Tuesday 31 March 2020

Trying to love the original Brompton pedals

When I first bought a Brompton many years ago I quite happily used the standard set of Brompton pedals. When I started to go on long and longer rides I swapped them out for SDP pedals and haven't looked back. Recent events have made me consider whether there is a place for the standard pedals going back on one of my bikes again?

I have two Brompton bikes - an Orange / Black Special Edition and an Orange Flame Lacquer. The former is pretty much set up for the many night rides I enjoy partaking in so much. The latter is equally at home doing this, but on this bike I have a front carrier block and a lower powered front dynamo light.

With the lockdown and the 'C' word my one form of exercise has been riding five miles a day on one of my Brompton bicycles. There is no real set time for this and I have found myself wanting to just hop on without the need to change my footwear for SDP shoes.

The Brompton pedals are, not to put it too finely, a bit rubbish for the sort of riding I put my bikes through. Until the lockdown is over and we get over the current situation however they might just be exactly what I am looking for.

So, I may well be fitting them to my Orange Flame Lacquer and see how it goes. These pedals are brand new and taken off as soon as I got my new Brompton home, so should hold up quite well to the light riding I'll be doing.

How are you getting your cycling fix at the moment? Please leave a comment or send me a message to let me know.

Stay safe people!!

Monday 30 March 2020

Something very different for London's ExCel centre

London's ExCel centre has been home to the London Bike show for quite a few years. It is also the place where you collect your rider pack for the Ride100 and Ride46. It has now been transformed into the capital's emergency coronavirus hospital.

The temporary hospital has been named Nightingale - wish they had of named it Seacole after the great Mary Seacole - and it will hold up to 4000 patients after been set up with the help of the army.

The London Bike Show which would have taken place over the weekend has now been postponed until 3 -5 July 2020. I think that even though it has been pushed forward a few months, it is a little ambitious. I hope I am proved wrong.

Apart from collecting my Ride46 rider pack (link to my blog post below) a more lasting memory was when the London Nocturne took place inside the ExCel centre as part of the London Bike Show way back in 2013! I have posted a link to why blog post for that as well. That really is memory lane for me!

Keep safe people and look after yourselves!!

Collecting my ride numbers for the Brompton Ride46

The IG Nocturne - what a day!

Sunday 29 March 2020

Official Rides Cancelled - chill out about it!

I had an organised ride on 13th March - a nocturnal one - from Windsor to Winchester but decided not to go. My main reason was that I might be forced to used more public transport than I really would have liked. Since then things have moved on and my beloved Friday night rides to the coast have been quite rightly cancelled for the foreseeable future.

There is now a great deal of speculation as to whether the Ride 100 / Brompton World Championships 2020 will take place in August. (I was signed up to to do this on one of my Orange Brompton bikes). With events as they are, things are changing on a day by day basis and planning that far ahead seems more than a little ambitious.  The Dunwich Dynamo is earlier, taking place on the night of the 4th July and again there is speculation about that too.

With over three months until the Dynamo and four until the Ride 100 I am not sure they will happen. My view is that the NHS will still be dealing with (or best case scenario) recovering from the 'C' word.

What is particularly telling is the people on all sorts of forums saying that they will be doing the Dynamo regardless, riding back rather than take the coach. Perhaps these are the same idiots that I have seen in SW7 and elsewhere, ignoring the advice and riding more or less together in groups of way more than two!  I suspect that if this continues, our free range,  cycling - as a form of exercise - will come to an end while the 'C' crisis continues.

Yes you can be disappointed about rides being cancelled but just chill out and be a little more stoic. The current situations we find ourselves in will all end at some point and when it does an overnight ride to the coast (probably with my dear friend Dr John) will be one of the first larger rides I will want to do.

Saturday 28 March 2020

Orange Brompton Lockdown!

To start with thank you to all of you who have sent a message asking if I am okay and wishing that I keep safe. I am very grateful. An especially big thank you to those of you from Italy, Spain, New York and China as we are all experiencing tough times.

It is strange to think that us Brompton types have in many ways our own little sub-culture in which we share an unusual but common bond in the form of a small folding bicycle!

Like many of the countries and cities you might come from, the UK is in Lockdown. This means that you are not supposed to leave your home unless you are going to work, getting food or going out for one for of exercise - which includes cycling. 

I fall into the category of key worker so I have been going to and from work as normal. Thankfully my journey does not involve any form of public transport.  Those of you who have been reading my ramblings for a while may know how much I dislike using it at the best of times. It is one of the reasons I love my Brompton bicycles so much, as it means I can just cycle instead.

London is a very, very strange place at the moment. First thing in the morning it is quiet; more so than being up early on a Sunday before a bank holiday! 

I have never seen so many people walking their dogs, in gym-wear jogging or power walking and people on bicycles (lots on the pavement). Despite cyclists not supposed to be in groups of more than two, I have sadly seen riders in pelotons being totally selfish and ignoring this. If it continues I can see cycling being excluded as a form of exercise.

I plan to venture out on very local rides with limited millage as often as I can. I live in very quiet crescent that is 0.7 of a mile to circumnavigate. I definitely won't be going further afield. 

A loyal reader alerted me to one of my old blog posts How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse on a Brompton! that they liked.  I post the link here purely as a bit of light reading if you wish to. 
Wherever you are - and there isn't really any part of the world excluded from coronavirus at the moment - keep yourself and those close to you safe. If you can get out on your Brompton safely do so and if not you might have some time on you hands to give it a deep clean!

Sunday 15 March 2020

The 'C' word - London on an Orange Brompton

Early this morning I took my Flame Lacquer out for a very quick few miles in and around SW7. I have to say things were very different to normal. The coronavirus has taken hold of just about everywhere on planet Earth and wherever you are from dear reader, it is possibly in your thoughts. 

I was out and about quite early but normally I am joined in and around Hyde Park by joggers, dog walkers, fellow cyclists, pedestrians, tourists and everyone in-between. Today was eerily quiet - as if it were Christmas morning. As I cycled in Hyde Park I could not help but wish the proposed plans for it to be turned into a mobile morgue it never needed!

As you may know, by reading my previous blog posts over the years, I do not really like public transport, which is one of the reasons I love the Brompton so much. In some countries public transport has been banned or heavily restricted for the foreseeable and I would imagine that getting around by bicycle might increase. Brompton would certainly be my preferred mode of transport.

There is a tendency for us Brits to be rather blasé in the face of something like this. The notion of the stiff upper lip and the Noel Coward song 'Mad dongs and Englishmen' is still there. Events are chain on a daily basis and future plans for organised cycling adventures and events may/may not happen. 

Yesterday I gave my Zombie-Apocalypse friendly 'Surly Disc Trucker' a good clean in case I need it however cycling on one of my Brompton bicycles will certainly continue!

Wherever you are, stay safe!

Friday 6 March 2020

No Orange Brompton Tweed Run for me in 2020

The Tweed Run is an annual cycling event held in London (takes parts in other places too) where participants dress in their finest tweed garments and saunter around London at a very sedate pace. It is a wonderful event! Today at 12:00 p.m. tickets went on sale but I won't be going this year.

As I type this - approaching 19:00 - tickets are still available. This is rather strange as in previous years they have sold out within a few hours. Perhaps it has something to do with the C word?

I decided late last year that I wouldn't be going this year. I have been on several of them over the years and enjoyed them greatly however, I have an Evans RideIt Sportive on the same day that I have not taken part in for a few years and just preferred it this year.

If you haven't experienced the Tweed Run and live in London or can get to it on the 2nd May I doubt if you'd be disappointed. Get a ticket while they are still available!

Hopefully I will be starting a ride it Windsor that is longer and at a quicker pace, providing that all important training element for bigger ride later in the year - assuming they go ahead!