Those of you with a bicycle will know that if you use it every day, it does tend to get dirty quite rapidly. Living in London with the British weather the way it is, this can of course make bicycles filthy. Having spent hundreds of pounds on my beloved Brompton folding bike, I decided I would give the bike a damned good clean.
I lovingly cleaned all the dirt off the tyres and frame and much to the amazement of my onlooking family cleaned the spokes, rims and hub. Everything was absolutely spotless and in 'as new' condition. Very proud of myself I got out a tin of 'GT-85' and proceeded to spray the wonders of this lubricant over the chain. Turning the wheel I could hear the now silky smooth running of a perfectly engineered bike - now cleaned by yours truly.
Feeling slightly guilty - as this had all taken over two hours, I plugged in the Xbox 360 Kinect, opened the tray of the Xbox 360 and put in 'Dance Central' specially designed for the new Kinect. From the above you will no doubt have guessed that I am of a technology aware disposition. (In other words, I had the first go).
I choose an easy dance to break myself in. This was, Lady Ga Ga's, 'Poker Face.' Watching the dancer animated on our television I soon found my stride. To my surprise I was able to dance and keep in time with the character, who urged me on as I was doing so well. It then got to a part in the track where I was permitted to, 'freestyle.' This is where things went terribly wrong.
With a rush of blood to the head I went for it. All the 80's body popping, robot and semi breakdancing/disco moves were unleashed in an uninhibited and energetic frenzy! It was when I attempted Michael Jackson's, 'Moonwalk' that I almost felt my last moment had come! (I had been cleaning my Brompton with, 'GT-85.' I did not think to lay down newspaper and what have you, so some of it went directly on to an already polished wooden floor).
The 'Moonwalk' was going better than expected. Too well in fact. My feet seemed to have no friction. I could actually do the 'Moonwalk.' Elated I went for a longer walk and strayed into the danger zone. I hit the floor, landing straight on my back. I was okay apart from being totally winded and unable to talk or breathe. My family at seeing this were in hysterics and were unable to talk or breathe!
If you are going to clean your bike over the holiday please put down some newspaper. If you don't, you may suffer my fate!
I was riding my trusty Brompton along Pall Mall nonchalantly minding my own business. As I cycled past a number of builders standing on scaffolding, the most peculiar thing occurred. I heard a wolf whistle. Being a curious sort of chap, I naturally gazed around to see whom was the object of their sexist taunt. To my surprise I could not see anyone else. In addition, being so early in the morning there was no one else around. No pedestrians. No cars, lorries or buses ebbing and flowing. Nothing?
It then crossed my mind that, I might indeed be the object that caught their attention. Yes, I know that I am a happily married, 40 year old male but given the right lighting I can still turn a head or two. Yes it must have been the black North Face jacket combined with a fluorescent orange wastecoat. The finishing touch of a pair of Altura over trousers (with Night vision stripes) must have set their pulses on edge as I ambled up Pall Mall.
How did I feel? Well quite flattered really for all of a few seconds. Of course after an up there is sometimes a down and I thought about things. I felt quite cheap. I mean, I have feelings too! These feelings were compounded as it soon dawned on me that it was not me that induced a wolf whistle from a load of builders (for want of not knowing the collective noun) but my bright orange (with black extremities) Brompton Folding Bike!
You will be pleased to know that I rode on with dignity, despite hearing continued and sustained wolf whistles as I turned into St Jame's Square.
Small but perfectly formed. A bit like the Brompton.
Well. Christmas is nearly upon us and I am hoping that Santa leaves me a Brooks saddle for my Brompton. (I have left enough hints believe me).
With the cold weather and snow, you would automatically think that Brompton users would leave their beloved folding bikes at home. Not a bit of it. I have never seen so many. Perhaps the Brompton rider is more intrepid? Last Saturday I happened to be out on my Brompton when the snow really came down. I felt like, Sir Ranulp Fiennes on one of his daring polar expeditions. I must say that my decision to opt for 'Schwalbe Marathon' was a a good one as they are excellent in the wet and as it happens, the snow.
My C bag with rain cover has proved to be a Godsend. Quite amazing how much it can hold and even better how it sits happily on the front carrier block not at all getting in the way. I got mine from, the 'Brilliant Bikes' website.
For those of you out there who need to buy the odd Brompton accessory or spare part I can wholeheartedly recommend, 'Brilliant Bikes.' http://www.brilliantbikes.co.uk/ Like their name they are brilliant. I have ordered a Brompton light set, extended seat pillar and a Brompton C bag set and all have been dispatched with speed and efficiency. I only wish that all online companies were as good!
(I will try and do a review of the Brompton light set and C bag at some point as there doesn't seem to be too many out there in internet land).
On Friday I went with my other half to see, 'Ghost Stories' at the Duke of York Theatre. Yes the Brompton came as as well.
Our show was the later one at 21:30 so we got to London early and decided to go to the National Gallery as it stayed open until 21:00. (was able to leave the Brompton in the cloakroom for free as the attendant was a fan of folding bikes). Had a look around with the place almost to ourselves and then ventured to the restaurant. They do some really lovely cakes there! That done we headed to theatre.
Inside the theatre there was an excited buzz from people who knew they were in for something out of the ordinary. We weren't disappointed! I won't give things away but there are three main stories that certainly left an impression. Anyone familiar with the 'League of Gentlemen' will recognise the host for the evening. A very interesting play that will leave you thinking about things long after. Very funny too and well worth a viewing while it lasts. It won't be on for too long so go and see it while it is around. (By the way staff at the Duke of York were wonderful and my Brompton was safely put away with security until I emerged).
A friend told me that my council offered free cycle courses for anyone from a beginner up to fairly experienced. Not wanting to miss out on something free I sent off a few emails, completed a form and waited for the next available slot. Mine was at 10:30 this morning.
It was a great day for it. Crisp, coldish but bright. My instructor, Roger arrived early and got a Moulton non-folder off the rack of his car. He also came to me and was waiting outside my door! He told me later on that he was 61 but I wouldn't have put him a day past 51. (Just shows what cycling on a small wheeled bike can do).
I was told to cycle off and he'd follow. Very soon Roger identified that I didn't look back nearly as much as I should, especially when turning right. I have never noticed this but he was of course right. Apart from that he imparted some sound wisdom from many years of cycling and after about 40 minutes we arrived back outside my house.
I must say to anyone reading this (hello to my one follower by the way!!) if you live in London and want some free cycling instruction for yourself or a member of the family, you could do worse than have a look on your councils website. Lots of councils off this for free as mine did and if you live further afield, well you never know, so have a look too.
Is there anyone out there who keeps cycling, even in winter? Drop me a comment with some top tips for those of us new to all that the British winter can throw at us.
Whitby is a fantastic place! I travelled up there with the family and despite my fear of going up north I loved every minute of it.
The people in Whitby were lovely and it was great to see all the Goths dressed in their finery, although I am certain that some must have been too old for when it was in its peak in the 80's and msut be recent converts?
My Brompton didn't see the sights of Whitby, mainly due to the incredibly steep slopes all around. The first picture show the 199 steps leading up to the Abbey in the third picture. Dracula was shipwrecked at Whitby and in the book of the same name, the locals saw a large black dog fly up these steps, only to disappear in the Abbey grounds.
While there I also bought a couple of pieces of Whitby jet jewellery and generally I would love to go there again next year.
Now I am back in the smoke as it were it is back to the daily commute on my Brompton. It is small comforts like this that keep one going.
Up reasonably early and off to London. Parked the car at Maida Vale and Bromptoned up the Edware Road, Oxford Street, Regent Street and past St Paul's. I had quite a smile on my face all the way. Stopped off at this famous building and took a few shots. Doesn't it look spectacular! (The building isn't too bad either).
Yet again the gearing on this 6x speed Brompton is fantastic! Acceleration is brisk and then up through the gears and you are really going some (if you wanted to).
While I was shooting away on my iPhone there were lots of other people taking photographs of the building and attention soon turned to my Orange Brompton. If you look closely you'll see the Brompton battery lights both on. I will do a review of them at some point.
Well it is finally here. My new Brompton ML6. Matt orange frame and matt black extremities. Marathon tyres, firm suspension and an extended seat pillar. The colour of the bike in photos seems to give it a shine but the paint has a lovely matt finish in the flesh.
I am thrilled with it so far. I got it on Monday and raced to the cycle shop I bought it from. It was there ready and waiting having been inspected and given a clean bill of health.
So far I have to say that it has exceeded my expectations and gives a great ride. The range of gears has to be tried to be believed. My old Dahon had 7 gears but my Brompton really does put it to shame. Absolutely love it! Tomorrow I hope to take it out into our fair capital and give it a good outing.
I found myself today at Bletchley Park, home of the WWII code breakers. I must say that the journey from London to Bletchley Park station and then a short cycle on my Dahon wasn't too bad.
Yes it is still the Dahon as my Orange Brompton hasn't arrived yet. Three/four weeks seems to be almost a practical pleasantry on the part of the bike shop I ordered it from. At this rate I'll be lucky to get it by Christmas.
Bletchley Park proved to be rather interesting and seeing a real Enigma machine was quite strange, having only seen them in films or in books.
The security guard even let me lock up my Dahon in the spot where Alan Turing used to do the same with his bike.
By the way all my pictures are usually taken with an iPhone 4. If I take out my Canon G11 and take some shots with that I will always acknowledge it.
Another strike. Oh well get the folding bike out. Found myself near St Paul's Cathedral today. Actually went in, had a look around and climbed the dome. (Will post a picture or two tomorrow ).
Normally with a tube strike there are Brompton's to the left of me. Brompton's to the right of me. Today, nothing. Not a sausage? Plenty of bikes of all races and creeds but no Brompton's. Perhaps they had been to the World Championships yesterday and were all tired?
Forgot to post this so it is retrospective. On Thursday I paid a visit to Fudges Cycles on the Harrow Road on my Dahon. Took a short cut through Kensal Green cemetery. Lots of Brompton's in stock and it brought home yet again how much I am looking forward to getting mine. (About twoish weeks, I hope)!
While walking the bike around I stumbled upon the burial location for Brunel. There are lots of very famous people from the Victorian era buried there. I was telling someone about where I'd been and they told me that the great Mary Seacole herself was also buried there. Totally gutted that I didn't realise this as I would loved to have seen it. Will definitely return at some point.
Today I also placed an order for the Brompton battery lights. Have seen these on a few Brompton's and the rear light in particular looks really great. Got them online from 'Brilliant Bikes.' They really are a great company for all sorts of bike bits and deliver really quickly.
The cycle shop I am buying my Brompton from have confirmed that it should be with me in 3 - 4 weeks. This seems like an age however a great deal less than some of my friends who were telling me that they waited up to 9 weeks.
My trusty Dahon is allowing me to get my daily folding bike fix but I know true addiction will come in the shape of an orange and black Brompton!
Isn't it strange how when you are thinking of buying say a Vauxhall Corsa, you see lots and lots of Vauxhall Corsa's? Well in the early hours of this morning in the middle of the City of London when taking pictures of interesting buildings, what did I see? BROMPTON'S.
The order as you know, if you reading this, was placed yesterday and I feel it will be a long wait. For the moment I have to make do with a Dahon Speed D7. Now many would love a Dahon Speed D7. For some a Dahon Speed D7 would be lovely and for them, they would surely wonder what I was moaning about? But it isn't a Brompton. Until it arrives I will have to be like Charlie Bucket standing on the outside of the sweetshop, watching Wonka Bars being sold.
What a moment...well it is for me anyway. I have finally ordered a Brompton ML6. Orange frame with black extremities, Schwalbe Marathon wheels, eazy wheels, extended seat pillar, front carrier with a T-bag! I am so excited about getting this bad boy - or should it be girl? Emm?? Not sure that sounds too good looking forward to riding that 'bad boy.' The chap in the shop said that he would ring me on Monday with an estimated delivery time and when I said thanks and turned to leave, with a knowing smile he simply said, "well done." I have saved up for ages to buy this bike and plan to use it on my short commute to and from work. I also plan to venture, 'up west' as they say in 'Eastenders' when heading up west and take lots of pictures of out great Capital City. (I will of course be taking pictures of my Brompton at these locations). Well there it is. This could be the start of something rather exciting. A Brompton! Anyone out there in the web who has a Brompton let me know what you think. For the moment, over and out.