Monthly Archives: November 2012

New Bike

I got a new bike this week. After six years in Oxford, riding around on £100 cheap and nasty bikes with inadequate lights, I decided it was about time I stopped pushing my luck and spent some real money on my primary mode of transportation. Happily my employer participates in the Cycle To Work Scheme (and unlike some, administer it all in-house with no middle-man taking a cut), allowing me the use of a decent road bike for a relatively modest deduction from my next twelve pay slips. Here’s a fairly poor picture of it propped up in my hall:

My new bike

Impressions so far? I know nothing about bikes, but spending real money definitely makes for something which feels much smoother, safer and easier to ride. Having a really good (£100) set of lights makes a major difference too, and panniers are really useful to prevent your back getting all sweaty with a backpack.

Incidentally, various friends who’ve been burned in the past chipped in with some helpful advice:

  • Never forget to take your lights off when you park the bike, or someone else will take them off for you
  • Register the frame number with these websites, and there’s a good chance you might get it back if someone steals it and it’s later recovered. Obviously, a solid lock and a dose of paranoia should prevent that…

I can also recommend Beeline on Cowley Road to Oxford residents – very pleasant and helpful, and a couple of free services post-purchase thrown in too.

When bad things happen to good wallets

Today, I put my wallet through the washing machine. Needless to say, this was not intentional.

Let’s start with the good news: despite being made of paper, the wallet itself looks as good as it did when it went in (which is not very, after three years’ hard duty):

The £10 note is still very recognisable, if a bit crinkly.

The plastic cards varied widely in appearance after a good wash at 40. My UK driving licence takes the top prize for being completely undamaged, with Oxfordshire Libraries a close second (slightly bent, but barely noticeable). The rest weren’t so well-built. My debit card became interestingly bubbly, and my credit cards all bent to the shape of the bit of washing machine they ended up wedged against. A bit of a bodge involving the iron and a towel has flattened most of them out again (and they do work – chip and PIN isn’t fazed at all by a good wash), but I fear it’s time to order replacements.