a bear.

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2014 Lichfield Cycle Rides For All programme announced

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Cycle Rides For All are back starting on Mothers Day at the end of March with a programme of monthly rides. This year the rides haven graded to give riders an idea of how challenging the route may be, from Level 1 (suitable for beginners on a short route) to Level 4 (longer route with a couple of good hills). All rides are marshalled by trained volunteers and go at a family friendly pace with plenty of stops built in along the way. There are two brand new rides planned to Fisherwick Lakes and Packington Moor Farm along with some old favourites.

2014 Rides

30th March : Level 2 : Fisherwick Lakes – 9 miles
Meet at Freedom Cycles 10AM

27th April : Level 3 : National Memorial Arboretum – 15 miles
Meet at Freedom Cycles 10AM

25th May : Level 4 : Weeford & Packington Moor Farm – 15 miles
Meet at Freedom Cycles 10AM

29th June: Level 2 : Fradley Junction – 12 miles
Meet at Freedom Cycles 10AM

27th July : Level 1 : Lichfield Taster ride – 3.5 miles
Meet at Beacon Park at 11AM

24th August : Level 2 : Fisherwick Lakes – 9 miles
Meet at Freedom Cycles 10AM

28th September: Level 2 : Fradley Junction – 12 miles
Meet at Freedom Cycles 10AM

Rides are arranged for the last Sunday of the month from March to September (August is 4th Sunday of the month).

Most rides meet at Freedom Cycles, Lichfield Bus Station, Birmingham Road at 10AM except for the taster ride in July that meets at The Pavilion in Beacon Park (by the playground) at 11AM.

Bicycles will receive a free safety check at the start of every ride.

Bring a picnic lunch and some water, however a café stop is included on most rides.

Under 16’s must be accompanied by an adult.

Cycle helmets are recommended and appropriate clothing for varying weather conditions.

The weather forecast is checked before an event. Call Freedom Cycles on 01543 411633 (answerphone after 5:30PM) for an update. Since 2010 only two rides have required cancellation.

For further information contact Debby at Freedom Cycles on 01543 411633 or Karl Sproston at Lichfield District Council on 01543 416918.

Rides are supported by Freedom Cycles, Lichfield District Council, Bromford Living, North Lichfield Initiative and Lichfield City Council

Get INTO Stafford

As I briefly mentioned a couple of months ago, there is a big push going on just up the road in Stafford to encourage cycling as well as just down the road in Sutton. Both schemes have received millions of pounds to try and achieve this. I contacted Staffordshire County Council to ask about whats going on in Stafford, wondering if there would be any benefit for residents in places like Lichfield. I was told that any residents can attend the training for free but they must do so at the hubs in Stafford.

I still think it would have been better to spread the substantial funding over more locations in Staffordshire, but it is what it is. Highlights of the offer are below and the full flyer can be downloaded here. I was in a bike shop in town yesterday and heard about a lady who wanted to learn to ride a bike. Going to Stafford is an option but there are lots of people in Lichfield who I am sure would be happy to help out. By buddying up with someone else, basic skills can be learned and confidence built. The Cycle Rides For All begin again in Lichfield at the end of the month and they are perfect for beginners. More details on those later in the week.

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The bad days will end

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This bike I first wrote about in May and then again in December is finally being lavished with some attention, as it melts further towards the ground like a childs dropped ice cream. LDC have attached a notice warning of its final seven days at the bottom of Tamworth Street. If I thought there was much worth saving I would ask for it, but it looks like it will go for scrap instead.

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