Thursday, 13 August 2020

Fun and shocks on the Brompton London Icons ride!!

Today was a rater bust for yours truly. In the morning I was meeting an old friend and later on I had two rides to get to - the all Brompton London Icons ride and then a cycle event where you were allowed to cycle in the grounds of Kew Gardens. (I ended up only going to the first of these).

I managed to get myself to the start at Russell Square knowing that my fellow Brompton riders would have started already and be further along the route - which was lovely.

Despite this, I felt compelled to take the odd photograph along my way. I mean this is the Brompton way after all!!

Somewhere heading east about 15 miles in to the 30 mile route I caught up with the group, the rider leader of which was Jenny aka The Mile Monster. It was great to catch up with everyone.

Quite soon after joining the pack we came upon the next icon along the route, the Cable Street Mural. On the recent Jack the Ripper ride this had been featured so I recalled what I remembered.

Our luncheon stop was a part of London I do not think that I have ever been to, Trinity Buoy Wharf. We parked our Brompton bicycles at the 'Fat Boys Diner' and ordered a pretty good burger and chips and several cold drinks.

We chewed the fat for a while and thankfully large parasols provided the shade we needed to keep ourselves cool.

The little lighthouse was built in 1864 - 66 and served to test lighting systems used in other light houses and to train would be lighthouse keepers.

The views across to the O2 and beyond were stunning and I made a mental note to come back this way again at some point.

We set off for the last part of the ride which would take us back to Russell Square. It was then that I received a shock the like of which the world has not seen the like of which!!

Before leaving 'Fat Boys Diner' I decided to buy a bottle of water. They did not have any more still water but had sparkling. Are you seeing where this might be leading?!

We cycled along quite happily and Jenny and I discussed the area - which could at certain times be on the rough side. Without warning and rather suddenly the top portion of my water bottle exploded upwards in a violent eruption I would liken to a drive-by shooting you see on television or canon being fired! 

There was an almighty bang and the entire top section travelled at some velocity I can tell you straight into my chest and then hurtled upwards and then down many metres away. For a new brief moments I was all but transported to the Battle of Trafalgar! It was only realising my surroundings that I did not say, 'They have done for me at last, Hardy.'

Once I had recovered the top of my water bottle and composed myself we continued our journey.

As we cycled along back towards the square mile the wind started to pick up a little and the reasonably blue skies turned to grey.

Reaching Russell Square we had a few more refreshments and waited for Mr W to arrive. He was already there and sitting in the middle of the square. It was lovely to see him again and catch up.

With that the rain fell and I decided that I would not cycle to Kew Gardens and that I could live without cycling in its grounds - even though it was a rather special thing to do.

This was a lovely ride and a particularly good route. In all I cycled just under 38 miles today, so not too shabby. Many thanks to Jenny and my fellow participants.

Make sure you never put sparkling water in your water bottle! Stay safe out there people!!

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

I change the handlebars on my Orange Titanium Brompton

There isn't really a huge amount I have left to do on my Orange Titanium Brompton but the one thing I wanted to swap out were the standard M-type handlebar for a rider bar by Joesph Kuosac. Today I made the necessary changes.

I have this bar (black version) on my Orange Black Special Edition and have always liked it a great deal. There is nothing wrong with the stock Brompton M-type bar and I have found it comfortable. I do however like the look of the Kuosac bar a little more. 

Fitting was pretty easy this time round. (Have a search on a previous blog post in which I butchered me trying to fit the black version)!! The bar could have been put on as it. There are helpful little markings on the bars and I took off 5x each side. 

If anything the bar is about 2.5 cm lower and I can live with that. It is so slight that I hardly notice it and if anything I like it more. The good thing was that I didn't have to do anything with the cables as they just fit. 

It might seem rather foolish to change the handlebar just because you like the look of it better but hey, it's my bike and it makes it a little more bespoke to me. 

Stay safe out there people!!

The before

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Give the newbie cyclist some slack!!

During lockdown I have watched with interest the growing number of cyclists on the streets of London. For me it is a very welcome sight and the by-product of the powers that be talking about pop-cycle cycle lanes, improved infrastructure etc.., it seems like a great trend. However, I have notice another altogether less positive trend.

On many of my cycling adventures in London I have cycled at time and on routes where I am almost certain that other cyclists on the road are not on the way to work, an important meeting or coming back from work. They are - like me - out for a bit of exercise or cycling fix. This has not stopped several of them to call out cyclists who are new to this game (as identified by a gleaming new bike and lots of gear they don't really need and will soon discard when they realise this) when they do something THEY don't like!

That something they don't like can include:

  • Slower on the road than they would like
  • Being slow to start when the traffic lights go
  • Not filtering through traffic to the front of the queue
  • Being overtaken 
  • Cycling with your children 
  • Any form of electric bike that has a tendency to be able to overtake them at will

I have seen some pretty arrogant behaviour from a few cyclists. They are of course a minority but I have seen it too often.

I wish that the people would take the attitude that we are all on the same team. It does seem for some that unless you are on a carbon road bike with all the accompanied cycling lycra, you aren't a proper cyclist. Grow up is what I say!!

Stay safe out there people!!