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I read somewhere that in the Finnish language there is a specific word (Poronkusema) for the distance equal to how far a reindeer can travel without a “comfort break”. I wish there was a similarly useful word in English to describe the situation where you want something, but when you go looking for it you can only find a million varieties of that thing – that you don’t like at all. This happens to me all the time. Writers in a gentler age would have called me particular. Writers of this age would call me a wanker. Unless they were American – in America a wanker is a type of fannypack. Interestingly enough, I knew someone who was travelling in the US some years ago and they met a guy who’s name was Randy Wanker. Really.

So anyway, a couple of years ago I decided I was going to cycle around the place instead of driving, and went looking for a suitable bike. I couldn’t find one and decided to build my own. This is what I made.

The frame is a Cotic Roadrat, and the rest of the bike is put together from parts made by  Velocity, Sturmey Archer, Brooks, Sapim, Tange-Seiki, Michelin, Jagwire and Shimano

It’s not perfect – there are no mudguards and the rear basket is a bit crap. But it’s practical enough to be my primary means of transport – I ride it to work and everywhere else around the city (including to synchronized cycling practices and performances).

It has a front light powered by a large rechargeable battery…

3-speed gears…

Comfortable handlebars…

Front & rear hub brakes…

It also has a rear light attached to the carrier and some fat tyres. These days there are some more options when it comes to buying city bikes, you’ve got Velo-Ideale and Rode for instance. But I think a good point to remember is, if you can’t find what you want, you can always go & make it yourself. And if the project turns in to a Vortex of Damnation, well then at least you’ll know not to do it again.