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Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

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Old 08-01-05, 08:43 AM   #1
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Hopping the pond

Since everybody else is posting their moving threads I figured it was about time I posted mine. Come September I'm heading over to London for a year of schooling and inability to afford anything. I know there are a few riders from England on the forum and I was wondering what the riding is like there as well as any other tips about life in general. Recommendations on food, fun stuff, anything are much appreciated. Also, what's the need for messengers look like over there, I was hoping to do that a few days a week for some extra cash.

Guess I'm gonna have to get used to saying, cheers!
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Old 08-01-05, 09:41 AM   #2
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Let us know how easily you adapt to the left side of the road. I'm envious.
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Old 08-01-05, 09:48 AM   #3
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Of course. Damned brits and their roadyslexia.
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Old 08-01-05, 11:11 AM   #4
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Yea, getting used to the traffic being on the 'wrong side' is a *****! When I went back to the states last year to visit family, the first thing I did was turn into the oncoming lane! Luckily nothing was coming.
Riding in London is great, the road layout is 'organic', as they say. Not too many straight streets. And it's easy to get turned around and lost at first, learn the post code system and it's pie. There's enough cyclists around that most cars are used to us and since the big red bus lanes double as cycle lanes you can get a big 10ft wide lane to yourself!
As for messenger work, Autumn is definitely the time to look for it, unfortunately not too many firms do part-timers, a few but not many. Creative, Pink Express and Go-Betweens are the only ones that come to mind.

Any idea what part you'll be staying?
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Old 08-01-05, 11:37 AM   #5
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Dude thank you! I'm gonna be at SOAS so I think that puts me in the King's Cross area. What's the deal with the post code thing though?

Any word on good shops as well as cheap eats/booze?
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Old 08-01-05, 01:16 PM   #6
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map of the postcodes with some areas contained within
And the boroughs

Postcodes are directional so as long as you know what postcode something is in, you know which direction it's in from you. And since every streetsign has the postcode after the streets name, you always know where you are.

Best shop is Condor, it's a bit upperclass though. It services mostly two types, people that can afford the latest carbon fiber doodad, and messengers/track riders. Very close to Condor is Bikefix. More your average LBS with knowledge of fixed. Mosquito Bikes in Angel is good, as is BrixtonCycles but it's all the way down in Brixton. Evans is the devil-incarnated McBikeshop - stay away from it unless all you need is consumables.
Cheap eats and booze... well... not really. An avg pint is 2.20 to 2.80 (that's about $5 !)but your avg can (tallboy) from an off license (liqour store) is just a quid. The Duke of York pub on Clerckenwell EC1 is the messenger spot.
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Old 08-01-05, 01:23 PM   #7
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london post codes:
start with the compass point [n, nw, s etc.] followed by a number. the smaller the following number, the closer to the centre it is.

the only ones that don't start that way are EC and WC [east city and west city] but they all have the same syntax.

kings cross is N1.

i'll second the comment about london's roads being 'organic'. the road layout of the city hasn't been drastically changed since the romans got here. but you'll get used to it. learn the tube map and keep it in mind when trying to get between points [that's the way i do it]


food:
ICCO on the corner of goodge street and charlotte street [w1] does good 3 pizza. they also used to have a branch just off Victoria Street on Strutton Ground, but i haven't been there in a while. either way, in summer a lot of messegers hang out in the park accross Victoria Street [opposite new scotland yard] for lunch.

also go to edgware road [near marble arch] for middle eastern food and shisha, try brick lane [near alwych station from what i remember] for south asian food, and chinatown is right in the centre. [next to leicester square]


clubbing:
fabric is the best. club. ever. but expensive and a scary place to be if you arrive sober at 3am. stunning sound system and consistently good djs though. if someone big's playing [eg sasha, digweed, 2manydjs] get there early or expect to queue for three hours.

otherwise there are loads of sweatbox indie clubs along oxford street [try club metro] and in camden [too many to list]

also try collide a scope at kings college. quite commercial, but a nice crowd and great views over the river at sunrise [in summer atleast].


the law:
just remember that no matter what a police officer says, you have a right to remain silent, the only information you need to give them is your name and address. otherwise answer 'no comment'.

stop and search has to be done by an officer of the same gender, and can only be a pat-down search.

this was put together for the g8 protests, but most of it is still pertinent.

that's all i can think of right now

fsnl
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Old 08-01-05, 01:23 PM   #8
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postcode = zip code

i went to soas (i'm from london, moved to nyc 8 years ago). awesome school. you'll have a blast

plenty good riding in london and more bike-aware drivers than here.

nyc chicks are way hotter though.

way way way

way
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Old 08-01-05, 01:44 PM   #9
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Wow that postal code thing makes this a lot less daunting thanks. Great tips all.
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Old 08-26-05, 01:19 PM   #10
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So part two of this post. During my time in England I plan on traveling all over Europe. The only thing that can make this trip sweeter is the fact that my bike will be joining me on many of these voyages. And here lies the catch. How in the hell do I get it from one place to another.

I scoured the forums looking for info and came up with a lot of good arguments for hardcases, however, they're expensive and bulky and I dunno if I'm gonna have any place to store them. So do people here have experience with softcases on planes and trains both cross continental and then on euro planes and trains?

Any recommendations would be met with love and pie.
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Old 08-26-05, 01:58 PM   #11
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I'm travelling abroad in September and just picked up a bag like this for travelling. They're relatively cheap and not as bulky to carry around once you've taken your bike out of them. There's only a skinny layer of foam for "protection", but it seems to me that most European airlines are a tad more careful/aware of cycling than their american counterparts.
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Old 08-26-05, 01:58 PM   #12
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I like English women, for the most part. It's that accent. Blame it on having my formative years spent there.

When I was in London last, it was hilarious -- I was staying with my girlfriend at the time (she was from New Zealand, moved there -- long story) since I hadn't been there in 9 years or so and seeing all these things that you'd get in Wal-Mart in places like Selfridges and Harrods. I was in either Selfridges or Harvey Nichols and in the young men's department they had Dickies for 40 quid! Which translates to about $90-100 US! Not to mention the Carhartt store they have -- but that stuff is much nicer over there, all street style stuff.

Anyhow, I'm sort of jealous - eventually I'll make it back over. And, I'm actually used to the other side of the road until I came here. Took me a month or more to get used to it when crossing the street...
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Old 08-26-05, 02:08 PM   #13
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Yeah Gnat that's sorta what I'm looking for I think. Is the bag itself heavy/light? Also whered'jah get it and for how much? Anybody else have experience with bags like that and bike damage?
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Old 08-26-05, 02:36 PM   #14
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https://secure9.nexternal.com/shared...t=products.asp
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Old 08-26-05, 02:37 PM   #15
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Thanks boots. You in town yet or still rockin the wisco?
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Old 08-26-05, 07:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by absntr
I like English women,
yep, that's the exact reason i'm here...
Quote:
Originally Posted by absntr
they had Dickies for 40 quid! Which translates to about $90-100 US! Not to mention the Carhartt store they have -- but that stuff is much nicer over there, all street style stuff.
yea, last time I was home I bought loads of dickies and carhart stuff, only to sell them off here for 6 times the price!! (and that was cheap!)
Gotta love Euro trends, and the , $ conversion rate...
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Old 08-26-05, 08:21 PM   #17
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nashbar has a cheap bike bag. I have one. I built an aluminum support frame that fits inside that allows me to check my bike as luggage on flights. then when I get to where I'm going I can remove the frame and use the outer nylon case for trains.
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Old 08-27-05, 08:45 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ImOnCrank
Dude thank you! I'm gonna be at SOAS ...
Did you know that you can buy and smoke draw (weed) in the SOAS bar? Because SOAS is on the Queen's land the police can't raid it without special permission so you can pop in, buy some draw, then get stoned and play pool. All good ****.

Only problem (for everyone else) is that you have to be a student to get in there...
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Old 08-28-05, 04:26 PM   #19
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Yeah I heard about the SOAS bar. Sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me. Not much of a smoker though, I'll stick to my pints. Is the SOAS area a chill neighborhood?

Potus, do you have any pictures of your support frame?
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Old 08-28-05, 06:27 PM   #20
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Potus, do you have any pictures of your support frame?
here's one. it's aluminum angle, tig welded with a coroplast shell. you could probably duplicate it with-out welding by using nuts and bolts. there's a fork-mount made for the bed of a pick-up truck that holds the frame in place. if you want more construction details and pictures let me know. the thing about the bag is it's really narrow so when the support frame is in my wheels won't fit with-out taking the axles out.
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Old 08-28-05, 06:37 PM   #21
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damn, doesn't sound like it's gonna work if it's that thin then. Sweet looking set up though, wish I could weld.
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Old 08-28-05, 09:54 PM   #22
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Hey Imoncrank,

I'm actually going to be in London for the Fall semester also. What do all you London natives think about King's colege and the SE1 area?
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Old 08-29-05, 04:48 PM   #23
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ImOnCrank, SOAS is near Russell Square/Tavistock Square area, right? That's about as chill of a 'neighborhood' as you're gonna get in Central London...

osiris five, King's College is in a tourist trap called the Strand, across the river from Waterloo station where the Eurostar goes to Paris (soon to leave from King's X as well). Critical Mass always starts on the Southbank just under Waterloo.
SE1? ehh... busy, partly touristy, can be nice but I feel it's a bit neglected. Overall, not a bad area, tho since SE1 is pretty big it's definitely got it's really bad parts as well. What part are ya talking about?
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Old 08-30-05, 09:59 AM   #24
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The riding's good, come on in!

The LCC is worth joining, as it's 20 quid a year and will get you a discount at most bike shops. They also produce a series of 20 or so maps that show cycle paths and quiet back streets.

If you're going to SOAS, you'll probably end up living around King's Cross or the Archway/Camden/Tufnell Park. None are particularly attractive, but there's lots going on. I used to live in Barnsbury, which is right by KX, and very nice. Good Japanese around SOAS - Ikkyu on Tottenham Court Rd, next door to the Scientologists, and Abeno for okonomiyaki on Museum St.

The roads in the West End tend to be wider and more one-wayish than in the City, but unless you're messengering, you probably won't end up in the square mile often. The surfaces are uniformly awful and covered in crud, so you'll want kevlar tyres.

Good bike shops are Mosquito, On Your Bike, Brixton Cycles. Avoid Evans, they blow goats like there's no tomorrow.
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Old 08-30-05, 10:01 AM   #25
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Quote:
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What do all you London natives think about King's colege and the SE1 area?
KCL's good. The Strand's pretty dire, but the Seven Stars is wonderful and only a short walk.

SE1 is a mixed bag. Borough Market is lovely - best food in London. Lots of events under the Arches. But then you get to the Elephant and it's horrible.
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