Belt up

Today’s picture is the world’s fattest chaffinch.  (I need pictures from external sources.  Help me out here.)

fat chaffinch

It was a dull and misty morning but it was warm and relatively windless so for our morning pedal we took the road to Paddockhole.  As we went over the hill at Callister, the low cloud and mist was dense enough to call for me to turn on my rear light but by the time we were on the return journey, the cloud had lifted and the road was clear.  Dropscone set a steady pace and I was able to enjoy the ride in spite of somewhat soggy legs.  We have done this 21 mile ride three times this month and taken more or less exactly the same time whatever the conditions.   This is either a fine example of pace judgement or simply as fast as my little legs will go.

The scones were extra good to today and the blend of coffee hit the spot as well so all this made for a very good start to a grey day.

I didn’t have time to take any pictures in the morning because as soon as I had had my shower, I set off to my local bike shop to pick up my new bike.  I had finally pinned down a make of bike which was available and which the firm would supply to the bike shop although they are not agents for it.  The benefit of buying through the shop and not on line is that I get free service for a few years and if any faults develop  (which I am not expecting) the shop will deal with them.

Levi, in the shop, was quite impressed by my choice of bike and happy to supply it to me.  He was even happier ringing up the price on his till.


I not only picked up my new bike but I also saw my next purchase waiting for me in the shop.

Electric tricycle
A handy electric tricycle. Not needed for a few years yet, I hope.

By chance there was another customer in the shop who expressed an interest in buying my now ex slow bike and we agreed that he would ring me later in the day and come round and look at it.  Things could not have been better.  I took the new bike home and leaned it against the garage door.

Avanti Blade
It is an Avanti Blade, made in Taiwan for a New Zealand firm

I was sorry not to have been able to buy a British bike but I couldn’t find one with one of these…

Belt drive
The belt drive. No chain, no oil, no maintenance.


Belt drive rear
A cosy fit.

The bike has an eight gear internal rear hub so no maintenance on a daily basis is required there either.  As far as I know almost every car uses a belt somewhat like this for its timing mechanism and it seems odd to me that bike makers have been so slow to adopt them.  I am taking it out for ride with Dropscone tomorrow and I hope it goes as well as it looks and feels.

I couldn’t give it a whirl today as I was waiting for the potential buyer of the slow bike to turn up so I spent some time giving the slow bike a much needed wash and brush up and some time staring out of the kitchen window.  I was mainly watching one or two coal tits flashing around the feeders.

coal tit
They are so tiny that they almost fit into the feeder hole
coal tit and chaffinch
This one is dwarfed by an approaching chaffinch
coal tit
The seed is too big for them to chew so they trap it under their foot and nibble at it.
Coal tit
The present lot of seeds are rather large for many of the birds so there are rich pickings to be had below the feeders.
coal tit
Their wings move very quickly and are hard to freeze
Coal tit
But you can get lucky

Among the other visitors, the usual behaviour was apparent.

A male chaffinch kicks a lady off the perch
Two greenfinches bicker

The fat chaffinch from the top of the post was able to move about but didn’t look very happy about life after he had moved.

Fat chaffinch in puddle

The potential buyer came round with his daughter to look at the slow bike and while he took it off for a quick trial, his daughter confided to me, ‘Mum doesn’t know about this.’   He is going to let me know next week, having consulted with mum.

In the evening, I was driven to Carlisle by Susan, who is back from Abu Dhabi via Glasgow and we enjoyed a particularly good evening of recorder playing.   This rounded off what has been an excellent day.

I did take a picture of a perching chaffinch thinking that it might have to do instead of a flying bird of the day…


…but Bruce came to my rescue with thousands of flying birds

Impressive, eh?



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

16 thoughts on “Belt up

  1. I was most interested to see the name on your new bike, as I am also the owner of an Avanti (Studebaker, in my case). The belt drive is most intriguing – what’s the expected mileage for a belt? And is it expensive to replace?

  2. Of course the starlings are awesome. Our CA starlings are either lazy or drugged. They don’t do this.

    Fat chaffinch! Seriously.

    I will have to show hubby your new bike. Well, maybe not. He will get the bug.

  3. Enjoy your new bike. It was a pity you weren’t near the Town Hall at 9.20 this morning with your camera – an enormous flock of geese flew over in several V-formations while Bob McLure and I watched in amazement and listened to their calls.

  4. I’ve had an Avanti for ten years in Wellington, NZ. Very reliable. But it doesn’t have your fancy chain

  5. That looks like an excellent bike. Very nice. Belt drive and IGH are such a good combination. In addition to being used for car timing mechanisms, these sorts of belts are used in many motorcycle drives. They have a well established history of reliability and long lifespan in that application so they seem a natural choice for bicycles, in my opinion.We just need more belt capable frames. Now that you are selling your slow bike I can stop envying your Rohloff hub.

    The starling flock is mesmerizing. The birds are like fish in an ocean of air.

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