Wednesday 19 January 2011

Race to the death!! (On a Brompton)

Today while cycling to work, the place where I carry out honest toil, a rather strange thing took place. I will elaborate.

Arriving at a set of traffic lights I got myself ready for the green.  Normally, I simple glide off at a fairly even pace and could generally say that I amble like a true English gentleman on a bicycle. To my right, up pulled another male on a bike.  Not a Brompton, but one of those arse up head down jobs.  He too was getting ready for the green.

In a moment of madness, I decided that he would not beat me. He would not overtake! He would not pass!! The green lights fired and I was off. Having smaller wheels it was inevitable that I would accelerate at a tremendous speed. It is a matter of physics...surely. I surged ahead and stayed ahead for ages. Turning to face my rival I could see that I was indeed well ahead as I came up to another set of lights. Red lights.

The other bike rolled up to my right yet again. This time I could see in his eyes that he didn't want that to happen again. My pulse racing I got ready of the green light. It came and I was off again and again I had out accelerated him. Knowing that a rather steep hill approached I moved the gears to whatever the gear is that gets one uphill. This caused my feet to turn the peddles like that witch riding her bicycle in the wizard of Oz - know the one I mean? Losing traction I could see my rival looming closer. As he passed me, as I knew he would surely do, I said, "morning" and continued to turn the wheels rapidly, which became a blur.

I cannot explain this startling display and I suspect I would not do it again. Has this ever happened to you?If so share your experiences. I would sleep better knowing that I wasn't alone!

Monday 17 January 2011

Brompton LED Light Set

When I first bought my Brompton one thing I didn't buy initially was the light set. Having used it virtually every day since I having my Brompton, I thought is was about time I did a mini review of them.

I bought the set from 'Brilliant Bikes.' It arrived really quickly with full instructions on how to fit it. (Which takes minutes and is fairly hassle free). The rear red light looks great has the Brompton name on it and it sits flush with the bike. It is simply on and off and doesn't have any flashing modes. The light it produces is bright and the two AAA batteries are a doodle to replace.

The front light is one of he best I have ever seen. It comes with a bracket that can be permanently fixed to the handle bars, with the light itself sliding on and off as and when needed. It has flashing and light on modes and produces a brilliant bright white beam. It takes three AAA batteries but both lights last ages and I have yet to replace the batteries on the front or rear.

If you have a Brompton I would say these lights are a must. The rear light really does enhance the look of the bike and doesn't look like an after market part at all. Yes you can buy cheaper lights but I don't think they will look or perform half as well. They really do increase ones confidence when cycling at night or early morning.

(One thing to note. You can buy the rear light on its own but if you want the front light, you'll have to buy the set).

I will post some pics in the next few days.

Sunday 16 January 2011

The London Wetlands Centre

Today I paid a visit to the London Wetlands Centre. Located just over the Hammersmith Bridge in Barnes it really is a little oasis of calm tranquility in the middle of the hustle and bustle of London.

The London Wetlands Centre is one of several similar nature reserves dotted across the country and were the brainchild of the late, great Sir Peter Scott. Apart from carrying out vital conservation work its centres provide a wonderful opportunity to experience nature.

Birds at the Wetlands Centre were plentiful. I found myself transported back to a 9 year old boy, enthusiastically trying to identify the many different types of birds on display on the lakes and around the centre. I spotted: Wigeons; Gadwalls; Lapwings; Pintails; Herons; Coots; Moorhens; Mallards; Canada Geese and the highlight a Cetti's Warbler (pointed out to me by a friendly birder).

The London Wetlands Centre also has a pretty mean selection of cakes in the cafe and with lots for children to do and see, it really is a perfect way to spend a day.

One of the viewing areas overlooking the lakes.

The centre has plenty of bike racks, should you wish to bring a Brompton or other bike. It also has ample parking, a children's play area, lots of other child-friendly things to do and an excellent shop.  'The Family' loved it and we will be back again very soon.

The view from Peacok Tower - one of the many hides one can explore.

Saturday 15 January 2011

Could an iPhone 4 have won the war?

Some of you like me might love something other than a Brompton. I'm talking about an iPhone 4. Now, I used to be all BlackBerry but once I dipped my toes into the world of Apple and iPhone's; well I have never looked back.

For me the iPhone is near perfection and a friend and I had a conversation along the lines: what if two iPhones were around during WWII and able to run google maps etc. Could they have won the war?

Just imagine it. Sending text messages or emails. No need for an Enigma code. Taking spy pictures on the camera or filming secret videos in HD. It would be quite amazing really.

What do you think out there in Internet land? Could two iPhones in the hands of the allies have helped to win the war?

Monday 10 January 2011

The Streets of London

It's often said that the streets of London are paved with gold. Well, if you ride a bike along them, it would seem lots of people have thought this true as they have started digging for it!

Potholes seem to be everywhere and of all shapes and sizes. One along the Edgware Road near Marble Arch was so large I feared it was a black hole and me and bike might end up sucked into its massive gravitational pull, only to end up in some strange parallel universe.

Thankfully this didn't happen but I do wish someone could fill them in!

Sunday 9 January 2011

Whitby Jet Cufflinks

When I was up in Whitby in October my family treated me to some rather nice cufflinks which you can see in the picture.

They are quite elegant and are solid silver with jet in the middle.  I love them and so far haven't worn anything else.  They can also be used for the 31st October at Halloween parties should I decide to turn up as a Vampire.

Hampton Court Palace

It was going to be either London Zoo or Whipsnade Zoo today but it turned out to be neither.  Instead it was Hampton Court Palace.

The weather was wonderful.  Bright sunshine, with a hint of winter.  This great weather certainly brought out everyone on their bikes but not mine sadly as it was left at home. Crossing bridged over the Thames I saw a sign that said Tower Bridge 29 miles.  I wonder what this would be like to do?  Instantly I thought to myself that I'd like to have a go but I wonder what the cycle path would be like for the small but perfectly formed wheels on a Brompton.  (Anyone reading this who knows please make a comment).

I am in the market for a new waterproof cycling jacket.  I do have a bright orange one (see one of my older posts for more details) but I haven't dared to wear it out in anger more than once.  Me thinks bright yellow might be better?  What do you think?

Saturday 8 January 2011

Harman / Kardon Soundsticks III

Well my old pair of Yamaha speakers and subwoofer that had served me well for 10 years finally gave up the ghost shortly after Christmas.

Looking around for a replacement I remember seeing the see-through Harman Soundsticks II a while back in the Apple Store in Regent Street. I decided to use some of the Christmas money I had to buy a pair but they have been upgraded and improved since I saw them and are now the Soundsticks III.

As far as the sound they produce, I can only say WOW!  The subwoofer pumps out an incredible amount of bass which can be turned down if you don't like the idea of the sound almost passing through your entire body. The smaller pair of speakers sit happily on your desk next to your Mac (surely you don't use a PC) and one has a touch sensitive volume control.

I am very pleased I got them and the see-through industrial design really does go well with my Mac.  The bright white LED light on the subwoofer puts the finishing touches to a very well made and desirable set up.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

English Weather!

Rain to right of them. Rain to left of them. Rain in front of them.Volley'd and thunder'd; storm'd at with shot and shell. Boldly they rode and well, into the jaws of Death, into the mouth of Hell. Rode the six hundred.

I am slightly exaggerating of course but that is what it felt like on this ice-cold evening cycling home.  Why can't England have a climate like that of Southern California? At least it would still be hot whilst raining. I am sure that once I again get used to the joys of cycling to and from work in the pouring rain, I will feel much better??

Does anyone out there have any suggestions for wet weather riding? (Don't bother saying that I should emigrate to warmer climbs). 

Saturday 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

Hello out there in internet land and happy New Year.

Like me I am sure that you will all soon be back to work and back into the usual routine.  I don't normally go for New Year resolutions but this year I am going break with tradition and give myself one.  Yes, I am sure you have guessed it is Brompton related.

I plan to ride my beloved Brompton every day to work, regardless of weather. (Snow and ice being the only exception to this rule). I really want to see how long I can keep this up without resorting to the dreaded car?

So, if you have a Brompton or any other bike for that matter, take the plunge and have a go yourself.  You might surprise yourself at how the simple joy of cycling home can allow you to unwind from the rigours of the day.

Watch this space for the promised review of Brompton related items.

Happy New Year and just think, there is a Brompton World Championship to try and enter this year!