Carrying on from my Winter Project piece I took my “recycled” bike to Wishaw Hill Wood Pumptrack for a Wishaw MTB Club and Socialtrack session.
So as you can see I have changed the tyres. The bike is called a Hemi so obviously needed a set of white wall tyres for that Americana look. It was also a bit wet, and this showed a little failing in the old pedals. Slippy enough to give a few fun moments.
The main reason I bought this bike was to try and prove to the kids that you do not need to spend a lot to get into cycling. I don’t like the elitest attitude about riding only Veblen good style products.
I also came across another argument last night. The one that the project is helped by some bike companies and in a way, this is biting the hand that feeds you. I feel this a straw man argument.
Don’t spend, just shred
If everyone that these kids see turns up on a £1k plus bike. What would they and their parents assume about bikes? They start to feel they would need at least a £1k bike. Our whole society is constructed about making people think this way, so there is no chance of escaping that.
People think that they will be laughed at for their inadequate bike. In the end, these people will more than likely fade out, as cycling is “not for them.” We have taken a fun and great hobby and turned it into a bank account exercise.
These people will then either never move on from renting “good” bikes or will buy one bike and become disheartened that it is “not good enough.” This is a worse state of affairs for the bike trade than letting people think you don’t need the latest shiniest piece of marketing.
Just fecking ride
Last night the few kids at the track were amazed that I was riding a £50 bike. They were used to seeing me with more expensive toys. This is a mistake I should have rectified earlier. The fact that you could buy a bike for £50 was putting ideas in their head.
You could see them trying to work out how they could afford or save up for a bike. They all ditched the more expensive hire bikes to ride around on my bargain basement bike. A bike that had a price tag that seemed to be realistic to the kids. An amount of money that it is possible to have.
This is how you get kids riding. You take them somewhere fun and give them a bike at a price they can understand and value. You are also giving parents a price that they can afford. No one wants to pay £500 to find out their kid is ditching cycling after a month because all the cool kids have a bike double that price.
How to get a bike
I am not saying go and buy the cheap supermarket bikes, as they are all routinely terrible. I am saying check Gumtree, eBay, and your local bike recycling charity. You will more than likely find something. There are numerous stories of professional cyclists pulling their first bike out of a skip.
Let us be honest you are also doing the environment a favour. Look at how many bikes just become disregarded at your local refuse centre. Most of these bikes only need a little TLC. You could pick one up for free and if all you need is some new tubes and a bit of chain lube who is complaining?
We spend our lives surrounded by propaganda to make us consume, why not break the cycle and bring an old bike back to life?
A wee video of the bike being used by the way (I am also not affiliated with the Masons).