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Archive for April, 2015

Life is short, as we know – but the re-cycle-athon goes on forever …

Welcome to ‘Re-Cyclocross’, a fun outdoor event for amateur re-cyclists. Here is a typical re-cyclocross bike :

oxford international

oxford international

This event traditionally begins at “Chuck-Out Time”, the twice yearly hard waste council pick-up event that’s coming to a suburb near you …. ( OK, so some councils have sadly done away with this tradition but it’s still going strong around these parts ).

This is basically how it goes :

A provincial sport based around finding as many classic ten-speed bikes as possible in a given time, hoisting them over one’s shoulder and carrying said ten-speeds to a waiting ute or van, to then be whisked off to the re-cyclist’s grotto for assessment and / or repair.

I would note here that unlike regular cyclocross where the bike is shouldered to surmount steep hills or obstacles, in re-cyclocross this is usually done because the found bike has no wheels… and I’ve noticed this de-wheeling happening a lot lately. In some ways this is good because the average tyre-kicking citizen is less likely to pick up and keep an incomplete bike.

protour crx100 62cm

protour crx100 62cm – a decent frame

One begins by parking at an appropriate location considering carefully the age demographic of the chosen suburb. For example, new estates are generally a waste of time as the residents tend to only chuck out outgrown kids’ bikes.

no-one wanted this - not even me !

no-one wanted this cheap hybrid – not even me !

Hmmm, then again, the humble kids bike need not always be overlooked as they can be a useful supply of 110mm coaster brakes and 95mm front hubs, often only lightly used. These can be  laced into classic 27″ rims if 36 hole. However I don’t always pick these up as it’s a shame when the bike is complete, as these 16-20 inchers usually are.

hi-stop 110mm coaster from child's bike

hi-stop 110mm coaster from child’s bike

Nevertheless, it’s the classic ten speeds that are the main appeal, like this just found beauty, an Apollo ‘Capri’ ladies 27″ —- cool bananas !

bike find of the week - rusty but straight, paint is reasonable

Often to be found in the older areas where they have had plenty of time to age and rust quietly unused in the garage for a few decades while their owners are otherwise occupied with life. I say ten speeds because one is lucky to ever find a three speed anymore, they are quite rare.

apollo capri

apollo capri – classic !

Anyway, after parking the van the sporting method is to mount one’s bicycle and set off on a block by block time trial around the suburb, carefully balancing the need for speed with the subtle skill of picking out a handlebar or other clue whilst whizzing past countless piles of the once loved leftovers from our culture of materialism.

aha-there's one -- and no, i left it there

aha-there’s one — and no, i left it there

20km/h is plenty fast enough for this section, unless one is being pursued by scrappies or the council truck…this time though, I see less scrap merchants around. Falling iron ore prices, perhaps ?

At least one need not be concerned about other cyclists, they are generally in a different race, busy minding their own business or strava-ing away.

roadmaster gx10 k-mart -  too heavy !

roadmaster gx10 (k-mart) sports – too heavy !

The usual opposition are those scrappies and tyre-kickers driving around in their trucks, utes, 4WDs etc. They will think nothing of snaffling one’s ‘new pride and joy’ while one is engaged in a sprint back to one’s van … ( whew, that was lucky ! ).

Being able to judge bike quality quickly is a skill I’m still working on, because I prefer to swoop quickly and then examine the spoils afterward, at leisure.

speed star single speed - interesting, but poor quality

speed star single speed – interesting, but poor quality frame

Sometimes one sees a lot, sometimes little. Even a single wheel can be useful if it’s the right kind. People don’t generally throw out perfectly useful bikes though, there is always something wrong, however minor.

My best find was a nice silver Shogun Samurai a while back.

a nice find if i do say so ... shogun trail breaker

a nice find if i do say so … shogun trail breaker

This time the best find was probably this Shogun Trail Breaker MTB with Shimano Exage 400 LX components. Many parts will need to be improvised though.

yay, replaceable chain rings and a quality frame !

yay, replaceable chain rings and a quality frame !

All in all I guess the event is a combination of orienteering, time trialling, sprinting, cyclocross, and ‘couch potato in the auto’. ( The truly dedicated would probably use a bike trailer or bakfiets to do the pick-up, adding to the difficulty and immediacy ).

And remember, if that neglected Tommasini or DeRosa has been gazzumped when one returns, it’s only a game … and one should have carried something that good away on the bike immediately … sigh.

off track

But wait – don’t relax yet, the event isn’t over !

The final stage of re-cyclocross is the ‘dismantle-athon’. There are a couple of reasons for this, one being the need to store the useful bits away in as little of one’s limited space as possible. The second reason is the ‘partner factor’ i.e. ” Where did that come from ? You have enough bikes already !!!! Grrr !
Needless to say, the speed of the dismantle is paramount, adding haste to the re-cyclists spanner-work skills !

In this way one can chuck out one’s unwanted bits at one’s very own chuck-out a few weeks later, while appearing as a non-hoarder by actually getting rid of stuff and re-cycling useful scrap metal. Ahh, such subterfuge – I love it !

Happy Re-Cyclocrossing ! ( and don’t forget to smell the flowers when it’s over ).

serenity

serenity

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