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Full Time Mechanic Required

Posted on October 06, 2016





Due to expansion we require a full time mechanic

Vanilla Bikes in Carnforth, Lancashire, is looking for a full time workshop mechanic to join our existing team in a new service centre located within our store.


The ideal candidate will be a sensible, hardworking and dedicated individual who appreciates quality and attention to detail within a workshop environment and will be an important member of our close knit team.

You will need to have a good technical and mechanical background on Road and Time Trial bikes

Have the ability to work in an efficient manner on all bikes including those with electronic transmissions

Cytech qualifications are required, although specific training in all areas will be provided to the successful candidate 

Assembly and inspection of bikes, frame prep, wheel building/truing, etc.

Some weekend working required.


We offer competitive rates of pay, employee development and staff discount

CV's and applications to admin@vanillabikes.com

Closing Date October 31st 2016 

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Why Speedplay Pedals might be right for you

Posted on September 13, 2016

Speedplay Pedals

After suffering from back problems while on my bike, and spending a year heading to physios to try and sort these problems, I was advised to try Speedplay pedals. It was a recommendation from a friend which was mainly due to their excellent adjustability. After switching to these pedals, my back problems went away and I was able to enjoy bike riding again. Since changing to Speedplay I haven’t looked back, so for anyone suffering from problems or looking to change their pedals, here’s my guide on Speedplay pedals, including how to look after them to ensure they last.

The major difference with Speedplay pedals is that they are built the other way round compared with other types of pedal, so the spring is in the cleat. This has meant that the pedals are duel sided, so no looking down and fumbling at traffic lights while you’re trying to get away quickly. This is also a huge benefit for racing cyclists, especially in crit races where a fast start is important. The pedals have more corner clearance than other brands, which is another benefit for during races. They are also easier to adjust, and have more adjustment than other pedals.

Getting into the pedals is slightly different than other pedals, but once you are use to this it is easier. As long as the cleat is on the pedal it should engage, so no need to use the old trick of catching the pedal with the front of the cleat and flicking it into position.
The other main difference is the stack height is lower than on other pedals, which should help with efficiency. It may also mean that you might need to lower your saddle slightly if you are changing from another brand, but this is something that would be looked into when buying Speedplay pedals.


The entry level model of the Speedplay pedals come with a Chrome-moly axle, which still offers the same performance features as the more expensive Speedplays. To save weight the next level up come with a stainless spindle. To further improve weight saving the top of the range pedals come with a titanium axle and weigh 82g each.
These pedals also come in a pave version, which do as the name suggests. These have been raced tuned to cut out excess material to help handle harsh conditions, such as in the cobbled classic races.
The aero pedals were chosen to break the hour record by Bradley Wiggins. These pedals have a dimpled surface to reduce wind resistance are were developed for time trials where every second counts. These pedals come with the walkable aero cleats as standard.

Walkable Cleats

A new addition to the Speedplay range are the Speedplay walkable aero cleats. These help with grip as the cleats have a rubber attachment on the bottom to aid with walking. This makes walking into the café for your coffee & cake a lot easier!! It also has the added benefit of further protecting the cleats from wear, and further to this they are dimpled to help air flow while on the bike.


To help with the bed in period of these pedals, you should apply dry lube to the cleat springs. This will make it easier to clip in and out of the pedals. This should also be done regularly to help the cleat engagement and also keep the cleat clean. If the cleats do become dirty then a quick degrease of them and re-lube will get them back working as normal.
The pedals come with a grease port, and Speedplay recommend they are greased every 2000 miles or 3 months, whatever comes first. If the pedals spin freely they need re-greased, as this is a sign that they don’t have enough grease in them. Speedplay have their own grease gun and marine quality grease which makes the job easier. When using this, the grease should start to change from a black colour as all the old grease is forced out.

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The Bike Race

Posted on June 27, 2016

 Blog by Kevin Barclay

The bike race.

I spent my Saturday night as I always do the night before a race, cleaning my bike, putting my race wheels on and making sure everything works. Which, of course, has been more fun than a night out. I now find myself at the start of my race. I’ve checked the course, which doesn’t particularly suit my strengths but now I know this I’ll race it cleverly and stick to my race plan. I know the weather forecast and it should be a good day, a little dull but not too windy.

Now I find my first problem, parking. When 60 guys turn up to a village hall and try to fit in a car park made for 10 cars it doesn’t quite work out.

After finding a space down some side street I go and sign on and get given my number. This has rustier pins in than an old tin can. Luckily I extra pins tucked away in my bag and stick these in my number after stretching it out to make it as aero as possible.

Next decision, what kit to wear? Hopefully the weather gets better but I’ll stick my arm warmers on, just in case. Someone has just got out their embrocation and filled the room with that familiar pre bike race smell.

After making my clothing choice I head off to get a warm up. It’s a long race so I’ll just spin my legs and double check my gears, which I’ll do about 4 times just to make sure. I’ll check out the other riders too, who’s looking like they don’t want to be here or who’s got the allen keys out to fix their bike last minute.

We’ve all been called for the riders briefing, why do I suddenly need to go to the toilet so much? I hate my bladder. After listening to the commissaries talk I’m ready to go, I hope. Do I have enough food? Does my feeder know where the feed zone is? Will I survive the hills? I need to stick to my plan. After a short neutralised zone, the flag drops. And my plan?

It went out the window a long time ago.

Even through my plan went out the window I had one which helped me get through the race, here’s advice for riders racing, to help to get organised.

The day before

Find out the location of the start & the course. Google street view is good for looking at points on the course. Have a look at the distance of the race and decide on food for the race. Don’t try anything new on race day.

Pack your kit, wash your bike and check it over. It’s better to find a problem and get it fixed than find out your pedals are loose with 5mins until the start. Take some essentials with you, such as extra safety pins and toilet roll that may not be available at the race HQ. Get at least a small spin before the race, the shorter the race is the longer the warm up should be.


Race smart, try to stay near the front of the race and be aware of other riders. Remember to keep eating and drinking if the race is long as it’s easy to forget during the excitement of competition. Try to stay relaxed during the race and think clearly.


The important thing after a race is to get some food and a recovery drink. It’s also important to change out your chamois and have a shower after the race. If these aren’t available then secret training do an excellent range of post race washes to clean yourself.

 Now all that’s to be done is to collect your winnings


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Jimmy's Iced Coffee

Posted on June 15, 2016

Jimmy’s Iced Coffee

Jimmy's Iced Coffee

Having had a chat with Tracy, she mentioned she was sending through some coffee for me to taste. Hinting I would need it now more than ever seeing as I had just become a new Dad!

Now I’m a big drinker of coffee, I consume a lot of it. Pre-baby though I would never drink any after 3 or 4 in the afternoon, but that’s all changed now … and the more coffee I have in the house the better. So a box of Iced Coffees to try was spot on. What’s more is that Jimmy’s Iced Coffees are a particular favourite of my partners. She was excited to try the other flavours on offer… if she could prise them out of my hands that is.

For someone who drinks a lot of coffee, I hadn’t really tasted any iced coffees. The odd sip here and there but not enough to enjoy one or see if I liked it.

Anyhow, the coffees. They’re delicious. I didn’t expect to enjoy them as much as I did. Cold coffee doesn’t really sound right to me, my usual tipple is an Americano, with a dash of hot milk... But these, these are great. The Mocha one is a firm favourite in the household and those disappeared quickly. I came home from a 2 hour training ride one hot, and humid evening to find my partner had opened up a Mocha one. The perfect chance to get a taste. I really enjoyed drinking it alongside my protein recovery bar, (if I don’t fancy a recovery shake, chocolate protein bars are perfect). They complemented each other perfectly, the bar with a Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. It worked well, and it’s something I’ll be doing more often now.

Of the flavours I tasted, Original, Skinny, and Mocha. Mocha was my favourite. The Skinny for me, was my least favourite, still nice, just a bit too Skinny. But then, that’s what it’s meant to be.

Now I know at the moment Tracy & Kevin are only selling these in-store. Which makes sense as a cold drink isn’t something you would necessarily think to buy online to try. But if you know you like these, which I do, I would be tempted to order in bulk online. I wonder if they do multi-packs?

In summary, I was pretty impressed with these. My Mother was over visiting us and took the opportunity to have a taste and was also impressed.
So there we have it. Jimmy’s Iced Coffees were a resounding success and made two new fans of the drink. We'll be buying more when we see them!

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