Friday, 20 August 2010

Make Do And Mend #2

Heartily fed up with consumer kit that doesn't deliver the goods, the Diplo 'shop has always been resourceful in creating solutions to practical problems. I have mentioned before, on these pages, that I suffer from an irrational need to fix failed kit and I'm pleased to report that the make-do-and-mend approach is alive and kicking at Diplo HQ. A planned cycling trip to the Peak District has inspired Diplo Jnr to fettle himself a machine out of the selection of skip-find two wheeled orphans that forms his cycle collection. His chosen steed is this 23" British racer of unknown make running on 27" rims fitted with tyres that are reckoned to be 20 years old. The wheels have been stripped down, the tyres checked over and freed from the rims, new tubes have been fitted in a cloud of talcum powder as a non-stick dodge. The front derailleur is missing the selector fork so he's fettling one out of scrap from the 'shop. This 220 mile unsupported expedition, plus a climb of Kinder Scout, will require the hauling of a few items of kit (tent, stove etc) - hence the rather fine pannier rack illustrated above. The stores at Diplo HQ came up trumps and yielded a supply of skip-find galvanised wall plate straps - practically designed for the job and lending a thoroughly appropriate Meccano flavour to the design. I'm pleased to witness this all going on in a spirit of defiance amid the onslaught of glossy-techno-titanium-carbon fibre products being thrust at us in magazines, TV adverts and the like. I don't think Diplo Jnr's missing out on anything in having to scrape the metaphorical scrap bin to mount his expedition - far from it - he's saving his well earned cash for a Mars and some Dandelion and Burdock en-route and making do with what he's got. If you were planning on buying a new fandango bike for such a trip - just hold up a minute and think of the disappointment you could be building up for yourself. The bloody thing'll most likely break down and you just know that, being hi-tech and new, it will suffer from a degree of built in obsolescence that renders it "un-repairable". Build it yourself, keep it simple, stay in control and don't have your trip ruined by technology. The "less-is-more" sentiment comes to mind - but I don't want to roll that one out too often ! Come to think of it - much as I'm a fan of Beemer's GS 1150, and having had many trouble free miles on my own, I was shocked at how easily the Long Way Round team were thrown by a faulty ABS brake controller. This kind of tech can ruin a good thing. MORE MECCANO !

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