Sunday 30 June 2013

Am I getting faster? Richmond Park with my Titanium Orange Brompton

For this morning it had been my intention to cycle to central London to take a few pictures with my Ricoh GR. When I set off it looked so lovely I decided to head to Richmond Park instead for a few laps.

When I arrived at Richmond I could see that I would not be alone. In all the time I have been to Richmond I have not seen so many cyclists. It could be as the Tour de France is currently on or it could just be that it was such a lovely summer morning and many could not resist the draw of the place.

I took my Titanium Orange Brompton with me and traveled very light. I didn't even take a saddle bag and stuffed a spare inner tube, CO2 pump, tyre levers and spanner into my pockets.

As I set off I decided that I would try and maintain a 16 mph pace (if I could). I managed to do this just about. Descending the big hill at the end was farcical on the first lap as a car decided to overtake cyclist coming up the hill and was quite happy to stay on the side of the road I and other cyclists were travelling down. Bit of an idiot as he could have easily returned to the correct side of the road.

The weather was wonderful and Richmond Park was stunning. It reminded me of last years training sessions before the Brompton World Championships. Deer at one point were right up on the edge of the road and many cyclists stopped to take some photos of them. Not wanting to spoil my desire to maintain a 16 mph average I continued.

When I watched the highlights of yesterdays first Tour de France stage I watched with interest British cycling legend Chris Boardman giving a report about aerodynamics. He showed via the use of a wind tunnel why cyclists bunch in a peloton. With this in my mind I tried to get a tow from some of the roadies. I was able to keep pace with a few groups before they spun off. I was going near flat out whilst they had more in the tank. It was quite funny seeing the faces of a few other roadies going at a slower pace. They were past by five roadies all in the same club jersey with yours truly at the end of the peloton just about keeping pace. I only wish I'd brought my GoPro and got it facing them as cycled past saying, "lovely morning for it!"

When I completed the first lap I stopped to take on some fluids and treated my first circuit as one lap. I soon headed out for my second lap and as I did a quite fierce breeze made itself know. Cycling into a headwind made things hard and I was fighting to maintain the 16 mph average speed. Luckily I managed to do it (just about). I think I managed to do this as I kept in a lower gear and upped my cadence.

With two laps done and needing to get back home I decided to call it a day. I really enjoyed this morning spin at Richmond Park. It isn't my favourite location by any means but I always come away thinking that it has done me some good. It is certainly better than sticking to undemanding flat as a pancake roads.

Is my Titanium Orange Brompton a faster bike? average speed was higher than it has been on my Original Orange Brompton. The weight saving will have some part to play I am sure. I do feel that the addition of Kojak tyres and mudguards off is also a factor.

The clipped in pedals definitely help ascending the hills and I like them a great deal. I have yet to go on a seriously long ride using them but I have a feeling they will help. (In fact before I got to Richmond Park I had a go at the infamous Nightingale Lane and its 20% gradient. It was ascending this that convinced me clipped in pedals help)! Perhaps those of you out there with more knowledge than mine can comment on this but I have the notion that they are more efficient than flat pedals and therefore help the rider to use up less energy.

It could be that I am simply getting a little fitter? I still have a long way to go. A year or so ago my training runs might have consisted of cycling in Hyde Park or in and around central London. My only goal is to continue getting fitter, continue being able to cycle distances at a reasonable pace, lose a little more weight and go on many more adventures. So far things are ticking over nicely and it is great that so many of you out there are trying to do much the same.

The maps and ride data recorded by my Garmin Edge 510 can be viewed by clicking on the links below.

Richmond Spin 1 map and ride data

Richmond Spin 2 map and ride data


  1. I recently changed from brompton kevlar tyres to kojaks and I have found them to be a much faster tyre shaving 5 minutes from my fastest 'long way home' from work.

    Bear in mind that kojak tyres effectively reduce the gear ratio of a brompton which made my 3rd gear on my M3L much more usable.


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