Newsletter 12

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These are archived newsletters, so information, specifications and prices may be out of date or incorrect by now

Trailerbike hire, Ortlieb panniers, saddle library and developments in the Bear Pit


Burley tagalong
Trailerbike Hire


We now have a Burley tagalong (trailerbike) available for long-term hire.

This tagalong attaches to a special rack, and is much more stable than seatpost-mounted tagalongs. You can use it on the school run, and the freewheel on the tagalong means your child can stop pedalling just before that big hill. This is a great way to take children on longer bike rides, and the rack can take panniers as well.

The Burley tagalong has a 6-speed freewheel, which would allow you to teach your child how to use the gears, and is recommended for children between the ages of 4 and 10, up to a weight of 85lb/38.5kg (with a recommended adult-to-child weight ratio of 2 to 1).

Because of the work involved in fitting the rack to your bike, we only hire the tagalong out for at least a week at a time, and it's necessary to pre-book it.  


Weekly hire now only £50


(normally £65)


If you want to give cycling with children a try, a week-long hire period will allow you complete flexibility to use the trailerbike whenever and wherever you want.

See for full details.

Please give us a ring to make a booking.


Jake's Bikes now offering email service reminders

To help our customers keep on top of regular bike maintenance and to avoid being hit with a big repair bill, we now offer a new service: automatic annual service reminders. Each time we service your bike we'll keep a record of the work done, and 12 months after your last service you will receive an email suggesting you book your bike in to the workshop. And if you have more than one bike, you'd be pleased to know we keep a separate log for each different bike you bring in.


(This is an entirely optional service, and you're always welcome to tick the box saying "no emails please" when you book the bike in, or to unsubscribe at any time using the link at the bottom of the email).

New products: Ortlieb panniers, Carry Freedom trailer, skirt and chain guards

The excellent Ortlieb waterproof pannier

Just in time for the rainy season(!), we are pleased to be stocking Ortlieb Back Roller Classic pannier bags. They are quite simply the best 100% waterproof panniers available, thanks to the rolling closure system, and are renowned for their reliability and durability, backed by Ortlieb's 5-year warranty. They are stable on the rack and the attachment system makes it quick and easy to get them on and off, even single-handedly. They come complete with a shoulder strap. Internally they have a single compartment, with mesh A4-size flat organiser in the back. 


Available in black, yellow, red, blue, grey or white, with reflective detail on the side. We normally keep black, red and yellow in stock. 40 litres per pair (20 litres each). The price is £55 for a single pannier, or £105 for a pair.

Carry Freedom trailer


If even the largest pannier bags don't cut it, or if you need to carry odd or bulky loads, (or if your rear wheel has a freewheel, rather than a cassette, and therefore cannot handle heavy luggage) a trailer might be the right thing for you.


Following a trial, we now recommend the Carry Freedom Y-frame trailer, developed in Scotland in 2001 and manufactured in Taiwan and Poland. It has a plywood load bed, a very light aluminium frame, and two wheels that can be removed, allowing it to be stored flat. It attaches to the rear axle of the towing bike, and can be combined with various bags or boxes to carry different loads. 

It can carry 45kg (small) or 90kg (large), and costs £220(S)/£240(L). We don't keep these trailers in stock, but we'll be happy to arrange a demo and order a trailer in for you, usually within 2-3 working days.   

Skirt guards

And continuing our focus on practical everyday cycling, we also offer skirt guards and chainguards for various bike models. Our skirt guards are a simple, flexible design, which clip on to your rear mudguard, and prevent a skirt or a long coat from getting caught in the rear wheel. More common in places where cycling is a completely normal form of transport, a skirt guard can transform your cycling wardrobe.    


Until recently, most of the chainguards we had in stock were only compatible with bikes with a single chainring in front and required the removal, and sometimes replacement, of the bottom bracket, which made it an expensive accessory to fit. We think chainguards are great and well worth the investment - they protect your clothes from oil stains, and prolong the life of your chain by keeping it protected from the elements. We are pleased to have found a chainguard with does not require the removal of the bottom bracket, and is even compatible with a front derailleur, so it would work with standard hybrid bikes. They are made by the German company Hebie, and cost £25. 


Gel saddleSaddle Library

Those of you who visited the shop recently may have noticed we have more saddles in stock. We always get asked for the most comfortable saddle, the softest saddle, a saddle that you won't cause any pain even after riding all day. The trouble is, saddles are a highly personal matter, and what suits one person might be a torture device for another. 


To solve this problem, we opened our saddle library: more shapes, sizes and various levels of padding, and a chance to try them out and decide what would be the most comfortable saddle for you. When you buy a new saddle, you can ride it for a few days and decide for yourself. If it's not the right saddle, just return it with the packaging and replace it with another one. You can also go through our extensive collection of used saddles - most of them have small nicks and tears to the fabric, but would still allow you to test many different makes, models, shapes and sizes for just £3. Just pop into the shop and ask for our Lucky Dip Box. Then when you've identified one that's approximately the right size, shape and padding you can always upgrade to a similar new model. 

Bristol Independents' Christmas loyalty card

If you are after an original and useful Christmas present or just stuck for ideas, we can Jake's Bikes gift voucherssell you a gift voucher that can later be exchanged for a bike or accessories, bike servicing, or even a maintenance tuition session.


We are also part of the Bristol Independents Christmas loyalty card and prize draw. This means that when you buy something from Jake's Bikes or one of the 70 local businesses participating in the scheme, you will have your loyalty card stamped (and if you don't have a loyalty card, fear not - we have plenty of them). Once you've collected 5 stamps you can send your loyalty card to a prize draw - and if you're lucky, you could win a basic service from us, or one of many other prizes.

But it's not Christmas yet!

I know, I know... it seems a little early in the year to mention Xmas twice in the same newsletter, but for those planning ahead: if you are buying someone a flat-packed bike as a present at any time of year, we strongly recommend professional servicing before it gets ridden. When a new bike is built, the factory normally just assemble it, leaving the proper adjustment, tuning and safety checks the the bike shop. When you buy a bike online this crucial stage is missed out: the bike arrives in a box, and simply attaching the pedals and straightening the handlebars isn't really enough to make it roadworthy. Not only will the bike be safer if it is properly serviced before riding, but it will also be more reliable (and probably cheaper) in the long term because the bearings will all be greased and adjusted correctly, the spoke tensions will be hand-finished and the gears will be tuned.


MAINTENANCE TIPS: keep your bike safe

Over the last five years, sadly we've seen many customers lose their bikes. A few have got their bikes back, which is always a heart-warming experience, but the numbers are unfortunately small. But it doesn't need to be like this: there are a few simple things you can do to really effectively protect your bike.


Lock it with a quality D-lock or a heavy chain and padlock, never with a cable lock or a combination lock. Your lock is only as strong as its weakest link - don't use a heavy chain with a tiny padlock. Never leave your bike unlocked and unattended, even for 30 seconds: bike thefts are mostly of an opportunist nature, so just don't give them the opportunity.


Lock your bike to a sturdy, immovable object, not to flimsy railings that can be cut easily or to a signpost that can be unscrewed to allow the bike lock to slide over the top. Don't lock your bike using the top tube alone - a thief might be tempted to try and break the lock using the whole bike as a lever, and if they fail to steal it, they are sure to damage it. Leave as little space 'inside' the lock as possible, to make it more difficult to lever the lock apart.


Lock your bike in well-lit and public areas, with high pedestrian traffic, and preferably, near other bikes. If you ride a particularly expensive bike, don't park it in the same place every day. If your workplace provides secure bike parking areas, don't be complacent - a thief can tailgate any of your colleagues and once in the parking area, will have access to many bikes and the privacy and time to unlock them.


Lock your bike, frame, wheels (and saddle if your seatpost is the quick-release type) and don't forget to take your lights with you. Don't forget to look after your lock - put a drop of oil into the keyhole at least twice a year to prevent it from rusting and seizing.


And please, please, please don't support bike thieves: if you buy a used bike, make sure it's not stolen. If you're buying an almost-new bike for £50, or if the seller is reluctant to give you any information on the history of the bike, walk away. If you buy a stolen bike and someone recognises it as their bike, you're more than likely to lose the bike and the money not to mention risking prosecution for handling stolen goods.


Keep a record of your frame number. This is a number stamped on the frame, usually under the bottom bracket (between the cranks, which attach the pedals to the frame), and is unique to your bike and would allow you to tell it apart from other bikes of the same make and model. Take a photo of the bike and write down a description of it - and keep it somewhere safe. Many stolen bikes are recovered and not re-united with their owners because they didn't report the bike as stolen or didn't have the frame number. Because so many of our customers don't have a record of their frame numbers, Jake's Bikes now note down the frame number as part of a full service, so you should be able to find your frame number on the front of your receipt/service sheet or ask us to find it in our records.





The Bearpit Improvement Group

One proposal for recevelopment of the Bear Pit showing elevated pedestrian walkway and new road-level pedestrian crossings
The Bear Pit is the name of the large pedestrian area in the middle of the St James Barton roundabout right next to Jake's Bikes. The Bearpit Improvement Group have already had some success in making the Bear Pit a nicer, more social place by installing a table tennis table, establishing a couple of small gardens, and getting several traders to set up regular stalls, especially on Saturdays.
The next stage is much more ambitious: thanks to £1m of funding from Bristol City Council, plans are afoot to redevelop and landscape the Bear Pit itself, perhaps including an elevated pedestrian walkway and/or an amphitheatre.
We at Jake's Bikes think it's great that this neglected area of Bristol is receiving some attention at last and we're supportive of the work done so far, but we're a little concerned that the proposed walkway might mean less pedestrian use of the Bear Pit itself. What do you think? You can have your say at


These are archived newsletters, so information, specifications and prices may be out of date or incorrect by now

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