Sunday, 1 January 2012

Pack of Biscuits

2011 was the year when cyclesguff first clipped into the world of blogging. The riders of cyclesguff have been amazed at the audience, those clipping in and spending time reading 'guff' have visited from almost all corners of the globe, however, Africa still eludes us.

Cyclesguff has plans for 2012, one of the plans is the Pack of Biscuits interview series. The series is titled after Alisdair Gow, better known as Big Al, owner of Wheelcraft, a specialist handbuilt wheel and bicycle shop. Big Al has been running Wheelcraft and hand building world famous wheels and wheelsets (and tweaking nipples) for longer than he cares to remember - without him, the wheels of cyclists from around the world would be, well, less round. He's also the only cyclist that cyclesguff is aware of who has been immortalised in Oor Wullie - that's A-list celebrity DC Thomson style.

Big Al always has a pot of coffee on the go, never ending supply of biscuits and good chat. The supply of biscuits is down to one of his charging structures. Over the years, the price of a small repair, spacer, ferrule etc has been a pack of biscuits. This seemed like a fitting title for the series and something to share and enjoy.

Co-op mince pies and M&S treats buys you a Royce hub
The shop is a delight, one of those places that relishes visitors and amazed new comers in equal measure. The sheer volume of wheels, old and rare parts, frames hanging from the rafters, tools and of course, the chat. The walls are covered with posters, postcards, photos and hand written notes and an assortment of phone numbers.

Big Al back in the day
The setting is also very special, nestling at the foot of one of cyclesguffs favourite climbs, the Crow Road. Cyclesguff would be hard pushed to think of a better spot for a bike shop. Big Al also shows a soft spot for a well known road at Glen Lyon. This is also a cyclesguff favourite and will no doubt feature in 2012 rides.

The interview was recorded when the shop was in full swing, cyclists where coming in for a coffee, chat and chance to warm up. Wheels where being discussed, ordered and trued. It was a horrible day, horizontal sleet and 40mph gusts of icy wind. However, I'm glad that my journey to Wheelcraft was by bike, the only problem was the tailwind. A 32x20 29er singlespeed spins out very quickly. Then again, a small gear would be the order of the day for the return home and there was no chance the wind would change direction.

The interview was recorded on an iphone, so apologies for lack of audio brilliance. 

If you ever find yourself in the vicinity of Wheelcraft, you have to go and say hello. If you aren't in the vicinity, the pics will hopefully provide a feel for the shop.

More info here

Don't ask for black spokes

Stock check....

It works
Stay upright and Best Wishes for 2012

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