Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

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They're fishing for name suggestions on facebook.

I've suggested Satsuma Cycles since it looks like they'll all be orange.

But I also liked the suggestion Boikes.

Also does anyone know what the mentioned cycle route improvements by the MAC are!?

I wondered that too. Is it referring to the Pershore Road? There were some LSTF "improvements" planned, I remember being underwhelmed. I'll find a link.

Are the boikes unisex?

Probably means the shared use pavement on Pebble Mill Road....

The second photo in the mail article looks like the bike the Raleigh guy is on has a proper crossbar but hard to tell.

Pebble Mill Road is the closest road on this list but I wouldn't describe it as being around the MAC https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/development/local-sustainable-... . Sometimes politicians wing it. 

I think most of the LSTF stuff is under way on the Pershore Rd now, but like you say very little relevant to cycling, couple of Toucans from what I remember.

Sometimes...

Bostin' Boikes?

Rich22222 said:

They're fishing for name suggestions on facebook.

I've suggested Satsuma Cycles since it looks like they'll all be orange.

But I also liked the suggestion Boikes.

That's black country ay it?

The real bloody shame is the bikes are being bought in from Raleigh's Oakland CA factory. They are NOT British made, let alone made in Birmingham.

Notice:. The routing of the front brake cable comes from the LEFT handlebar. 

A pox on you, Birmingham.

That's probably due to some procurement rules.

Wasn't so difficult for the docks when the tender spec said, supply Bromptons

Do Raleigh have a British factory?

Bikes look similar to the Batavus (now a Raleigh brand) which I photographed in 1996, in use in Rotterdam bike hire scheme, and selected by Abellio for their Bike&Go scheme at all of their UK franchises, but there are some subtle differences.  The choice was made between the Raleigh (Batavus) and Pashley (Pronto) with input from the Merseyrail & Northern Cycling Forum groups, both bikes offered being built for low maintenance public bike use, with hub brakes, fitted lights and dynamos, mudguards, and enclosed transmission with hub gears. the bikes in the Birmingham Post picture seem to have none of these features, which bodes ill for a low cost and reliable public bike hire scheme.  It seems that perhaps the cheapest bikes have been purchased with no proper analysis of whole life costs - especially maintenance - and the high risk of the Council's liability, either directly or as principal client for a contractor running the bike hire scheme.  Cable adjustment/failure, brakeblock wear/adjustment, rim wear etc for the V-brakes in the picture could be a nightmare for maintaining a safe public bike hire scheme, this is why the bikes used in Liverpool, Glasgow etc cost over £600 because of the hub gears (£200+ retail), dynamos (£100+ retail) etc, and the scheme in Glasgow - more successful in its first months than the Boris Bikes in London came in at around £1500 per bike (including the bike hire units fitted to the bikes themselves- the system does not need docking points making it easy to reconfigure the distribution of hire points around the city, and handle tidal flows of commuter traffic)   

What bothers me slightly is the rather woolly 'management' regimes for bikes which are given away(?) or 'hired'. Is there a clear plan on how this is to be done? There is obviously a liability/duty of care for the directly hired bikes, but will the give-away bikes offer a safety check/maintenance package for the non-committed users who may well have no mechanical aptitude/sympathy, and quite likely just dump the bike when it breaks down. A similar pattern emerges for bikes, and even motor vehicles provided as 'aid' to developing countries, the generic 'land-rover' breaks down - so dump it and ask for a new one. Most realistic schemes right back to the Bikes not Bombs (alternative US export programme for Nicaragua) made it a requirement to pay for the bikes so that they had a value and thus were treated appropriately.

My personal view is that those 3000 bikes should be 'leased' to the users for a nominal sum and a free try-out period - say 1 month - offered to let a potential user see if they would use the bike sufficiently to justify paying for it.  The lease rates could be subsidised, but as data builds up on users and usage, the value of this as an alternative to bus/train/taxi fares can be reviewed to provide the right price-point. Inclusive in a lease charge is obviously the ongoing maintenance      

I've tracked and documented public bike hire schemes since 1995. Many early ones totally failed to budget for maintenance, and rolling renewal - a leisure bike hire operation generally renews their fleet every 12-18 months (1-2 seasons) so that the bikes remain in good condition with low maintenance costs (the bikes remain in the flat part of the bath-tub curve, disposed of before the failure rate of the whole or individual parts, makes them unviable as hire operation, and unsaleable as used bikes).

The Batavus design supplied in 2014 is basically unchanged from the design form 1996, and the hire fleet number is laser-cut in the frame - all are step through with an upright riding position, which means that they are adjustable and rideable for a very wide range of user heights.

Bike&Go machines in NL (where it is known as OV-Fiets) are 1-speed, and coaster braked, the ideal city bike for minimal maintenance, and a type of bike which could be widely used in the UK if our utility cycling culture and regulations actually caught up with practical reality.  The Dutch were also bewildered by the dogged insistence that the bikes for the UK needed gears (as were some of those on the selection panel).  Very few UK towns really require a basic utility bike with gears, especially a coaster braked one.

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