I bought my current bicycle 2014.08.03; through advertisement on gumtree.com. It’s several years old, model Merida Matts Speed, mountain bike with 27 rapid fire gears, disk brakes, air front fork. Has everything you want except hydraulic system for brakes.
Costed me 410 £ and additional 100 £ to service it (configure gears, change chain and rear cassette). You can find all my expenses regarding the bicycle here:
|Cost for used
|Halfords’ Silver service
|Chain (SRAM PC971 9Spd Silver)
|Rear cassette (SRAM PG950 9SPD 11-32)
|Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 U-lock
|Front fork high pressure pump
That initial service price and needed spare parts was unexpected. That’s how you learn to buy used things; and to buy the same parts online to save at least 10-15£.
Cycle to work scheme
My winnings is quite small compared to using http://www.cyclescheme.co.uk/ because of that initial 100£ service.
When I’ve learnt about this scheme, I got all excited, because misusing calculator showed 42% discount. I got approved by my manager and went shopping. Selected the best I could including mudguards, pedals (you always buy them separately), front/back lights, computer, helmet. The price was nearly 1000 £, which is the limit the scheme allows. The next step is to present this bill to the workplace and get a confirmation.
All happy and excited started to google more about how scheme works and learned that I would be saving not 420£, but 320£ (32% because I’m not in high tax rate payer). It was still a good deal, giving me 320£ off. But reading further I found out that after 3 years I would need to pay 7% if wanted to keep the bike. If your stuff costs less than 500£ instead of 7% you would pay 3 or 4 percent. So, the savings started to be only 25%.
Also, I’m not sure about future of my employment. But for the first year you must be working in the same company that the scheme would work. If you stop, you will be paying full price since that time you quit the company. The scheme ends after 3 freaking years – the time I’ll be already in Lithuania. So, it was impossible to use it to my benefits.
I always wanted to learn buying used things, that’s how I got this my bicycle. A friend tried to give me all the knowledge trough skype and looks like I’ve got a good enough bike.
Learning to fix your bicycle
When you buy a new bike, you get a free service after 6 weeks. After driving for about 6 weeks, the tension in cables changes. Everything works according by the tension, because cables themselves does all the work. When I did my service, I’ve learnt how expensive it is. So, when minor problems started to occur with shifting and brake noises, I was forced to learn how to adjust them. It took a while, even with super detailed youtube videos. The bicycle is old, not in perfect condition. Anyway, I’m now experienced enough for minor adjustments.
Next thing was my air fork maintenance. You need to adjust air level when weather gets colder or just every 6-9 months. I suspected that there should be more air for my weight, because the travel length was too long. I’ve bought this air pump:
When I asked at Halfords about adding the air, they said that they don’t do it, but send the fork somewhere else to be serviced. Of course, I believe they would do more, than just to add air as they did more than just adjust gears and change parts with Silver service. But I didn’t want to pay the money. The pump price is definitely less than the service cost. Learning how to use was quick enough. To select proper pressure I needed to find out what is the travel for my fork (12 mm), because the table is for 12 mm and 8-10 mm, but doesn’t tell which one I have.
Finally, I added more air than recommended, making sure it will not travel more than it should even as air gets colder.
Also, I had a problem with the biggest crankset ring. I believe it’s made from alloy instead of steel. Two teeth were somehow bent to inside and the chain wouldn’t go on them. Both of them are at the opposite side of the ring, probably their purpose is to make putting chain more smoothly. The new one costs 20-70£, depending if you want the same quality or cheaper. However, I’ve just bented them back with pliers. One tooth was damaged a little bit in the process. But after commuting for two week everything looks fine. Especially, since yesterday I achieved my high speed record 46,8 km/h while driving back home. Here are couple of pictures to illustrate my problem.
Money saving and exercise
Having excel file helps to track all the expenses and gains. Currently my savings for transport is 78.4 £. My problem here is that I’ve already moved close to work, so needed only to buy bus ticket (3,5 km). Secondly, after work me and coworkers being taken to Barking station with a cab for free (the company pays). That makes my savings only 1.45£ per working day. However, I believe that bicycle will pay for itself in about 2 years: 78.4/2.5 *12 * 2= 752.64£
Not everything is tracked, because the software is not perfect. But I have these numbers from Endomondo:
|Average per month
|Total in 2,5 month
|Average per month
||5 466.8 kcal
|Total per 2,5 month
||13 667 kcal
Having fun with your bycicle
So far I’ve been to Hainault forest once to do some MTB, that was a lot of fun, but also felt like trying to break it. That makes ~50km at high speed, so in the long term the numbers might decrease a little bit in the above table. Another fun thing was to spend couple of hours riding in prudential ridelondon event. You can see a short video from it here.
As I’m traveling to work every single day, I’ve stopped enjoying simple short bicycle rides and don’t do those anymore.
Let’s finish the article with my problem going back home from work on Friday’s evening: