The Met Office weather forecast

The Met Office has UK and international weather forecasts and is the source for the BBC’s weather forecasts. A local forecast is available via this link, just type the name of your town in the box at the right of the screen.

The rain radar

Another Met Office web page, this one showing where it is raining at present. The image is updated at 15 minute intervals. Useful if you’re about to start a long journey and you want to know what the weather is like at your destination.

East Coast Trains – for cycle reservations on trains (Great Britain)

East Coast Trains is the only website where cycle reservations for British train journeys can be made online. The cycle reservation option is on the seat reservations screen which appears part way through the booking process. (Cycle reservations can also be made in person at train stations.)

British Cycling – on commuting

The British Cycling website has practical advice on cycle commuting.


Park Tools – on routine cycle maintenance

The Park Tools website contains some well-made, easy to follow instructional videos for a very wide range of maintenance jobs. Obviously their videos exist to advertise their products, so they’ll say you need a tool from their range.

Sheldon Brown – on 14 ways to remove a stuck seatpost

UK stockists of Humbrol enamel paint

Paisley Freight – Bike Mailing

Specialist courier for sending a complete bicycle within the UK


Bicycle manufacturers

Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of the world’s bike manufacturers

MTB Kataloge is a PDF repository of mountain bike manufacturers’ catalogues from the 1990s. Includes the classic rigid-framed mountain bikes. These are highly suitable for conversion to utility bikes or tourers, as they have space for guards and racks and drop-bar-lever-compatible brakes. Catalogues are in English and German.

Classic Lightweights is a website dedicated to vintage road bikes made in the UK, France, Beligium, Italy and Holland. Vintage road bikes with steel frames are good for day to day transport, since they’re comfortable to ride and have space for mudguards and cycle luggage. The site has a collection of cycle manaufacturers’ historic catalogues.


Frame builders (UK) has a long but non-exhaustive list of UK-based frame builders for frame repairs and custom frame builds

Frame tubing

Reynolds was the main British manufacturer of steel bicycle frame tubing in the twentieth century. Many of the frames most useful for utility cycling are made with Reynolds tubing. The grade of steel is identified by a three digit number, for example 531. The bicycle info project has original Reynolds documents, including a chart of Reynolds frame stickers showing the kind of cycling that tubing is designed for.

Reynolds frame stickers chart

The same chart is shown at

This chart from steel tubing manufacturer Reynolds shows the tubing types and the diameters they were made in. May be useful for identifying tubing type from diameter alone in a bike that’s been repainted.

Bicycle frame geometry

A detailed discussion of geometry as it relates to road bikes, in the form of Tim Paterek’s book.


Crank/chainring bolt circle diameter (BCD) compatibility

Threadless bottom bracket compatibility

Bottom bracket compatibility

Chainline crib-sheet

Handlebar dimensions

Headset dimensions

Frame spacing (OLN) crib-sheet

Table of tyre sizes

Threadless bottom bracket – for frames with damaged threads

Fix Me Up gear calculator – for single speed gear sizes

Fix me up gear calculator is a program that calculates possible gear sizes for any chainstay length. It takes the guess work out of choosing a sprocket-chainring combination when setting up a single speed or fixed gear, meaning you can go single speed or fixed even on a bike with vertical dropouts.

Shimano component hierarchy

Shimano components are organised into numerous ‘groupsets’ each of which has a spec level and price point. Generally, the entry level is optimised for price, mid range for durability and high end for lightweight (and perhaps durability too). There are groupsets designed for road and MTB use.

Here is a list of group names correct as of 2012.

This page shows the groupset names up to 1997. (Scroll down a third of the page.)

This page gives tables showing the model numbers of Shimano components released between 1984 and 1999. Use Ctrl-F to search for a specific part number and to identify its age.

Saint John Street Cycles – for hard-to-find cycle parts


Cycle luggage

Carradice is an English maker of cycle luggage

Carry Freedom is a maker of bike trailers whose elastomer hitch can be retrofitted to less expensive trailers. Burley is another major manufacturer whose hitch can be bought separately.

General information on using and adapting bicycles

Chris Juden – on bikes and accessories

Chris has an insatiable desire to evaluate the products of the cycle industry from the utility cyclist’s point of view. His reviews can be found in Cycle, the magazine of CTC, back copies of which are available at the cyclingUK website.

Sheldon Brown – on repairs and modifications

Sheldon Brown was a self-taught bicycle mechanic based in the USA who began documenting his encyclopaedic knowledge of bicycle components in the days when the world wide web was a new thing. He was known for his ability to simplify technical information.

Non-standard utility cycles

Velovision magazine is the UK journal for cargo bikes and human-powered vehicles

Chritiania cargo trikes are made in Copenhagen where they are seen throughout the city. A tadpole trike with a box on the front.

A tandem can be used to carry cargo (when there’s no stoker). For example, this page shows a tandem with kiddy cranks being used to carry a child’s bicycle.