Sunday, May 31, 2009

Campaign Rapid Response for Bike Beauties

Nicole watching on as Andy and Marie crack on with the repair.

The Campaign was called out today on its first urgent repair job for the Beauty and the Bike project. The Cycling Campaign has been commissioned to provide a repair and maintenance service for the wonderful dutch bikes for the duration of the project. The bikes are being hired by the young women from Velodarlo, a self-managed bicycle sharing scheme that makes attractive dutch bikes available to the people of Darlington for a small charge.

Until now, we've been dealing with minor issues such as cabling, basket installs and re-tightening nuts and bolts after bike transit. But today Nicole called with a rear tyre puncture, after a thorn got into the inner tube. The Excelsior bike, like most in the Velodarlo fleet, has 28" wheels. A call to Halfords revealed that these are regarded as "rare these days" in this country. Funny how a town can be so behind the times that "modern" here is already becoming "out of date" elsewhere, but that's so-called entrepreneurial capitalism for you.

So a 27" inner it had to be. Step forward the heroes of the hour, Campaign members Andy and Marie. They were over to Nicole's house within the hour complete with tool kit, and had the tube replaced after another 30 minutes. After the job, they both said that the task with a dutch bike is totally different to the usual UK mountain bike, with chain guards and hub gears to grapple with. And with the size and type of spares also differing, the chances are that one of the local bike shops would have had problems. But they reckon that with a few more tube changes, the Campaign should have the collective knowledge to manage future issues without a problem.

Nicole is now back on two wheels again, and will be seen on the roads of the town tomorrow morning on her way to her Maths GCSE.

Good Luck Nicole!


Inconvenient Truth said...

One further observation on the 28" wheel issue. The 26" wheel, so standard in the UK, is regarded as a kid's size in cycling-friendly countries. In design terms, they are appropriate for much smaller bodies than the average adult.
Why, one might ask, do we put adults on kids' bikes? Could it reflect the level of seriousness with which we address cycling?

David Hembrow said...

It's a bit more complicated than that. I think what happened here was confusion over what size was being asked for. Halfords in the UK is not usually the most well informed of shops. There are a variety of tyre sizes called '28"', '26"' etc. and they're not very logical.

The two most common wheel sizes these days for adult bikes are the '28"' 622 mm diameter rim and the '26"' 559 mm diameter rim.

The 622 size is the rim size used by most modern "Dutch" bikes, and also by virtually all British touring bikes and all racing bikes everywhere these days. It's not rare at all, and it's probably what you were looking for.

Mountain bikes, and a whole load of other machines too with '26"' wheels tend to use the 559 mm rims. These are also used on moederfietsen in the Netherlands, and sometimes on cargo bikes as a smaller wheel is stronger all other things being the same. They also are used on many recumbents and other specialized bikes. There is nothing at all wrong with them for adults to ride on.

The old '27" x 1 1/4' wheel size that used to be on all racing style bikes in the UK is just very slightly larger at 630 mm.

There is also a relatively rare '28"' size still used on some very traditional bikes in the Netherlands. These measure 635 mm.

Also, note that you still come up against the 590 mm '26"' size as that was used on many British roadster type bikes. Indeed, I ride daily on such a machine.

Oh, and kids bikes here quite often use other sizes again. There is a '24"' size which is quite common, using a 507 mm rim size.

These are but a few of the more common wheel sizes. Sheldon Brown made a pretty thorough list, but he didn't claim it was complete.

Inconvenient Truth said...

Thanks for putting us straight, David. I'm pretty sure you're right about 622.

wuppidoc said...

Very precise David, thanks. I shall check with the shop in Bremen, where we get those bikes. Generally we ride on 28" bikes in Germany, 26" are not so common with adult bikes. I guess some mountain bikes have that smaller size. I shall report.

Kevin Love said...

Pashley roadsters, made in England, use 28" wheels.