Birmingham Cyclist

Cycling in and around Birmingham England

What's the weirdest thing you've carried on your bike?

Hi all,

Humorous content - show us your pictures - what is the funniest / weirdest thing you have carried on your bike? 

A couple of months ago I had to collect this "little" Dinosaur" (without the kid though;) and carry it home along the canal...which was all okay until I've realised I've got a wide load and almost ended up in the drink...

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my uncle carried a table and 4 chairs wooden ones on the back of his pannier rack from birmingham to leamington spa because he got them from a car bot for bout £20 and had no other way to get them home

Yeah, and I've just done similar with a power tool & rather large case from the city centre car boot sale. Plus the panniers full of beans & veg from Edward Road grocery.

daniel deakin said:

my uncle carried a table and 4 chairs wooden ones on the back of his pannier rack from birmingham to leamington spa because he got them from a car bot for bout £20 and had no other way to get them home

It might just have been a bizarre accident, but with the addition of floats could this be the solution to the government's financial problems procuring aircraft carriers?

I once carried a rolled up rug.

I carried home the end of an era:

Maplin started out in the 1970s as a mail order company for electronics hobbyists, supplying electronics components and everything else needed to build your own radio, computer, hi-fi, disco console, or whatever else took your fancy.   They smashed the "allow 28 days for delivery" paradigm that was standard in those days, by shipping your order the day they received it, hence one of their earliest catalogues (which I still have) had a drawing of Concorde on the front.   The components were of good quality and very competitively priced, and right up until the end I recognized in the shops a few parts that I had seen in the Concorde catalogue forty years ago.   Many electronics engineers in this country will have started out in their teens buying from Maplin, and as such Maplin formed a vital part of the career ladder.   Having a shop in Selly Oak was very handy both professionally and personally (there are even parts from Maplin on my bike).   These days the components I work with professionally are vastly smaller than those I bought as a teenager, and I no longer have teenage eyes, so this illuminated magnifying lamp at a discount price is most welcome, but for me the demise of Maplin is a sad loss.   And whilst I appreciate many would have seen it as an expensive place to buy what most people think of as "electronics", it was in fact a very successful company.   I leave you to figure out how a successful company can die suddenly.


http://www.coppolacomment.com/2018/03/the-sad-story-of-maplin-elect...
Robert said:

I carried home the end of an era:

Maplin started out in the 1970s as a mail order company for electronics hobbyists, supplying electronics components and everything else needed to build your own radio, computer, hi-fi, disco console, or whatever else took your fancy.   They smashed the "allow 28 days for delivery" paradigm that was standard in those days, by shipping your order the day they received it, hence one of their earliest catalogues (which I still have) had a drawing of Concorde on the front.   The components were of good quality and very competitively priced, and right up until the end I recognized in the shops a few parts that I had seen in the Concorde catalogue forty years ago.   Many electronics engineers in this country will have started out in their teens buying from Maplin, and as such Maplin formed a vital part of the career ladder.   Having a shop in Selly Oak was very handy both professionally and personally (there are even parts from Maplin on my bike).   These days the components I work with professionally are vastly smaller than those I bought as a teenager, and I no longer have teenage eyes, so this illuminated magnifying lamp at a discount price is most welcome, but for me the demise of Maplin is a sad loss.   And whilst I appreciate many would have seen it as an expensive place to buy what most people think of as "electronics", it was in fact a very successful company.   I leave you to figure out how a successful company can die suddenly.

That's a nice in-depth article, orchib, but I thought the conclusion was bizarre.   Shopping in Toys 'R' Us was grim, and I can't believe I was the only person who avoided it for that reason, even before the rise of internet shopping.

I had wondered if Maplin had failed to capitalise on the rise of the maker movement, but a quick check I made just now was rather revealing.   Ho hum.   Well I still plan to write a Push Bikes blog post on some home brew bicycle electronics even if it will only appeal to three people in Birmingham, though I'll have to rethink sourcing now Maplin has gone.

As someone who started out in my teens buying from Maplin, I reckon the rot set in soon afterwards.  By the end of the 1990s, the old beardy guy at the component counter who could have an intelligent conversation about your project and suggest component substitutions had gone, as had the "if it's not in stock, we'll post it to you free of charge" policy.  They made way for more DJ equipment.

By the mid-noughties Maplin was no longer a serious proposition for electronic components, but still fulfilled a useful niche as a bricks-and-mortar shop for batteries, cables, connectors, power supplies and the like, as well as distress purchases of computer parts.

It seemed to do reasonably well as a shop for things that technically competent people would rather buy online.  Presumably there were sufficient not-technically-competent people needing USB widget advice, or a plug for their radio, or looking to buy electro-tat as presents for their grandchildren that it was still a viable business.  I can't imagine the geeks-in-a-hurry market was significant.

When I went round the Selly Oak store a couple of weeks ago to check for closing-down-sale bargains, it was rather uninspiring (to be fair, I already own one of those magnifier lamps).  Someone had already cleaned out all the Veroboard, so I left with a selection of plastic enclosures and some contact cleaner.  I did note that they seemed to have embraced the Arduino/Raspberry Pi project kits that seem to be the modern approach to getting started as an electronics hobbyist, which is all good, but even at a discount the prices were unattractive.

As for homebrew bicycle electronics, my last attempt was a dynamo powered USB charger.  I had a bulky working prototype of a high-efficiency active-rectifier based design when B&M launched the E-Werk, for about the price that it would cost to build mine at a sensible size on a custom PCB, but without a waterproof enclosure.  I abandoned the project and bought an E-Werk.

Actually, that's not strictly true.  Behind me I have a potted buck regulator module that I've equipped with connectors and a fuse to be installed on a friend's electric assist tricycle, also with a view to providing USB power from the generously-sized traction battery.  The module and waterproof fuse holder came from random Chinese eBay sellers, though I'm reasonably sure the cable I used came from Maplin.

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