Sunday, 23 June 2019

Take care when cycling on your Brompton in Richmond Park!

I have taken my Brompton for a few circuits of Richmond Park more times than I can remember over the years. On almost every occasion I have spotted the deer that live there. I have always tried to repress shouting out 'Fenton!' at the top of my vocie when I have seen some Red Deer there - look up 'Fenton Richmond Park' and you'll understand why. It does seem that I will have to keep an every watchful eye out from now on!

Last month, a former Olympic triathlete shattered his pelvis after a deer collided with him as he cycled down Broomfield Hill. Poor Stuart Hayes flew off his bicycle after the collision, smashing his hip, having to undergo surgery.

I will him well, hope that he makes a speedy recovery and is back on his bike again in the near future. I hope that my future encounters with deer at Richmond Park continue to be what they always have been - deer not too far away, walking slowly across the road and providing plenty of notice!

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Plans for a new cycle and walking bridge across the River Thames halted

Sadly, it was recently announced that a proposed cycling and walking bridge crossing the River Thames between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf have been abandoned.

It looks as if the costs - getting on for £600 million - have meant the bridge was not feasible. Understandable as that is a a great deal of money but it is a real shame as it is a lovely part of London and would have surely enhanced the area surrounding it.

I am certain that if it had been built you would have seen lots of Brompton photographs on all forms of social media posted by the many London Brompton owners that do that sort of thing.

How far can you cycle on a Brompton?

This question is one I have been asked quite a few times. As I was asked this very question by another cyclist (on a road bike) at a set of traffic lights on High Street Kensington yesterday evening, it got me thinking.

In short, for me at least, I don't really know the answer to this question! Now I know that this is probably not what you want to read and thought I would have a full and detailed answer...but I do not.

The furthest distance I have ever cycled on my Brompton was a few years ago when taking part in the Dunwich Dynamo (which incidentally is only a few weeks away, with yours truly taking part). For this if I added the milage cycling to the start and then cycling home at the end - as well as the milage of the Dunwich Dynamo - I clocked up a few yards shy of 150 miles. Thinking hard, I don't think I have cycled further. For this particular event this was the limit for me but I remember taking part in the 100 mile St. Crispin's Day night ride thinking that I had many more miles left in the tank.

My night rides to the coast are typically 60-70 miles and these I can complete quite comfortably. Could I break the 150 mile barrier? Probably, but I would wonder why? I'll come back to this later.

There are lots of Brompton riders out there who cover huge distances. For example, James H took part in the gruelling 2500km 'Atlantic Way Race.' Roger Seaton participated in the Transcontinental Race. Lots of other Brompton riders have taken part in audax rides of 300km. I think, how far you  can cycle on a Brompton is down to the rider and how far they are willing to pedal.

Coming back to yours truly, could I break the 150 mile barrier? If the route wasn't constantly demanding I suspect I could. Saying that I don't think that I would want to. I really enjoy cycling distances up to 100 miles and breaking the 100 mile barrier now and then but even on a road bike, I am not sure I'd want to be in the saddle for the the several hours needed to cover 150 or 200 miles.

The wonderful thing about owning a Brompton is that many underestimate it. They regard it as a quirky commuter bicycle and little more. Lots of Brompton owners - and yes I am very guilty of this - actively look for routes, rides, cycling events that are more geared towards road bikes. Consequently, when rocking up to an event where everyone is cycling a specific distance, in others peoples minds it sometimes makes them wonder whether or not the person on a Brompton is at the correct event. The question, how far can you cycle on a Brompton is one that does crop up.

So at the traffic lights on High Street Kensington, when I answered the question with: London to Brighton, London to Whitstable, the Dunwich Dynamo...I was met with an incredulous look. I fancy that this was magnified further when the lights turned green and I was off a great deal faster than he was able to muster. Brompton bikes are very good at accelerating off the lights, but that is perhaps another blog post...

London to Brighton