Sunday 10 August 2014

How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse on a Brompton!

The zombie apocalypse seems to be everywhere at the moment. Film, television, books, video games and comics. It would be true to say that whole industries have been developed in order to provide advice on how one might survive this fictitious event. This go me thinking how I might survive and more importantly, how I might do so on a Brompton. Some people actually think that this day may come! Should it become a reality, this blog post may very well save your life!!

#1 The Fold

Many Brompton users will already know that the simple task of folding/unfolding a Brompton has a beguiling effect on onlookers. They stare open mouthed at how a bicycle can fold/unfold so easily. Shouts of 'do it again' can often be heard. As a Brompton user, you will have to start practicing the fold/unfold so that it becomes second nature, flowing, seamless. Should the zombie hoard descend upon you to the extent you are outnumbered, got off your Brompton and start to fold it up. This will bewitch the vast majority of zombies you will encounter and will allow you two choices:

- While they are still captivated by the folding action spontaneously and without!! You might lose your Brompton forever but at least you will live to fight another day. If you are lucky you might even be able to retrieve later on?

- Now that you have folded...unfold to buy yourself some time. Zombies will be in a near hypnotised state at this which may allow friends nearby may come to your rescue. If all else fails, see above!

#2 One Brompton is never enough!

Owning a Brompton is a particular joy. You will soon realise that one is never enough. I have racing Brompton and a touring/commuting Brompton. You will need to embrace this fundamental principal in order to survive! You might consider:

- Tourer Brompton - This could be an M or P type, ideally with a rear rack and front carrier block. This will allow you to carry lots of luggage (See #) and ride long distances

- Racing Brompton - This is an S type, possibly titanium with no mudguards, rack and generally made as light as possible. Your gearing choice is up to you and how fit you are but me...I'd be packing all 6 on a 54T chainring

#3 Visit Brompton HQ

Not too long from now Brompton will allow a few Bromptonians to pay a visit to the hallowed ground that is the Brompton Factory...Brompton HQ. This is where our Brompton bicycles were made by skilled workers. It is a special moment for the geeky Brompton fanboy in me, however I won't be telling them about another reason I will be so enthusiastic about visiting Brompton HQ!!

With the forces of law and order almost certainly shot to pieces, you will be at liberty to 'acquire' item you need to survive. For me and possibly you if you have read this far, this may well be another Brompton bicycle. (Especially if you only have one Brompton and have read #2). You could of course go off the peg and get whatever you can find at your local bike shop but for me there is nothing like a bespoke Brompton. A visit to the factory will allow you to not only gather spare parts but allow you to assemble your very own bespoke Brompton.

A visit to Brompton HQ before the zombie apocalypse is of course preferable. This will allow you to get an idea of the floor plan but you might see Brompton bicycles being assembled and this may aid you with any desires for a bespoke number. Yes you would have liked to have visited them under different circumstances but visit them you must! 

Once inside you may encounter Brompton staff who have 'turned.' Brompton staff are universally a friendly bunch but don't be swayed. Do what you have to do. Get what you need while taking in the atmosphere of the greatest bicycle manufacturer bar none. At this point you will need to steady your nerves! The realisation that Brompton bicycles will not be made anymore because of this damned zombie apocalypse may make you emotional to the extent you feel it is not worth carrying on!! Steel yourself! Stiff upper lip. You can do it! Just keep thinking of all the spare parts you can take with you to make lots more bespoke Brompton bicycles.

#4 Beserker Brompton User

In times past, certain Viking warriors would build themselves up into a frenzy before entering the battle. They were called beserkers and when they entered this state they unleashed a devastating attack on their enemies. As a Bromptonian this method must be used as a last resort. 

If the zombie hoard approach you in sizeable numbers use tactic #1 as above. While doing this you need to build yourself up into a frenzy...a rage...a berserk state. This can be accomplished in several ways:

- Imagine someone has asked you if your bicycle is a Dahon.

- Remember #3 and the fact that Brompton bicycles are not going to be made any more.

- Consider the fact that the Brompton World Championships as you know it will not happen and you cannot try to beat your previous years times.

- Imagine someone trying to steal your Brompton.

If you think of the above by the time you have folded your Brompton you are probably going to be in the beserker state of mind. Pick your Brompton up and spin round as fast as you can like a whirling dervish hitting as many zombies as you can. As you reach the climax of this frenzy, let go of your Brompton allowing it to fly into as many zombies as possible. Once you have down this...take flight! You may have lost your Brompton but you have not lost your life!

#5 Signals

Owning a Brompton is part of a large club. I have written before that on my commute, upon seeing another Brompton user I ding my bell. More often than not  I hear a reply. Remember, these are now very different times. Should you be out getting supplies on your Brompton and see another coming your way, ding your bell with caution. If they do not ding back it might be they aren't friendly or worse still...they might be in the process of 'turning.'

#6 Luggage

The great thing about Brompton ownership is the useful luggage options. Put on a front carrier block (if you don't have one see #3) and you have a huge range of luggage options:

- O Bag. Totally brilliant for keeping things super dry and for carrying lots

- Mini O Bag. Perhaps used for your racing Brompton (see #2) where you need to carry smaller items

- C Bag. A cavernous bag definitely for the larger load

- Folding basket. You might have used this in happier times for short trips to the local deli but now it is for general purpose loads

#7 Train and train some more

In happier times owning a Brompton meant that is you wished you could enter events like the Brompton World Championships or been part of a club where you cycled London to Oxford, London to Cambridge, London to Brighton etc. Those days are gone but it will become more important than ever to train and get fitter than you have ever been. Sure, you are never going to be as fast as say Gavin Morton but your very life may depend on your cadence and stamina!

#8 Telescopic seat post / Brooks saddle

I know what you are thinking? Why have a telescopic seat post? You aren't tall? The telescopic seat post with a Brooks saddle attached may well save your life.

Regardless of your height, make sure you get a telescopic seat post and definitely get a Brooks saddle. The Brooks is easy. First it looks great on a Brompton and one must maintain standards. Second, they will last the rigours of the zombie apocalypse and third they can be used as a quite devastation weapon.

The telescopic seat post has a small section that when unclamped, comes out completely. When this is down you will be holding a small tube of metal with a Brooks saddle attached to it. This can be used as a weapon to bash in the skulls of any approaching zombies.

Once you have dealt with them you can reinsert into the seat post and cycle off. Remember to clean when safe to do so, otherwise you may encounter the dreaded seat post slippage.

#9 Tyres

There are a number of options open to you with regards tyres. Remember, in happier times you might  have had more options. In a zombie apocalypse I suggest the following:

- Kojak. A lovely tyre in happier times but probably not suitable during a zombie apocalypse in case you suffer a puncture. I do however suggest that when you are out and about you carry the folding variety of this excellent tyre in case the one on your bike cannot be repaired. They take up little space and are not heavy

- Standard Brompton tyre. This is an excellent summer choice for the zombie apocalypse. Good protection, lightweight and a good tread make for a great all rounder

- Marathon. My favourite general purpose type. Good protection against punctures but can still be pumped to 110 psi

- Marathon Plus. Great if you are truly worried about succumbing to punctures but the heaviest of the bunch

#10 Hold your own annual racing event

With all of the above to consider you will need to have something to look forward to. This can be a good thing as it will motivate you and others towards a single goal. The first thing to do is to choose a  suitable venue to host your event. This will need to be cleared of zombies as it would be really annoying to be in the middle of a fast lap only to have a zombie stray onto the track!

Second, make sure that you have a suitable first prize. At the BWC this used to be a Brompton bicycle. Perhaps you can source this by considering #3 above. One word of caution. If you have having best dressed male/female make it clear that coming as a zombie would not be clever or ironic and that #4 and #8 might come into force.

Finally when it is all over make sure that you provide everyone with the date for next years racing event so that they all have something to life for in these difficult times!

The zombie apocalypse will hopefully not happen, but if it does at least you the Brompton user will stand a fighting chance!

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