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View Full Version : 'Ere, you're 'avin a girarffe


Mikefule
August 13th 03, 05:23 PM
Well, what a purchase!

I've been in Devon (south west England) for a few days. Last night, I
was looking in the local 'free ads' paper and I saw a unicycle for sale:
"Very tall. 35."

So I had to go and look. The owner told me he'd "inherited it". I
guess the previous owner died suddenly in a fall. It is, er...
distinctive.

It has a 12 inch (x 2.125) knobbly tyre. It's 14.5 inches from the axle
to the centre of the bottom bracket spindle. That puts the seat at
about chest height for me. (Why do they measure giraffes in total
height? Surely the height to the bottom braket spindle matters; the
seat height varies from rider to rider, and from crank size to crank
size.)

The cranks are that horrible sort where there is no retaining nut or
cotter pin. They look like solid metal extensions of the spindle, bent
until they are at the correct angle. The pedals are cheap and look like
they have a different sized thread from normal. In short, it's made
from components which would fit a child's cycle.

The forks are even drilled to take a brake. I pause mometarily in
respect for all those people who have met a sticky end, applying brakes
to the rim of a giraffe wheel at high speed.

The bottom sprocket is 18 teeth, and the chainwheel (not 'ring'!) is 36
teeth, giving a 2:1 ratio and an effective wheel diameter of around 24
inches.

Adjustment of the chain tension is by two rotating cams which swivel
around the axle and push up against a flat surface on the end of the
fork tubes. I say 'fork tubes' because the forks are two cylindrical
metal tubes with flat metal plates welded to the bottom for the axle
drop outs.

The seat? Yes, it has a seat.

The seat has rails like a bicycle seat. It is as wide as it is long, so
mounting is difficult, even against a fence. It consists of a metal
base plate with soft foam and then a leatherette cover held on with a
draw string!

The tyre is blue, and the frame is painted yellow. Then there's the
sticker which says, "God, it's so big!". Oooer, Matron!

It was advertised at 35. (I guess that's 50 US$, give or take.)

I looked sceptical and made a few technical observations: "I don't mean
to be rude, but it's not actually a very good one," that sort of
thing.. The man said he'd had a lot of interest, and three phone calls
that day about it. I asked how much he was hoping for, 35? He said
yes, but he'd accept 20. Was this the world's worst haggler?

So, for 20, who could say no? Not I!

So I got the machine home, took it out of the car and had a proper look
at it. Hmmmm. I mounted it against the fence. I tried to ride it
without success. I've ridden 5 foot and 6 foot giraffes several times,
and once had a similar sized home made one. This one, I couldn't ride
more than 2 pedal stroke. I UPDd, picked it up and saw that the frame
was bent above the bottom bracket. Gentle pressure straightened it.

This is NOT my dream machine! Sooner or later, I will have a proper
giraffe, and spend 250 or more. This beast is 'one for the
collection', though, along with the 1959 'vintage' machine with the
leather bicycle seat.

For non UK readers, the 20 purchase price is the cost of about 9 beers.
(London readers - about 2 beers!)


--
Mikefule - Roland Hope School of Unicycling

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we
fall."
Confucius
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harper
August 13th 03, 05:35 PM
Mike-

I hate to be repetitious but could we please see a photo of this new
acquisition? Your words are valuable indeed but, as they say, a picture
is worth a thousand of them.

(And it is chain "ring" which is a macho term, not chain "wheel" which
is a sissie term.)


--
harper - Old dog, no tricks

-Greg Harper

B L U E S H I F T

"Are you OK???" - Just about anyone I've ever ridden with

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Mikefule
August 13th 03, 06:01 PM
1) Photos: I am possibly the only person in the western world who does
not own a camera. My ex wife has a lovely Nikon with a 28 - 210mm zoom
lens, but I'm not bitter. A cheap digital camera is on the 'to do'
list. Until then, my word pictures will have to suffice.

2) Chain ring/wheel. I wasn't referring to the relative degrees of
manliness. In my day, a chain ring was a toothed ring attached to a
crank and spider by approximately 5 Allen bolts. Chain wheels were
toothed disks, permanently attached to the right side crank. Thus, a
chain ring is a much better quality, more versatile device, and a chain
wheel might be found on a cheap bike. I was being derogatory about the
quality of the componentry. That said, I guess (without checking) that
even good quality giraffes have chainwheels rather than chain rings.

Probably these days, the pendulum of fashion has swung back and chain
wheels are preferred by the cognoscenti. I guess they're stronger. I
was a road cyclist and appreciated the lightness and verstility of the
chain ring system.


--
Mikefule - Roland Hope School of Unicycling

"Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we
fall."
Confucius
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Gumbo
August 13th 03, 10:24 PM
Mikefule wrote:
> *
>
> The cranks are that horrible sort where there is no retaining nut or
> cotter pin. They look like solid metal extensions of the spindle,
> bent until they are at the correct angle. The pedals are cheap and
> look like they have a different sized thread from normal. In short,
> it's made from components which would fit a child's cycle.
>
> *


Sound like BMX style cranks which would have 1/2" thread on the pedals
instead of the 9/16" that most bikes/Unis seem to have.


--
Gumbo
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Eublapharis13
August 14th 03, 05:12 AM
sounds like it's got 1 piece cranks....yeah they put them on all
bicycles 20" and under(unless it's a nice BMX bike with 3 piece cranks)
you see most of you uni riders are spoiled on 3 piece cranks....i used
to think of them as a luxury..


--
Eublapharis13 - Working on wheel walking

Half the Bike.....Twice the MAN!
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john_childs
August 14th 03, 09:05 AM
Eublapharis13 wrote:
> *sounds like it's got 1 piece cranks....yeah they put them on all
> bicycles 20" and under(unless it's a nice BMX bike with 3 piece
> cranks) you see most of you uni riders are spoiled on 3 piece
> cranks....i used to think of them as a luxury.. *

Schwinn giraffes have 1 piece cranks. My Schwinn giraffe still has the
original 1 piece crank and bottom bracket. One of these days I may
upgrade it to three piece cranks, but I don't consider it a priority.


--
john_childs - Guinness Mojo

john_childs (at) hotmail (dot) com
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unicus
August 14th 03, 02:49 PM
Mikefule wrote:
> *1) Photos: I am possibly the only person in the western world who
> does not own a camera.*

We'll have to go for a ride Mike and I'll bring my digital camera, you
bring your uni collection and I'll take some snaps so you can post them
when people ask. Of course we'll still expect your explanations to go
with them ;)

Gary


--
unicus

Every time I try to write my signature the pen slips on the monitor.
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