Thursday 29 December 2011


Regular readers of my humble little blog will know that I frequently use a Canon G11 to photograph my adventures when out and about in London. For Christmas I was given a Ricoh GRD III and I have to say I am a very happy chap at owning one finally!

I love this little camera!!

This camera is in many ways a highly niche product that has quite a cult following among street / landscape photographers or those with discerning taste.  It has a fixed prime 28mm lens at a maximum aperture of      f1.9. Yes you read right, it had a fixed focal length of 28mm.

What this does is produce very bright, clear images for its 10 megapixels. Added to the f1.9 aperture, you have a camera that works well in low light and can provide some stunning images.  It also has a 940,000 pixel, 3 inch screen on the back which makes my Canon G11's screen like looking through a steamed up shower cubicle.

The controls are simple and laid out perfectly with a top mode dial. The camera can be customised to your personal likes and a hot shoe on top allows the addition of a flash and viewfinder - not that you'd need oneas the screen is gorgeous.

Elegant and simple design.

It it housed in a magnesium alloy shell so it has bulletproof construction.  The rubber covered hand grip is excellent and overall its ergonomics are the best I have ever experienced in any camera - and I include my Canon G11 and bigger Canon 500D. The whole camera exudes quality and is extremely well put together. It is also very descrete and understated. It will only draw attention from those in the know. Those who understand what a great camera this is.

This is a shot of the screen with a picture of my raw SL2. I took this with an iPhone 4 and believe me it does not do the 940,000 pixel screen justice. It is fantastic!
Since I have had this camera I haven't bothered to take anything else with me - I'd only miss it if I did and regret taking my G11 instead of my Ricoh. The strange thing is that I cannot see myself going back to using the G11 despite the restriction of the 28mm fixed lens. This, I feel, has actually made me a better photographer (I say photographer for want of a better word. I am merely a snapper of what interests me) as I have had to think more about the composition of shots. If I am too far or too near I now have to use me feet, something that with a zoom lens I have become very lazy with.

Battery life is excellent. It is quoted at 370 shots but I look over 500 and was viewing many of my shots back via the screen before the battery icon turned red. It can shoot in RAW so that you can process your images at home further than you can with jpegs.

The camera comes with a charger, wrist strap, USB cables and software. It also has a fully printed instruction booklet, which is much better than the rubbish pdf version you get with other manufacturers.  I managed to pick up this second hand camera at a steal.  The previous owner must have either loved it and looked after it or not used it at all as it appears to be in mint A1 condition!

Below are some of the shots I have taken so far. I love black and white but the colour RAW versions of these produced colours that were faithful, vivid and totally spot on as far as I was concerned. When I was getting things right as far as the settings go, I could zoom in a fair bit and still see that things were sharp. I cannot wait to use this for street photography. I would love to be able to afford the viewfinder than can be mounted to the camera for even more discrete shooting but alas it is not to be.

This camera won't make me better at taking photographs but it makes me want to become better, alter the settings and experiment. The old saying the best camera you can have is the one you have with you really rings home as the Ricoh GDR III will be going with me everywhere.

Marathon tyres 110psi

I have taken a pic of the Marathon tyres that came with my Raw Lacquer SL2. They can be pumped to 110 psi. Honest!

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Full Test of SL2 Raw Lacquer!

As you know I have had my SL2 for a few weeks but have not taken it out at all. Various things have conspired to prevent me from doing this sooner. The holidays, weather and the fact that I didn't want it to get dirty! Well Yesterday I took my newly acquired Brompton out for a thorough test run.

I took my bike on quite an extended run, Maida Vale to the heart of the City, Hyde Park, South Kensington and back to Maida Vale. The S Type flat handlebars are excellent. I actually prefer the riding position to that of my M Type. Yes it was lower and further forward but I did not suffer any ill effects after what was quite a long cycle. Having opted for firm suspension, the ride felt responsive and very sporty. I found turning to look behind was easier than on my M Type as the flat bar, for me at least, seems to be more stable. Cornering also seemed that bit snappier.

This bike has 2 x gears. One to get you off and one to cruse. They are in many ways perfect for the urban environment. I did not feel that I needed more, plain and simple. I loved the simplicity of it all and the weight saving by not having the internal hub is substantial. This weight saving can be felt when carrying the bike folded of course but also when riding. It might be psychological but the bike felt nippier and more agile than my M Type.

As for the colour I love the Raw Lacquer. Seeing the brazing on the joints is something I will always enjoy looking at. It makes the bike look stunning and even though I love my Orange Brompton I must confess to liking the different grades of colour of the raw lacquer more!

I opted for Marathon Tyres and the ones supplied with this bike are very different to those on my Orange Brompton. First off they are a great deal thinner in profile which makes them more free wheeling. They can be pumped up to 110 psi as apposed to 85 on my Orange Brompton. Last of all as they look a thinner tyre I suspect they are much lighter than my original Marathons. All a welcome addition as far as I am concerned.

The brake leavers also seemed to have had a make over. They are squarer at the ends and look great. The folding pedal seems to have had a make-over too. The reflectors look better and are more substantial as is the plastic folding mechanism.

I love this new acquisition. It rides fantasically well and for someone over 6 feet with an extended seat pillar the ride and handling was near perfection. Those of you who have read my blog will know that a major concern I expressed was being a 6 footer on an S Type. I need not have worried. I love my S Type! The only decision I will be deliberating on in 2012 is what to take to the Brompton World Championships or which bike to use on my daily commute? Twice the fun for 2012!

Saturday 24 December 2011

Seasons Greetings

Just wanted to say Happy Christmas to all out there in blog-land. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope to be out and about a great deal more sharing my adventures in London. A happy and healthy 2012.

Friday 23 December 2011

World Class Athlete

I was very happy that the popular cyclist Mark Cavendish won the prediciious BBC Sports Personality of the Year. This can only be a god thing for cycling in general. Let's hope that it gets more people to buy a bike and get out an enjoy the sense of freedom it brings. We can also hope that governments do more to make cycling safer.

Yes, I am very happy for Mark Cavendish but I was slightly disappointed that there was no mention of me competing in the 2011 Brompton World Championships. I mean, I am a world class international athlete who has competed at the highest level! Come on! Does Mark Cavendish colour coordinate his outfit the the colours of his bike? I suspect the answer to that is no.

Thursday 22 December 2011

Orange Brompton back from being serviced

Yesterday I got my beloved Orange Brompton back from being serviced. All was fine apart from a the brake cables needing to be tightened, the gear swifter needing to be adjusted and some general tightening of nuts. They also cleaned the chain and oiled and greased all the important bits. (I am very technically minded as you can derive from my vocal). Riding the bike home all seemed real good and I noticed the gear change being that bit sharper.

I still haven't managed to take the S Type on the open road! This is as shocking to me as it may be for some of you reading this. I have been busy but the truth is I am too worried about dirt etc.., daring to go anywhere near the new prancer in my stable. I hope that common sense will prevail as at the moment I am happy to gaze at it lovingly as if it were a piece of modern art in the Tate Modern!

If anyone out there has any words of wisdom to help me get this fantastically engineered wonder out, feel free.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

12,000 Page Views

Wow! 12,00 page views. Thank you to all my loyal readers and anyone straying on to this humble little blog.

12,000 page views - well almost

Only 40 more page views and I will reach the 12,000 mark!

Monday 19 December 2011

Brompton Battery Lights

Recently I acquired a second Brompton bicycle (a full review and pictures will come at some point when better weather returns or I am brave enough) and therefore needed to get some lights.

On my Orange Brompton I opted for the Brompton battery light set and saw no reason to deviate from this as they have served me well for over a year.

The set can be purchased as separate items but I decided to get the lot. It consists of a front light that has three LEDs and runs off 3 x AAA batteries. This front light is attached to the handlebars via a small bracket on the left of the picture. The light sits on rails and can be taken off very quickly and conveniently when not needed.
The front light and bracket.
The rear light is Brompton branded and replaces the red reflector that comes with a Brompton. This is a very quick and easy job. It has a central light in the middle and two reflectors on either side. The rear light is powered by 2 x AAA batteries. The battery life on both lights is excellent and both produce an excellent bright light. By the way batteries are included for both lights so you won't have to scrabble around to find some.
The rear light.
I think that the rear light really does look rather good. It is cosmetically better looking than the original reflector and really does stand out when it's dark.
The rear light fitted to a rather superb Brompton!

The front light fitted to the flat handlebars of the S -Type.
I bought my set from Brilliant Bikes for £36.50 and that price included very speedy delivery. They are a great little online shop for a whole manner of Brompton parts and I wouldn't buy from anyone else. If you don't want or need the whole set the from light costs £20 and the rear light costs £19, so £36.50 is good value for the whole set.

If it looks busy on the roads I do supplement these lights with a few more that I can strap on but they are perfectly fine on their own.

Saturday 17 December 2011

Orange Brompton - service

Today I took my beloved Orange Brompton in for its service.

One thing I have noticed about the newer Schwalbe Marathon tyres is that they seem to have a slightly slimmer profile and can now take up to 110 psi. This would certainly provide a firmer and more responsive ride. I have asked the people who are servicing my bike to give me a price for fitting a new pair. If it isn't too expensive I might take the plunge.

In London the colder weather, which did take a while to manifest itself has certainly made an appearance. Mornings have been very cold to say the least! The last couple of weeks I have had to be in work extra early which has meant I have been frozen on the bike.

I have now been riding a Brompton for over a year and have enjoyed every minute. I love people at work look at me in amazement when I answer yes to the question, 'you surely didn't ride your bike to work today in that weather?'

My Brompton should be ready by Wednesday hopefully and I will be glad to have it back. Until then I have something else to keep the withdrawal symptoms away...

NYCeWheels - a great source of Brompton information

I will get this out of the way first. I have neither been to New York nor have I been to the USA. Why then am I writing about a shop in New York? I will try to explain.

A few years ago when I first got the idea in my head that I not only wanted to start riding a bike to work but wanted a folding bike I trawled the Internet for any information on Brompton Bikes - the best folding bike in the world in my humble opinion. One of the locations I kept coming back to was NYCeWheels.

They have a great little configuring tool where you can experiment to your hearts content with the various combinations of colour you can elect your Brompton to be made in. In addition to this they have a huge range of Brompton related videos on YouTube. These range from taking you through the various options of what type of Brompton to consider and why, to simply the love of riding a Brompton. My favourite is 'Peter from NYCeWheels' riding his Raw Lacquer ML6 in the middle of a New York winter, snow and all.

It looks like an excellent shop, carrying only the best of the best. For those of you in New York you are lucky and one day I hope to visit New York and along with all the other touristy things one would do if in such a great city, I'd certainly pay a visit to the people at NYCeWheels.

A second Brompton for twice the fun

Just thought I would post a few teaser shots of the Brompton I recently acquired.

It is rather lovely to say the least. I haven't been able to take it out in anger as the weather has been terrible and I am still at the stage of looking at it lovingly from afar.

I will of course post a full review as soon as possible.

In the meantime hope you all get a chance to have a break from the daily grind this Christmas and get out on your bikes for a winter adventure.

Thursday 15 December 2011

A new Brompton!!!!!

Today I obtained a new Brompton! I am very excited about it and have kept it quite a secret. At the moment I have yet to have my first ride on it on the open road. If we get some dry weather I will take it out and post a full review and reveal all.

For the moment you will all have to keep guessing.

Saturday 10 December 2011

S Bag review

Well my S Bag arrived very quickly from my favourite Brompton accessory shop, 'Brilliant Bikes.'

The review that I promised and comparison to the C Bag I have had for over a year will unfortunately have to wait until after Christmas!

I opened the package up to make sure all was okay and once I had said, 'yes it looks all okay' the S Bag and packaging was taken away and I was informed that it was going to be a Christmas present!

First impressions were very favourable. The size looks great and I love the black colour. Apart from that I cannot say too much until Father Christmas comes down out chimney - assuming I have been a good boy of course.

Sunday 4 December 2011

Brompton S Bag

I have been thinking about getting an S Bag for some time now and on Saturday I placed an order from the suitably named 'Brilliant Bikes.'

The S Bag is specifically made for the Brompton S Type with its flat handlebars. Slightly smaller than the C Type which I currently own it will provide a slimmer profile for those days when I am not carrying too much or if I get an S Type Brompton....

I know a few people like me with an M Type Brompton who use the S Bag purely for the fact it is an overall smaller and more compact package.

When it arrives I will get some photos on here and do a comparison with my C Bag. By the way after much consultation I decided to opt for the black version rather than the flap with with the red fire hose or Union Jack.

Saturday 3 December 2011

Road Rage while out on a Brompton

Monday morning was a rather interesting start to the week. I was out on my Brompton before 07:00 a.m. as I had to be at work very early.

I cycled my usual journey and then went down a one way street. I would stress at this point that I was going the correct way and they it was one way to any traffic coming the opposite direction to me. It was then that a quite large white van drove at speed towards me.

The road in question is very narrow and a car let alone a van would just about make it. This particular van was driving the wrong way up a one way street and doing so at speed. I got off my Brompton and moved as far over as I could. As the white van passed me its wing mirror hit me on the top of my shoulder. I shouted out 'oi' and nothing more.

At hearing this (as his windows were down) I was greeted with a barrage of expletives from the driver. There was a passenger with him who looked as if the ground could have gobbled him up and took no part in the verbal tyrade. I stood in stunned amazement. I asked the passenger what his colleagues problem was as he was driving down a one way street the wrong way, he was the one who hit me with his wing mirror after I had attempted to get out of the way? His passenger at least said, "sorry mate.'

While all this was going on I couldn't pass the white van and go on my merry way and the white van driver was in no hurry to do anything than turn the air blue. At this point we were joined by another car, this time going the right way and behind me. I am sure you can imagine what took place.

The car driver sounded his horn and began to get visibly agitated. The van driver let fly even more foul language via his window and sounded his horn. I started to wheel my bike past the car, back where I had come from. At this the car driver drove forward and touched bumpers with the white van. I could hear more verbal exchanges as I thought of an alternative route and glanced to see the car driver out of his car and going towards the white van drivers window. I didn't stay to see whatever else took place.

When I was on the open road again I thought about what could have possibly made this idiot for want of a better word so angry and to act in such a stupid way? This has been the first time that I have ever experienced road rage while out on my Brompton but I am still at a loss to come up with a reason for it? Perhaps I shouldn't have said 'oi'?' What I do know is that this particular driver really shouldn't hold a licence to drive.

Sunday 20 November 2011

Second Test Ride of a Brompton SL2

Yesterday I managed to get a brief test run on an SL2. Today a fellow Bromptionian allowed the chance to have a near two hour ride on his month old SL2 while tea rode my beloved Orange Brompton.

There are no pictures from my test ride as I didn't bother to bring camera or iPhone - I was too excited for that. The SL2 in question was a steel frame, all Turkish Green in colour, extended seat pillar, Brooks saddle, firm suspension and Marathon tyres. (All in all very sound set up).

The first thing to say is that coming from my 6 speed, there was a discernible difference in the weight by not having the gear hub on the back wheel. When I tested the 2 speed I hired it had a front light hub dynamo. I could still detect it was a lighter package than my 6 speed but this was quite a shock to notice such a difference. I suspect in full racing trim with Kojaks etc.., things would be lighter still.

The ride again surprised me. Yes, further forward and lower but I liked it a lot. The handling was very firm, precise and stable. I rode this bike for getting on two hours and did not suffer any back strain. My arms were not in any way fatigued from the lower and more forward position either. I loved it!

The thing I liked best about the whole SL2 set up is that the S Type with 2 gears seem to be made for each other. I felt that I could go hell for leather if I wanted to but at the same time ride safely on the daily commute. Visibility was very good and my neck suffered no strain.

Again I have to report that I loved the gearing of this 2 speed. The starting off gear was perfect and when I reached a sustained incline there wasn't a problem. I certainly didn't fell I needed anything else to make things easier. The cruising gear was again bordering on perfection. Coming down a steep hill on 6th gear means that I can start peddling sooner but the free wheeling didn't bother me at all.

I was rather sad to part with it. Many thanks to the very kind Bromptonian who let me borrow their pride and joy. For those of you tinkering with the idea of buying your first Brompton I have possibly thrown a huge spanner in the works. I can hear you saying, do I go for an M Type or and S Type? The should it be a 2, 3 or 6 speed? I love my 6 speed M Type, but if I was doing it all again...I'm not sure that is what I'd get???

Saturday 19 November 2011

10,000 page views!

Wow! I have just looked at my stats and can hardly believe that I have had 10,000 page views! I am amazed. It doesn't seem like that long ago since I was trying to drum up trade so i could hit 1000!

Many thanks to anyone out there who reads my blog and please spread the word.

Brompton SL2 Test Ride

Well I've bloody done it! Yeah! I managed to give a Brompton SL2 a test run.

As you know I recently tested a 2 speed Brompton that was an M Type and liked the simplicity of the gearing. My worries over an S Type have always been, will it be too low or uncomfortable for a 6 footer with an extended / telescopic seat post? After today I have to say that I need not have worried.

The S Type is lower of course but not low enough to cause concerns. I only had a brief go but I was pleasantly surprised. The flat bar felt firm on the road and less shaky than my M Type. Everything just seemed firmer and more responsive. I liked it a lot. One is further forward and lower but it actually felt comfortable. I liked the riding position dare I say it...better than my M Type!

I do know S Type riders several inches taller than me, older than me and who have a longer daily commute who swear by the S Type. I am beginning to see what they are on about.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

A very loud and scary Saturday night!

On Saturday evening I sauntered down to Alexandra Palace to attend a concert of the great, Alice Cooper. It certainly a night to remember.

The night started off waiting in line. This was made all the more interesting by the effort many of those attending had put in to their outfits. Soon some zombies started to walk up and down the line. I don't know if they were concert goers but their makeup and costumes were fantastic.

Upon seeing them my trusty G11 was out and I began taking photos. I thought they were wonderful. I suspect they realised this as they seemed drawn to me. Quite a few people waiting didn't seem to like them but I thought they were great.

Once inside we were treated to the support act, the 'New York Dolls' who were pretty good - but I must confess to not knowing any of their songs.

The waiting and anticipation began for the main man, Alice Cooper. After what seemed like an age, where we watched the stage crew set the stage up, the volume seemed to have been quadrupled as Alice Cooper burst onto stage.

He played all his greatest hits and a new song and was incredible! Alice Cooper must be over 60 years old but he rocked and rolled for getting on for two hours. 'Poison' brought the house down with audience participation a must.

His support band were unbelievable. The two guitarists were amazing but I thought the drummer and bass player were on another level altogether.

I took copious photographs some of which didn't turn out too bad. The photos above that I took of Alice Cooper I am rather proud of as they were fairly in focus.

If you like your rock on the heavy side and you have not seen Alice Cooper live, I strongly urge you to do so!

Tuesday 25 October 2011

Sad to give the 2 speed Brompton back

With a heavy heart I made my way to the cycle shop to give back the 2 speed Brompton I had hired for 24 hours.

It poses more questions than answers. First and foremost I liked the 2 speed a lot. The colour? Well it has to be raw - they are just stunning in the flesh. An S type of not an S type? This will take me some time.

If I had another Brompton I would like something different and I have always lusted after an S type. The cold reality of choosing, is turning me into one of those ladies in a Jane Austin novel that dithers and prone to a fit of the vapours.

In the meantime I will give the matter some serious thought and perhaps by January (which is when I would probably start the ball rolling) I might have made up my mind!?

Monday 24 October 2011

Road Test of 2 Speed Brompton

Well the day finally arrived. This afternoon I collected the 2 Speed Brompton from a cycle shop in London. Here are my impressions.

The bike colours are a fetching purple and apple green. Not really to my taste but that isn't what is important.  After cycling a few miles it was quite obvious to me that I really did like the simplicity of just having two gears. I did managed to go up several small hills and one that was quite steep. The start off gear was pretty good at assending and I didn't seem to need anything else. Quite impressed.

A fetching colour?

The bike I hired had a great big front hub light. Totally pointless as far as I am concerned as it adds a great deal of weight to the bike. I suppose the hire shop needs to cater for people who might need the lights. The weight saving despite this, is noticable and I would imagine that without the light hub it would be quite telling. Certainly comparing my beloved orange Brompton which is a 6 speed to this, I really did notice the weight saving. This is something I didn't think would be as noticeable to me.

The simple rear wheel of the 2 speed without the extra weight of the hub gears.

Just one gear lever makes things very easy.

Hub light. Is it really needed??
I cycled down Oxford street, the Edware Road and eventually ended up on the Harrow Road. As I knew I was not too far from Kensal Green Cemetery I decided to pay it another visit. I am going to Whitby in a few days time for the Goth week. I am not a Goth but I have occasionally worn black and like those old RKO and Hammer House of Horror films so this location gets me in the mood for Whitby.

Very Gothic.

I am taking the bike back tomorrow but I already know what I think of the 2 speed. I love it. It is just so efficient and simple. The weight saving is considerable and it just seems like a great option for City riding.

When I cast my mine back to the Brompton World Championships I am coming to the conclusion that the 6 gears on my orange Brompton were actually a hinderance. I was up and down the gears and not ever seeming to find the gear I wanted. Going up a sustained incline bordered on the ridiculous as I desperately tried to find traction. After riding this 2 speed today I am convinced that I would have had a more successful and less stressful ride. I could of course be wrong and those of you our there reading this might very well have an opinion you'd be gracious enough to comment on.

What I am still not so sure about is an S Type. The being over 6 feet tall and riding comfort thing, does bother me. Added to this if I did get an S Type, my C Type bag wouldn't fit. This would mean another added expense. In addition as I need an extended seat pillar, my ride is fairly sporty on my beloved orange Brompton anyway. There is also a part of me that likes the tradition of an M Type. This combined with raw lacquer and the brown Brooks saddle I took off my orange Brompton in favour of the black one, would certainly create the look I'm after. So...I really am not sure?

Sunday 23 October 2011

Two Speed Brompton Testing

I am just back from my Sunday Brompton ride in London.  As I forget my phone I didn't manage to take any photos which is a putty as I passed a mens clothes shop on Wigmore Street with the most shocking outfits I have ever seen! Who would wear them I don't know. I will return there with my iPhone another time but I do know this particular shop changes its displays often.

Tomorrow I will be hiring a two speed Brompton. As you know I have been riding my current Brompton for the past few weeks with just two gears to try and replicate what a 2 speed might be like. So far I have to say I quite like the simplicity of just two speeds. I will be able to test this out fully tomorrow and it should allow me to decide if a 2 speed is the way to go.

My other deliberation has been handlebar type. I currently have a M type but have been lusting after an S type. Being just over 6 feet tall I have been worried about whether it is going to be comfortable enough. I do have a couple of friends who are much taller than me, both with an S type and swear by it. The only trouble is they live too far away for me to have a test run.

Of course colour is the other massive decision. I was thinking Black then moved on to Yellow, then Turkish Green and now I can't get the simply elegance of the Raw Lacquer. This in particular looks stunning, especially in an S type!

I will let you know how I get on and whether I like the 2 speed. I am quite excited at the prospect of finally having a go on one.

Monday 17 October 2011

Sunday Morning on a Brompton

Yesterday I went for a Sunday morning cycle - for a second week running. (I wonder if I'll do the same when it really gets colder)?

My first port of call was Tower 42. I wanted to go there as it was mentioned by David Lindo in his talk at the Wetlands Centre last week. As I gazed up I tried to imagine what it would be like to look down from such a great height over London.

Once this was done on my way back away from the City I stopped briefly at St Paul's Cathedral to see the protestors in good spirits and in sizeable numbers. There was a fairly strong police presence which must have been for this.

Going back along The Strand I fancied going to Temple Church. Even though I used to work within a stones throw of the actual church, I have great difficulty finding my way to it! This is because there are copious amounts of building work, renovations and consequent road closures. Eventually I did find it but felt Harry Potter-like when he tried to find platform 9 3/4!

When I was out I saw loads of other Brompton riders. On a weekend they generally fall into two broad categories.

1) The lycra, full cycle gear type who rides with BWC attitude.

2) The ordinary type who rides at a leisurely pace in normal non-cycling attire.

Which type was I on Sunday I hear you ask? I am afraid to say, shocked even, that I was a type 1.

My question to you is, what type are you?

Sunday 9 October 2011

David Lindo at the London Wetlands Centre

I love my iPhone! I say that because today I was going to go to London Zoo with my family but saw a tweet that David Lindo, aka 'The Urban Birder' was giving a talk at the London Wetlands Centre to promote his book titled the same. We changed our our plans and headed to Barnes.

We haven't been to the Wetlands Centre for quite a while and besides, they do some rather tempting cakes.

Arriving in good time we sampled some of these cakes and I packed my wife and children off to the playground and a walk around the wonders of the Wetlands Centre.

I waited outside the theatre for the talk. (I thought this best as my children are very enthusiastic about nature and David Lindo being someone they have seen on TV and the Internet, would possibly been enough to induce them to rush what little stage there was)!

Initially I felt my jeans and Nike track top were out of place amount the greens and browns of many in the audience. Once the Urban Birder appeared in a similar getup I felt better.

The talk started promptly and the assembled audience was treated to some very interesting stories from David's past, told in an engaging way. I particularly enjoyed his retelling of an encounter with a bear in Finland. I also liked the photo and recount of his work on the top of Tower 42, which I was outside last week. I could have listened to much more but sadly after 50 or so minutes things were brought to an end.

I would have like to introduce myself but alas I received a text from my other half to come now, so knowing that this did indeed meant 'now' I had to go.

If you search my previous blog entries, I have written a review of David's book which you can look at. I would give it a go, especially if you live in the urban jungle and have children. It's a great little book and will inspire you to find nature in the most urban of places.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday 8 October 2011

2 Speed Brompton

I have had a bit on an obsession lately, which has taken the form of a 2 speed Brompton.

As you know I have a 6 speed and love it! I just keep hearing about the huge weight saving, the  efficiency of the 2 speed and how great it seems to be for all round urban use.

Looking at the gear ratios the first gear on the 2 speed seems to be similar to the second gear on my 6 speed. The second gear on the 2 speed seems to fall somewhere between the 4th and 5th gears on my 6 speed.

For the last week I have been riding my 6 speed in 2nd gear to start me off and 4th for cruising. This has given me a flavour of what I might expect on the 2 speed. Not being an ideal way to test whether I like them or not I decided to hire a 2 speed Brompton for 24 hours. This will be in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait. It will finally put to rest whether a 2 speed is for me or not. Luckily the cost of hiring is only £20, which I think is very reasonable.

I will let you know how I get on!

Sunday 2 October 2011

My new foot pump

I thought I would post a mini review of a new foot pump I recently bought.

I am somewhat ashamed to say that the first one I purchased was from Argos. The old adage that you pay for what you get is very true. On the very day of the Brompton World Championships this Argos foot pump snapped only serving to deflate my tyres. At the BWC I managed to borrow one and it was a Specialized one. I made a mental note to get one.

It cost £29.99 and is a metal construction and instantly feels of sound quality. The pump stands much taller than my previous one and this makes things much easier as their little bending down.

The nozzle has a metal clip and is very easy to get on and off the valve. It again feels of very high quality.

The gauge is big, accurate and easy to read. In addition there is an outer revolving bezel that allows you to mark your desired inflation. The footplate is metal and covered in an ultra grippy surface.

I am sure it will last me ages and I am glad I bought it and didn't get a replacement from elsewhere that would in no way be as good as this one.

Brompton ride on hot October morning.

In the early hours of this morning, knowing that I was almost guaranteed good weather I headed off on my beloved Brompton.

My original plan was simple to cycle for a bit and see where the mood took me. I ended up in Central London.

The River. Sunrise was lovely with this view all to myself.

When I first headed off it was like one of those zombie films where you literally have London to yourself. When I got to St Paul's I saw possibly 50 eager and wide awake Japanese tourists following a guide with an umbrella toward the footbridge. What they were doing and where they were going so early I don't know? They did take quite an interest in my bike and proceeded to take photos of it as I headed off.

Now I know London pretty well but it did get to the point where I hadn't got a clue where I was? This situation was brought about due to lots of road closures and builders lorries blocking off the routes I was familiar with.

Thankfully I soon arrived at familiar territory and once I had found my bearings I headed off. As I did I spotted two Brompton's heading my way. One was a yellow S type and the other a black P type. I suspect it was a husband and wife team who like me, were out on a mini adventure in glorious weather.

I headed back towards The Strand and when passing The Savoy made a mental note to see if they do cream teas as it would make a great Christmas present for someone.

Once past Trafalgar Square I headed up The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. In doing this memories of the Brompton World Championship launch ride and factory visit flooded back.

I continued and ended up in Knightsbridge and eventually South Kensington.

Once the pictures were taken at the Albert Memorial I took the bike into Hyde Park and cycled round as far as Marble Arch and then home.

Had a very enjoyable time and was home by 10:30 and then off to London Zoo with my family. I read today on Twitter than one of the people I follow actually took an inflatable kayak on the Thames today. Now, I wonder if it would also take a Brompton? That really would be a mini adventure for the future...