Thursday 29 October 2020

End of the road for the RideLondon in Surrey after 2021

It was fairly obvious to me that the RideLondon events would be cancelled this year. There has been lots going on! It has now been confirmed that Surrey will no longer host the event after 2021.

I completed the Ride46 - once on my Condor road bike and in 2019 on a Brompton. I was to do the Ride100 - on a Brompton - this year, but it wasn't to be. 

There will be lots of reasons why Surrey didn't want the event any more and it wasn't popular with residents. I can actually appreciate why with all the road closures and disruptions. You will see lots of forums in which people complain that it is only one day and they are given a years notice. I wonder what their reaction would be if a similar event was outside their front drive?!

I don't think that there will be any event of this nature in 2021 and as far as I am aware there isn't even a sponsor. The way the world is at the moment, it really is quite insignificant in the big scheme of things. 

Doing an overnight ride with my dear friend Dr John on many levels is a much more enjoyable prospect anyway!

Stay safe out there people.

Sunday 25 October 2020

London to Cambridge overnight on my Orange Brompton

Friday marked the end of a very long week and Friday itself dragged. The only thing keeping me going was the prospect of a night ride - not to the coast - to Cambridge. 

I decided to take my Titanium Orange Brompton with me for this adventure. There was no prospect of rain (always a deciding factor) but thinking things might get a little chilly I wore one of my 'Proviz' jackets just in case.

The route for this London to Cambridge run looked rather good and being relatively flat I decided not to get the tube in from where I had taken sanctuary. This meant a 15.5 mile cycle to the meeting point outside Euston station. 

My journey to Euston was plain sailing and things definitely seemed a great deal quieter than they should be. Stopping to take a photo of my Brompton in a dark, atmospheric passage was a rather eerie affair as a large crow cawing was just about the only noise that could be heard echoing but not seen.

Somewhere further along I caught sight of someones front garden that was on many levels far more sinister that a Victorian alley. The garden was filled with potted garden ornaments. I took a couple of photographs, initially oblivious to the fact that through the windows a television was on with people watching it, watching me. I pondered on what sort of people would have such a front garden and quickly pedalled on!

Reaching Euston station in good time I made my way to the front entrance. The station itself was almost devoid of people and the only ones I did see were security guards. It was unusually quiet. Waiting for me was our ride leader Nick, along with fellow participants Gordon and Dr John. The others that would have made up our six bailed so it was to be the four of us. 

We set off just before midnight, riding in London streets that were more like 03:00 a.m. on a Monday than just before midnight on a Friday night. It was all rather strange. 

Our route took us through Holloway, Finsbury Park and on to Enfield. The further we cycled the more we started to leave the urban behind. By the time we passed Hoddesdon and Harlow things started to get quieter and street light gave way to the many lumens on our various front lights. 

For several miles I was alone in my own thoughts, getting some (and I hate this word but will use it) headspace.

At one point I really felt the cold and was actually shivering. Pulling up the zips on just about everything that possessed a zip I carried on and only felt better a few miles thereafter. Luckily this feeling did not linger and for the remainder of the ride I did not experience this again. 

We were one of I believe five separate groups most of which followed a slightly different route. A few minutes after we arrived at the service station off the M11 in Bishops Stortford  a small but perfectly formed Brompton contingent arrived. Socially distanced we had a chat while consuming our various items of food and drink. This was at roughly 37 miles in which meant we only had 30 miles remaining. 

After saying our goodbyes we stepped out into a chilly and still dark morning. I put on a snood but didn't really feel the cold and the pedalling helped to keep any feelings in this direction away. 

At 50ish miles we reached the highest point in Cambridgeshire, Little Chishill. This is reached by a long incline that takes one up to St Swithun's parish church. Some of the American readers of my blog are always amazed by the age of some of these buildings I mention in my blog that most people living here wouldn't bat an eyelid at. This church was founded in 1136 with parts of the current building surviving  from1275. In daylight I would imagine that there would be some pretty good views but sadly as it was still dark, we just had to imagine what they might be.

Sunrise is one of the main draws of nocturnal rides. Experiencing the change in light, the dawn chorus from the many unseen birds lining the route and the beauty of the sun emerging from clouds is a joy. This morning was no exception, with the colours being particularly beautiful.

With the back of the ride broken the sight of the 'DNA' path - 10,257 lines of four colours representing the sequence of the BRCA2 gene - meant that Cambridge was but a step away.

At Cambridge station we saw some riders from a different group who beat us to it. Dr John and I said our goodbyes and thanks to Nick and Gordon and we bound the 08:03 train from Liverpool Street. At 09:15 we arrived back in London and shortly after Dr John and I said our goodbyes too. I arrive back home before 10:00 a.m. which I was rather pleased about.

In all I cycled just over 83 miles and as I type this I feel pretty good. My Orange Titanium Brompton was a joy to use and along with my Orange, Black Special Edition I feel I have a wonderful stable of Brompton bikes for many adventures ahead.

Many thanks to Nick for the great route and being our ride leader and to Gordon and Dr John for their company. 

Sadly, this might well be the last night ride of this type for 2020. October does traditionally mark the end of the night rides to the coast anyway, so it will probably be March 2021 before I can experience of the joys of these again. However, this will not stop several more adventures before the year is out.

Stay safe out there people!!

Wednesday 21 October 2020

Orange becomes a stock colour

Back in the day, if you wanted an orange Brompton you had to pay extra. For reasons only know to Brompton HQ, orange was discontinued. It then became a Special, Black Edition, colour and then back to one you paid extra for. It seems that it is now a stock colour. 

Of course, for the moment at least, trying to get hold of any Brompton - if you are in the market for one - is not an easy task. It is a case of best of luck trying to find an Orange one!

There are now lots and lots of orange Brompton bicycles out there but the strange thing is that in certain parts of London I occasionally get the odd person asking me if I am Mr Orange. The label on the bike sort of answers their question I suppose. 

One day I will write about why the colour orange is so important to me but as yet I don't think I have revealed this to even my closest Brompton cycling buddies. 

I am hoping to get out and about on one of my beloved Orange Brompton bikes much more next week and already I look forward to that prospect.

Just a word of thanks to those of you who left a comment on my last blog post and to the many more fo you who sent me an email. Really appreciate it!

Stay safe out there people!

Monday 19 October 2020

Ten years of 'My Orange Brompton.'

My relationship with Brompton goes back a great deal longer than ten years. When at University a 1989 / 1990 Brompton was gifted to me. I used it all the time and loved it. Back then I even remember chaining it to the railings in Cavendish Square and leaving it for hours. I was eventually to gift it to someone else and didn't buy another until ten years ago. I think that it is true to say that it has certainly been a positive move!

My first Brompton was orange framed with black extremities and I loved it. I cannot tell you how many adventures were made on that bike and the friendships made - that last to this day. 

The original Orange Brompton

I eventually sold it for a P-type, that was closely followed with a titanium number. 

Orange Brompton P-Type

My first Titanium that I didn't get on with!

These were also sold and I am back with two Orange Brompton bikes - one an Orange, Black Special Edition and a fairly new Titanium Orange Brompton - that I am already very fond of. 

Orange, Black Special Edition

Back with another Orange Titanium and this one I like!!

I cannot really think of me getting any more Brompton bikes for some time and think that I have reached the point where I am happy just replacing parts as and when needed, rather than sell and buy new. 

Owning a Brompton has brought me into the heart of an near-near-subcultre of fellow enthusiasts. As I have said it has been nothing but a positive experience for me. I have become fitter, made several friends, been to wonderful locations and embarked upon some adventures, the memories of which will stay with me. 

Owning a Brompton has also been a source of wellbeing. When I need to unwind a quick spin on one of my Brompton bikes generally does there trick. More recently with the 'C' word abound, it has helped to keep me sane. 

I own larger wheeled bicycles that are wonderful in their own way but cannot really compete with a Brompton (especially in Orange) in terms of the smile it puts on your face. 

Some of you out there have been with me on this journey for the full tens years and I am very grateful you have stuck around. Some of you are newer readers but I am equally grateful for your support. 

So, keep reading and spread the word.

Stay safe out there people!!

Sunday 18 October 2020

Looking forward to the last overnight ride?

This weekend yours truly will be embarking on a night ride. Not to the coast this time but it did get me thinking as to whether this would be the last night ride of 2020?

The weather is starting to get a little chillier of late and I suspect that the ride this weekend could well be the last this year, as much to do with the weather as anything else. However, I did think about the march to Christmas and I will almost certainly do an all night ride in London, taking in the Christmas lights.  I may be able to join some fellow Bromptonians for this ride or get a few roped in. If I can't I will probably do it myself. 

As this week progresses I know that I will be eager to get out for another night ride and look forward to the preparations that seem be a part of these adventures.

Watch this space for a write-up.

Until then, stay safe out there people!!

Tuesday 13 October 2020

Could there be another lockdown to halt Brompton adventures?

Well, the way the wind is blowing it seems as if there may well be another lockdown of one sort or another.

Head in to central London and things are still quiet and less hectic than usual. Some workers in the square mile are still not back at work, with the decision made weeks ago, that they will not be back in their offices until January at the very earliest.

Currently the rule of six means that groups can only ride in...groups of six. This means that there is a mad scramble to try and gain a place on a ride before you are placed on the reserve list - if at all. I have more or less given up trying for these rides and if anything have been doing my own thing. If there is another lockdown I just hope that it doesn't restrict to the 1x form of exercise.

Drop me an email or leave a comment to tell me about what it is like in your part of the world.

Stay safe out there people!!

Saturday 10 October 2020

Euston Road cycle lane to be removed

The Euston Road in London isn't the most pleasant of avenues at the best of times but it was made much better for London's cyclists by the addition of a pop-up cycle lane. Sadly, it looks as if this is set to go.

During lockdown lots of pop-up cycle lanes appeared as many wanted an alternative to the car, bus and tube. I think they are great but as the numbers of people using cars increases they might well be removed one by one - if not several at a time.

I have always avoided Euston Road as it is horrid to use on a bike however even I used it a few times purely because of the cycle lane.

These pop-up lanes were of course meant to be temporary and I think this one would have gone anyway next year due to work being carried out on the new HS2 railway line.

It is of course a shame and I just hope that they do not get rid of the cycle lane on Park Lane anytime soon...

Stay safe out there people!!

Monday 5 October 2020

No, I don't want to sell my Brompton

Cycling in London can leave you feeling, only in London. I am sure that this is true of several cities across the globe. An encounter this evening left me with this feeling.

A quick errand which didn't require the car, would take too long on foot was better served by an orange Brompton. On my way back - and yes I managed to avoid the rain - a pedestrian came over to me while stopped at some traffic lights to enquire whether or not my Brompton was for sale. Politely, I informed them that it was not. This did not deter them and they asked again and whether I knew anyone who was selling one. I advised them to try a well known online auction site. 

Thinking our encounter was at an end and willing the traffic lights to turn green they asked what I would sell my bike for if it were for sale. By this time was all but done with niceties and couldn't really be bothered with them any more. As I pedalled on I shouted back that they should google it. Only in London!

Stay safe out there people!!

Sunday 4 October 2020

Rain and lots of it on a Brompton

The last few days has seen lots and lots of rain. It almost seemed as thought there was a constant supply of it all of Friday, yesterday and today!

I did venture out on one of my Brompton bicycles - the Orange Black Special Edition - and got soaked when I travelled from one end of Hyde Park to another. 

I now have the full sized Borough front bag in addition to its smaller relative and I have to report that it is quite brilliant. I write a post on my thoughts at some point in the near future. I was able to transport all my belongings - some of which were electronic - safely and with confidence, knowing all would be kept dry. 

London still seems to be pretty quiet - especially true the further you travel into to central London - and the rule of six still applies to any social cycle rides. 

I did travel to a rather special location that is just over 4 miles from the Royal Albert Hall and took about 20 minutes to get there on my Brompton. When I took this photo is was rather hard to believe that I was in London and not somewhere in the countryside somewhere. If you want to try and guess where this location is please leave a comment.

Stay safe out there people!! 

Guess where this is?