Monday 27 June 2011

I haven't forgotten my loyal readers!

Hello one and all,

I haven't forgotten all my loyal readers out there in web land. I have been so busy at work of late that I haven't had time to write about anything.

Hopefully in about 3ish weeks I'll be writing away so keep looking as I will do my best to get some more posts soon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday 5 June 2011

Early Morning in London on a Brompton.

For some strange reason I had the urge to get up at an ungodly hour this morning and head out with my Brompton and camera and take a few shots. I didn't have any plan of action and simply cycled where I fancied and stopped for the odd photo or two.

The River Thames below.

I started off going round Trafalgar Square and headed towards St Paul's. The Millennium Bridge beckoned and even though it clearly said riders to dismount, as no one else was around I rode towards the middle.

In the distance a future star on the London skyline is taking shape.

In the distance I took note of, 'The Shard.' This will be a striking building when completed and I will definitely return to photograph it.

Loving my new telescopic seat pillar.

The new telescopic seat pillar is still wonderful to ride with. That extra reach really does make all the difference and provides a very comfortable ride.

Flash on, so the tyres would light up.

What an imposing and majestic sight! (You can also see St Paul's Cathedral in the background).

Heading into the City I stopped to take a few shots of some of my old haunts. I used to work up here but I am glad to be out of this particular rat race. It always amazes me how devoid of people this location is at the weekend. This time tomorrow morning it will be full with people moving around purposefully like ants.

I made my return and stopped here in this narrow alleyway to think about where to go next. I wouldn't like to be here after dark as even in daylight there was definitely an atmosphere.

I decided to head to Temple Church. Famous for being mentioned in one of Dan Brown's books it was the London base for the Knights Templar. I have quite a thing for the Templars and wondered if they were around today would they replace their horses for Brompton's?

Temple Church.

Even though I got one of those key-fob things that allows one to use Boris' Bikes, I have never used one. There really is something elegant about a Brompton when compared to ordinary bikes.

Which would you want to use in London or any other City for that matter?

Those of you would went on the BWC Launch Event will remember when we cycled along The Mall and past Buckingham Palace. I stopped for a few photos and couldn't resist including the Brompton in the frame.

Perhaps Brompton's could be by Royal Appointment?

The guard below didn't of course say anything but you could see by the look in his eyes that he was complementing me on a rather wonderful choice of personal transport.

Stand to!

There you have it. A lovely ride with no particular agenda or route. The Brompton really does come into its own in London. If you want to take the odd photograph it really is a go anywhere bike. Being so manoeuvrable means you can squeeze into the narrowest of streets and if needed fold it up and carry it for a while, only to unfold and go when you are able. (For those of you trying to find Temple Church with all the building work going on you'll know what I mean if you go there yourself).

Weather permitting I think I might venture out again next weekend. For this I have something in mind with a definite route to follow. I will need to be brave as it will take me into the darker side of this great City.

Saturday 4 June 2011


Wow, I can hardly believe it. I have just looked at my SATs and I have had 3000 views of my humble blog. I haven't looked at the SATs for a while and I am very pleased.

Thanks for viewing - you know who you are.

The highest point in Southern England - Leith Hill Tower on a Brompton?

The view from the car park which wasn't easy to find but the view  gave a hint of what was to come/

Today we decided to head out of London and go somewhere different.  Our inspiration came from an excellent little book, 'Adventure Walks For Families' by Becky Jones and Clare Lewis. One of the adventures listed the highest point in Southern England. Better still it wasn't too far from the smoke. We were intrigued and decided to head off.

Finding Leith Hill Tower wasn't too hard but beware that a Sat Nav will take you up some poor unfortunate persons private drive. The site is National Trust and the car park was free and provided excellent views to what was to come as you can see from above. (I have provided lots of details of how to get there at the bottom of this post).

Leith Tower on a hot summers day.

Yes I admit we did take the Brompton's and child bikes as we had heard that it was very popular with cyclists. It didn't take long to realise the Brompton's and child bikes weren't really going to cut it up 45 degree gradients and off-road territory. This was soon justified by all the very expensive mountain bikes with copious gears huffing and puffing up towards the Tower.

The Tower stands over 60 feet.

Leith Hill Tower was the brainchild of Richard Hull. He decided that he wanted his hill to exceed 1000 feet. It was built in 1765 and at a height of over 60 feet he was able to achieve the magic 1000 feet.

The stairs up to the Tower.
From the top of the Tower on a clear day one can see St Paul's Cathedral and even the English Channel! As you can see form the photos it was a really hot day today, so our view didn't extend that far.

The highest point in Southern England.

Hull was actually buried under Leith Hill Tower and some say that he was buried vertically - head first! What a way to go.

The view from the top.

Another view. St Paul's is somewhere in the distance but it was too hazy to see that far today.
At the foot of the Tower one can buy postcards, drinks and ice creams - all needed after the 3/4 mile walk from the car park. To climb the Tower costs £1.30 for adults and 70p for children. For that you also get a free quiz leaflet, pencil and telescope token. Cheap at half the price.

We had a great time there and our children thoroughly enjoyed the walk. There is a vast amount of wildlife on offer and we spotted Buzzard, Hobby, Sparrow hawk and kestrel. Unless you have one of those butch mountain bikes, don't bother brining the Brompton.

1 mile south-west of Coldharbour village
BusBus services
Arriva 21 Guildford to Dorking (passing close Guildford railway station and passing Chilworth railway station and Dorking), alight Holmbury St Mary, 2½ miles, not on Sunday or public holidays
many rights of way. View local cycle routes on the National Cycle Network website.
BusBy road
1 mile south-west of Coldharbour A29/B2126
TrainBy train
Holmwood, not Sunday, 2½ miles; Dorking 5½ miles
By footOn foot
comprehensive network of rights of way, including the Greensand Way National Trail
OSOrdnance survey reference

Thursday 2 June 2011

Brompton Aluminium Telescopic Seat Pillar

Being about 6 foot 1ish the standard Brompton seat pillar was never going to be comfortable. When I originally bought my Brompton I opted for the basic extended seat pillar, which was served me well. I have longed for the aluminium telescopic seat pillar for quite a while and today it arrived in the post.

The before with my extended steel seat pillar. It does stick out a bit.
I ordered the new seat pillar from, 'Brilliant Bikes.' As usual for anything at I have ordered from them, it arrived rapidly - in this case the next day. They are as their name suggests, brilliant and sell all sorts of Brompton spares and all number of bits and pieces. I have bought quite a bit from them in the past and have always found them to be efficient, friendly and usually offering items at a more competitive price. Check them out at

The aluminium telescopic seat pillar.
The aluminium version is normally only available if you buy the titanium version of the folding wonder. You can of course get it as an after market purchase as I have done.

I wanted this seat pillar for a number of reasons. Being a taller rider I definitely need the extra reach it affords. In addition the telescopic seat pillar when folded down doesn't really protrude a great deal. As you can see in the picture above of the original, it does.

When comparing the weight of the two seat pillars, there really isn't much difference. This is great as I can adjust the ride height to my hearts content and not add too much weight. I could have gone for the steel version and if you are on a budget it would serve you well however there would be a noticeable difference in weight. (Why are Brompton geeks always going on about weight saving etc???)

Almost fitted.
When I took the bike out for a test ride I was very pleased. With the old extended seat pillar I simply had it up as far as it went. With this new seat pillar I can go beyond that maximum height. I may well only be increasing the ride height by a few millimetres but this proved telling  as I found my Brompton more comfortable and on an extended cycle I would really feel the benefit. This will greatly enhance my chances at the BWC to get under that golden time of 30 minutes.

Doesn't stick up as much. Would be even lower if I put the saddle rails on the bottom of the penaclip.

I am very pleased with this purchase and if you are like me and over 6 foot, I can really recommend it. If you can stretch (no pun intended) to the cost of the aluminium seat pillar over the steel version you won't be disappointed.