Writings on various topics (mostly technical) from Oliver Hookins and Angela Collins. We have lived in Berlin since 2009, have two kids, and have far too little time to really justify having a blog.
This week has definitely been colder so far than last week, noticeably so. We're getting down to ranges of something like 8 - 16 degrees Celsius, with gusty winds and rain. Of course, I love this kind of weather but it does necessitate certain precautions. Unfortunately I caught a cold last week from some scoundrel at the office and had to take three days off work, but fortunately I was more or less back in shape today, so it was back to my usual routine of cycling to and from work.
I own possibly the worst bicycle in Berlin that isn't rusted and chained to a tree, one wheel kicked in and bent while the other is completely missing, seat long gone and handlebars soon to follow. Mine has a bit of rust, up until recently had only half a seat and will transfer buckets of oily grime to you at the slightest touch. With the wintery days approaching the days are growing shorter and darker; the threat of snow imminent on the horizon. It's probably best if I take care of some of the minor safety issues now before it becomes too late.
Up first is the broken dynamo. It put up a good fight, but only really lasted a couple of weeks after acquiring the bicycle (and even then was only sporadically used, mainly out of curiosity). Off it comes! I didn't realise this prior to removing it, but the top was completely wonky and broken.
About a month ago I discovered that a local hardware store, Obi, carries most if not all of the things I could possibly want for bike repair (this is after I bought a bunch of stuff off Ebay for probably about the same price they had them). So after having an Ebay seller not deliver the cheap dynamo I bought (I managed to get the money back from Paypal fortunately) I decided to check out their offerings in dynamos.
For the princely sum of €6 I picked up this little 6V 3W gem, and actually managed to fit it to the bike correctly first time, and wired it up ok. The lights work again (front and back) so my safety level has just gone up a few notches (and I do wear a helmet, unlike most locals).
Unfortunately, that's about where this story ends. The rest of the bike is in pretty shabby condition: it only acquired a front mudguard quite recently, the chain tended to skip quite badly until I adjusted the rear derailleur but I still leave it in one gear most of the time and the brakes, while they do work, leave a bit to be desired.
Check out the tyres Yes, that's some quality right there. I was hoping to leave it on until it wore out completely, forcing me to buy a new one but it seems for the sake of safety I might have to change it early for a winter tyre, if such a thing exists for bicycles.
But hey, at least I can see in the dark now.