Sunday 27 May 2012

Orange Brompton back from being serviced

Today I received the call from Specialized that my Orange Brompton was ready to be collected after the butchering I inflicted on its gearing when trying to change the tyres.

It was lovely to have it back with the gears silky smooth, brakes adjusted to perfection and everything tightened up and oiled.

I will try to go on a Brompton specific maintenance course at some point. I know that these come up from time to time so I will watch out for one.

The @sw_bd chaps went their big ride yesterday which turned out to me 125ish miles. I cannot say I envied them as I went on a gentle ride to Barnes in this glorious weather we are enjoying at the moment. If you haven't made a donation please consider doing so. Three great charities and a mammoth task which isn't that long away.

Back to my Orange Brompton, the newer version of the Marathon tyres are pretty good and I prefer them to the older version. I will give them a good run in the week to come.

Thursday 24 May 2012

DIY on a Brompton

Regular readers will know that I suffered a puncture while on the London to Cambridge ride. You will also know that I purchased a pair of the new Schwalbe Marathon tyres and inner tubes.

Yesterday I fitted them. Before doing this I watched the Brompton video on how to take off and then put back the rear wheel and how to change ones tyres several times. I laid out all of the tools required for the job neatly on the living room floor. Latex gloves were put on and I began.

To digress slightly when I was a child I used to love those Airfix models but would always have parts left over. I loved Meccano as well but again always have parts left over. I am not keen or have any talent at manual labour of even the most basic sort. I felt I needed to write this.

Nuts were undone. Hub gear cable successfully unscrewed. Derailer taken off. Everything laid out with military precision. Old tyres off. Old inner tubes out. New rim tape on. Tubes and tyres placed on to the wheels pretty quickly and back on my beloved Orange Brompton.

I pumped up the tyres to 100 psi and all looked wonderful. Even better I
All the bits were put back where they should have been and I had none left over. I felt proud. I walked a little taller as I checked the tyre action...

To my horror I discovered that my derailer no longer shifted the chain over. I watched the appropriate Brompton video to no avail. I couldn't get it to work despite my efforts!!

With a heavy heart and equally heavy tread I today took my beloved and slightly interfered with Orange Brompton to Specialized this afternoon for them to give it a full service and sort out the gears. Luckily it was that time of year to have it serviced anyway so all is not entirely maudlin.

I suspect until I go on some sort of maintenance course I will leave it to the professionals!

Sunday 20 May 2012

New tyres for my Orange Brompton

The tyres on my Orange Brompton have been looking a little ropey of late. This is perhaps due to a harsh British winter and a few long rides with the Small Wheels Big Difference chaps.

I ordered a pair of Schwalbe Marathons. The tyres I have on my Orange Brompton are also Marathons but these ones are the new 16 x 1.35 that can be pumped to 110 psi. They also have a much thinner profile. I have these on my S2L and have liked them a great deal.

I also ordered some new Schwalbe inner tubes. After the puncture yesterday I was painfully aware that I go out all over the place on my beloved Brompton Bikes but never carry any spares.

I am buying them from 'Brilliant Bikes' and they are THE best Brompton parts/spares anywhere. If you ever need anything to replace on your Brompton check them out. Prices, delivery and service is top drawer.

My legs are sore today. Right knee aching and left calf tender. When walking today I must have been quite a sight as I minced around London - this time without a Brompton until I recover!

Pictures from London to Cambridge

Here are some pictures of the London to Cambridge ride. Sorry that there aren't more but after 35 miles you tend to lose interest in taking arty shots of countryside and instead focus on turning the pedals!

Harry about to give a masterclass on how to take off a Brompton rear wheel

My poor Brompton!

Saturday 19 May 2012

London to Cambridge on a Brompton with @Sw_bd

I must be mad. It is a conclusion not easily admitted but it must be true. I don't think I can even label myself eccentric. However the Small Wheels Big Difference chaps must border on insanity to allow me to accompany them on any of their interesting sojourns.

I dithered about going today - who wouldn't. 63 miles from the South Bank in London to Cambridge. I made up my mind at the last minute and headed off to the South Bank on my Raw Lacquer S2L. (The truth is Mrs MyOrangeBrompton allowed me out for good behaviour).

Unfortunately I was late by almost 20 minutes but everyone waited for me which I was very grateful for. We set off. It was also good to meet a fellow London Brompton club member, Geoff Snell.

Those of you who have read my woeful episode when I accompanied the Sw_bd chaps from Oxford to London will know that I ran out of fuel roughly half way. This morning I had porridge, bananas on toast with an extra dose of bananas for good luck. My S-Bag was laden with Haribo sweets and full fat Pepsi - not the diet variety I usually drink. I felt ready.

We headed out of London and it wasn't long until we were on the National Cycle Network Route Number 1. We cycled parallel to canal and river along gravel tracks. It was very picturesque.

At the halfway point we stopped at a pub (haven't a clue where it was) for liquid refreshment and sweets. Suitably nourished we headed off again. The more sensible stance I took with regards nutrition paid off as I didn't hit the wall. What I did start to feel was Jane Fonda's 'the burn.' My legs, more specifically my knees felt most of the burn and I found that the two gears were totally inadequate for this rider at least.

It is worth pointing out that a young lady called Isabel was also riding a 2 speed an S2R Turkish Blue. She seemed to have the speed, power and acceleration of Victoria Pendleton and was always at the head of the pack. I on the other hand brought up the rear like that witch on the original, Wizard of Oz furiously turning the pedals.

It was not long after we headed off that disaster struck. There was an audible pop and hiss as my rear tyre deflated. My initial thoughts I am ashamed to admit was, thank Christ. I'll have to phone for a taxi. At this moment I took on the persona of one of those blue rinse ladies from the WI. I have not a clue about how to change tyre. Geoff had a spare inner tube and Harry with great skill gave a how to change a rear wheel masterclass.

With tyre all ready and back on we headed off to, Newton where pub food waited. I imaged fish and chips, hot and steaming. Crispy batter with just a hint of salt and vinegar. When we arrived at Newton we saw the others waiting. (I was part of a sub-group that with the kindness of St Francis of Assisi kept me company as I ambled along).

The sub-group informed us that the pub was closed. Upon hearing this news I was very proud with myself for suppressing a scream - you would not believe the self-control this took. I wager Scott of the Antarctic went through the same emotions. We pressed on stoically.

Cambridge was 5 miles away. I saw the railway line and trains heading back to civilisation. Back to London. As fast as I could I pressed on. Eventually we arrived at Cambridge Station. I decided to go straight home while the others headed into Cambridge central for a well deserved rest and meal.

Back home in lovely London, slightly aching I still had a great time. I must say a very big thank you to all who went today and I'm sorry if the ride lasted longer than you'd have liked.

What the Small Wheels Big Difference team are embarking upon in a few weeks time really does need to be respected. Imagine riding this distance and often more every day for a few weeks. It is quite an undertaking. Please support them by donating what you can via their website.

I did take some pictures and I will post them in the next couple of days.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

BWC 2012 Outfit - Footwear.

The advice I have been getting from lots of ultra sporty types for the Brompton World Championship is getting ridiculous.

A brief conversation with another Brompton rider colleague - who has Kojak's on his single speed titanium S-type all year round - about footwear brought a detailed and sustained condemnation of the trainers I was going to wear.

I was going to wear a pair of New Balance jogging trainers as they are incredibly lightweight. My colleague pointed out the fact that they are constructed with a fabric mesh material means that they are in no way aerodynamic. The mesh would actually create drag he went on to describe. he favoured leather.

My reply, a rhetorical question of whether it would really make much of a difference was greeted with a cocked head to one side and raised eyebrows.

I will not go into what he suggested I do with the pedals as it may upset Brompton purists who like to keep things original.

What do you think? If you are attending the BWC this year, what outfit (and footwear) are you using?

Saturday 12 May 2012

Olympus E-P3 and a Brompton

I am still loving my E-P3 and loving my 12mm f2.0 with the all metal construction and snap focus ring even more!

I mean just look at it.

Lovely isn't it. This little camera seems to go with me everywhere and since buying the 12 mm lens I haven't used anything else on this camera. It is pin sharp and just a joy to use.

With the slightly better weather tis weekend I am about to take it and possibly one of the Brompton bikes and head out to photograph whatever takes my fancy.

Friday 11 May 2012

Brompton World Championship outfit

With the BWC in my thoughts my attention has been drawn to what I will wear.

The rules stipulate that participants must wear a suit jacket, shirt and tie. Shorts can be worn but anything too sport or lycrafied is a big no. In addition riders must wear a helmet.

I have quite few suits and various blazers. The blazers seem the way to go as one in particular is striped and brightly coloured to say the least. However, it is made from wool which will probably be too hot. I therefore plan to go down the linen route which will be lightweight if nothing else.

I have also been advised to get a short sleeved shirt, tuck the tie into said shirt and use safety pins to keep the jacket from flying around. Some have also advised wearing jogging trainers as they are usually lightweight.

It might be worthwhile stating that I will be lucky to go round in 30 minutes let alone be under that time and some of the advice above is quite ridiculous for someone like myself who is there (for all three events) for a bit of fun and the taking part however you possibly know what It coming. The helpful tips listed above are tips that I will embrace. I have calculated conservatively that if I do all of this I will shave at least 30 seconds off my time! Now, should I also borrow one of those time trial aero helmets?

The sun doth shine on a Brompton SL2

What a difference a day makes. Yesterday I was bemoaning the fact that I have been unable to use my SL2 due to rain (I don't use my beloved SL2 Raw Lacquer in rain) and today was dry.

It has been ages since I took the SL2 out in anger and I have missed the lower, sportier and firmer ride that one gets from the flat handlebar that is the S-Type.

I have missed the two speed a great deal. I have alluded to a desire to use the SL2 for all the BCW events. I am still convinced that it will help to give me a better time than last year. Without the hub gear I save almost a kilo in weight. The simplicity of only having two gears also appeals to me. At last years BWC by the second lap I was having difficulty selecting the correct gears for the the climbs. Mucking this up contributed (along with having big feet) to me kicking my chain off and then having to get off an try and put it back on.

I hope that it is dry over the weekend as I want to head out early either tomorrow or Sunday and photograph a few buildings that interest me.

Thursday 10 May 2012

Raw Lacquer Brompton SL2 having a rest!

My rather lovely raw lacquer Brompton SL2 with Brooks saddle is having an extended rest at the moment. It is having an extended rest as it has been either raining or threatening to rain for getting on for a month!

Yes I know it is silly but I still refuse to take my beloved SL2 out in the rain. This stance could cause havoc to my BWC 2012 plans as I intended to partake in the 'Brompton Triple' on the SL2. I am still convinced that the simplicity of just having two gears will allow me to get a quicker time than that posted last year. I suspect I will end up taking both bikes, just in case.

Wednesday 9 May 2012

Grumpy in a car, happy cycling on a Brompton

Have you ever noticed cycling to or from work how grumpy and miserable people look in their cars? I haven't really noticed this until recently but I do think that there is something in it.

There have been several studies that indicate cycling is therapeutic and offers the rider a chance to unwind  from the daily toil in a way driving in a car doesn't. Perhaps it it just me? I do find that I look forward to getting my Brompton unfolded and riding on it. It has been known for me to abandon public transport part way and cycle, even though it will mean a longer journey.

In addition to this is the fact that a very high proportion of the cyclists I encounter to and from my daily commute give a little nod as they go on their journey. This has never taken place when I have been driving a car.

What do you out there think?

Tuesday 8 May 2012

Brogues on a Brompton.

They say that every gentleman should have a pair of brogues in their wardrobe. I of course have several pairs.

I favour the full country brogue that has a Goodyear welted sole in full leather and at least half an inch thick. (Brogues that have those thin, almost effeminate soles are a waste of time as far as I'm concerned. In addition while I'm have a rant, brogues should really be in various shades of brown and not black). The pair of brogues seen in the picture are actually a boot version.

I would have loved to wear them for the Tweed Run but I left them at work. I will explain. Having large feet (11ish) combined with a leather sole means that riding a Brompton in heavy London traffic can be scary stuff - leather soles don't provide the best grip. I therefore cycle to work in trainers and change into my shoes at work.

My office resembles Imelda Marcos wardrobe as I have lots of shoes ready to change in to.

Today however I decided to go home fully brogued up and didn't suffer too badly. The tweed jacket I wore to match the brogues was my own little homage to the Tweed Run yesterday. Normal service will of course resume tomorrow.


I have reached another personal milestone for this humble little blog and have just gone over 25,000 page views! Really pleased with this to say the least.

Monday 7 May 2012

Homage to the Tweed Run on a Brompton

Tomorrow morning I will be up and off on my daily commute on one of my beloved Brompton folding bikes. Let's face it, in this rainy weather we've been inflicted with it will probably be my Orange Brompton. (Well, I wouldn't want to spoil my Raw Lacquer SL2 with rain)!

I am going to wear some form of tweed tomorrow in homage to the Tweed Run. That way I suspect it will bring a smile to my face as all thoughts of Bank Holidays are forgotten.

Ladies at the Tweed Run

As I said on other posts I loved the Tweed Run. There were many highlights - the atmosphere of lots of very different people from diverse backgrounds. The route through the busy streets of London past hundreds of amazed tourists and onlookers. The buzz of cycling through London where for a few hours wherever we went the cyclist was King and Queen. It was a great day but for me the ladies who attended stole the show with their outfits.

Whoever you are ladies in the pictures below I thought you all looked elegant but I did have a few favourites.

In the first picture the two ladies in the centre could have come out of a time machine from a bygone era. This is especially true of the lady with the black hair.

I should have really converted this to black and white

My other favourite was the lady in the picture below who seemed to have a beaming smile all day.

I think this poor lady thought one pic was enough

This poor lady couldn't move for people taking her photograph!