Chris Out

We’ve been putting off this post for a while, but it falls upon us to bestow some sad news, but also some plans for the future.

Chris Starkie, the indominatable bike wizard and professional procrastinator who co-founded Spokey Dokey Bikes with his partner Claire, sadly passed away a few weeks ago while out riding.

Understandably we’ve been a little too shaken to post anything before now, as it’s a struggle to know the right thing to say in these circumstances.

However, Chris was a quick witted and pragmatic character with a wicked sense of humour who, if he could see us now, would really just want us all to stop blubbing and go for a ride, and to not feel sad – and would probably be asking, ‘how’s my bike?’

Chris was a gifted bike mechanic who was elated at being able to indulge his hobby as his full time job, but he had worn many other caps before Spokey Dokey.

Chris had also been a paramedic, a London bus driver and a bicycle courier. Chris was an adventurer who had travelled to Easter Island, Macchu Pichu and most other places you can name. 

Chris, unbelievably, once escaped from highwaymen robbers after being taken hostage in Mexico during a coast-to-coast bike ride – true story! And there are more stories like that, far too many to fill a blog post.

It goes without saying that Chris is irreplaceable, and yet we find ourselves wondering what he would want us to do now? What would he want us to do with his meticulously restored Kona Nunu dream bike? And his Cannondale Synapse with the little band-aid where he repaired the crack in his frame? And what should we do with the business that he and Claire built up from scratch?

Crucially, ‘Spokey Dokey Bikes’ was more than just logo on the van, it was Chris and Claire’s dream. Friends & family of Spokey Dokey have all agreed that Chris would definitely want it to continue.

So that’s what Spokey Dokey will do – with help from Cinthia, temporary visiting mechanic little bruv Pete and HR assistant Carrie, Amber and Lucky the workshop dogs, the support of Whixley Village and Chris’ family, with Claire at the helm, it’s been decided to soldier on.

So the next post will be a happier one as we’ll be introducing George the mechanic who is newly hired from Orange!

Finally, a special thanks goes out to Green Hammerton cycle club and everyone else who joined the funeral cortege for ‘one last ride’ with Chris, he really would have loved the sentiment. 

‘Chris Out.’

Beware the free bike!

We were given an old unwanted Btwin full suspension bike and I thought it would be great for me to strip down and rebuild it into a lovely bike to make someone happy. (I’m not the mechanic so need the practice too, supervised by Chris).

So I started off giving the bike a jet wash. I wouldn’t recommend this normally as you can damage the bearings, but I planned to replace them.

Then I took the wheels off, and removed the cranks and pedals.

Then started to extract the bottom bracket, at which point I heard a clonk as a chunk of the frame fell to the floor.

It turns out the drive side drop out had cracked and failed. We (I mean Chris) had already noticed the rear mech hanger looked bent, which had pushed into the frame. Should point out – I didn’t cause this!!

So unfortunately this bike won’t return to service. We will salvage the useful bits; mud guards, brake levers, pedals, etc. Then recycle the scrap. Unless anyone has any suggestions for re-purposing old broken bike frames? (Extravagant plant pot?)

Breeze About Whixley

In 2016 I trained as a ride leader for Breeze. What’s Breeze I hear you ask? Breeze is British Cycling’s programme to get more women cycling. They train volunteers like me to lead women-only bike rides. Usually this includes cake and a chat, although some rides are more challenging and a couple even had no cake!

I’ve led many rides in London, some Breeze and some for other groups like Barnet Cyclists (who are a really friendly bunch!).

Last year we moved out of the big smoke up to lovely, cherry blossom filled Whixley in North Yorkshire. Now settled into out new surroundings – and community, I’m ready to start leading some Breeze rides again. If you fancy going for a nice long country ride, or are considering dusting off an old bike and would like to build some confidence let me know in the comments.

I plan to run some rides on Saturdays when Chris is working, and if he’s free then I might run mixed Ride Social rides.

I’ll post my rides here and on facebook @breezewhixley. You can also find them on as well as loads of other rides to suit all sorts.

Cycle Expo 2019

Chris and I arrived in the pouring rain at the Cycle Expo in The Yorkshire Showground. We followed some petite riders in, who turned out to be junior cyclo-cross competitors.

I then ‘manned’ the Breeze stand. (find out about Breeze in my “Breeze About Whixley” post). I talked to lots of ladies from Yorkshire and beyond and met fellow champions from Leeds, Driffield and Hull.

We had cake (as is standard on most Breeze rides), some even shaped like bike wheels!

I bought some new goodies, like my lovely new and very light Ekoi helmet with magnetic buckle.

Also an ingenious fold-able bike stand, made in Yorkshire by Chris soon put it to use, testing it out today whilst restoring his Joe Murray Kona Fire Mountain. (I’m assured it’s a classic!) At least he remembered to put the bike mat out this time!