Incentives. And shiny.

So, it’s been ages since I’ve done a post (which is bad practice i’m led to believe). People get bored, etc, etc…

But, with good reason!

This blog “thing” is primarily for SEO, Google rankings, brand engagement and is in no way at all, most definitely not about self indulging fantasies about being an inspirational Tolstoy of a generation… Certainly not.

Besides, I had to look up what “impertubability” meant. I would have gone with unflappable, so Tolstoy I aint!

(I’m going with Tolstoy as I quite enjoyed reading Anna Karenin during my recent hospital stay.)

There’s nothing wrong, they were looking for a brain. Alas, the diagnosis is “missing”.

Scarecrow continues; So, although there may be some truth in what the blog is for, truthfully I quite enjoy exploding my thoughts on here and subjecting you to them!

Like the bench. It’s a cool bench, inside the grounds of Knaresborough Castle a few miles away… Good story eh?

As you all know, I very rarely go off on wild tangents…

Incentives! Claire set incentives for me to ensure the business succeeds (as if that’s not incentive enough!) After £1,000 of takings I’m allowed to buy a new seatpost.


Oh look, a new seatpost! (on the chair next to me awaiting installation!)

Also “ooo shiny” – which I apply to any object, oft mechanical, typically bike related, that I would like. Or appreciate. Or is shiny (even if it’s matt carbon or grey).

So, we’ve reached the heady heights of having taken £1,000 since 2nd December when we opened. Not too bad. We’re now running at a net profit of minus £2,000. Ish, Win? Claire said something about “assets” but I got distracted by some bikes riding past…

It doesn’t stop there! The £2k incentive is a new Rockshox Reverb lever – the one where they realised nobody is running front derailleurs on mountain bikes, why don’t we use a front derailleur paddle to operate the post. That one. (Reverb being a hydraulically operated telescopic seatpost on my mountain bike – obviously!?!?) As Sram and Rockshox are one and the same anyway and I like the Sram levers, being able to actually press it enough to move the post would be a win (i’ve told you before, feeble hands!) Also shiny!

Then both the price point and the cost increase. Substantially. To £10,000. Firstly we should be making actual positive net profit – even I can’t spend that much on tools. (This is a lie, easy!) Secondly, wow, we surely have a customer base now. Thirdly (if this happens this year) I’m nearly making enough to pay rent…. The incentive? (Rent would be a good start, but the lady is kind..) Sram HRD Wi-Fli etap!! A cool £1.3k ish. So, electronic wireless gears for my beloved Cassie! Ooooooo, shiiiiiny! The ability to change gears with feeble hands can’t be overlooked, even for that much!

That also explains a bit of why the blog has been neglected. I was doing the mechanic “thing”.

I built a wheel (my first on an electric hub), I renovated (and sold) a bike. I sorted out a touring bike with exploding tyres. I serviced two kids bikes, a Trek, a Giant, a Specialized, a Pinncale, a Raleigh, a Dawes, etc etc…! Brilliant!

This morning i’ve had a very productive day. I picked up a bike needing a bit of TLC on the other side of York, I dropped off a bike a bit closer to home and I picked up something a bit special (ized). Di2 and an aero post had me rummaging for the charger and the clamp insert. Looking forward to giving it the (s-)works!!

And with that, the four bikes in the house (Claire’s taken her Brompton this morning), and the seven bikes in the garage await!

Oooo, did I mention I found a couple of photos? One of Cora in her former glory being held by the French exchange guy, Charles (left) with Robin and Rosie (brother and sister) also in frame. (Rosie will kill me for this!)


And the other of Cora after being stolen, spray painted and returned. Being ridden over a bench. As you do.


Nice stem. And where’s my helmet?…tut tut… Also featuring Dad’s shoulder…

Needless to say, these are ancient photos (and the front tyre sits on the seat – i’m not mid-faceplant!)

I should say “come and book your bike in”. But you know that already. See you soon.

Chris out

N+1 – Part 13 – Storage

So, obviously, you end up with N+1 bikes and storage….or partners become something of an issue. The very best away to get around this is to find a partner who loves bikes just as much as you… And use a few ingenious storage solutions! It helps if you consider your bikes to be decorative masterpieces of art when they’re stored, at home or *gasp* in the garage :-O

I’ve been lucky enough to end up with Evi, Cassie, Connie AND Cora all with me up here in York – all tuned up and ready to rock!

But first, our storage solution in a London flat, with no shed or garage! This is our living room!


So, you’ve already met Evi and Cassie, but here are two of Claire’s bikes too – Lexi and Alien!

This actually took up waaaay too much space, so we re-arranged and ended up with this instead.


So, on the other side of the room, we staggered them so they could be put closer together using either magical levitation….OR, putting toolboxes under the two road bikes!

Oh, and Clugs! To hold the front wheel! Genius!

And…that’s about it…

I think.

At some point, Claire (Or I) will probably cover Claire’s multitude of bikes too!

So you know what to look for…

Alien, Princess Marshmallow, Princess Candyfloss, Lexi and Kylie…

Oh, and one last thing

ALL of our bikes have a surname. McBikeface!

of course…

Hope you enjoyed the multitude of posts!

Page 1 – 11:59, 22/12/18

Chris out.

N+1 – Part 12 – Connie

Which brings us to October…

N+1! I was given a frame years and years ago by a family friend who had no use for it. It had a seized bottom bracket and was quite battered.

What he hadn’t quite realized is that the frame is a Kone Fire Mountain, made by Joe Murray – a designer and racer of some of the very first real mountain bikes – and quite a find!

Regardless, it lay tucked away in my parents shed until we finally had space in the car to bring her (and an assortment of wheels, parts, racks, panniers – and Cora) up to Yorkshire! We’d finally hired a secure unit to store various overflow “stuff”!

The time had come, Connie would be reborn!


So, here she is! Clipless pedals, simple single speed, Avid Single Digit Levers, and best of all Original Kona Project Two Forks!!! They were quite hard to source, but also something I’d wanted to get my hands on since I saw them in the hallowed pages of MBUK alllll those years ago when this whole “pedal cycling thing” kicked off!

She even has my BRG Brookes B17 touring saddle on (for now) – and, of course, a Hope seat clamp!

A lovely ride, and the latest edition to the flock!

Part 13 – 11:59, 03/01/19

Chris out.



N+1 – Part 11 – Cassie

Here she is boys and girls! What a revelation!


A Cannondale Synapse Hi-Mod Red 22 Disc. This is Cassie.

So, this is lighter than the Planet X, comfier than the Planet X, has SRAM Red instead of Shimano (I did mention my preference) but most of all, the biggest most massive factor and the ultimate deciding reason to upgrade…..a green paint job.

I’m kidding, my favourite colour is red….

DISC BRAKES!!! And hydraulic ones at that!

I could once again stop in the wet! I could stop quickly. I had modulation, power, control and it felt so gooooooood!

Plus, she is fast! seriously fast. Fast enough so that if you overcook it on a patch of diesel, and your wheels slide, you go quite a long way!

If that long way happens to leave you on the pavement (ah the sweet embrace of tarmac) and your bike on the kerb, that’s not a good thing.

And that, ladies and gents, is why Cassie now sports a rather fetching eye patch!


£250 for a carbon repair was so much cheaper than ~£2k for a new frame. The workshop even showed me the ultrasonic scan before and after, they’ve done an amazing job.

I was given the option to get her re-painted back to  factory finish, but I think a few scars show a bit of character – and a rather unique identifying feature too!

Also, just before doing the White Rose Sportive earlier this year, I showed my true colours and added a bit of colour to the front….


I should probably point out that she’s always kept in a much cleaner state than this, but I never expected to get this far along with the posts, and I didn’t have any photos (that I could find – must be hiding in another dark recess of my hard drive/cloud/phone/elsewhere) so they’re brand new, just for you and i’d just been for a ride in the rain….(where I could stop!) Yippee!

Now, of course, I have two excellent bikes, so that’s all you need right?

Which brings us to the title of the post – N+1. This is the correct number of bikes to have.

I’ve got Lilly in Stafford, Evi, Cassie and Cora – and now Connie up here with me….but I really need a touring bike…and I really enjoyed the track cycling earlier this year…

and now to explain about Connie…

Also, Happy New Year! Claire, myself, our bikes and (the entity that is) Spokey Dokey Bikes wish you all the best for 2019!

Part 12 – 11:59, 02/01/19

Chris out.

N+1 – Part 10 – Shrovey

…Therfore, I took advantage of a bike show discount.

To expedite my commute, I had to suck up all my Them vs. Us mentality. I had to put my long held misconception of skinny tyred roadies aside……and take the plunge.

That and I just no longer bounce as well as I once did…


So here she is, Shrovey! (She arrived on Shrove Tuesday and my housemate picked it!)


The eagle eyed amongst you may notice …..a; an odd shaped seatpost, b; aerobars and c; did I really ride with my saddle at that angle???

Also, rim brakes? seriously….after year and years on hydraulic discs (as you’ve seen) these were far an away the hardest thing to get used to! SPD SLs, no problem, drop bars, no problem, brifters, no issue, but rim brakes……the horror!

This was my set up just before getting a Cobb JOF55 split nosed daddle, which I could set at a normal saddle angle – which I then did a triathlon on!

to be honest, it did take a bit of time getting used to a stiff carbon fibre racing frame, after having had small steel play bikes all those years!

But those rim brakes…

After a couple of years, I could take it no more, I wanted an upgrade (from Ultegra 6800? really?)

Oh yes….

Part 11 – 11:59, 01/01/19, New Year’s Day!

Chris out.

N+1 – Part 9 – Evi

So, my upgrade – Evil Bikes, The Faction – Evi – yet another small steel hardtail (I think there’s a theme here…!)

Ride’s like a dream, a great play bike, but….for my commute to work…well, even with a dropper post she was just a touch too small!


So, this is actually a photo of my room in Rothehithe – with Lilly (with her Rock Shox) and also Evi, upside down awaiting her brand new forks!

1055TThese new forks!!! Finally! A pair of forks worthy of the rest of the parts on my bike! (Thanks to a tax rebate!! wooo!)


So, just over the wall, the shimmery looking surface, that would be the Thames… No prize for spotting what’s wrong with this bike….


And this is how I lock up my bike! Abus chain through the forks, front wheel and railing, New York D lock though the back wheel and railing, inside the rear triangle. Safe as houses! Of course, most railing in London have big “Do not lock your bike to these railing” notices…


This is actually a slightly older photo, but I wanted to show off the Hope brakes! I love Hope, I’m a total fanboy! If I could afford it, it would probably be all the shiny Hope goodies littered all over the bike!!

Aaaanyway, as I said earlier, for my commute, this was just a little too fun (but slow)…


Part 10 – 11:59, 31/12/18, New Years Eve!

Chris out.

N+1 – Part 8 – Lilly

This time a travel insurance cheque, and working for a year, I travelled around South America and then got a job. Moved to London, bought an On-One Inbred frame. Meet Lilly!



So, you might have noticed something of a transformation over these few photos. Lilly is a versatile beast! So, obviously the giant seatpost sticking miles out of the frame is not ideal, but, it did offer a great deal of flexibility and comfort – and was durable enough for me to ride to the 4 corners of the UK….bit of a LEJOG with a difference….

This one has a happy ending – I think….? Lilly is transformed once more into an X9, 27 speed proper mountain bike – Rock Shox forks and all – but she’s occupying my parents shed at the moment, set up for my Dad, who errrr, has used it once in the last…3(?) years.

Meanwhile….I upgraded before donating this beauty to my Dad…

Part 9 – 11:59, 30/12/18

Chris out.


N+1 – Part 7 – Juliet

So, Mexico, travelling, grand plans. (you know how they go!) The plan was to backpack from LAX to San Francisco, then back to LA, San Diego, Tijuana and through Mexico, hopefully into Belize, possibly Guatemala, before running out of money and heading home.

I got into Mexico, hated Tijuana, and escaped down the Baja peninsula as fast as I could. Didn’t get very far before I met a Canadian couple – Tanya and Kelly – and an American – Chris. On bikes.

For some reason, at this point, touring had never occurred to me – but suddenly made perfect sense. So, I resolved to get a bike. Found a guy, who knew a place, that sold me a bike. Enter Juliet!


Make no mistake, a Specialized Rockhopper is not the ideal first touring bike…


But with a few modifications…


She did a rather good job! …and continually evolved…


and with a few bit’s from Ireland (ChainReaction)…


Untill eventually…


She could almost pass for a touring bike! (still with a radial front wheel!)

I managed to get pretty far through Mexico, but having spent so much of my budget on parts……had nothing to do with when I returned home!!

Instead, this bike too, was stolen. Along with all the stuff. And my passport. And phone. And ID. And socks. And shoes. It was an experience I’d rather not repeat.

Needless to say, that ended my trip, so back home I came!

To Cora.

Part 8 – 11:59, 29/12/18

Chris out.


N+1 – Part 6 – An old friend

Sidney was gone, and that meant I had no bike!?!?! Mexico was still month’s away…unthinkable!

But wait… I still had a purple and blue glittery neglected bike! I restored Cora! First port of call, spray her black. Then, spare parts, any I could find, were recruited. I ended up with a lovely riding single speed black bike with mismatched…everything!


But I couldn’t find a picture of Cora in that state, so here instead is what I did to her after getting back from Mexico (once I’d earned a bit of money). Rapid rise 9 speed XT (it was cheap) with Sram attack shifters, Atomlab pedals, Truvativ cranks and a few random “spares”!

And off to Mexico…

Part 7 – 11:59, 28/12/18

Chris out.

N+1 – Part 5 – Sidney

DMR then very kindly sent me a replacement at cost price – Enter Sidney


Okay, so this isn’t actually Sidney. This beauty is one of the two monkey bikes we used to race on the streets of Woodhouse for beer tokens…

dmr pre stealagehalf constructedfinishedCIMG0830

So, this is actually Sidney and although it seems like it took me an absolute age to build this frame up (sunny in the first picture and pitch black in the last) I had other chores to do in the meanwhile! (Plus it was my first time installing Nokon Konkavex cables and Goodridge hoses!)

SRAM entered the arena! (and i’ve never looked back!) Then led to me trying to recapture what I used to be able to do! Although my trail riding got better, I never quite recaptured the skate, street and dirt skills…

Then she got stolen. From a locked private corridor. That only staff members had access to. With a lock on! It’s not as if they could sell or ride the bike, it’s got an RF datatag epoxied into the frame and the discs had my name laser cut in them.


The DH stands for Daniel Holdsworth not Down Hill!

Once again, she was insured. At this point I had been saving up to go travelling around Mexico (after university) so instead of a bike, I went travelling. But…

Part 6 – 11:59, 27/12/18

Chris out.