‘…I want to ride my bicycle…’

cheap, consider, free, friends, help, inspiration, recycle, repair, safety, share

The average family earning minimum wage spends 141 percent of their income struggling to meet basic needs – food, shelter, clothing. 

Sherrod Brown

We met Labbonti today. He was a bit late but he said that he has had a busy night last night. We patiently listened to his story. He lived in Wales in a flat belonging to his sister. She passed away and he, unable to meet the financial expectations, had to leave. He came to Leeds a while a go and slept rough since. We met him today but we already met before too.

His person, especially the state of his bike, was brought to our attention by a message on our social media page. A random passer-by was touched and brought to tears by his bicycle. We browsed the area to meet him and arrange the meet up. When we met him his bike was indeed in a bit of a state…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We talked to him and arranged for the weekend visit to make his ride ride again. His front wheel did not have a tyre on. Nor an inner tube. The brakes did not work, the brake pads were missing, gears did not work, cables and outers were broken. The bottom bracket and the headset were all over the place as well. The bike was a death trap.

Labbonti met us exactly where and when agreed. He came on his bike; you could hear him from the distance- the front rim making the metal grinding against the tarmac sound. We replaced the front wheel, put an inner tube on, put a tyre on, fixed his brakes, adjusted gears, replaced the outers and cables, tightened the bottom bracket, tightened the handlebars, tightened the saddle, tightened the seatpost… All this for a fist pump. And a massive smile.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

When he rode away we saw him grinning like a kid, swerving from one side to another, keeping his feet off the pedals… He enjoyed his bike. He acted like we all did at once- that day when we received a new bike- he enjoyed the ability to travel freely, the happiness, the wind in the hair…

You see this is the time when you give someone something more than a bicycle.

We gave him freedom…

M-check

safety, what is

…it is vital to maintain well oiled and functional machine to take a full advantage of it…

The basic check anyone should perform on a very regular basis is an M-check. It covers the most important areas at which failures can be extremely dangerous.

kjkjhlkj

If you look at your bike from its side you can follow an M shape to check up on it:

  1. starting at the front of your bike you check the wheel (tyre, spokes, hub, skewers or nuts), the brake (cable, blocks or pads, rim or disc), the fork (play, damage), the headset for play and the handlebars for any damage
  2. then move onto the frame (tubing, welds, cables or outers) and follow the checks with a bottom bracket area inspection (bottom bracket play, crankset, rings, chain, pedals)
  3. moving onto the back of your bike check the rear brake (cable, blocks or pads, rim or disc)
  4. finish the check with a rear wheel check (tyre, spokes, hub, skewers or nuts)

M-check (or a shorter version of it once you get comfortable with it) should be carried out at every possible opportunity to ensure your and others’ safety.