Before you read on this post could be construed as a piece of virtue signalling. If you are an easily triggered gammonflake, you might not want to read on. As some of you who have read this blog before or its predecessor, The Sultry Single Speeder, I have been involved in a pump track community scheme in Wishaw. Due to various parts of my life colliding I had to take a back seat, but due to a slightly freer schedule I will be back again this winter.
I will be over helping with a bike related Club 365 project. What is Club 365 I am pretending to hear you say? Well, you can either click on the hyperlink back there, or I can tell you.
As you might be aware, the UK has recently been having a tendency to vote for governments that go in for killing social cohesion. To help them do this, they created a project called Universal Credit. They use this project as a disguise for wiping out benefits. On a side note as benefits decrease so do working wages, funny that.
This is causing a shit load of deprivation. You don’t have to believe me, the UN has said so. You are probably now asking what that has to do with cycling? The Wishaw Hill Wood Pumptrack is in a very deprived area. One of the most deprived areas in the EU. Thankfully we are leaving the EU to help alleviate that title.
Don’t sort the issue, just play with semantics, you have to love political people. Anyway, a lot of children there live in poverty. They suffer from a problem known as holiday hunger. Basically, when the kids ain’t at school, they ain’t getting fed, that is a very rough definition.
Through the guys at Socialtrack, there will be coaching sessions at the pump track through the winter holidays. This is to help bring the kids to a safe place where they can be fed and checked up on while having fun (hopefully).
One of the big issues I felt I was getting wrong was that I would be at these sessions on some form of expensive bike. You know, I like bikes and sometimes you spoil yourself. Then someone mentions how one of Scottish Cycling’s Go Ride coaches likes to turn up on Santa Cruz bikes to sessions aimed at getting new folks into cycling.
I thought about this, and I felt we are straight away creating a more elite structure. We are taking people who want to get into cycling and showing them 5k bikes when a £500 bike would more than manage. We are making cycling seem far too expensive, it is only for people with money. Fuck that elitist attitude.
This seems at odds to various projects ethos if you ask me.
So when I got asked to help this year. I pondered my bike choice. Then Bikes For Good posted a bike on their Facebook page.
The project bike
The Hemi is a funny looking bike, and for £50 with money going to a charity I felt this could be the right bike. When the Hemi was at the height of its popularity I kind of wanted one. I would not have admitted that at the time as I rode a brakeless four pegged street machine and my crew would have endlessly ridiculed me.
This stuck with me. The Y frame might be a dated concept, but to kids, it still looks cool. This, after all, is a project to try and take kids away from negative issues and teach them that cycling can be fun and not exorbitantly expensive.
I’ll probably change the tyres, grips, and bars but mainly it will stay the same. The tyres currently have a very motocross feel. The bigger tyre at the back and the smaller tyre at the front. I kinda love that, but the knobs won’t be too fun on the pumptrack. I’ll put bigger bars on as I like not having a sore back and grips are just a personal thing.
I love the Shimano freewheel sticker as the bike currently does not have a Shimano freewheel, never mind multiple Shimano freewheels. I am now left wondering where on the original factory spec the bike had a load of freewheels fitted?
I also enjoy the designed in America sticker. Fuck actually making them in America. Do not worry though the frame has a made in Taiwan sticker fitted at the standard jaunty angle.
So I guess this will be my fun bike to try and convince kids that bikes are fun and doesn’t need to be hugely expensive. I think we need an advocacy group for keeping cycling affordable.