Mobile Maintenance

When your bicycle breaks down you can’t always carry it to your favourite workshop for a facelift. Following my struggle for results with Evans Cycles, I discovered the London Bicycle Workshop near Chancery Lane, and was impressed with their top-notch work. I had known that various parts needed replacing and was willing to check Fly in to ensure the best results.

But now picture the scene: you’re on your way to work when disaster strikes…. you drag your bicycle onto the pavement, inspect the damage (inner tube/cables/brake pads…. could be anything). You complete the journey by carrying the bicycle the rest of the way and then what? If you don’t have a car you can’t drive your bike to the shop, and you’re not always near to one. It’s at times like these that mobile repair shops come into their own.

There are plenty of mobile mechanics to choose from but I have long been a fan of London based Cycledelik. They offer services by the grade depending on your need, starting with the Express at just £19.99. My usual mechanic is named Wiktor, and once a year or so he will text confirmation and pedal up on his customised frame, dreadlocks flowing, whether it be to the theatre where I work or to my house, and make my bike cruise like it’s 1978 and she’s fresh out the factory. When you’re at home you don’t feel the pressure of the usual bike shop. I don’t worry about being patronised for being in a dress, I don’t have to stand in front of a counter for half an hour trying to get anybody’s attention. I offer a cup of tea, usually declined, and we’ll chat about cycling for a bit before I retreat indoors to make my lunch.
If anything needs adjusting afterwards, you can get in touch with Cycledelik or your mechanic and presto, tweaked perfect!

To book an appointment with Cycledelik, visit their website.

Green fingered

I’ll be honest, I’ve been cycling my daily commute for almost 3 years, and I’ve had my Raleigh ‘Fly’ since Novemeber 2009, and in all this time, I have never cleaned either of the two bicycles I have owned. It’s shameful, I know, but thanks to Green Oil, I have reformed my paltry ways.

The first thing that you need to know about Green Oil is that their entire ethos is based on sustainability: this means that the containers are bio oilrecycled (and recyclable!) and the products themselves are biodegradable. Now, I have never fully agreed with the notion that all cyclists are environmentalists, but given the choice, going green is only natural. With that in mind, when I came across Green Oil it seemed like the perfect reason to finally scrub down my bicycle and feel twice as good about it.

The website offers the environmentally savvy cyclist plenty to choose from, from basic cleaning and maintenance products, to tempting dynamo powered pedals that light up. I opted for the “Eco Rider Deluxe Set”, pictured above, which includes everything I needed to get started on pampering my bicycle for £34.99. My first impression was that the generous bottle of Green Clean smelled like fresh lemons, and as I spritzed, scrubbed and fumbled an attempt to clean my bicycle, I began to see results. The chain is brighter, the blue frame gleams without its usual smudges along the mudguards, and my sense of satisfaction could not be denied. Not only was I cleaning my bicycle after all this time, but I was doing so with a clear conscience.

Feeling rather pleased with myself, I finally attached the skirt-guard and sunflower garland that I had purchased on ebay and been waiting to put to use. So here she is, spruced and ready for summer, my dear old bicycle, Fly.

fly 2fly

Locking up

gssGreat Suffolk Street, SE1.

About a third of the way along my daily route, I cycle down a short section of Great Suffolk Street which I fondly think of as the loveliest part of my journey. It is on this stretch of road that you will find delightfully smooth tarmac, a scattering of bunting and hanging baskets on storefronts, and the PlantLocks I mentioned in “Locks in Bloom” and “Flowers and D-Locks“. There is almost always a ladylike bicycle leaning against the wall opposite the local pub, The Libertine. All in all this is a very cycle-friendly patch of London, and even the local council buildings have joined in by providing the above bicycle lockers.

I’m sure that you too will have noticed the steady appearance of interesting new bike locks, I have managed to capture only a few, but this Going Going Bike have this week featured an article entitled “Bikeoff: a crime design dream” that explores how design is influencing how secure our bikes really are, and what they’re doing to change this.

“Why don’t you make your way there”

Lambeth you’ve never seen,
The skies ain’t blue, the grass ain’t green.
It hasn’t got the Mayfair touch,
But that don’t matter very much.
We play the Lambeth way,
Not like you but a bit more gay
And when we have a bit of fun
Oh, Boy.

Any time you’re Lambeth way,
Any evening, any day,
You’ll find us all
Doin’ the Lambeth Walk. Oi!

These wonderful bike stands were installed last year, and I have finally been able to find a moment to stride into the road and capture them. What a perfect way to welcome cyclists to the borough! These are to be found by Saint George’s Circus on Waterloo Road, and it;s great to see that Lambeth LBC is taking an interest in not only sprucing up the area (an activity play park for children has also been refurbished mere seconds away from this site), but in doings so in a practical way. Let’s hope to see more of this across London!