Sunday 28 March 2021

Early morning Orange Brompton London spin and a rude Brompton rider

This morning I decided to take my Titanium Orange Brompton out for a spin. The primary reason for doing so was to give my new tyres - Continental Contact Urban - another outing and to break them in a little more (assuming that is a thing). 

My route was 8 miles one way and 8 miles back. It was quite windy at times but relatively mild. London was still rather quiet and with some restrictions being lifted tomorrow, I wonder what London will be like then? 

The new tyres roll rather well and I do not detect anything to make me think that they are less grippy than my usual Marathon tyres. If anything there is probably more rubber in contact with the road surface, due to their tread pattern. 

As I got closer to some of the London tourist spots, there did seem to be more people out and about but still nowhere close to what it should be. In addition to this traffic was light just about everywhere. There were lots of cyclists out and about more than a few Brompton riders. One of these proved to be rather rude to say the least.

Just off Brook Street I saw Brompton rider with a new looking black M3L with an obvious front wheel puncture. I slowed down to ask if they were okay. The owner of the said bike was holding their Brompton toolkit and asked if I knew how to fix a puncture. Parking my Brompton I had a look at their tyre to see a small shard of green glass that was obviously the culprit. Going to my saddle bag I went to retrieve a spare inner tube, as it would be much easier and quicker to just swap the tubes out. I explained this to the gentleman and was met with, 'just put a patch on the tube' as he opened his Brompton toolkit to get one out.  As I was about bend down to the front wheel with my own Brompton toolkit, I was greeted with 'can you hurry up.' At this I asked the gentleman whether he had mobile phone. When he indicated he had, I suggested he look up how to repair a puncture on YouTube and that he could place his toolkit in a place where the sun does not shine. At that I got on my Brompton and left. Some people!

Back at Hamilton Terrace I am always amused by the private security guards that sit in little cars watching nervously as people go by. Or drive up and down in little cars nervously. Sometimes they walk up and down nervously. Despite the fact they have seen me more time than I can count riding one of my Orange Brompton bicycles, they will watch with great suspicion. It is almost as if it is the wild west and a new rider has come into town and the local deputies, eye them with suspicion!

Stay safe out there people!!

Saturday 27 March 2021

RideLondon to continue from 2022

It might be time to get your Brompton ready for next year, as the RideLondon cycling event that all started in 2013, looks set to continue for another 10 years from 2022.

I was not lucky enough to ever take part in the 100 mile event but was set to ride in the 2020 event. Of course the 'C' word took hold and cancelled pretty much everything in its path. Prior to that I had taken part in the short 46 mile version - once on big wheels and once on small wheels. 2020 would have seen me take small wheels again.

It looks as if the new event will not take place in its usual summer slot and over a weekend but in the Spring on a single day. The other big change will be the route, which will no longer see riders rolling over the Surrey hills. 

As it is a single day event and it would take several hours for participants to complete the route,  I wonder if the Brompton World Championships could be slotted in? I think that it is highly likely. Naturally, it would provide a very visible platform for Brompton and their bicycles but I and many of my fellow Bromptonians would suggest a different direction. 

The appeals of riding on a central London circuit is probably too good an opportunity to miss and I suspect lots of the organisation would at least be shared by others involved in the RideLondon event. However, the numbers are heavily restricted. via a ballot. Put on a Brompton World Championships somewhere in the UK and Brompton riders will appear in the hundreds. 

Stay safe out there people!!

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Continental Contact Urban tyres

My tyre of choice for years has been the standard Schwalbe Marathon. I have tried the plus version of the Marathon but have not ever got on with them. Today I fitted a brand new pair of Contact Urban tyres by Continental. 

I fitted them to my Titanium Orange Brompton and the fitting process was very easy. Lots of people have been saying good things about these tyres for several months and more recently. It was however a friend in Canada who swayed me. He rides his Brompton more or less all year round in conditions that would have most of us reaching for a box of tissues. He has been raving about these tyres for the last 3x Zoom calls we have had, so I took the plunge. 

Going for a quick test ride, they roll well and do not induce that back of the mind fears Kojaks do. 

Hopefully as few longer rides in the near future will really test them but early impressions are good. Watch this a couple of months for an update  

Stay safe out there people!!

Saturday 20 March 2021

Brompton night time spin to Kew Gardens and back

With another sale of another surplus to requirements Brompton bag, I headed off in the early evening to Kew Garden to meet them and hand it over. 

Taking the scenic route my entire ride would see me clock up 23 miles. The agreed time was 19:00 and this time my route did not involve my wheels coming anywhere close to a canal towpath!

It was a lovely evening, with a gentle breeze and temperatures that made for pleasant cycling. As I approached Kew Gardens just before 19:00 memories of several rides to Box Hill and back came to mind. I have been to Box Hill several times over the years, with the start location of every one from just opposite the Victoria Gate entrance. In fact as I parked up to take the photo below, I half expected the Brompton crew of Mark (King of the Hill), David, Dr John and a few others roll in at any moment. I made a mental note to put this into the diary for the future...when we are all allowed

The buyer of my bag was Chris and she arrived bang on time. It has been ages since we saw each other and we chewed the fat for a while before saying our goodbyes.

As I cycled back I went through a small private road that had a wonderful surface dotted with little LED lights. It was all rather lovely and I liked it. 

I think that we are still a long way from the normality we once took for granted but hopefully rides of at least 6x people might be able to start up again soon. I have plans for lots of duo rides with my dear friend Dr John - assuming I can drag him out and convenience him to join me. Until then I have been getting my bikes ready for nocturnal adventures.

Stay safe out there people!

The start location for many a ride to Box Hill and back!

Shiny lights.

Sunday 14 March 2021

Terror when delivering sold items on my Orange Brompton!!

Over the years and more recently I have acquired more than my fair share of Brompton bags that sit cleverly on the front carrier block. Many of these have been gathering dust so I decided to put them up for sale and Friday and Saturday I delivered them to their new owners. 

The first was to the 'Mile Monster' that is Jenny. Our  meet up point was Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner at 19:30, which in the past had been the traditional start point for the night rides to the coast. 

My journey started and ended at my front door and I would eventually clock up 32 miles. The actual distance if I had of been lazy was vastly shorter but I felt like putting in a few miles so took the scenic route. Part of this scenic route I wished I had avoided!

As far as the weather was concerned it was changeable. There was a light pitting of rain, gentle breezes and then almighty bouts of much stronger stuff. As I cycled towards Hyde Park Corner my mind started to play tricks on me and I had to check myself to stop thinking about nocturnal adventures to the coast. 

One part of my journey took me on the Grand Union Canal not far from the Paddington Basin - I think? I do not really like cycling along canal towpaths in the day let along at night and as I type this I cannot offer an explanation as to why I decided to do it?

One section was dark and quiet to the extent that the noise from traffic, birds chirping and the sounds coming from buildings. Added to this the section of towpath was less than a metre across. This all conspired to make things quite terrifying and as such I hated every pedal turn of my beloved Titanium Orange Brompton! Things got even worse however. 

Trying out a new front light that is pretty good
What I saw with my own eyes
How the wonderful iPhone sees it

In the distance in the bend of canal towpath I saw an old chap throwing food down for what I assumed were ducks, swans or some other bird that people who do this sort of thing like to feed. To my complete horror it was none of these and was in fact rats! There must have been 10 at least all scurrying around him. I am ashamed to that the air was filled with several expletives as I negotiated this lunatic! Vowing never go on a canal towpaths again I was able to escape.

I arrived at Hyde park Corner in good time and Jenny and I chewed the fat for a while, catching up on Brompton gossip and telling each other about our respective plans for future rides. After about half and hour we said our good byes and headed off on our separate ways. 

My journey home was less eventful and I took in the sights of central London, still quiet for a Friday night.

The next day I was off out again with another bag I had sold, this time to Kew Gardens. Thankfully no canal towpaths were involved. I did cycle along a body of water but it was the rover Thames and the only feeding I saw was off ducks! Phew.

I met fellow Bromptonian, Richard at the Victoria Gate entrance of Kew and after chewing the fat for a while we made our exits. 

This journey allowed me to clock up 22 miles. I would have taken a more scenic route back but the rain started falling and I didn't want my newest Brompton to get too wet!!

Lockdown is still very much here at the moment and London is still rather quiet compared to what it should be. I certainly hope that things get back to something approaching normality sooner rather than later.

Stay safe out there people!

Wednesday 3 March 2021

Brompton bikes still hard to come by

Even with light at the end of the tunnel as far as the dreaded 'C' word is concerned and a possible end in sight to lockdown, finding a Brompton to buy is quite a hard task. 

In the first lockdown - which is coming up to its 12 month anniversary - Brompton bikes flew off the shelves and they became hard to buy. At the same time the secondhand market experienced a boost and there were some particularly stupid prices being banded around. 

It seems as if things have yet to improve and Brompton cannot make enough of our folding wonders. Perhaps things will stabilise somewhat in the coming months? 

One thing I think will happen, is that a sizeable number of new Brompton owners will eventually sell on their lockdown purchase if and when normality returns. Let's just hope the same cannot be said for the huge increase in canine ownership that has also seen a dramatic increase!

Stay safe out there people!!


Monday 1 March 2021

Brompton Quad Lock phone mount

Brompton have collaborated with 'Quad Lock' to bring out there own universal adapter so that you can have your phone mounted securely and safely, slap bang in the middle of your handlebars.

Positioned in the centre of the handlebars over the stem and held in place but a double bracket, it really is a clever little addition. 

Lots of people use their phones for navigation and there are all sorts of ways you can try and lash your phone to your Brompton but this is definitely the best I have seen. 

There are two versions. for £35 you can just buy the mount for the handlebars - as lots of people might already have the comparable case for the their phones. For £45 you can buy the pack that has the mount and universal adapter that you stick to your existing phone case. (As seen in the photo below).

It really is rather clever and even with the mount installed, there is still a little real estate on the handlebars for a few other items as long as they aren't too big.

I suspect these will quite literally fly off the shelves.