Sunday 30 June 2019

7 reasons why owning a Brompton is good for you

I can honestly say that owning a Brompton has been nothing but - and continues to be - a positive experience. Lots of my fellow Brompton riders would almost certainly agree and I thought I would give you seven reasons why riding a Brompton is good for you. Here goes. In no particular order:

#1 Health benefits

If you comment to and from work or go out for the add Brompton adventure you are almost certainly going to burn some calories. Do this often enough and you could lose some weight. This will in turn cut your risk of heart disease and cancer. It can also help to strengthen your immune system. There have been reports to suggest cycling can help to give better lung health, which in turn helps reduce incidents of the common cold.

#2 Save time

Having a Brompton can definitely help you to save some time. At its simplest level, if you get the bus, train or tube to work it will cut down on your walk to the station or bus stop. It will also cut back on the waiting around to catch one of these. A simple example of two journeys I have taken might illustrate this best.

Non-Brompton journey - Walk to the bus stop. Wait for a bus. Get on the bus, Walk to destination.

Brompton journey - Unfold. Cycle. Fold. Take your bike with you to your destination.

#3 Better mental health

Cycling to work had allowed me to process ideas and concerns. Cycling from work to home has given me the chance to unwind and pack the day at work away by the time I reach home. It is of course a physical activity and doing do releases adrenalin and endorphins that would otherwise not be. All have been linked to boosting your mental health. Being quite often a social activity, riding your Brompton can increase your circle of friends. This certainly helps with your mental wellbeing and work life balance.

#4 Muscle

Cycling your Brompton over time builds muscle. Muscle is leaner than fat and more muscle results in more calories being burnt.

#5 Sleep

It might be fairly obvious that cycling on you Brompton for a good few miles will tire you out a little and help you sleep that bit better.

#6 Friends

Cycling on your Brompton can be a solitary activity but it can also become a much more social one. I have gained several friends purely and simply from owning a Brompton and joining a group ride.

#7 Save money

A Brompton is not inexpensive and many might gawp at its cost. However with a cycle to work scheme or with Brompton now offering 0% finance the cost can be spread a little thinner. If you replace your regular commute with a Brompton, it won't take too long before all those savings on fares will pay for the Brompton and you might benefit from all of the above.

There you have it. My top 7 reasons why owning a Brompton might be good for you.

Saturday 29 June 2019

Brompton overnight London to Brighton Aborted

Last night was all set. Dr John and I had agreed that we would do one our respective favourites - London to Brighton overnight. Train tickets had been bought, Brompton bicycles prepared, snacks purchased but events conspired to scupper our plans.

If you have read this blog before you will know that for me - like many others - photos and Brompton bicycles go very much hand in hand with each other. The photo below was the only one I took.

Our meeting point was on the South Bank of the Thames not too far from the London Eye. Dr John was there before me and I arrived about 23:30. After a quick check of our bikes were off earlier than our scheduled midnight start. This was in many way quite fortuitous.

The night was warm with a gentle breeze and near perfect cycling conditions. After a very busy week at work I had been looking forward to this ride - as had Dr John. There was however a problem.

My youngest Orangette had been sent home with a sports injury - nothing serious but enough to be sent home. I had left home a couple of hour before midnight and while I was on the tube Mrs Orange decided to take our Orangette to A & E as a precaution as she was worried. When Dr John and I set off I told him about this and said that I may have to stop and make/take the odd call. Not a problem.

We progressed well. The ride really hadn't got started but it had all the prospects of being a really love nights riding. As we approached Balham I rang Mrs Orange to get an update. It was that there would be over a five hour wait. (It actually turned out to be a great deal longer)! Turning to Dr John I had to tell him that I would have to bail and return home.

We looked at our options. It was 0:33 in the a.m. and our choices were pretty stark. Nothing seemed reachable in time but Dr John spotted a train leaving Euston that would be perfect for both of us, leaving in about an hour - assuming we could get there!

Putting Euston Station into my Wahoo we set off. We had about 10 miles to cover. Now ten miles in an hour was doable, but we knew that when we hit the Clapham area there would be clubbers and lots of traffic that would slow us down. As we peddled hard to make our train, the traffic we predicted was there. Traffic lights almost conspired with each other and as they turned red, I fancy I could almost hear mocking laughter.

The route was a good one and tried where possible to take us on quiet roads but I did make a few wrong turns which slowed us down a little. Knowing we were close we made a last desperate effort and rolled into Euston at 0:29 a.m. We had made it by the skin our teeth.

The train journey was interesting. There were lots of people worse for wear, only too happy to engage in polite conversation. After three stops - I think - I got off and said my goodbyes to Dr John who had a stop of two to go. With about another 4-5 miles to get home I pressed on.

Youngest Orangette rolled in at about 06:00 a.m. and straight to bed, sore but okay. As soon as my head hit the pillow I was out for the count.

I have written before that owning a Brompton has allowed me to meet lots of great people, many of whom have become dear friends. Dr John is very much one of them. We sadly didn't have the adventure we planned this time and from him there were no complaints, only support. A true and valued loyal friend. I feel very lucky.

Two weeks today we embark on the Dunwich Dynamo. This really will be an epic adventure and despite not getting in this last little nocturnal dress rehearsal, I am sure we will both be okay.

Wednesday 26 June 2019

Possible changes to Royal Parks through motor traffic

The Royal Parks looks after several of the best loved green spaces in and around London. A strategy discussion paper launched early this month puts froward seven draft movement principals on which you can give your feedback.

The Royal Parks are some of the most famous in London and include: Kensington Gardens; Green Park; St. James' Park; Hyde Park; Regents Park; Richmond Park; Greenwich Park and Bushy Park.

Richmond Park

Greenwich Park

The seven draft movement principals are:
  1. We will protect and conserve our parks' special qualities.
  2.  Our parks are for people.
  3. We will encourage the use of more sustainable ways to access our parks.
  4. Our park roads are not intended to be commuter through routes for motor vehicles.
  5. We will make evidence-based decisions.
  6. We will be proactive in our approach to future transport challenges and opportunities.
  7. We will be proactive in our approach to the future transport challenges and opportunities.

Of these #4  rises to the surface for me. If you have ever been to Richmond Park and to some extend Regents Park in rush hour, you can see lots and lots of cars using it as a cut-through to somewhere else. They certainly aren't visiting the park. 

Not sure what the implications of #4 would be in the long-term or whether vehicle traffic would be restricted in some way or the other but it would certainly make cycling, jogging or walking in these parks more pleasant. 

You can comment on this by clicking on the link below and you'll have until July 14th to do so.

Sunday 23 June 2019

Take care when cycling on your Brompton in Richmond Park!

I have taken my Brompton for a few circuits of Richmond Park more times than I can remember over the years. On almost every occasion I have spotted the deer that live there. I have always tried to repress shouting out 'Fenton!' at the top of my vocie when I have seen some Red Deer there - look up 'Fenton Richmond Park' and you'll understand why. It does seem that I will have to keep an every watchful eye out from now on!

Last month, a former Olympic triathlete shattered his pelvis after a deer collided with him as he cycled down Broomfield Hill. Poor Stuart Hayes flew off his bicycle after the collision, smashing his hip, having to undergo surgery.

I will him well, hope that he makes a speedy recovery and is back on his bike again in the near future. I hope that my future encounters with deer at Richmond Park continue to be what they always have been - deer not too far away, walking slowly across the road and providing plenty of notice!

Saturday 22 June 2019

Plans for a new cycle and walking bridge across the River Thames halted

Sadly, it was recently announced that a proposed cycling and walking bridge crossing the River Thames between Rotherhithe and Canary Wharf have been abandoned.

It looks as if the costs - getting on for £600 million - have meant the bridge was not feasible. Understandable as that is a a great deal of money but it is a real shame as it is a lovely part of London and would have surely enhanced the area surrounding it.

I am certain that if it had been built you would have seen lots of Brompton photographs on all forms of social media posted by the many London Brompton owners that do that sort of thing.

How far can you cycle on a Brompton?

This question is one I have been asked quite a few times. As I was asked this very question by another cyclist (on a road bike) at a set of traffic lights on High Street Kensington yesterday evening, it got me thinking.

In short, for me at least, I don't really know the answer to this question! Now I know that this is probably not what you want to read and thought I would have a full and detailed answer...but I do not.

The furthest distance I have ever cycled on my Brompton was a few years ago when taking part in the Dunwich Dynamo (which incidentally is only a few weeks away, with yours truly taking part). For this if I added the milage cycling to the start and then cycling home at the end - as well as the milage of the Dunwich Dynamo - I clocked up a few yards shy of 150 miles. Thinking hard, I don't think I have cycled further. For this particular event this was the limit for me but I remember taking part in the 100 mile St. Crispin's Day night ride thinking that I had many more miles left in the tank.

My night rides to the coast are typically 60-70 miles and these I can complete quite comfortably. Could I break the 150 mile barrier? Probably, but I would wonder why? I'll come back to this later.

There are lots of Brompton riders out there who cover huge distances. For example, James H took part in the gruelling 2500km 'Atlantic Way Race.' Roger Seaton participated in the Transcontinental Race. Lots of other Brompton riders have taken part in audax rides of 300km. I think, how far you  can cycle on a Brompton is down to the rider and how far they are willing to pedal.

Coming back to yours truly, could I break the 150 mile barrier? If the route wasn't constantly demanding I suspect I could. Saying that I don't think that I would want to. I really enjoy cycling distances up to 100 miles and breaking the 100 mile barrier now and then but even on a road bike, I am not sure I'd want to be in the saddle for the the several hours needed to cover 150 or 200 miles.

The wonderful thing about owning a Brompton is that many underestimate it. They regard it as a quirky commuter bicycle and little more. Lots of Brompton owners - and yes I am very guilty of this - actively look for routes, rides, cycling events that are more geared towards road bikes. Consequently, when rocking up to an event where everyone is cycling a specific distance, in others peoples minds it sometimes makes them wonder whether or not the person on a Brompton is at the correct event. The question, how far can you cycle on a Brompton is one that does crop up.

So at the traffic lights on High Street Kensington, when I answered the question with: London to Brighton, London to Whitstable, the Dunwich Dynamo...I was met with an incredulous look. I fancy that this was magnified further when the lights turned green and I was off a great deal faster than he was able to muster. Brompton bikes are very good at accelerating off the lights, but that is perhaps another blog post...

London to Brighton

Thursday 20 June 2019

Car-free day in London for September

Today is Clean Air Day and to mark this the Mayor of London  announced a car-free day for London to tackle air pollution.

On Sunday 22nd September, London will be able to enjoy its biggest ever car-free day in an effort to raise awareness of the downsides of toxic air and try to encourage Londoners to venture out without the use of a car.

The 22nd September looks set to be a day of celebration with lots going on including walks, treasures hunts and live music events. In all over 12 miles of  streets will be closed in Central London.

For me this is a great idea and I look forward to the prospect of some traffic-free cycling - whatever the weather. I do appreciate that to many this will be a major pain however being such an important issue it might help us pause for thought and consider what state we are leaving the planet for future generations.

Shimano PD-T400L SPD Pedals

I have been using SPD clipless pedals on all of my bicycles for several years now to the extent that I am so used to them I doubt if I could ever use anything else. For me there are few downsides with SPD pedals but their only Achilles heel might be the fact that they few have reflectors - a legal requirement here in the UK.

The Shimano PD-T400L is an a clipless pedal like many of the others I have on my bikes - in that it has a double sided entry, tension adjustor for how tight you want to be clipped in - but is also has a plastic cage on which reflectors are integrated.

Along with the pedals you get a pair fo 5M-SH56 cleats and the pedals weigh in at about 500g for the pair. There isn't really a huge difference in weigh between these and other Shimano SPD pedals I use.

One benefit from these pedals - apart from the built in reflectors - is that you can use the pedals with normal shoes or trainers if needed. I don't think that this is something advertised on the tin as it were however you can. I have used them quite happily with trainers and smart work shoes.

These pedals aren't for everyone and most cyclists using clipped in pedals riding at night do not have reflectors on their pedals. I do wonder whether the law needs tweaking for this reason - there are so many other reflective bits on cycle gear. At the moment I have a pair of these on both my Brompton bicycles and I plan to definitely get a their set to go on my Surly Disc Trucker. I do lots of night rides and just like the idea of the extra bit of reflection

They retail at £39.00 but shop around and you can probably pick them up for the £25 mark.

Tuesday 18 June 2019

Choosing my wave for the Ride46

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from the people at RideLondon telling me that I could choose the wave I would like to ride in. After forgetting to do this initially I decided that it would probably be best to get this done.

When I logged in I found that  you could choose to ride in the same wave as family or friends already entered into the event - a nice touch.

I choose the individual wave. I don't know anyone - as of yet - who also got into the Ride46 but I always seem to bump into someone I know.

The RideLondon people have been sending lots of emails that are pretty helpful. They include how to fix a puncture and training tips. With a ride length of only 46 miles I won't really need too much training, other than what I am already doing, but they are a good idea.

Since finding out that I gained a place in the Ride46 it has been put to the back of my mind in many ways. The Dunwich Dynamo looms and I feel I need to get ready for that more than anything else. Still, choosing the wave has certainly brought it back in my consciousness and I do look forward to it and the chance to ride around on 4th August on traffic-free roads.

Sunday 16 June 2019

5 reasons why owning a Brompton is different to any other bicycle!

Brompton owners - in my experience - are a different breed of cyclist. Even though many also own other types of bikes - road, mountain, hybrid - the fact they own a Brompton often makes them different. I'll try and explain why.

#1 Colour

Many riders kit themselves out in cycling gear and accessories that go with their bicycles. Nothing special there. Many Brompton owners however take this to another level. The choice of colour for many is a very important and personal thing and as such when buying cycling gear it must be of a certain colour that compliments their Brompton.  I know some Brompton riders who are actually...ahem...know by the colour of their Brompton!!

#2 You're one of us now!

If you go to Richmond Park on a Saturday or Sunday morning you'll see roadies cycling around happily together in friendship groups. The bikes they ride will almost certainly be different brands. Brompton riders across the world seem to find each other and ride together in groups - sometimes very large groups. Many are members of Brompton specific clubs. I cannot think of other bicycle groups that have so many people across the world doing just this?

#3 Racing

Brompton ownership allows the user to enter the fabled 'Brompton World Championships' which now appears in several countries across the world. There are many bike races and and events happening all the time  but I doubt whether you would be able to find up to 550 riders of certain bike brands to rock up to an event in the same way.

#4 Customisation 

Many people buy a Brompton bicycle and do nothing to it. There is nothing wrong with this as any Brompton - whatever the spec you choose - is a bicycle for a specific purpose which is to ride, fold and take anywhere. There are of course thousands of people out there who have customised their Brompton in some way or the other. For some this is very subtle, while for others it is much, much more. Again, I cannot think of a another bicycle brand where so many of its users do this in such large numbers and with such enthusiasm.

#5 You did what!!!?

A night ride to the coast of 65 miles, 100km audax, sportive, race, Dunwich Dynamo...isn't really that big a deal if done on your ultra lightweight carbon road bike with copious gearing. However, done on a Brompton and it all takes on a much more epic dynamic!  100 miles on a road bike is of course demanding and deserves a certain amount of kudos but do the same on a Brompton and it becomes something more special (perhaps as a road bike can cover a distance quicker and with less effort). Many Brompton riders sign up for events that are geared towards road bikes and by doing so know it will be special, that it will be an achievement. The reaction from other participants (not on a road bike) ranges from amusement, scorn, bewilderment to disbelief and many Brompton riders hear 'you did what!!!? after recalling what they did at the weekend.

Thursday 13 June 2019

No London Nocturne for 2019

The Nocturne has been a part of the London cycling calendar since 2007. My association with this event goes back as far as 2013 however it sadly didn't happen this year.

The official Nocturne website was fairly quiet all year and recently the news was published that everyone was expecting:

'Owing to a series of circumstances beyond the organisers' control, the London Nocturne event will not be taking place in 2019.'

This is a great shame as it is a really good event that very much celebrates cycling in all its forms. My first Nocturne was back it 2013 and apart from 2018, I competed in their folding bike race from that date onwards.

Although billed as a folding bike race, it was very much a Brompton dominated. At one time or a another the vast majority of people I mention on this blog have taken part too.

Here's hoping that it returns in 2020!

Below I have links to the blog posts I wrote about there Nocturne events I look part in.






Tuesday 11 June 2019

Cycle to Work scheme limit might be changing for the better

It has been a few years now since I bought a Brompton on the Cycle to Work scheme. The scheme I used - like many of the others - had a £1000 limit for purchases. The government published a snippet of information today that may well allow purchases above this limit for e-bikes.

Published yesterday from the Department of Transport and Cycling Minster Michael Ellis, MP a new scheme was announced that will make it easier for employers to provide cycles and equipment, including e-bikes worth over £1000.

It seems that the steady increase in e-bikes sales (a hit on the Continent for several years before here in the UK) might have been partly responsible. E-bikes are not cheap and the the removal of the former £1000 cap would certainly help to boost sales even further. Of course this would be good news for anyone thinking of buying a Brompton Electric under one of the cycle to work schemes.

What many people have done in the past is to take out the £1000 on a cycle to work scheme and pay the difference on whatever is left over. If you are allowed to go beyond the £1000 it looks as if the tax savings gained from the cycle to work scheme will be increased.

Anything that simplifies the process is a good thing, as is being able to go beyond the £1000. There is no indication of when this comes into effect but I would imagine you'll soon start to see the changes on the various cycle to work scheme websites.

Great time to be buying a new Brompton Electric!

LINK to the Government article

Monday 10 June 2019

Brooks B17 Standard vs Special...difference in comfort?

When I bought my Orange Special Edition Brompton last year, one of the first things I did was to replace the standard Brompton saddle with a Brooks B17 Standard. It is a great saddle but after an over night ride to Whitstable, I was left wondering walking like John Wayne after he had been on a different saddle for too long! This got be wondering about the differences between the Standard and the Special Edition versions.

B17 Standard in black

Many people report that their new Brooks saddle is a labour of love, requiring some time to break it in. In fact occasionally you can see them on eBay with people selling them as they cannot get on with them. All of the standard B17 saddles I have owned have required some time to break them in with lashings of proofide being applied.

My first Brooks saddle was on my Original Orange Brompton, a B17 Special in brown, This was comfortable straight away, requiring no breaking in at all.

B17 Special Edition in brown

The same could be said of the B17 Special - again in brown - that I bought as an option when buying my Orange P-Type. One of my first rides on this was a 50 miler and again totally comfortable.

B17 Special Edition in brown with copper rails

Zoom forward to a few weeks ago and on my new Flame Lacquer I changed the standard saddle for a B17 Titanium Special in black. It is a really good saddle and had required no breaking in and like the other special edition saddles very comfortable from the word go.

B17 Titanium Special Edition in black

I have had a few other B17 standard saddles and none have had the same levels of instant comfort. If I were to describe them, rock hard might be an apt description.

So, is there a difference between  the standard and the special edition B17s? From my experience I would have to conclude that there is? I don't know what this is thought? Could it be the leather used is different? Are the larger copper rivets factor?

What had been your experience of this? I would love to know, so please leave a comment.

Sunday 9 June 2019

Never a dull moment on the London to Whitstable Brompton Ride

Yesterday was the day of the London to Whitstable ride - although some cycled from Otford instead. As always on this ride it proved to memorable to say the least.

I made the short ride to Trafalgar Square and headed to Charring Cross Station to collect my ticket from the ticket machine. When I bought it I had opted to collect from Whitstable and thought it had to be from there. Told I could collect it from any station - after about 7 years of thinking I couldn't - I did!

Back to Trafalgar Square and Mark, Dr John, Ian, James and one of Mark's friends on big wheels were waiting. Wasting little time we headed off promptly at 07:00 into light rain that got progressively heavier as the morning went on.

Time travelling Brompton!

Those that met at Trafalgar Square had opted for the longer route that would see us cycle just over 26 miles to Otford. The traditional route was 29 miles but Mark had wanted to mix things up a little and it allowed us to pass near Down House, the former home of Charles Darwin. We had been warned that there were a few hills. In addition, we needed a purposeful pace to get to the 'Pond Cafe' at Otford by about 09:15ish if we wanted to partake in a hobbit-like second breakfast.

As we passed, The Oval cricket ground I spotted the Nightrider 2019 London direction markers that were for the ride taking place later that evening. This was one of the first night rides I had gone on.

We reached Dulwich and past Dulwich College. I thought about the former Old Alleynian, Sir Ernest Shackleton and what he might think of our small wheeled adventure? I was afeared it may be less than kind so gave him and the college a swift two fingers as I cycled past.

The urban gave way to a more countryside setting and the rain started falling a little more heavily. At one point on a narrow country lane our path was totally blocked by what looked like builders waste - bricks, rubble, wood - that had been fly tipped on purpose across the road. Cars would have been unable to get past and it is a shame people are so selfish as to do something like this. Stepping over it carefully one by one we continued our sojourn.

Fly tipping

As stated, Mark has informed us that there would be hills on this ride. What came next was a hill that was quite outrageous. It got steeper and steeper and harder than any I have ever attempted. Towards the end - although I did not know it was near the end - the incline was so great I found difficulty in keeping any weight over the front of the bike. A few others were off their bikes. Trying to make a few more revolutions of the pedals, like a young Evel Knieval I started to wheelie and my front wheel began to rise upwards. At this point I was off too and when my feet hit the floor the incline was so severe my bike started to roll back under my legs!  When we rested on the road at the top I think it was Ian who point out the sign that read 25%!! Incidentally, Mark (King of the Hill) lived up to his moniker as he ascended this one on a 54T chainring without a foot down!


We continued to make good progress and made it to the Pond Cafe in Otford at about 09:20ish. Wasting little time we ordered some refreshments which when out in front of us were consumed with great relish.

The Pond Cafe, Otford

When paying I spotted a white 'Twix' which I bought and would look forward to later in in the day. At 10:00 we made our way to Otford station where the other half of riders were waiting to join the ride - Andrew, David, Anne, Paul and Catherine. In many ways it was a little like the old days with the old firm out and about again on their Brompton bicycles.

With the first half over for those who had started at Trafalgar Square the second half began and there would be another 48 or so miles to go to Whitstable.  Not having to be anywhere at a certain time the pace could be a little more relaxed.

It was lovely catching up with everyone and riding in particular with David and Anne again brought back many happy memories.

At one point into the ride we spotted a DeLorean. Those of you of a certain age may well recall with some fondness this particular car and its time travelling ability. As Doc said. '...if you're going to build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?'

I have seen this car a few times on this ride in the past but never stopped to take a photo. This time I could not resist! 

Photo opportunities were not as plentiful as usual mainly due to the whether. It rained, rained a little more and then poured down! It has been a long time since I have got so wet on a ride. My cheap 'boil in the bag' rain jacket was good at keeping almost all of the rain out, but I was getting wet from within!

As the rain poured we reached the sanctuary of the 'Kings Arms' at Boxley at the scheduled time of 12:30. With our bikes parked outside and Andrew and I kept watching they were safe. Every so often Andrew and Paul wiped the condensation off the window so we could get a better view! Getting fed and watered we could also warm up a little. As we did, out of the window we could see the rain coming down hard. We therefore waited a little longer before making our departure.

The Kings Arms, Boxley

The next few miles consisted of us actually putting our rain jackets away as the sun made an appearance. The scenery was - as always is the case for Kent - glorious.

Cycling along was very pleasant to say the least and it was great to hear what people were up to and what adventures they had planned for the near future.

I could not resist taking a photo or two of Mark and David cycling side by side and again it brought back many a previous adventure.

The dreaded Hollingbourne Hill was still to come and at about 7 miles after lunch I was glad I had taken on some fuel at the luncheon stop to aid my ascent.

Hollingbourne Hill is about a mile long in length and has a maximum gradient of over 12 - 16% depending on what you read on the internet. It isn't easy and on a Brompton formidable. At the base of the climb we all assembled and got ourselves ready. After the 25% gradient earlier in the day I have two say that I felt pretty good about this one! A few were up in front of me and I made a steady ascent. I was pleased that I made it up without a foot down.

I decided to take a photo once almost everyone had made it up and I think the one below pretty much sums up what this hill is like.

It gets very steep towards the end and if you look at the photo below you can clearly see the road sloping quite heavily down.

My partner in crime will almost certainly describe his thoughts on Hollinbourne Hill himself but I do have to say that if there was a man of the match award for this ride, it would be his. He had not cycled any distances like this for a few years and now thrown himself back into it. He was to complete the 48 miles all the way to Whitstable. 

Not long after Hollingborune Hill the rain paid another visit and came down hard. We sought sanctuary under trees while we waited for the tail to catch us up, we speculated as to whether we should go or wait it out. We decided to go. We were already wet I suppose.

With just over 65 miles showing on my Wahoo and with Faversham and its train station nearby I decided to bail. The legs had many more miles in them and I could have reached Whitstable and more with ease but if I had I would have been home quite late - later than I wanted. I love these rides but I am often torn between staying and getting home.  Together with being a family man and having a daughter with Autism, I get pangs of guilt that I have been out too long. As such when I feel I have had enough, I go.

My dear Friend Dr John decided that he would afford me his company so we made our farewells and headed for Faversham Station.

Boarding our train for St Pancras we retired to our seats - opposite the luggage rack so we could keep a suitable eye on our bikes - and chatted about this ride and possible future adventures. At St Pancras we headed our separate ways and I was happy to get home just after 18:30.

This was a lovely ride and despite not going all the way to Whitstable, I cycled 67 miles. The route was good, the weather made it epic and the company - perhaps the most important element - was great. Many thanks to Mark for organising it and I hope that he decides to put it on again - perhaps sorting out the weather as well.

Friday 7 June 2019

0% finance to buy your Brompton?

Brompton are now offering 0% finance  allowing  you to spread the cost of buying your new Brompton bicycle.

You can get 0% finance on any stock bike (and accessories) from £700 to £5000.  It can be offered up to a period of 24 months.

There is naturally some criteria to be eligible:

  • Over 18 years old
  • UK resident for 3 x years
  • Have a UK bank account
  • Have a credit or debit card
  • Have a stable income
  • Aware that a credit check will be carried out on application
The example figures on the Brompton website quote a Brompton B75 costing £745, a deposit of £25 which over 24 months would mean a monthly payment of £30. The finance is handled by a company called Duologi. 

It's a pretty good option and a great idea. The only fly in the ointment is the fact that finance is only available on stock bikes. This means that if you want 0% finance on your new bespoke bike you won't be able to...yet. If this proves popular it may well be offered on any bike apart from stock ones. 

I do have to say thought, as much as I think this is a great option, if the company you work for offers one of the cycle to work schemes I would suggest this is a much better option. With this you can save anything between 25-39% off the overall price. 

Still, 0% finance is certainly going to appeal to many and worth further investigation if it works for you. 

Monday 3 June 2019

Going to the Prudential RideLondon-Surrey 46

When I was out with my partner in crime Andrew on Bank Holiday Monday, one of the things we talked about was the Ride46. I was telling him that I had not got into the Ride100 and could not remember whether or not I had entered the Ride46? I thought about this for a while and said that I probably did. Well last Friday I found out that I had actually got in.

Fortunately I also got a place on the Ride46 in 2016 - which I think was the first year it was put on. Back then I completed the event on my (steel yourself for this) Condor road bike. I really did enjoy using it but I did say to myself afterwards that if I was ever lucky enough to get in again, it would be on a Brompton.

I am not really sure which of my Brompton bicycles I would take with me at the moment but whichever one it is I am sure to have a great deal of fun. I don't even think that using the Brompton will result in me completing the course that much slower.

In a week or so I will be able to select a possible start time and nearer to the actual event I will head down to Excel in East London and collect my ride number and bits and pieces.

It is all rather exciting and I have to confess to looking forward to it. Below I have provided a link to my blog post for when I took part in the Ride46 back in 2016.

2016 Blog post about the Ride46