Sunday 28 February 2021

Titanium Orange Brompton to Brompton Cemetery and back.

Yesterday I woke up to a quite loverly morning. The sky was blue, a few clouds hung above, indicating that there wasn't much of a breeze and it seemed pretty mild (for this time of year and compared to not long ago when it was freezing cold). I therefore decided to head out. 

I didn't really have anywhere in mind but decided upon Brompton Cemetery and back again. This would be a fairly easy few miles and I knew that not too far away there was a wonderful cake/tea shop that would be open for takeaways, few know about and fewer still I would divulge its location to!

As I set off on my Titanium Orange Brompton I could not help but reflect on the sad news that David H - who lived in Japan - has passed away. I met him in person in 2014 when he came to London for a few weeks and had corresponded with him via social media in the years up to this point. I recall offering him the use of one of my Brompton bikes if he wished as he was to meet many of the old crowd at the start of one of our evening rides. He was a lovely, lovely man and I know that he will be missed by many who like me met him in person only once or not at all.

My route was functional at first, getting me from A to B. Stopping at Hammersmith Bridge I wheeled my bike with the bridge in the background and took some photos. Wanting more, as it was low ride, I hobbled out on to the foreshore with my Brompton over my shoulder and took the photo you can see below. The things I do for you dear reader!!

Brompton Cemetery was busy, which surprised me greatly. This cemetery is one of the Magnificent Seven that can be found around London. Opened in 1840 it is rather lovely but for me pails into insignificance when compared with my favourite at Kensal Green.

As I took the odd photograph and considered my route to that cake/tea shop I mentioned, I could not help but notice several people using the cemetery as the meet-up location for 1:1 training. One chap was skipping - like a boxer would - but didn't have a rope! He just moved his arms/hands as if he did. Astonishing! I tried my hardest to suppress a laugh but couldn't and it was only with great self-control that it wasn't accompanied by pointing in his general direction! With photo opportunities exhausted I headed back off towards SW7 and that cake/tea shop. 

This was a lovely ride and I clocked up a good amount of miles. The good weather did seem to bring out lots and lots of people and there were a fair few cyclists about. I only saw one other on a Brompton - cycling through Brompton Cemetery - and we nodded as be passed each other. 

Hopefully, there will be more rides to come in the not too distant and maybe, just maybe we might get a decent amount of rides in. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!!

Tuesday 23 February 2021

Cleaning my Orange Brompton bikes

Last Saturday afternoon I was waiting for a new router to do its things and download various updates before logging on to all things internet. While waiting, I decided to give both of my Orange Brompton bikes a good clean. 

There is something rather satisfying about getting your bikes nice and clean. The weather was quite lovely and such a change from the recent colder temperatures we have been experiencing of late. At this time of year - with the hint of better weather - thoughts would turn to cycling adventures and as I cleaned the bikes, this is what I did. 

We have now had the government inform us what to expect as far as the route out of lockdown and the dreaded C word. This means opening schools, opening shops, rule of six...the list goes on. I have to confess that as they were being listed I was thinking about when I could get out for a longer ride...perhaps to the coast? Terrible I know however I suppose we all need something to look forward to. 

Stay safe out there people!

Sunday 14 February 2021

Produced in England but not available direct if living in England?

I was out on my Brompton yesterday for a few miles. I didn't wear cycling specific clothing - apart from my SPD cycling shoes - and just took the Brompton as headed off. At the end 20 miles I could not help in concluding that my Brooks B17 Special Edition with titanium rails was a supremely comfortable saddle. My friend Dr John had sent a link to some new addition to the Brooks lineup - coloured rivets some of which were orange - but it was not the saddles or rivets that caught my eye.

On the Brooks website is an 'important notice.' It seems that due to the changes in Brexit, they have temporarily suspended all new orders direct from Brooks to the UK. New saddles are apparently shipped to a logistics centre and from there around the world. All rather strange.

So, if you want a new Brooks saddle and you are here in the UK you will need to buy it via another source. This isn't such a big deal as you can still buy various Brooks products but I found it all rather comical. 

I remember visiting the Brooks factory a few years ago and seeing saddles being made, rivets being hammered into place etc.., and have always been a fan. Perhaps a solution will be found in the near future?

Stay safe out there people. 

Tuesday 9 February 2021

Dream of a Brompton night ride to the coast...

I don't know about you but when I get a new phone or laptop - the latter isn't that often as my MacBooks seem to last ages - I usually search out a photo to use as a screensaver. With my new and I have to say quite wonderful MacBook arriving last week, I went through this very process. 

The photo I found was from a night ride to the coast. I know that it was taken on the way to Whitstable. This particular location has some quite magical qualities about it and has often been named the Queen of rides. I wouldn't disagree. What is is doubt is the time. I think that it was taken at almost 05:00 am. 

The photo was snapped on an iPhone that I had back then, while cycling along behind the riders you can see. The sun had just risen and there was a haze all around us, that not 10 minutes later was all gone. Despite being in June I remember it being somewhat chilly, perhaps as we had not long left the warmth and sanctuary of the halfway stop.

For a few miles before and after this photo was taken, no-one said a word. The only sounds were those made by the many birds singing happily away and the sound the various bicycles made as they pedalled towards the finish and the prize of a cooked breakfast. This photo has always been one of my favourites and was a lucky capture. 

I got this photo onto my MaBook just before I retired to bed after along day. In my sleep I replayed this ride. My favourite part was reaching the point in the ride where participants reach the last left turn and are allowed to cycle as fast as they wish to the seafront. This was all so vivid that upon reaching the end of the ride - in my dream - I woke up. 

As I got ready for work I wowed to myself that along with a nocturnal Brighton adventure, the run to Whitstable will also feature in my bucket list of rides I want to do as soon as lockdown ends and we are permitted to do such journeys. 

Tuesday 2 February 2021

No Brompton World Championships this year 🥲

I have to say that it was fairly obvious to just about everyone out there that the Brompton Word Championships would not be taking place in 2021. Now we have confirmation from Brompton themselves. 

When I say that things weren't a surprise, the sponsor for the event was not renewing and as far as I am aware there is yet to be one. With London - the world I suppose - the way it is at the moment, even with the most optimistic of outlooks, a mass cycling event in the heart of London was always going to be a nonstarter. 

It does seem like an age since I last raced, 'officially' on one of my Brompton bicycle around the rather lovely London circuit and it looks set to be at least a year from July/August (perhaps more) before I get the prospect of doing so.

I have to confess that when lockdown ends, my first thoughts will be simply being able to cycle wherever I like. Soon after that it will be to go on a cycle ride with my London Brompton brethren and of course a night ride to the coast.

Many of the Brompton old guard - for want of a better description - have possibly moved on somewhat from the Brompton World Championships (mainly as none of us ever seemed to get a place while held in London) but it is still something that induces quite a bit of excitement. 

If allowed and if you are in the area, in the early hours you might find an Orange Brompton being ridden along the old circuit at speed!

Stay safe out there people!!