Two thumbs up – business providing customer bike facilities!

I went to the dentist today and whilst that is awesome in itself, it’s not the story I want to talk about.

The dentist in semi-suburban part of municipality had a bike rack in the car park in the shade!  I was astounded that they would provide such facilities and was impressed that they weren’t tucked around the back or really inconvenient to access.  They were right at the front of the building closer even that the regular car parks!  I was expecting to have to lock my bike up on a tree or railing or street post.  Certainly made my day (I’m easily amused).

Great work!

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Omafiets Cycles

So there’s a new bike store opening in Sydney.  “So what”? I hear you say… another bike store, in a market which some may say is already saturated.  However, this is a really interesting concept.  What they do, is import second hand bikes from Holland.  Apparently, the Dutch government gives tax incentives to people to buy bikes, so they generally turn them over quite quickly (and sell them very cheaply).  So, what the guys do, is buy a container load (I’m assuming unseen) and ship them to Australia to sell.

I was lucky enough to meet Oliver (one of the owners of the store) at Cycle Recycle and he invited us to have a sneak peak at the store before it’s official opening.  (photos to follow) The shop is in Marrickville, an edgy, coming on trendy part of town.  The store is a bit hard to find, being up a side street off a major road, however it does make parking easy and I’d imagine it will be much easier to find once there is some signage in place.

Now, the bit you’re really interested in – the bikes.  Well, there really is an assortment, in all sorts of conditions.  There are plenty of what I’d call your typical “Dutch bike” – not many gears (3 or below), beautiful curving handlebars and an upright seated position.  Lots of the bikes have dynamo hubs and front and rear lights, and most bikes have a rear rack (or front basket).  Brooks leather saddles abound.  The bikes vary in condition – from really good, to well, average, although I suspect that some of them were actually damaged in transit.

There’s also a few more interesting bikes including a recreational tandem bike, and a very large cargo bike and a few touring bikes.

I think it will be interesting how they go.  I hope they do well – I like the idea that you can buy a cheaper bike that is still good quality, and the guys that run the shop seem really passionate about getting people onto bikes, and super friendly (I even got to mind the shop for a while), but I worry that some of the bikes are a bit expensive for what they are – I mean $500 for a second hand single speed with coaster brakes seems a bit steep, even if it is in really good condition  – I mean when was the last time you rode a bike with coaster brakes?   Yet there are also some really good deals to be had – $1100 for a fully kitted out touring bike – including dynamo hub, double kickstand, front and rear racks, handlebar bag and lights seems like a really good deal.

However, the shop is well worth a look.  Did I buy a bike?  You’ll have to wait and see Smile

My Favourite Cycling Jerseys

The weather has been wet and gloomy so hasn’t been inspirational riding.  I decided to do a gratuitous photo post on my jerseys.

These are my favourite 4.  They always attract attention and I get plenty of compliments and people asking where I got them.  The top 3 I got from the SBS Shop.  They are all a standard weight jersey and I’ve had them for a few years now.  The Netti I got from Epic Cycles.  It is a light weight jersey and in white, perfect for summer.

The search for the perfect, “hold your bike up gizmo”.

I started the search for the perfect “hold your bike up so it doesn’t have to get dirty” device a while ago.  Susanna (my road bike) doesn’t like being lain down, and accessing my panniers on my tourer is always tricky – you can lay the bike on the ground (derailleur side up of course), but then getting to the other pannier is hard, and everything falls out as the pannier is horizontal.  Or, you can lean your bike against you and try and get stuff out, but it always ends up a bit of a juggling act.

I investigated one sided kickstands – remember riding your bike around as a kid?  Spokey dokes, streamers, basket, dolly and… the obligatory kickstand.  Fashionalbe, maybe not, but useful?  Certainly.  Yet looking further, one sided kickstands didn’t look exactly like what I was after.  They are heavy (around 300 grams), which is considerable, and as the kickstand is well below the bike’s centre of gravity, it makes the bike quite unstable when resting on the kickstand especially with the added weight of panniers.  Oh, and did I mention that kickstands that are designed for aftermarket installation are just ugly?  They look like you’ve just bolted something onto the side of your bike. Oh, hang on, you have!

After market kickstand

So, next up, we looked at double kickstands.  These have the added advantage of being more stable than a one sided kickstand. On the downside, they are even heavier (at nearly 600grams), and again… ugly…

Pletscher double legged kickstand

Enter the click-stand.   I was put onto this nifty little gadget by the guys at Cheeky Monkey transport (big thanks to these guys who advised me to buy a product they don’t sell!)  It’s by a guy in the states, and custom made for your bike.  It comes in a couple of colours, and you can elect to have it made in 4 or 5 pieces (depending on if you prefer long and thin, or short and fat).  It weighs 75 grams, which is significantly lighter than any of the  kickstands out there.

To make it work, you put the supplied bands around your grips and brakes, to steady the handlebars, then you use the tent pole to prop your bike with the cradle under the top tube.  Sounds complex, but it really isn’t.

Click-stand at work

Plusses?  It’s super stable.  As it holds the weight high (at the top tube), even fully laden, it seems really stable.  It’s also really light.

Minuses?  It’s not as quick as a kickstand – you have to apply the brake bands, then pull out the stand, (mine is mounted on my bike next to my bottle cage), then lean the bike over.  All in all? About 30 secs, but certainly a bit longer than just kicking down a kick stand.

Look, it might not be for everyone, but it’s definitely worth a look.  I love mine!