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Welcome to the CycleRecycle Blog page


Here we will keep you in the loop about our exciting news, current offers and promotions and our take on all things cycling

By CycleRecycle, Nov 20 2015 03:10PM

There are two unavoidable facts about winter riding – your bike will get dirty, and it will not like it.

It can only take a short ride to cover glistening components in muck and grime, and wet roads covered in salt mean corrosion is a threat if you don’t regularly clean your machine.

A good old fashioned bucket of soap and water – and elbow grease – will go a long way but there is also an abundance of bike-specific cleaning products on the market to help you do the job. A degreaser and chain bath will make short work of mucky components. If using a jet wash, be sure not to point the lance directly at any bearing.

The chain, in particular, needs to be taken care of and, if you do not have the time or the inclination to deliver a full wash and service after every ride, at least dry and lubricate it. Cables, especially those routed externally, are also susceptible to the winter weather and will benefit from regular attention.

Winterise your bike

Winter is beginning to rear its ugly head and the change in weather – short days, falling temperatures and unpredictable conditions – mean it’s necessary to protect both yourself and your bike from the elements.

For some riders, that means putting their beloved summer bike into hibernation and pulling out something more suitable from the bike shed on which to rack up the miles this winter. You may have a dedicated winter bike, or perhaps have bought a new best bike which means your old number one has been relegated to winter/training duties.

For others, budget or space constraints will mean that’s not an option – but you can take a number of simple steps to ‘winterise’ your regular bike to ensure it’s ready to face winter.

Cold, wet and windy weather, and slick roads littered with debris, can make winter a miserable time in the saddle. But it doesn’t have to be that way – here’s what you can do to ensure you’re well-equipped to ride through winter until spring returns.


Love them or loathe them, mudguards are a winter riding essential both for your own comfort and for that of your fellow riders too.

What is sacrificed in terms of the clean lines of your well-tuned machine is made up for in protection from the water, mud and general grime which coats our roads in the winter.

With little sun to dry the roads either, mudguards will protect you and your riding buddies from the cold and dirty water kicked up by your tyres on roads which remain wet long after it’s stopped raining.

Bikes with eyelets and the appropriate clearance (most likely to be machines geared up for winter riding, touring and audax) will accept full mudguards, which provide the most comprehensive protection, while ‘race’ bikes without will require clip-on guards like the Crud Roadracer MkII mudguards, which will still do an excellent job and will fit almost any bike.

Winter tyres

Punctures are a fact of life for cyclists and, unfortunately, increasingly likely in winter with debris (glass, flints and the like) washed onto wet roads.

Stay out of the gutter to avoid of the worst of the debris but we’d advise switching from your supple summer tyres to a new pair of winter boots to keep rolling.

Winter-specific tyres will typically be a little heavier and have a higher rolling resistance than tyres more typically associated with summer sportives and racing but in return they’re likely to be more durable and offer increased puncture resistant.

Compound, tread and size are all key considerations. A dual compound construction will use a durable, fast-rolling rubber on the centre of the tyre and a more supple, grippier rubber on the edges. 25mm tyres are fast becoming standard across road bikes and we’d advise wider rubber through winter, with 28mm tyres providing even more comfort and grip if your bike has the necessary clearance.

Tubeless tyres are also worth considering for winter, with the use of a sealant protecting against small cuts in the tyre and the absence of an inner tube eliminating the possibility of pinch flats and allowing for lower pressures.


The nights have quickly drawn in and it’s dark long before 5pm, which, if you are a commuter, will almost certainly mean at least one ride under cover of darkness.

Good lights are essential, then, and we’d advise keeping them on your bike throughout winter as it can remain gloomy even in the middle of the day.

What lights you choose to use will depend on where and when you will be using them – on lit roads during the urban commute or pitch black country lanes during early morning or evening training rides? Either way, the progression of LED technology and rechargeable lithium-ion batteries means there are plenty of options out there. If you ride regularly when it’s dark, we’d recommend having two lights at the front and back. That way you can have one flashing and one steady state, and always have a back-up should one fail. Just remember to charge them!

Even if you’re unlikely to ride when it’s dark, a small, inconspicuous set of ‘emergency lights’ are a worthwhile investment to get you out of trouble should you need them.


Some cyclists curse the very thought of a saddle bag on a road bike but in winter, the benefits are clear

It’s never nice to be stuck at the side of the road, and certainly not when it is cold, wet and miserable – as it is all too often can be in the midst of winter. Having a small saddlebag on your bike not only ensures that you have the essentials to get you up and running in the event of a mechanical, but also frees up space in your jersey pockets for food for long base training ride and extra clothing.

So what should go into every saddlebag at this time of year? A multi-tool, tyre levers, two spare inner tubes – or at least one in the bag and one in your jersey pocket – and glueless patches will cover the basics. Any spare space can then be used for an emergency energy gel or two and some cash

Frame pump

A spare inner tube is no use without a pump – and fitting a frame pump to your bike ensures you’ll never be without in winter.

The increased volume of a frame pump also means it’s likely to enable you to inflate your tyre to the correct pressure quicker than a mini pump.

It’s well worth investing in a quality pump – standing at the roadside 50 miles into a big training ride is no time to discover yours is a dud. Also check it regular to ensure it hasn’t become damaged by the inevitable grime kicked up by the road, and resist the temptation to wash the bike without first removing the pump.


Prevention is better than cure, as they say, and time spent giving your beloved steed a regular once over will serve you well in the long run.

Some essential maintenance checks are more obvious than others – the brake pads, for example, which only need a firm tug on the levers to check they are still in working order.

Keep an eye on water ingress, and removing the seatpost and tipping the bike upside down will help remove any water that may have found its way in.

Watch out for worn cables, too (ensure you also lubricate cables), and as previously mentioned, the chain is particularly susceptible to corrosion and wear in the winter, so use a chain checker to ensure it hasn’t become overly stretch, after which it can damage components.

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Thinking of buying a new bike? Click here to read `The Bicycle Shaped Object` or click here to view our range of new bikes

By CycleRecycle, Nov 12 2015 05:17PM

Every year in the CycleRecycle shop we are asked to build up a Bicycle Shaped Object or BSO, but what is a BSO?

Basically it is a very low price and poor quality bicycle. It looks like a bicycle, but doesnt perform like one. Expect prices to be around £100 - £150, although plenty will cost even less.

Generally these bikes are supplied still packed in their flat-pack shipping boxes exactly how they are shipped out of the factory in the Far East or Eastern Europe to be assembled by the owner, or taken to a "proper bike shop" to be built-up.

You will find them in supermarkets, catalogs, the back of the newspaper, toy shops, auction websites, Sunday markets, green grocers... Basically everywhere other than in a reputable specialist cycle shop.

Why you should stay away from BSOs?

1. Safety...

Buying a bike flat-pack in a box means taking total responsibility for ensuring it is assembled to a safe standard. Unfortunately BSO's are almost always particularly hard to assemble to a safe standard, even where part of the assembly has been done for you. The tools supplied - and often no tools are supplied - are cheap and nasty pressed low-grade steel and not sufficient for the job. The two tools commonly supplied are a flat spanner and one or two hexagon (allen) keys. The metals these tools are made of is almost always very low-grade and soft, meaning that they are incapable of fastening some of the nuts/bolts up to the required torque levels as the tool is damaged in trying to do so. If you have your own tools, proper spanners and quality hex keys, then this is less of a problem.

You will not be supplied with a pump, so unless you have your own, you will be unable to inflate the tyres.

The parts to be assembled are almost always of a very poor quality which means they may be hard to fit and calibrate correctly. Instructions are often incomplete or sometimes missing or just so unhelpful as to render them worthless, which means ensuring parts are fitted correctly and safely - such as brakes and pedals - can be particularly difficult. Last year we had a BSO where the wheels simple didn't fit into the forks. Instruction/owners manuals supplied will not necessarily be specific to the product you are assembling.

Plus of course the owner themselves may have little or no experience of bicycle maintenance or correct use of tools.

For example, many BSO's are spotted with the front forks facing the wrong way because the owner did not know they had to be changed when removed from the box. This will mean the bicycle will not steer correctly and the brakes will not work properly. (see below)

asda bike with forks backwards
asda bike with forks backwards

tesco vertigo with disc brake on wrong side
tesco vertigo with disc brake on wrong side

2. Poor quality parts...

To keep the price low, the parts and components on a BSO will be of particularly low spec and will be made from poor quality materials. That means they are really only able to cope with very light use, and will be prone to mechanical problems which are difficult to fix because of the quality. In particular, more steel will be used which rusts very easily and quickly. Many of these bikes are showing signs of rust as they come out of the box! A few weeks down the road and pretty much all unpainted surfaces, and nuts and bolts will have started to develop rust. Features such as suspension or disc brakes will be of very poor design and quality, meaning they won't be able to do a proper job. Plus of course there's the weight of your BSO, which will almost certainly make getting around much harder work.

Brake levers will almost always be made of plastic with a thin metal rod inside the moulding, which means they flex when any pressure is applied to them. The brake mechanisms with likely also be plastic, moulded over a metal former which will again flex when the brakes are applied. Combine flex in the levers with flex in the brakes and often, the brake levers are touching the handlebars and still you can't stop the bike... even when the brakes are adjusted correctly! (see image)

Chainsets are another big problem area, with cranks being either solid steel, or thinner steel coated in plastic to make it look stronger. The chainrings are almost always hammer stamped on and it is not uncommon for this friction joint to come loose after a while allowing the crank arms to spin without driving the back wheel!

Even more common with cheap chainsets is the misalignment of the pedal threads such that the pedal feels odd when riding... it's very hard to explain this!

3. Value for money...

Poor quality parts and components will almost certainly not survive regular use which means they will need to be replaced or repaired regularly. In fact on some BSO's they may never work properly in the first place. Ultimately this could mean spending more than you originally paid for the bike itself, just to keep it working, or that you might have to replace it sooner than expected.

We generally recommend spending a MINIMUM of about £200 on most styles of adult bike. In most cases a bike at this price will be of considerably better quality - and therefore value - than a bike that cost £100 - £150. Which means the "bargain" you picked up whilst at the supermarket really won't be such a good deal after all.

It isn't always so black and white and there are some reasonable quality bikes at below £200 but if you intend to buy at this price, do so from a reputable bike specialist.

4. Bad cycling experience...

perhaps one of the main reasons to avoid a BSO is because it will not offer you a particularly enjoyable cycling experience. Mechanical problems or safety issues - and the costs associated with fixing them - ultimately spoil the simple pleasure of riding your bike.

Gears that don't work properly, brakes that give-up at the first sign of a descent, uncomfortable saddles, and constant unseen rattles and shakes; will lead to a very frustrating time on your bike.

Please don't be fooled by the BSO pretending to be something it is not. A new bike which sells for around £100 is almost certainly a BSO, regardless of whether it is a special offer.

Common sales tricks are the "previously £199, now £99" fake special offer, or the "£199, buy one get one free" offer... These are both £99 BSO's with a slick marketing trick hiding their true identity.

Speak to an expert

To the un-trained eye its not always easy to spot the BSO's from the better quality bicycles. Obviously getting a bike in a box from anything other than a specialist will almost certainly mean it is a BSO, and could mean you are in for problems.

If in doubt come & speak to us and get our expert opinion on the best bike for you plus the peace-of-mind that it has been assembled correctly.

If you have enjoyed this blogpost please share & ReTweet

click here to read about how to winterize your bicycle

By CycleRecycle, May 1 2014 11:00AM

Its our Birthday!! Three years ago we opened our CycleRecycle store in Kessingland.

They say `time flies when you are having fun`, and it has certainly flown by.

with an estimated 1 in 5 businesses failing in the first year. Our goal when we opened our shop was to still be trading after 12 months.

With as many as 44% failing in the first 3 years, reaching our third birthday is a big deal for us here at CycleRecycle.

So here are some of the highlights of our first few 3 years in business, and where we have come from.

It all started here, behind the sofa, with bins of parts all destined to sell via ebay.

Our first lock up garage, to store the bikes and parts as the business began to grow

CycleRecycle, first day of opening, 1st May 2011

Refit of the shop, in August 2011. Recycled slatboard, and the counter was (and still is) and upturned divan bed

Blood, sweat and tears went into the refit of the shop, with the only cost being new screws

and finally, after a week of hard work, the refit was complete.

CycleRecycle in December 2011

Our first hire fleet, ready & raring to go

Team CycleRecycle compete in the 2012 Dusk til Dawn race in thetford

CycleRecycle winning Start-up business of the year for our local area

The East Anglian Daily times wrote an article on CycleRecycle, following our award

In January 2013 our online store went live

April 2013 we featured in the Guardian Newspaper, and Guardian online

In January 2014 we overtook our Major Uk competitors on Twitter

February 2014 our new company vehicle arrived

In April 2014 we began providing on-site cycle hire at `The Hollies`, `Kessingland Beach` and `Beeston Regis` Holiday Parks

So thats an overview of the last three years of CycleRecycle. In that time we have kept over 1500 bicycles out of landfill. and the still have the same ideals that we had on the first day we opened.

1. Keep Bikes out of landfill

2. Promote Cycling

3. Save our customers money

For the future, we have big plans to expand CycleRecycle nationally, and grow the cycle hire side of the business.

More importantly none of this would have happened if it wasnt for some special people who have helped along the way. Gareth Leer, who helped me for a week with the refit of the shop, listened to my rants, and does all our photography. Rodrigo Monteiro, whose help is always appreciated, and always has a smile on his face.- thank you

Also, a big thank you to you. Our followers, our likers, and our customers, who without you none of this would have happened. Thank you

Matt Rump



By CycleRecycle, Feb 21 2014 10:31AM

Busy day yesterday at CycleRecycle. A couple of weeks ago we took delivery of our new shop van. A wonderful Peugeot Partner Van that we chose for its perfect size and low running costs. We purchased the van from Matt Atkins at Sidegate motors in Great Yarmouth, who truly couldnt have been more helpful, and who we couldnt recommend highly enough.

Yesterday the van paid a visit to Seletar Signs in Lowestoft, and Steve, the owner of the company, designed the graphics for the van. We have used Seletar signs in the past, as their work has always impressed us.

We are much more noticeable now, so if you see us driving around, give us a wave

By guest, Feb 17 2014 11:05PM

Over the past few months CycleRecycle has been in discussions with The Hollies Camping & Leisure resort to provide Cycle Hire from their brand new site in Kessingland, Suffolk.

The Hollies, Kessingland is developing into one of East Anglia's premier holiday parks. With an emphasis on Camping, Touring, Self Catering Glamping, Tenting Holidays and some superb Lodges.

The link up with CycleRecycle will see initially a fleet of Hybrid, Mountain and children's bicycles being installed at the resort, all available to hire daily, half day, or hourly. Bicycles will be available to hire from the 1st April 2014.

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