Sunday, 3 January 2021

Well this is 2021 Brompton riders!

The end of 2020 in London involved Tier 4 and many restrictions. As we ease into a brighter future, things are pretty much the same for the moment. Tier 4 may be extended to other parts of the country and who knows, we might even see Tier 5?!

Normally at this time of the year there are Brompton plans to be made and thoughts turn to cycling events and adventures in the near future. Apart from the Brompton World Championships - which I think only Devine intervention could make happen and provide me with a place in it - thoughts turn to events like the Dunwich Dynamo. Around this sort of time coach tickets could be bought for the return journey. 

Other events like night rides to the coast, where participants meet in central London and just before or on the stroke of midnight, cycle to destinations such as Brighton, Whitstable, Shoreham, Southend would normally start sometime in March. In-between these, I would be joined by my friend Dr John to go on our own night ride to the coast. For the moment, these rides are on hold. 

What I do have planned is several mini themed rides in and around London. I have some buildings to find in a very specific architectural ride. I have some Blue Plaques to find of some colourful characters. Another will see me travel back in time and delve into London's most gruesome past. The list really does go on and on. I suspect that for the first few months of 2021 these solo rides will be as far as I will be able to successfully plan ahead. 

It is only really thanks to my buying a Wahoo GPS device that I can do any of these at all. Before that my navigational prowess was woeful to say the least. Technology has afforded me confidence in getting from A to Z and eventually back to A - always rather important!

Wherever you are keep pedalling forward and do let me know what you are up to by sending an email and photo of your bike.

Until next time, stay safe out there people!!

Wednesday, 30 December 2020

Chilly Brompton Christmas ride III

Yesterday in the early evening having stuck my head out of the front door and seeing what the weather was like, I deemed it suitable to venture out for a little 24 mile spin in London. Wrapping up and taking a small, steel 500ml thermos flask filled with some of the finest Italian coffee available, I set off with my Orange Titanium Brompton. 

In SW7 things were quiet. It felt a little bit like '28 Days Later.' Normally in this area there are at least lots of police officers about. There weren't any. There weren't even that many cars about either. I suppose Tier 4 means there is little point for many people as nothing is open anyway.

When I arrived at Buckingham Place I could not help but replay a conversation in my head from several years ago, when an old friend had bought a truly enormous house just to the south of the Thames. At the time I said something like, are you really going to use all these rooms? He simply replied, 'what about Buckingham Palace.' Standing there taking a photo of it I could see that he had a point.

At the London Eye there were lots of people about in close proximity to each other not really adhering to what we are all supposed to be doing. 

I cycled further east and went as far as Canary Wharf before heading back towards central London again. For quite some time now I have only ever taken my iPhone with me as my sole camera. I am constantly impressed at how good a photo it can take at night with very little effort. The 4K video it can take (again also at night) is better still and as such I rarely feel the need to carry anything more. 

This was actually the third nocturnal outing to take photos of London at night. Part II won't appear a a blog post sadly as the friend I went with (the owner of that big house) isn't just camera shy, they lead an analogue life - no mobile phone, no online get the idea. 

Back in central London outside the Gherkin I decided to take a few photos. I was not alone as there were a number of others doing the same. A family - dad with his daughter and son - were busy taking photos of London at night. The dad remarked that a Brompton was the best way of doing this and I agreed. (Chris if you are reading this, it was a pleasure meeting you and the family. Email me if you wants me more info on all things Brompton). 

Stopping at 'Fortnum and Mason' I could not help but think of memories of Christmas past. This was one of the haunts of my late mum, who enjoyed going there for a pot of tea and usually a slice of something. I remember fondly going there as a small child and enjoying tea and cake. Sadly, I cannot bring myself to ever go there anymore as it is a bit of a tourist thing nowadays. 

Back at Oxford Street, like the theme for much of this ride, things were quiet to say the least. In fact there has not been a time when I have ever seen it like this. London normally always has something going on whatever the time and whatever day of the week. 

I have not suffered too badly from the dreaded 'C' word. I don't know many who have succumbed to it and those who did have thankfully not suffered too badly. Fortunately, I have had the company of Mrs Orange and the Orangettes which always makes me happy and all I really need to do so. I have always been one of those people who can potter around and find something to entertain.

I am however someone who hates being told what to do or have restrictions imposed on what I can and cannot do and this aspect I have found difficult. An outlet has been the Brompton and venturing out on it on mini adventures has definitely helped in a big way.

I really do hope that wherever you are you have not been too badly affected by the 'C' word. I have always been an eternal optimist and it has been said that if I had of been on the Titanic I would have been the person saying, 'don't's all going to be okay!' So, now I have told you that, as far as 2021 is concerned, don't's all going to be okay! I hope that for all of us 2021 will be better!

So, thank you for reading and continuing to read and I wish you are very happy new year!! Until next time, stay safe out there people!!


Thursday, 24 December 2020

Happy Christmas fellow Brompton riders (and those on larger wheels too)!!

Well Christmas is nearly upon us and this one is going to be rather different!! Here in London we find ourselves in 'Tier 4' which means the plans for a limited getting together has been dashed. 

Throughout the worst of lockdown one of the things outside of my family bubble that has kept me happy have been my two Brompton bicycles. I have still managed to explore, go on adventures and even got in a few of my beloved night rides to the coast. I suspect several months into 2021 will be much of a repeat of 2020 but things will get better. In addition to this are the enduring friendships I have made simply by owning a small-wheeled folding bicycle!

So, wherever you are, even if you do not celebrate Christmas, I wish you a merry one - as much as you can have in these strange times.

Stay safe out there people!