Saturday, 29 December 2012

The Rules

Well there aren’t any really, more a set of guidelines… what do you take me for? Some sort of Authoritarian?

In a nutshell, I aim to distribute as many books as possible to as many people as possible, generally within return cycling distance of Altrincham - WA14 4PH, to pick a random postcode (mylocal boozer). For the winter I’m going to limit this as far as possible to 50 miles (i.e .within 25 miles of above postcode) – when it gets a bit lighter and warmer (and I get a bit fitter) I may extend the distance. I will attract takers, I hope, by the use of various Social Media. I will share as much info as the takers are happy to share on this blog so if you have specific reasons for wanting the book, are happy to have a picture taken or will provide a review, all the better (but you don’t have to do any of these things if you don’t want).

I’m happy to deliver direct to your house or to meet you outside your local village landmark, whichever you’re comfortable with. If you live miles away but really want the book I can post but I’ll want a contribution to cost – I’m thinking minimum Amazon charge (£2.81) – any surplus goes into the pot – if it’s a large item which will cost more I’ll advertise the fact.

For every book I deliver by bike I will add £1 to the charity pot plus 1p per mile travelled (return) – so £1.50 for a 50 mile return journey.

The aim at the moment is to contribute to the Key 103 cash for kids Xmas charity next December (2013) ( ) with monies / toys to be handed over on December 1st.  If you want to contribute having received a book please do at - I’ll be adding a monthly amount at the end of each month.

I’m also expecting to get fitter and lose some weight as a result of my endeavours and I’ll be contributing £5 per lb lost (current weight 200lb) and will also encourage friends, relatives and complete strangers to sponsor me accordingly.

I hope you will help me in helping raise funds and awareness for vulnerable children throughout the Greater Manchester area at a time when services provided to them are becoming increasingly threatened.

Friday, 28 December 2012

Raison D'Etre

This may be a dull post to get things going but it by way of an explanatory note to put some context in place.

We’ve been in our current house for about 4 years – moved back up north from the Southlands mainly due to a decent job offer (made when ‘between jobs’). The missus gave up her job and didn’t want to try and get into the local office up here, partly because it was a bit of a trek and partly because she’d been doing the same thing since leaving school.

A combination of some crappy temp jobs and our attempts to create life (a baby not  Frankenstein) was leaving her stressed so I researched ‘home business opportunities’ and an online Amazon / ebay type thing seemed the most doable… and it worked for a while, we made some good purchases to set the business going and things went well but then ‘big’ players moved into the Amazon marketplace, hovering up stock and selling it dirt cheap using automated low pricing software with the advantage of being able to secure average weight postage pricing through Royal Mail by selling in bulk… so something that would cost us 4 or 5 pound to post would cost them a quid, hence they could still make money from a penny sale (with that £2.80 Amazon add on for postage). So sales started to dry up a little and then along came Matthew to put a stop to any hopes of putting time and effort into making this thing work.

We’re still hanging on with Amazon and I get stuff listed on ebay when I get the chance but I have a stack of stock in the garage and in the loft, much of it would only fit the 1p bracket so not even worth listing. I’ve been donating to charity shops, selling some via car boot and small lots on local free ads but it’s a slow process and I’m loathe to sell to someone who’ll be able to do the bulk thing, which is where ‘Books by Bike’ comes into play.

I got back into cycling last year when we moved office to one about 4 miles as the crow flies from my house and I started commuting by bike. I’m back cycling fairly regularly but using a lot of the same routes. I had the idea of cycling books to people a while ago (I don’t claim it’s unique – I’ve since found others who’ve tried it) and this seems to be a win – win: I get to cycle some new routes, my book pile goes down and some folk get free books.

So the goal is I’ll list some free books on G+ , Twitter and wherever else. People who live locally will want them and I’ll take them there when I get the chance (hopefully sooner rather than later). I’m hoping I might get some stories, meet some interesting people and get to know the area better and if all else fails I’ll get some fresh air.

Rules to follow… because if we didn’t have rules, where would we be? France (with apologies to Al Murray)

UPDATE - I'll be doing a charity thing on this that I haven't quite finalised - want to link into Key103 toy appeal for next Xmas if they're doing it again