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This is a question Cheap Tat

OneEyedMonster remindes us about the crap you can buy in pound shops: "Batteries that lasted about an hour and then died. A screwdriver with a loose handle so I couldn't turn the damn screw, and a tape measure which wasn't at all accurate."

Similarly, my neighbour bought a lawnmower from Argos that was so cheap the wheels didn't go round, it sort of skidded over the grass whilst gently back-combing it.

What's the cheapest, most useless crap you've bought?

(, Fri 4 Jan 2008, 7:26)
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My dutch bike
I spent part of my university years at the Universiteit Leiden, in Holland. Now Holland is even bigger on bikes than Oxford or Cambridge, and it immediately became obvious to me that I'd need a bike to get around, if only because all my mates there had one and I'd need to keep pace with them whilst out on the piss.

The only problem was, I didn't want to spend actual money on it. I'm not a tight-arse, this was a tactical decision: I'd rather spend the money on beer and women, than on a fucking bike.

Being a resourceful chap, I hit upon a solution. This was Holland - bike theft is more endemic in Leiden than the clap is amongst prostitutes in the red-light district. I didn't have the skill (fair enough - or the balls) to nick a bike myself, but the by-products of bike theft littered the streets - the odd wheel here, a rusty frame there, maybe a saddle or two. My block of flats also had a communal bike garage, where there were a few sorry-looking bike carcasses. So I decided to build my own bike from abandoned parts - a Frankenbike, if you will.

Over a period of a week or so, my bike took shape. The frame I'd found was painted in Rasta colours, and badly painted at that. The tyres were so bald that bits of inner tube actually poked and bulged through holes, like some rubber hernia. And - this was the bit that surprised me most - the front wheel was bigger than the back wheel. Turns out that there are two different commonly-used wheel sizes, and I didn't have the privilege of having more than two wheels to choose from, so a matching set was impossible.

The result was awesome to behold. The bike looked like some demented, broken-down, Rastafarian chopper. It was so shit, it was actually cool. Of course, it got punctures every second day, but I loved it. Even when I got a puncture taking a girl back from a bar to my love-nest, and she spent the entire journey berating me for my shit bike whilst she walked beside me, I still loved it. Mainly because she still put out regardless.

But karma was enforced. Despite my bike clearly being the shittest, most broken contraption within the Amsterdam-Leiden-Hague metropolitan area, it still got nicked from outside Leiden railway station. I never replaced it because I couldn't bear to ride any other bike.

And, of course, because I was still too tight to buy one, and I'd now used up all the available parts on the streets.

No apologies for length - you love it.
(, Sun 6 Jan 2008, 12:05, closed)
what a sad story
RIP RASTABIKE.
(, Sun 6 Jan 2008, 12:50, closed)
Oh, beautiful!
PHOTOS, PHOTOS, I WANT PHOTOS!

I'm sending this story to a Dutch lass; I'm sure she'll approve.
(, Sun 6 Jan 2008, 15:51, closed)
My dad bought loads of bikes
As part of some mad scheme. I could probably give you bits for several new rastabikes.
(, Sun 6 Jan 2008, 18:42, closed)
Sounds like something I would have done!
There are tons of old bike frames downtown locked to various things, having had everything stripped from them. I'm sure I could get quite a few of those. The only hard part would be finding wheels, as those are the first things to get swiped.

I may have to give this a try, just for fun...
(, Sun 6 Jan 2008, 20:04, closed)
no photos :(
I've just run through my rolls of photos from back then, and the bike isn't in any of them. To be honest, I wasn't exactly 'proud' of it - more embarrassed to be seen on it - so I'm not surprised. Wish I'd taken some now though.
(, Sun 6 Jan 2008, 20:09, closed)
"demented, broken-down, Rastafarian chopper"
that line will live with me forever. Sounds like a Jamacian serial killer flick.
(, Sun 6 Jan 2008, 22:32, closed)
I was working in Islington recently
and we talked about doing this with the various broken bikes which are locked to the railings.
(, Mon 7 Jan 2008, 21:28, closed)

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