the skill of upcycling old bikes that were destined for a life of decay in a shed or garden is for some’ a difficult task .

one of my personal favourites is to use old 1990s atb frames and forks upcycled into heavy load carrying tourers and heavy load pullers . if chosen correctly you can get a fine quality all butted cro-moly frame for under £50 . my choice for this post is a Marin Bolinas Ridge from 1997 . 20170413_164410.jpg

its all cro mo ,triple butted and tough . i built this bike to save my vintage bikes from being damaged when hauling big loads , shopping etc . It also wont break my heart or upset the insurance company if it were to get pinched or wrecked .

the components are a mix of old atb parts from the shed with some later shimano sti shifters . LX cantilveres , cheap but reliable wheels and 26 x 1.35 schwalbe CX pro tyres . i run it with a stem riser to give a more heads up ride position . this thing is for slow rides with really rough sections, commuting, and shopping . it really can take a beating and the 26″ tyres and huge tyre clearance makes it cheap and easy to find rubber for it .


supple and grippy cx pro , one of the only tyres allowed in the junior cyclocross nationals .

old 1990 7 speed deore derailleur , a modern deore hollow-tech 2 crankset . the shifters are 8 speed sora items but i only use 7 of the gears and it works perfectly well without any mods . The narrow width and open tread with connected centre row of knobles on the schwalbe tyres is awesome  when the going gets muddy but are light enough to roll well on the smooth stuff .

the mudguards are aluminium as the plastic items always get cracked or worse . metal guards need a little more care in fitting or they can rattle a bit . They are also paintable which will be handy when i get round to giving this bike a respray in a light olive colour .

It has cost me less that £200 to put this bike together ,  granted i do have a large pile of old parts to draw on but i did purchase a few bits on ebay . While i like to see a thriving bike industry i am still fully commited to the recycling of stuff in general that has life it . My hi-fi is further evidence of this philosophy. It is from the 60s and took a lot of effort to revive but is a joyous group of things to use , as are vintage bikes. . All’ are of a time when built in obsolescence was a filthy phrase coming out of anyones mouth . 

I choose to live a life that rejects the child like mentality of wanting new toys that are tossed aside as soon as a new toy is availabe . Seek the quality and look after it . 


Wish you were here

Cycle paths ,  a relatively new phenomenon and for us that cycle, a very welcome one.

Hardly a month goes by that i dont have an ‘ oh , a new path i never saw before’ moments while out and about . The investment by various initiatives and fund sources is not inconsiderable. Sadly a lot of that funding is lost to the administration and planning of such facilities . I know first hand just how much funding is misappropriated.  Not in a criminally devicive way but, funds are granted then projects are delayed by often pointless and petty interference ,  these delays can have funding used up on other projects in the juggling act needed to run a social initiative or suchlike .20160508_160520_002


It is a fantastic thing to have the ability to go out on a bike and within 10 minutes be away from traffic and the relentless urban white noise of modern life , when suddenly surrounded by an environment that is far more fitting of the human condition a wave of freedom or reinvigoration is instilled within . A reminder that you are actually more than a work and tax robot or technology slave .

The union canal is now a truly superb place , very busy but nice .


Many cyclists now use it as a commuter route and travel at too high a speed . I do travel at high speed for as long as i can see no pedestrians . As soon as i see those on the hoof i roll it back . While this method adds a few minutes to a 5 mile commute its worth leaving a few minutes early to prevent the heated yells or possible accidents usually accompanied by a yell and followed by a rather inconvenient ‘splash.  Just try to slow up around others and try not to use headphones if you easily get a fright everytime a cyclist passes you as you couldn’t hear their bell .

There are also outdoor activities hubs for watersports etc that also have distracted kids meandering onto the path oblivious to the student en route to uni or shift worker pedaling home after a hard day . This applies to all the cycle paths at rush hour or shift change times .

Above is a pic which is indicative of the uptake of cycle routes as commuting routes and proof that if the infrastructure is there ,people will use it . This also benefits car drivers as it takes cars off the roads which reduces jams and stress for car drivers which of course knocks on to the rest of us . I must say i have noticed a change for the better in car drivers , generally more courtesy and old school driving etiquette rather than the kill or be killed mind set of the 90s .

At the river almond at cramond. A real beauty spot

Cycle paths ! Get out and explore them .

a brief intro


as an aging cycle rebel which , for the most part’ has pretty much stuck 2 fingers up to ‘Cycling fashion’ , i can testify that cycling fashion is cyclical in nature ( pun intended , sort of) .

with that fashion cycle comes consumer demand . at the moment there is a huge upturn in vintage bicycle restoration , renovation and general recycling, most likely as an offshoot of cyclings popularity increasing exponentially as sport, hobby , park larking and general mode of healthy commuting transportation . this leads to people becoming part of a tribe of sorts .

That person you were shouting at in your car on the way to work as ” shoudnt be on the f*****g road ” , or, ” look at this a**e , you dont even pay road tax” or similar , in a heat of the moment kind of way ,, that person is now your equal and all the stiffs in cars with head in hand sat at another set of traffic lights are now somehow missing out . once in the unspoken tribe of wheelmen, or perhaps a more gender neutral wheelperson is way more apt?  you may gain a hunger for more  of these wonderful machines and the lifestyle that invariably accompanies it . this can go in so many directions . from group rides in carefully chosen locations for beginners to full on sportives , fun / novelty rides such as tweed runs  , or on vintage note L’Eroica , which is an event i have yet to attend   , maybe it will come north to Scotland one year .

this huge boom in cycling is wonderful in so many ways , it wasnt all that long ago in the grand scheme of things that the UK government was actively working to shut down cycling in the UK all together . here is a link to Dave Moultons blog on that subject  , .

however ( there had to be one ) the upturn is also bad for the cycling consumer , prices have skyrocketed in many ways ,  the eyewatering price of some uber trendy cyclewear is just obscene . i cant knock folks for wanting a certain look on the bike as am guilty of having a certain if rather odd desire to only wear certain clothes when on the bike for a proper ride  .

this all kinda takes to the point of this intro , cycling breaks down a lot of life barriers , the social brainwashing we all suffer from becomes absolutely defunkt when you are whiping along a toe path or gravely fire road where there are only 3 things in the world that matter  , You ,your bike and the now .


be who you are and f**k convention , but afford others the same


your bike

anything but make sure its safe and reliable


the moment

we only get a limited amount


above is one of my bikes

it was made in 1950 , all the parts are old stock and recycled /repaired vintage parts . its a higgins ultralite , repainted at some point in a very Italian (see maglia rossa) pink . more on this bike in another post .

the above bike sort of led me to write this blog of dullness but if even one person gets even moments interest from it ,that will do .

using vintage bikes everyday .

even though i own a few more modern bikes i genuinely prefer these vintage machines in every way . they are ridden on all terrains and i must admit i get some sort of joy out of riding on what is considered by many to be mountain bike trails . the look on faces as i roll by on shiny ,skinny wheeled vintage road racing bikes is grand .

this blog will meander around the cycling subject as much as i do when out for slow roll about .

thanks for stopping by 20170411_192604