FOLDING EVENT From Ken Davison, North Shields, UK Readers may be interested in a new event for folding bike riders which I am helping to organise for next year. It will be held at Newcastle Youth Hostel in Jesmond Road, Newcastle from 22 nd to 25 th May 2009, with rides each day, usually using public transport to get out into the fantastic countryside nearby. We have booked a whole floor of the hostel with 22 beds, and for the evenings there will be a common room with projector, sound systems and laptops for talks, films and slideshows. Anyone coming along is more than welcome to bring along their own pictures or films on CDs or DVDs.
FOREST STEED? From Peter Andrews, Parkend, UK I wonder if you can help me find a bicycle that meets my needs? I spend a lot of time in the beautiful Forest of Dean and I’m deeply envious of all the flashy, high-tech mountain bikes which fill our forest trails on high days and holidays. But I can’t quite bring myself to buy one because, for my purposes, a mountain bike is incomplete.
I want a rugged machine which can cope with muddy tracks and bumpy trails, but one that is equally capable of taking me into one of the nearby towns for a shopping trip. I want mudguards so that I arrive in a presentable state. I need to carry a lock and lights and all of the other paraphernalia of a regular cyclist. I want a bike to which I can lash logs or load with panniers full of shopping, or tow a trailer.
If I were buying a car I suppose I would go for a Range Rover (actually I wouldn’t because ours is a defiantly car-free household! But you get my point.) Does anyone make a stylish, lightweight, purposeful off-road bike? Any wisdom gratefully received!
I suppose it really depends how much rough off-road you really do, and whether you feel that this means you need full suspension. If so, all I can think of is something like the Tout-Terrain Panamericana as reviewed in Issue 28, but that’s a high-cost option. Most MTBs will, as you’ve identified, be hard to kit out with decent racks, mudguard etc. My other thought is a longtail bike, and perhaps most promising for your list of requirements would be the Kona Ute: it’s relatively light compared to the Yuba, and cheap compared to the Big Dummy. The big ‘29er’ (a.k.a. 700c) wheels should make it roll easily over the rough stuff, and the long wheelbase will help even out the bumps. Put some fattish tyres on and it should be a comfy ride – if not, you could add suspension forks later if you wanted. It’s easily available via Kona dealers. You could perhaps make some side baskets or the like for logs – or if you can wait, it seems the 2009 model will come with big side bags included. Any reader have a better idea? Write in and I’ll pass everything on to Peter.
Accommodation at the hostel on a B&B basis is £18 per night. See www.yha.org.uk or phone the YHA on 0870 770 5972 for more details of the hostel. For other information about the weekend or to book please contact me on 0191 296 2916 after 6 PM or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ERRATA The photo of extreme loadcarrying in Malawi last issue was actually sent in by reader Marc Buisson, and not, as incorrectly stated, by Marc Siepman. Apologies to both.
VELOVISION ISSUE 32 DECEMBER 2008
WINDCHEETAH TIP From Oliver Plunkett, Manchester, UK Following on from the tips given last issue about Windcheetahs, can I add my version? To mount a Windcheetah: lift the joystick and hold the brakes in your right hand. Step over the seat with the right foot and place the left hand ¾ of the way up the rim of the seat, and sit down. Your left leg will just spring over the left wheel on its own. Getting off: sit back on seat, hold front brakes, put your left hand about ¾ of the way up the rim of the seat, and lift your left leg over the left wheel, stepping back, and stand up. I was shown these techniques by the Windcheetah manufacturer, Bob Dixon of AVD. The trike has a real recumbent position and is a real cosy ride. I love riding my ‘Cheetah, and I love receiving Velo Vision! Keep up the good work!
Please send your letters to Peter Eland, Velo Vision, York Environment Centre, St Nicholas Fields, York YO10 3ST, UK. E-mail email@example.com. If you can include a picture, please do!