Cycles past and present, in some sort of order of date of acquisition:

On One Pompino

Thought I’d try fixed a few years ago, and also fancied building a bike for the first time.  Fixed scared me too much so I dismantled it and failed to sell the parts.  The wheels became the faster ones for the Hewitt.  There doesn’t seem to be a market for the frames (someone else was trying to sell one on yacf without interest, and that was a more popular size) so I decided to resurrect it, with the plan to encourage the frame to take a hub gear.

In an attempt to make it as low cost as possible, I am trying to use what I have as far as I can.  I did need to buy a hub gear, and found an 8 speed Shimano Nexus on ebay which had no packaging etc but was new (SG-C6010-8R).  After a long time studying the manual and SJS cycles website I figured put what extra bits were needed to fit it.  I think.


Put the hub fitting kit together.  The manual instructions “…install the sprocket and secure it in place with the snap ring” slightly gloss over how difficult it is to get the snap ring in the right place as there is an easier, closer slot that it really likes to go into.  Finally managed to get it in place by using a guy-line tensioner to hold it open, which happened to be just the right size and shape (it did not feature in the Tools Required section).  Also “D = right hand dust cap C, E = right hand dust cap A” put me in mind of Victoria Wood (“take tube A, and apply to bracket D, with flange channel outermost”).  I thought that the good news was I could fit the hub in the rear dropouts without having to permanently spread them, but when I tried to fit it it looks like I need some sort of spacer in lieu of the roller brake to get the non-turn washer on the left hand side to be in the right place.  So some metal abuse may still be required.  Turned my attention to some east wins instead and attached the forks, seat post, and front wheel so I could hang it on the wall.

ICE Sprint


I’ve tried ‘bent trikes a couple of times, but after seeing the price of new ones I have been keeping my eye out for something second hand, and this came up on facebook – more or less what I was looking for, and fairly local.  Boom and chain length adjusted I am now working out what else I need/want and how to mount it.


First proper ride; 30 km out to Otley Chevin and back via Eccup.  Quite a few friendly beeps, waved at several kids, passed nice and wide.

Thoughts: I need lower gears; I used the lowest one several times, and never touched the largest chain ring.  I can see why people have suspension.  Potholes could be a lot more serious than on a two wheeler as they are more difficult to avoid; I am learning to keep the small front wheels out of them, and know where the rear wheel is.  Constant gear changing is needed; too high a cadence causes unpleasant wobbling, too low is obviously difficult.  I love the bar end shifters, although might turn off the indexing on the rear.  It is really easy to change through several in one go.  Great to be able to forget about balance at low speed, and to be able to go as slow as is needed.  More car positioning than I am used to.


Bacchetta Cafe

Bacchetta Cafe recumbent bicycle


White bike

(Awaiting a better name)

£30 Gumtree find, bought to put my studded ice/snow tyres on (well that is my excuse).  The chap selling it was very much a mansplainer so I did a lot of nodding in agreement.  Then I had to ride it home, the only practical way from Horsforth to  being Getting it home was a bit of…

18/02/24 Dismantled to use the good bits elsewhere.


Raleigh Campus

The first bike that I can only justify acquiring on the grounds that it’s gorgeous and it’s my hobby.  Another from CRC which I spotted on the shop floor at £50 but unserviced so not ready for sale.  Am hoping to exchange it for 25 m of white brake cable (minus what I need).  I’m taking the opportunity to give it a thorough going over in time that is additional to my normal Saturday shift so it’s taking a while.

Dated from both the frame number and rear hub to having been born in Nottingham in February 1978.

Raleigh Campus as received

Raleigh headset bearings Raleigh BB shell Raleigh chain ring

Raleigh Campus Raleigh Campus Raleigh Campus

Stormy Archer hub on Raleigh Campus Raleigh Campus Raleigh Campus chainring Raleigh Campus head tube

Current status: fitted new Raleigh Record tyres, serviced front hub and headset.  Removed cotter pins (vice required) and crankset.  New cables.  Rear hub working but would probably benefit from a service.  Have been for a circuit of the local roads, I love the riding position but I don’t think I could go too far on this saddle.


Hewitt Cheviot

My ‘good’ bike; tourer and audax machine.  Bought in 2013 for my John o’Groats trip, the only change to the standard spec was a dymano hub and B&M Cyo N Plus front light.  I fitted a rear B&M 4D-Lite Plus myself later on.  I already had the front and rear racks that had been used on my Trek, and it’s been through a few saddles.  I changed to a short stem pretty quickly.  It did about 1400 km that year camping.

Original spec: Hewitt wheels, SONdelux dynamo and rear hub Shimano Deore, Continental Touring Plus tyres, SKS guards.

Hewitt touring SONdelux dynamo hub Hewitt at John o'Groats

My first audax was later that year.  At the time of writing (September 2018) it’s slowly evolved and done 9000 km of audax rides; first I changed the tyres and more recently the wheels, and a number of luggage options have been tried with my favourite being a Carradice Super C rack bag.  Some audaxes have involved camping and having the rack permanently attached makes sense.

Bike and control at Markington Severn Bridge

Current status: Hewitt original wheels are reserved for proper touring, and need new rims (certainly the rear). Audax wheels are Mavic Open Pro rims, DT Competition double-butted spokes, front hub Shimano DH-3N80 dynamo, rear Shimano LX FH-T670, built by me and Roger Musson’s Wheelbuilding book; Panaracer Pasela Tour Guard tyres. New mudguards are Gilles Berthoud bling after going through too many rear SKS plastic ones.  A nightmare to fit but hopefully they’ll last a bit longer.  Following a bike fit I have a Thomson in-line seat post and a Fabric Cell saddle.


Scott Boulder

After the theft of the Grater I needed a new commuter/utility/hack bike, and I thought a tatty old rigid mountain bike would nice and practical but also less desirable to thieves.  I had a look at a few in Cycle ReCycle (CRC, where I volunteer); rigid adult MTBs are usually around £50 but this was £70 as it is relatively light and has decent components (Shimano LX), although they let me have it for free.  The frame is completely black but the bars say Scott AT2 on, and the wisdom of the internet as identified it as a Boulder of around 1995.  It has a few little bits of rust which add to the anti-theft nature of it but are superficial.

I changed the knobbly tyres before leaving the shop, to some used slicks that we had lying about (rear a Schwalbe City Jet and the front a Tioga City Slicker which looks almost identical), and found an old rack which needed some bending to fit.  The top tube height is fine but the reach was ridiculous, so I changed to an in-line seat post and a shorter stem, being able to swap both for used components from CRC.  It needed new bar tape and I’ve changed the saddle to one of my collection.  I fitted emergency mudguards made of Aldi water bottles (17p), the rear isn’t too ineffective but the front, being down-tube mounted, only protects when travelling in a straight line.  Still it’s better than nothing.  A new chain was required after the existing one snapped in a busy-junction scenario (always the way).  I love the fat tyres, they are really comfortable, but I’m not sure that they leave enough clearance for proper mudguards, which I do need.  Longer term I’d like to fit a hub dynamo and lights.

Scott MTB in snow Bottle mudguards Scott MTB bars Scott MTB LX rear derailleur Scott MTB LX v brakes Scott MTB

Current status: daily commuting and shopping.



I was able to justify buying this when living in a flat with little storage, and I’d also had a small redundancy payment.  It got heavy use when I was working in Coventry, first when I was train commuting from Nuneaton and later in a house where ‘proper’ bikes had to live upstairs and I’d soon tire of carrying one up and down everyday.  Since moving to Leeds it’s only had occasional use but I’d never get rid of it, it’s so handy; recently it’s been on a canal boat trip, on the train to Bradford a few times, and as an emergency spare when my commuter was nicked.  Feels really odd to ride now that I’m not used to it.

Brompton and train Tatty Brompton Brompton

Current status: it’s a proper Trigger’s broom, the rear triangle is looking rather rusty and could do with replacing.



Bought this on a bike to work scheme (back when they actually saved you money), it’s probably done the fewest miles of any of them.  I’ve found that my adrenalin threshold is quite low and throwing myself down rock strewn paths isn’t my idea of fun.  I’ve kept it because although it’s fairly decent I couldn’t sell it for much (it’s hardly cutting edge) and I have made use of it as a winter bike with studded tyres.  Also I’d like to ride some more tame trails, like bits of the Pennine Bridleway.  Because, I think, of lack of use, the disc brakes have been problematic and I’ve spent more time messing with them without actually riding the bastard.

Current status: needs a new rear brake hose.



This caught my eye on eBay and it turns out it belonged to someone who lives a few streets away from me who I know slightly.  I ended up giving him £20 for it as he was moving the next day and it was going to be chucked away otherwise.  It has both a Queer and a Scottish heritage, which pleases me.  It looks like it needs EVERYTHING doing, so a long term project.

Peugeot bike

1975?  From head badge.


Dismantled and mostly scrapped.  Several bolts were un-movable.  Wheels are now a climbing frame for honeysuckle on the garden fence.


Charge Grater

This was an eBay bargain…when my Trek needed new rims I started thinking about other changes that I would make for a fantasy commuter, started looking for a hub gear, and ended up finding one that came with this bike for about the price of a new hub.  Hence the Trek was retired.  I thought the Grater was a small size when I bought it but it actually was an extra small, and I think the small would have been a better fit for me, but it was nice and comfortable for pootling to the shops and going to work.  The 8 speed gear range was fine for getting up the hills in Leeds, with the added bonus of being able to change gear when stationary.  I fitted my Brooks saddle and On-One Mary handlebars (which I love), fitted a rack and changed the pedals.

Charge Grater Grater and Trek Bike parts swap Charge Grater

Current status: one day I parked it, with a decent cable lock, outside WHSmith while I popped into Cycle Surgery for a few minutes.  When I came out it had disappeared, leaving no trace.  I reported it and scoured eBay and Gumtree for a while; it was unique with the bits I had changed plus I had the frame number.  But no luck, and after I investigating I didn’t think it was worth claiming on my home insurance.


This was my first ‘proper new’ bike, as in I did some research before buying it.  I remember having a test ride and thinking how much more nimble it felt than the Purple thing.  I got it in Exeter when I had my first job, it was about £370 including mudguards, rear rack and panniers.  I’m still using the rack and panniers now.  I didn’t know much about bikes then so it was just that, a bike.  It did mostly commuting duties, but also a few longer rides and pub trips (and oh, the best pubs).  It spent a while in my parents’ barn until I had use for it and space to keep it again.  I used it for about a year, again commuting, from the northern reaches of Leighton Buzzard to Milton Keynes; this was about half on tow paths and I learned to love Schwable Marathons.  I resurrected it when living in Coventry and doing my first tour – to Lands End (well when I set out all I knew was that I was headed to a campsite in Taunton for a few days and that after that I had a couple of weeks of leave).  When I moved to Leeds I stopped using my Brompton for commuting and started using this again.

Trek bike in Devon Camping with Trek bike Trek in Penzance station Trek on Way of the Roses Loaded Trek bike

Current status: It needed new rims (originals badly worn), but with the combination of a lack of logic, an interest in an alternative commuting steed, and eBay, this led to the purchase of the Charge Grater, and the Trek was donated to Cycle Recycle in Bradford (where I help out doing mechanic stuff when I can).  It was one of their more expensive ‘for sale’ bikes, but after a few months it was sold and I’m happy to think it’s out there somewhere keeping someone else happy.

Purple thing ‘Universal’?

Sadly I don’t even have a photo of this.  It was the first bike I bought rather than being provided by parents as a thing that children have.  I must have been about 16, my dad took me to a sale of ex-hire mountain bikes and we tried this one.  It might have been about £60 at the time.  I know I requested a pair of mudguards for it for my birthday.  I took it to university at various points when it was more sensible than walking about (I went to university in St Andrews where it was possible to walk from one extreme end of town to the other in an hour, so a bike made short work of anything).

I used it mostly (miles-wise) to commute when I lived in Troon and worked at (as-then) SmithKline Beecham in Irvine, on a 6 month student placement.  There was no other way I could get to work.  I remember that first ride in: tracksuit trousers and a too-warm jacket, rucksack, totally unfit…it didn’t take long before I was loving my morning sight of Ailsa Craig, and joining Sustrans* and dreaming of touring.

Current status: I don’t know what happened to it…probably still in my parents’ barn
*Finally cancelled my direct debit a few years ago after a farcical route through my then place of work and meeting a member of their staff…