Changing bikes

Don’t give in on that bike you’ve got rusting away in a cupboard. Words: Richard Moore Photos: Jonathan Littlejohn

o sign of Carol Smillie or Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen for The List’s Changing Bikes challenge. Shame. But never mind: adequately filling their boots was Andrew Davies. one of Scotland’s leading cycle mechanics. who would attempt to transfonn a tatty bike into a natty bike. Resisting the temptation to raise the stakes by presenting Andrew with a rust bucket plucked from the Union Canal. we

On my first trip to France I snapped a cable and needed to jam it back in

with a bit of wood.

rolled up. instead. with a Cannondale mountain bike belonging to our guinea pig. John Macdonald. a 34—year-old dispensing optician.

‘Natty,’ in fact. wasn‘t a word that featured on the brief for our mechanic; the last thing we were looking for was superficial sprucing. Instead. John was after a smoother and more efficient machine; something like the one he bought four years ago for £700.

‘It’s pretty worn out.‘ said a sheepish John. pre-overhaul. ‘It definitely needs a service, because I’ve ridden it for an extended period of time without one. The bike hasn’t been at its best. The gears aren’t working: the front mechanism isn‘t shifting and the chain has become very stretched.

‘And I ride it a lot; I do 4—5.()()() miles a year. riding around town and on cycling holidays. This summer I’m heading to

Provence for a touring holiday. where I‘ll be riding some really mountainous roads.‘ To the untrained eye the bike looked in reasonable nick as it checked in for its makeover. But don‘t be fooled by appearances: much of the work might be ‘invisihlc’. but it can make a huge difference to the way a bike feels.

In this case. U25 covered new gear

mechanisms. chain. crank. cables. pedals and labour and a post-overhaul test ride leaves John a happy camper. ‘lt feels much better and much newer.‘ he reports. ‘You forget what a new bike feels like to ride: everything is more efficient and it feels tauter.

‘It makes me keener to keep on top of

the maintenance. But it would be crazy not to get a proper service before something like a touring holiday. because I‘ll be doing about 450 miles a week. On my first trip to France I did go away on my old Muddy Fox having not maintained it properly. I strapped a cable and needed tojam it back in with a bit of wood. But i could have been stranded and l wouldn‘t risk that again.‘

The deluxe Bicycle Works makeover costs £48. The basic service - external adjustments only - costs £24. Available from the Bicycle Works, Edinburgh, 0131 228 8820. The Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative runs maintenance courses, costing from £16 to £45. Available from Edinburgh Bicycle Co-operative, 0131 228 1368.

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b 8 Jul SCUMB 4. organised by Bothy Bikes. Details tbc. 01560 600707.

12 Jul Bike Blast. See 24 May.

14 8: 15 Jul The Great

Glen and Kinloch Hourn.

0131 6641809.

22 THE LIST 10—2-1 May 2001

Mountain biking or road cycling trip, tackling either the Great Glen or Glen Garry to Loch Hourn. Includes two nights at Loch Lochy Youth Hostle.

26 Jul Bike Blast. See 24 May.

5 Aug West of Scotland Mountain bike championships, Abertoyie. 0141 563 3260; e-mail 9Aug Bike Blast. see 24 May.

15 Sep Trailquest

Ecosse. Aberioyle. See

26 May.

16 Sep Pedal for Scotland, PO Box 13873, Portobello. Edinburgh, EH15 3YE. 01483 417217. Glasgow—Edinburgh

mass participation ride.

17-21 Sep Velo-City International Cycle Conference Edinburgh/Glasgow. 014i 434 1500: e-mail velo_city@meeting makerscouk A Velo—City outreach plan is now underway through

schools. bike breakfasts, car-free day, exhibitions, and various other events and initiatives.

22 8. 23 Sep Trailquest Ecosse. Aviemore. Mountain bike orienteering. See 26 May.