Wednesday, 5 May 2021

What bike shop do I take my Brompton bikes to and why?

I have been asked this quite a few times recently. so I though that I would give a shout out to the only two have ever really used. 

The first is Compton Cycles over in southeast London. Owner, Jim is a true gentleman and in addition to using them for repairs, a Brompton service and actually buying a Brompton from them (way back in 2013) if I were to buy a Brompton from a bricks and mortar shop it would Compton Cycles. Actually there is one more.

Over in Chobham, in Surrey is Brilliant Bikes. They started out as an online parts business - and to this day is THE best location to buy anything Brompton spares. They are just...brilliant! It is likely you might encounter Mike, who is very much in the same mould as Jim over at Compton Cycles. 

Brilliant Bikes also have a YouTube presence and a search for Brilliant Bikes will reveal lots of reviews, helpful tip/tricks and many highly entertaining. 

Just in case you are wondering, I have not been paid or get a discount from Compton Cycles or Brilliant Bikes (mores the pity) and I write this as a happy customer. (In fact I know lots and lots of equally happy customers from the Brompton fraternity).

Stay safe out there people!

Monday, 3 May 2021

Neglecting big wheels in favour of my Brompton bikes

I own two big wheeled bikes. One is a Condor Fratello and the other is a go anywhere, Surly Disc Trucker. While I do like both of these, they haven't really got a look in...I cannot actually remember when. This is all to do with owning two Brompton bikes. 

When I first got my big wheeled bikes I really did enjoy them and if honest it was a case of the new toy in the toy box. Once the novelty wore off, I found myself on one of my big wheeled bikes wishing I had of taken a Brompton instead. That feeling didn't and hasn't gone away. I now find myself not even things a second thought and the only decision I make, it what Brompton do I take today? 

For the moment at least I cannot really see this changing anytime soon. I always find myself happier on one of my Brompton bikes. Those of you with big wheels in addition to small wheels, what do you think?

Stay safe out there people!!

Sunday, 2 May 2021

Kew Gardens, Box Hill, Kew Gardens on an Orange Brompton

The run out to Box Hill from Kew Gardens is always great fun on a Brompton and on Friday night I joined an old friend, Tom, for this late evening adventure. 

The meeting point was outside Kew Gardens and I cycled the almost 7x miles from SW7 to get there. London was again a little busier than it had been of late but still quiet when compared to what I remembered it to be pre 'C' word. 

I took my Titanium Orange Brompton while Tom had the newest of his Chpt3 Brompton bikes. There are no photos this this post as Tom is notoriously camera shy and is one of those rare people in 2021 with no online presence. (His real name ins't even Tom, so you get the idea). 

We set off in good time and reached Bushy Park quite quickly. There were quite a few people in the park and for one moment I thought there was a 'Park Run' taking place as there seemed to be lots and lots of joggers out and about?

The route was the same one used for previous outings and the fact that there were very few cars made things that bit better. I knew that the route would lead us through the Claygate Badlands and my first worry was whether the Schwalbe One tyres on Tom's Brompton would get through in one piece? 

Reaching the entrance to the badlands at the end of a residential street, the road was replaced by a bridal path. The sun was well on its way to setting before be reached this point and entering the Badlands was a little like a clip from 'The Walking Dead.' At any moment I half expected the zombie hoards to surround us and had visions of me partially folding my bike to gain access to my Brompton Toolkit to use as a makeshift weapon! Thankfully, this was not needed but we would be going this way on the return!!

Arriving at the base of Box Hill we took on some water and a few snacks before making our ascent. We cycled up together and reached the top in good time. The ascent of Box Hill is not really too taxing but it is an interesting and lovely climb and well deserving of its 'must do' reputation.  The top was total darkness, with only the small pinpricks of light from houses and cars below. There was however lots and lots of cars parked, playing loud music. 

Making our way back we passed the 'Smith and Western' pub still sadly closed until a few weeks time when it can open again. If it does I think I will see if some members of the band can join me so that we can cycle there and having something tot eat before returning. 

Back at the Claygate Badlands - which I still wasn't looking forward to - we traversed in complete darkness, negotiating large ruts and horse droppings, freshly made! We arrived back at Kew just after midnight, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways. 

The Box Hill run is a good one. We clocked up just over 49 miles and with a couple of hundred metres of elevation, it certainly keeps things interesting. In addition to this, once you have ascended Box Hill itself the second half of the ride is almost downhill all the way to Kew Gardens. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people.