[Photos taken with Rafe's Casio QV-10 digital camera. Click on the small images to see a larger one. ]

(28 Feb 1999) Alas! I have managed to dispose of another bicycle. This time it was written off in an accident—I was ‘in collision’ with a car door. Luckily for me the bike took most of the damage, but in the process the front forks and frame were wrecked. Just about the only component unaffected is the rear wheel. Since this has the hub gears, it is probably the most expensive part of the bike...

The section below was written before the accident. I won't bother going through it to translate the present tense into the past, because (I hope) soon it will be true again. I intend to replace my bike with one just like it.

My recently deceased bike

[Link to bike photo—22K JPEG] This is my new bike (at least, new in Summer 1998). It's what Trek like to call a Multitrack, meaning a ‘hybrid’, which in turn means a bike with a frame a bit like a mountain bike and wheels a bit like a tourer. This tends to strike both MTB and road bike fans as a bit of a strange compromise, but for commuting in Oxford it suits me down to the ground. OK, so the upright sitting position may be less aerodynamic, but being able to see ahead to the next lemming-like tourist makes me feel a lot more confident as I cycle through town.

It has one novel feature, a seven-speed hub gear instead of the usual deraillier [Link to chain guard—23K JPEG] (more usual in Britain at least, where everyone seems to want to ride MTBs whether they live near a mountain or not). One advantage of this is that the chain does not have to move from side to side when changing gears, so it can have a chain guard to protect my trouser-legs from grease and grime. No more need for ankle straps. This is invaluable when I'm off in my suit to see a client... (Having said that, I do still wear ankle straps, since they are reflective and increase my visibility.)

[Link to bike photo—22K JPEG] Thanks to my mum, I also have had a spedometer (that is, a ‘cycle computer’), which means I now know that my house is a mere 2·9 km from work—or 4·8 km if I take the scenic route along the side of the river. Not exactly a major commute :-).

Always lock your bike

[Link to my old bike—26K JPEG] My previous bike was stolen on the day before Good Friday (9 April 1998). Normally I religiously bolted my bike to something whenever I left it. I nevertheless talked myself into thinking it would be relatively safe, stuck under the stairs in the foyer of the office building I work at. This is a classic case of security being undermined by because a small inconvenience experienced daily seems like a big inconvenience after a while. Fellow cyclists, learn from my misfortune!

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