Saturday, April 19, 2014

Local Bike Shops - Birkins Cycles

As I started doing some research for this series of posts on Local Bikes Shops in Derbyshire  I was quite amazed at the number of such shops which exist(ed). The last article talked about Wylds which opened for business in 1928 and continued trading for almost 70 years.
And the increase of the  number of shops entering the market seems to show no sign of abating. One of the latest to open for business is Birkins Cycles which is on Sutton Lane, Foston. Let's get one thing clear from the start. The owner is Tim Watt and the place gets its name from the land on which it is situated, Birkins Croft Small Holding. Tim opened for business in December, 2012 when he took a large garden shed and converted it to a work shop. Obviously a cyclist himself, I think it is fair to say that he proved to be no elite cyclist and discovered that he enjoyed tinkering with bikes as much as, if not more than, riding them.
He now provides three lines of business,  Servicing, Repairs and Restoration and from the number of bikes waiting attention then the business seems to be going well.

Being a pretty small enterprise, Birkins do not stock spare parts or accessories but buy them in as and when required. For me the most interesting part of the business is the restoration side and when I was there Tim was working on a 1970s Dawes Galaxy which had been stripped down and the frame resprayed, the forks and stays chromed using local craftsmen for these specialized tasks.

Like many local bike shops, Birkins are keen to promote cycling in the local community and are helping to set up and support Hilton Cycling Club as an umbrella group for local leisure cyclists.
Whilst Tim has ideas of where he would like the business to grow, that is for the future, and for now he is happy just consolidating the business and providing lots of tender loving care for a steady stream of restoration projects.

I am hoping to visit Mercians for my next post in this series, a Local Bike Shop with a World Famous reputation.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Novice Bike Mechanic and Wheel Rims

Am off later today to see a Local Bike Shop for a tour of the workshop and a chat with the owner, but I will report back on that in another post.

Those of you who follow my blog will realize that I am a bit of a numpty when it comes to bike maintenance and repairs, but I am trying to do more things myself just to learn a little more about the machine. As part of this self education exercise I am stripping down ( though a proper bike mechanic would say I was just cleaning the easy bits ) my Specialized Sirrus Comp Hybrid, my first bike, and replacing the worn out bits. Given that the front tyre is now almost transparent I thought it could do with a change and whilst at it I would give the rims a good clean as they were looking a bit black and stripey.

Despite my efforts using boiling hot soapy water and then cleaning with rubbing alcohol, the streaks remain.

Closer inspection shows that these streaks are in fact very shallow grooves. I knew that brake pads sometimes leave deposits of the pad on the wheel but I suspect from looking at this that the pad has had grit embedded which has subsequently scarred the rim.
I dont know if different pad compounds are better but I think that perhaps I should be examining the pads more frequently and looking to remove grit which has become embedded.
These Alexis Rims are 6 years old now ( I say rims but the rear wheel rim cracked long ago and I had to buy another wheel ) so perhaps wear and tear is to be expected

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Wylds Part 2

Tomorrow morning I am off to talk to Tim Birkin who runs Birkin Cycles, so watch this space. However my last post generated some interchange on our local Cycling Network and Mark had a story to tell, which I thought worth repeating

I had my second Raleigh 753 from Paul in 1980. 
It was stolen from Alvaston around 1983. 
TWO weeks ago it appeared on ebay in Long Eaton! !!!
I now have it back. 
Now fully stripped currently undergoing full nut and bolt restore Inc full respray Inc original decals. 

Mark reckons it will be fully operational in 5 weeks..though I doubt the engine is quite as powerful as the original version shown in the first image!

I am also off to Mercians soon... so, if you own a Mercian, have a story then please get ready to share it when the article is posted.