Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Not a terrible crash – just a folding e-bike

This started out as a bit of light-hearted fun, a humourous post about a folding bike spotted at one of my local Lidl’s, but then became ‘interesting’.

This fairly standard, Chinese made, folding bike looks like a terrible accident when first seen folded, but cleverly turns into a handy adult carrier.

There just happened to be a standard bike behind, offering a comparison.

I was wondering why the owner bothered to fold it while just popping into the shop, but having tried the useless bike parking fixing offered by Tollcross’ Lidl, there’s no mystery. There’s a short row of ‘V’ loops, which a wheel can be shoved into and presumably secured by a locking loop or chain.

They’re a joke!

I tried one recently – utterly useless as it leaves the rest of the bike vulnerable. A thief only has to release the locked wheel and can leave it behind while departing with the rest of the bike.

To secure the bike, you need more chains and locks to secure the frame (and other wheel) to the one tied to the ‘V’. I almost ran out. Fortunately, I carry a few different types to cater for various options, but I did almost run out of… patience!

I also found that a bike in the ‘V’ sticks out into, and occupies half the width of, the footpath passing this ‘rack’.

Not trying that again, I’ll just have to carry on using anything nearby that suits.

Lidl EPlus City Folder

Lidl EPlus City Folder

Things got more interesting when I looked closer, and when I tried to find out more details about this offering online.

There doesn’t seem to be a maker’s web site, but I found this bike on sale on eBay for about £370 – 24 V with 20″ wheels, ‘Manufacturer refurbished’.

Interest continued to grow as there were no proper technical details given, but I noticed the bike on offer, although identical in appearance from it graphics, differed in its apparent system of electric drive.

Referring to retail item as the original, it looks as if the original bike has a conventional pedal/chain driven rear wheel with a few gears, and the electric drive assists this using a hub motor built into the front wheel.

As the front wheel is hidden in my pic, I’ve found an unfolded example.

First, note the front wheel – in the full size pic, wires and connectors can be seen leading to the hub motor.

Second, and more interesting – look at the rear wheel, then compare to the detail I’ve taken from my own pic taken at Lidl.

EPlus City Folder

EPlus City Folder

And rear detail as seen at Lidl.

City Folder DIY Rear Drive

City Folder DIY Rear Drive

I’m impressed!

I’ll hazard a guess and say that the front wheel hub motor failed, and a replacement is not readily available, or if it is, costs as much as the whole bike to have flown in (I found this out the hard way, when some electronic kit failed on me).

I don’t subscribe to the ‘Chinese rubbish’ theory (especially not today, as China is giving much of the rest of the world a wake-up call as it develops – helped by the Orange Moron of course, as it unravels many advances made in the US), but I did wonder the first time I zoomed into that rear motor, its perforated metal strip mounting, the wiring, the sticky tape, and the cable ties.

Then I realised what I was looking at.

I assume that friction drive works.

If I tried something like this, all that would happen would be that the motor would keep twisting out of its mounting, and never stayed in contact with the tyre.

I had a vintage dynamo powered lighting system that depended on a similar system driven by the rear wheel. It was fine while I had old-style rubber tyres mounted. Then I switched to modern synthetic tyres. Disaster! The tyre’s surface had insufficient friction to drive the dynamo against the load when in use. The friction wheel just slid over the tyre. Thank goodness I had already dumped it in favour of  LED lighting all round.

One point.

My OCD means I couldn’t sleep at night thinking of that open electric motor sitting in all the muck that gets thrown behind a bike, even when only ridden in dry weather, and getting water inside (esp those exposed windings, where it would never evaporate from in Scotland) would mean losing any sleep I might have had.

Time for a Blue Peter Moment. Even a washing-up liquid bottle cut to sit over it would help IMMENSELY!

Update

Above, I mentioned the relatively useless bike rack at this Lidl.

Last time I was there, someone had been kind enough to ignore it completely, and do what I do – lock their bike FRAME to the fence around the trolley enclosure. A much more secure option, seen just behind the ‘V’ rack on the left, which only secures a wheel rim.

Great Lidl Bike Rack

Great Lidl Bike Rack

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14/09/2018 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Duke Street bike racks

Did I ever mention how much I hate activists and lobbyists?

They really are the most abhorrent people, happy to lie straight to face if it suits them, and to twist and distort the truth in any way that suits their agenda.

To listen to those who have hijacked cycling, one could be forgiven for thinking there was NO accommodation for cyclists in Glasgow (or anywhere else for that matter), yet nothing could be further from the truth.

If you ignore the horrible whining noise coming from their corner, you’ll find not only the National Cycling Network, but a number of segregated cycle lanes (not just marked with paint, but separated by dividers), lanes defined by road markings, traffic lights for cyclists only, and even pedestrian crossings which have had cycle control lights added. Shared recreational spaces now also have paths and lanes defined for cyclists and pedestrians to make things easier. I’ve also noted how some vast, wide, and/or deserted areas of footpath and pavement have also gained signs showing they are shared routes, allowing cyclist to get off the road and stay away from traffic.

I’m sure there’s more to find, but that’s just what I’ve noticed after getting fed up with the activist’s nonsense.

It’s a shame they have to overstate the case for cyclists, presumably using logic that goes along the lines of “Ask for a budget of £100 k for your £20 k project, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get £10 k”. Great idea – if it didn’t screw up all the reasonable requests.

I was reminded of this when I spotted some new (but not recent) bike racks at the start of (the busy part of) Duke Street (across from the train station).

It’s actually a handy place for them, and better than parking a bike on railings or signposts in Duke St itself, and avoid cycling into the busy part of the street. It actually matches a similar rack at the other end (of the busy part), at the corner of Bellgrove Street, where the meat market used to be.

I wonder if I’m right in thinking that actual cyclists (people who actually just use their cycles to get around) agree with my thoughts, while the activists are now jumping up and down and shouting about how wrong I am about this.

Did I ever mention how much I hate activists and lobbyists?

Duke Street Bike Racks

Duke Street Bike Racks

30/06/2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Destined to be bent for life

Unless it’s maybe a popular feature or attraction, I tend not to repeat stuff, but this one has earned its repeat.

I just noticed it’s a year and a half since I noted How being careful bent a bike rack

Since then I’ve passed this corner, shall we say, more than once.

That particular bike rack not only never appears to be straight, it also always seem to be at a different angle.

I can only guess that it’s just the right distance from the corner to get clobbered regularly.

What’s surprises me is not the assorted bendings, but that it has failed due to metal fatigue, from being bent one way and then pulled (sort of) straight afterwards.

There’s a thought – maybe its REAL purpose in life is to protect the second one!

If you cycle and want to avoid it – it’s near the corner of George Street and Albion Street.

Bendy Bike Rack

Bendy Bike Rack

 

20/06/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | | Leave a comment

Glasgow Green’s Penny Farthing Bike Rack (mystery?)

A while ago, I got one of those anonymous ‘hints’ (aka an email with no details) telling of a ‘Penny Farthing themed bike rack’ somewhere on Glasgow Green. I’m not sure if this was offered in light of my interest in Glasgow, or in things related to The Prisoner.

Over the years I’ve probably crawled over most of the Green, yet this came as a complete surprise – so I had to investigate.

After going online, I eventually came up with the following photographic confirmation, captured by the very helpful Thomas Nugent back in 2008 – all of 10 years ago!

Cycle racks in Glasgow Green

Cycle racks in Glasgow Green
Penny farthing shaped racks in Glasgow Green, near the adventure playground.

This at least explained why I hadn’t this rack over the years – I’m a little past the ‘adventure playground’ stage.

But I do know the place, so off I went for a look, TWO looks in fact – BOTH failed, although they were both late evening detours (kind of dark), and covered all the area around the playground.

What’s not clear from the above is that the playground lies adjacent to a Cycle Training Centre

I’d taken a few pics back in 2017, and when I examined them I got a surprise – I already had a pic of the penny farthing rack!

Penny Farthing Bike Racks

Penny Farthing Bike Racks 2017

So, they were still there, but I still couldn’t explain why I hadn’t seen them a few day earlier, hence the hint of (mystery?) in the title – I really did look at the cycle training area, this being the obvious place to look. Maybe it was just too dark, and they couldn’t be seen from the perimeter fence (the place was locked by the time I got there).

I checked the centre’s own pics, and found this view, bear in mind their pics are probably ‘old’ as it opened in 2011.

Detail From Free Wheel North Pic

Detail From Free Wheel North Pic

Note that the two ‘old’ 2010/2011 pics show the racks sunk into the block paving.

Fast forward to 2018, and my third visit – this time directly to the area in front of the Portakabins in the cycle training area.

There was no problem finding the racks this time (or even seeing them from the perimeter fence, which I checked before heading for them).

If not immediately obvious, it’s worth noting that the racks no longer lie in their original location – sunk into an area of block paving.

They’ve been lifted so their base is no longer buried, and now just lie freely on the ground.

That could mean they’re fair game for scum metal thieves.

It also means they may not have actually have been out on show when I was there earlier, and had been stowed in the training area’s containers for safety during the dark evenings.

Let the pics begin…

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Zoom

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Zoom

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 2

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 2

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 3

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 3

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 4

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 4

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 5

Penny Farthing Bike Rack Closer 5

17/06/2018 Posted by | council, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Cambuslang’s cute bike racks revisited

I’ve mentioned the cute car-themed bike racks of Cambuslang before.

I really like them, not only for their appearance, but also because their use of cars as a motif is a nice change from the sort of rabid anti-car hate spouted when SOME cycle fans get a chance. That sort of reaction helps no-one, and merely provokes a similar reaction.

I’ve noticed a number of decorative items seem to be disappearing from Cambuslang. There was a sculpture of some sort modelled on a drum kit (I think) which used to be in the main street, but I don’t think I can see nowadays. I don’t think I noted it in here, but might have a pic buried away somewhere, so might try hunting it down.

However, the bike racks remain, although I’ve yet to see a bike chained to any of them – or anywhere in Cambuslang for that matter (apart from Morrison’s).

I thought I’d reveal the BACK of these racks, as the decorative detail is cast (I’m assuming they are casting) in sections, only on one side, that facing the shops. The other side is plain.

Also caught in this pic is one of the bench seats which feature in the main street.

They seem to be pretty tough/robust, and unlike more conventional wood or lightweight street furniture seem to largely vandal proof. They’re solidly fixed, have no fine details to bend or break, and their smooth finish is easy to keep clean and hard to deface. So far, I haven’t noticed a damaged one – I imagine any piece of scum that tried kicking or breaking is likely to come off worst.

Cambuslang Bike Rack And Seat

Cambuslang Bike Rack And Seat

30/07/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The neglected car themed bike racks of Cambuslang

Technically, this is an old pic, but a recent wander that went through the main street of Cambuslang showed that sadly, things look just the same now as the did some time ago.

While these look like some sort of interesting street art, it seems these actually fall under the category of ‘street furniture’, and are bike racks.

I’ve never seen a bike chained to one in any of my visits. But I have seen the large commercial bins leaning against them, one per side and hiding the rack entirely.

The sad thing notable in evening visits is that while these racks once sported a pair of up-lighters to highlight their appearance, these have been neglected, and of the five racks (ten lights) only ONE is still working today.

Guess I’ll just have to keep watching, and see if the last light goes out, never to to be lit again, or if they’re ever renewed – some nice long-lasting low power LEDs would do the job nicely now, and need little or no maintenance for years.

Cambuslang bike racks

Cambuslang bike racks

26/03/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

How being careful bent a bike rack

It’s not often you actually get to watch an ‘accident’ develop, but I did see such a thing happen, and the irony of the whole thing was that those involved were doing thing the ‘right’ way AND trying to be careful.

What is it some people say?

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

In this case, a very large lorry was backing into a side street to make a delivery.

Things looked ok, the area where the lorry was going was clear, the driver had the help of an assistant (banksman) to stand at the rear, watch what was happening, and issue signals to guide him in.

Things were going SO well, lined up accurately, travelling slowly, signals being sent and received, until…

The driver seemed to ignore the banksman and just carry on reversing even after arriving at the bike rack.

What happened? What went wrong when all the requirement appeared to be in place?

After the pair exchanged words – it seems the lorry driver became fixated on a costly Porsche parked just to the side of where the cab was going to arrive – he was making sure he  kept well clear of the car and sort of ‘forgot’ to watch the rear once it was lined up, and the overhang of the tail meant that the rear safety/collision barrier fouled the bike rack.

The two hefty gents weren’t long in heaving the bike rack straight, but…

When I passed a few nights later – it was back on its side again, leaning over as seen here.

Well, at least the guys I saw were ‘good guys’, and at least tried to make things better.

This really is a night shot, see the shadows from the street lights. Colour balance under the newest lights is amazing.

Bent bike rack

Bent bike rack

16/01/2017 Posted by | Civilian, photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

   

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