As a Community Interest Company (CIC) we have to report each year to the CIC regulator. It’s a way of explaining how we’ve tried to benefit the community, and it enables the regulator to check that we’re not doing anything that’d be inappropriate for a non-profit. The most recent report that we’ve submitted is for 2016/17.
I get news from The Guardian and my social media echo chamber, so widespread agreement that 2016 has been an utter ballbag should come as no surprise. But despite the end-of-days ambience, you have to seek out the positives. As the year draws to close, it’s comforting to look back and scrape together a list of not-altogether-shite things that have happened close to home. In no particular order, here are 10 good things from Roll for the Soul in 2016. (An entirely subjective list by Rob.)
As a Community Interest Company (CIC) we have to report each year to the CIC regulator. It’s a way of explaining how we’ve tried to benefit the community, and it enables the regulator to check that we’re not doing anything that’d be inappropriate for a non-profit. The most recent report that we’ve submitted is for 2015/16.
You know we love riding bikes, right? Including a bit of racing. But we’re rubbish, so we live our racing dreams vicariously through a few of our friends. One of those is our sponsored rider Matt Jones, who loves big, tough, lonely races that go on all day and long and into the night when the rest of us are tucked up in bed.
Many things that we didn’t anticipate have happened since we opened in July 2013. A campaign of intimidation by a bunch of spotty oiks was an unexpected pain in the arse. Whereas appearing in an NME feature on Bristol’s DIY music scene and producing a CD of bands who we hold very dear have been unexpected pleasures.
The evening’s are drawing in and the clocks are about to go back; you need a good quality pair of lights and that’s what this months that’s what we’re all about. Coincidentally it’s also the focus of October’s Workshop Offer: clearance lights at knock down prices and all others at 15% off; just nip upstairs to the Workshop see what’s in stock.
Last month we wrote at some length about mudguards. This month we address another passion: good quality lights for all! There are some real stunners in the line up too; from good quality commuters that will get you by quite safely to lightweight lithium wunderkids of the illuminated world and honkinly bright LED arrays for MTB’er before moving onto the mysterious world of the Dynamo.
Fitting lights to your bike is important…and also a legal requirement! We’re pretty damned liberal but on this subject we refuse to budge; lights are mandatory and not just because of the law. They make you and other road users safer and to not fit them show’s a lack of responsibility whilst also making cyclists look bad (just like the act of skipping a red light; more next month). Given that a budget set of safety lights is about a tenner (though we don’t recommend them, buy cheap buy twice) there’s no financial argument either; have a couple of less pints one week and buy some lights!
So…onto the technology.
For the past year and a bit we’ve been stocking and selling a whole shed load of Blackburn’s USB rechargeable ‘Flea’ models. Most of the staff run these lights and they’re pretty sweet! The Flea 2.0 Lightset is the perfect affordable commuter set. The front light kicks out 40 lumens and the rear is nice and bright. With a really neat and portable magnetic USB recharger and sturdy Velcro straps you can take these to work to charge and stash them in your pockets when you go for a night out; run time 5hrs for front and 12 hrs for the rear when flashing so you should only need to recharge them once every week or less. Usually these are £45 a pair; our remaining stock is £27; get ‘em whilst they’re hot. We’ve also got some single rear’s sitting around: £16.
We’ll be honest; we dig most of Blackburn’s stuff really (another Close Contender would be some of the offerings from very well known Cateye) so the next suggestion from us is the Super Flea…yep, same name, different game! These last just as long but this time give you 120 lumens; Ryan uses these front and rear and thinks they’re stupidly good. Like their smaller siblings they’ve got a handy power meter gauge so you’re never caught out and are just as portable but instead of just getting you seen allow you TO see and a lot of the time that’s really important; they aren’t out of place in dark country lanes and are bright enough that our grease monkey even uses them as a ‘get me home’ light should his main beam lose power whilst smashing through the woods. Oh, and the rear’s battery lasts FOREVER! Price? Usually forty quid a pop; you can have one for £25.
What else have we got on clearance? Stuff!!! Come up and take a look; but mostly set’s of nicely affordable battery operated commuter lights that are all half price; some even come with a free rear light!
Once the clearance stock is gone (shouldn’t take long; get up stairs now!!!) we’ll be experimenting with a few newcomers to the USB rechargeable market; we think that rechargeable light tech has gotten good enough now that there’s really no need for anything else; why keep buying batteries? The folks over at our primary supplier Madison have just re-booted their Infini and Electron brands. A good selection of all of these will be coming into store soon and we’ll be offering 15% of all of them AND any lights you want us to order for you personally until the end of the month.
What other options are there then? Not all of us are ‘only’ scooting back and forth to work each day; longer rides on the road demand a more powerful beam so as you can see ahead far enough to not slow you down. Off-road, winter is the time of the MTB night ride (there’s nothing quite like it!) when the trails take on a whole different feeling as your floodlights make everything a bit more 2D due to the shadows and you suddenly start performing drops and jumps that you would have baulked at in the daylight!
A couple of good examples for commuting and road riding first then: The Light and Motion F.650 packs an affordable priced yet wonderfully bright light at RRP£69.99, going up in price moves us to lights such as the Urban800 (a commuter or road riders dream, £120), both rechargeable, both super bright.
Hitting the trails? The Taz1000 would seem a good starting point if you intend to night ride regularly; 1000 lumen, great spread of light, USB rechargeable and £160. Dead reliable too, unlike what some call “Chinese Lanterns” (a catch all term for cheaper yet still powerful lights being sold on a popular bidding website) which sometimes fail after only a few rides: we have known people to get lucky and have them last though. Up from the £150 mark there’s a plethora of choice; if you’re serious about getting a top notch night light then pop on up; we can talk you through the options and brands and our 15% off should mean an excellent price. Many MTB’ers prefer to fit two lights; one of the helmet (preferred initial position) and one on the handlebars so that may be an additional budget consideration.
Finally then the ultimate utilitarian lighting setup: Dynamo’s. We love Dynamo’s and with good reason; they’re bright, provide free power, are a hell of a lot harder to steal than their portable counterparts and you can never forget them! Ryan’s Thorn Raven (the big black touring bike you sometimes see around) has such a setup and he’ll happily cycle back from Cardiff overnight on it in perfect ‘I can see’ happiness! Besides, being stuck down dark country lanes after your batteries die would suck. For longer rides, Audax’s that are going to start or finish in the dark and for your trusty commuter Dynamo’s are definitely worth considering.
Some options then: Commuters and those wanting to give such a setup a go can get any of Shimano’s offerings from £45 to £100 going up in consistency, immediacy and lower weight as you go up the scale. The folks over at Amba Marketing supply us with Supernova’s Dynamo’s. These are expensive bits of kit but the finish and quality is superb. The ‘InfinityS’ is super light weight for its class whilst geeks amongst you will love the switch-able ‘Infinity8′ which allows you to disengage the hub’s magnets when they’re not needed thus reducing the slight drag from the hub. Supernova’s lights are top-notch too and we’ve already had several builds using their rather lush colour matched anodized hubs and lights. Amba are also the go to people for all the Busch and Mueller products so you can pickup these trusty German bit’s of kit at a good price including their USB systems which allow you to recharge phones/laptops/etc via pedal power: perfect for longer tours.
If you’re going to the dynamo route then you’ll need to get us to build you a wheel; one of our specialities and we often have customers referred to us for Ryan’s legendary love of lacing. We can either build to your specification or are happy to advise. We keep a good range of quality Sapim and DT Swiss spokes in stock. There’s NOTHING like the strength of a hand built wheel so why not also get a rear wheel custom built whilst you’re at it? Upgrade today!
Ride safe, stay seen, fit lights.
Ryan and the workshop team
Offer Details: All old stock at up to 50% off. 15% off all new stock and each customer order subject to availability including Dynamo’s and Dynamo Lights. Building of Dynamo into wheel £35 plus parts.
OFFER ENDS FRI 7th NOV! ORDER EARLY TO AVOID GENUINE DISAPPOINTMENT!
We’ll be hosting a series of five Pilates for Cyclists classes upstairs in The Hub in early Autumn. The 90-minute sessions will take place on the following consecutive Saturdays: 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th September and 4th October, from 4.00pm to 5.30pm. The cost is £12 per 90-minute session, or £50 if you pay upfront for all five sessions.
Bikefest (not to be confused with Bristol Cycle Festival) is the annual MTB enduro held at Ashton Court on the first Saturday in June. Next weekend, at the time of writing. Topical.
Inspired by the Guardian’s recent A to Z of cycling, we thought we should do the same for Bristol’s bike scene. There’s a lot to celebrate here, so it cannot be beyond us to come up with 26 things that we want to blather about. Of course it’ll be partial and you might disagree, but that’s part of the fun. Feel free to shower us with virtual bile on Twitter or Facebook if you feel that strongly about it.