Sunday 27 February 2022

Brompton, On Mother Kelly's Doorstep

It is coming up to the anniversary of the passing of my dad and and I thought I would pay a visit to the Cemetery at Kensal Green where the service for both my mum and dad was held. I do this every so often when I am in that neck of the woods as it not too far from NW8 and SW7 - my frequent haunts. 

I decided to pay a quick visit to the adjacent Catholic Cemetery next door, mainly to find the resting place of the great Mary Seacole. I did find the resting place of the great lady but I also stumbled upon that of the entertainer Daniel Carroll, better known as Danny La Rue. Almost immediately the song 'On Mother Kelly's Doorstep' started to play in my head and as I type this entry a day later, it is still playing happily away. 

Back in Kensal Rise Cemetery, the ground was certainly soft and as I wheeled my Orange Black Special Edition, I knew that I would have to give it a thorough cleaning later on. 

There a are few graves/monuments that I always pass on the loop from the entrance near Ladbroke Grove to Kensal Green that are Egyptian themed. 

Another has four sentries standing guard that are quite noble in their stance and countenance. 

The grave of the Brunel family is always a big draw for many and I do believe all occupants would have approved of the folding bicycled partially folded as I took this photo. 

After all of this I headed towards the Ladbroke Grove entrance/exit and headed off for the short journey back. It was a lovely afternoon and with a cobalt blue sky and the sun shining down, it again made me think that Spring has arrived. I hope the the weather is as pleasant for the many rides on their way in the next few weeks.

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Saturday 26 February 2022

New Brompton factory planned

Exciting news has emerged of plans for a new Brompton factory in Ashford, Kent. Brompton has put it out that it plans to invest £100m to establish a new modern factory built on stilts in a wetlands area. 

The new factory is to be build on a 100-acre site not too far from the Ashford International rail station. This new factory designed by architect Guy Holloway will also host a museum, visitors centre and cafe. (Certainly music to my ears). 

Plans for the site do not include huge, unsightly car parking to spoilt the view and workers/visitors will be able to walk/cycle along 4km of new paths from Ashford International station.

The images of what the factory could end up as look stunning and I would imagine that when open, I can see lots of Brompton rides planned to have a pitstop there. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Friday 18 February 2022

Setting sail on a Brompton in London

The weather warnings of storms hitting the UK and more specifically for me London were highly reported yesterday but this did not stop me from venturing out for a very short errand quite early this morning. I must be stupid!

Things were definitely on the windy side and my first thought was just how great my almost 25-year-old Barbour wax jacket was at keeping the chill from the wind off. It was not long after this I soon came to the conclusion that it was perhaps a better idea for me to head back inside and that said Barbour was acting like a sail!

At one point - with the wind howling behind me - I moved along at a decent speed without pedalling at all. Perhaps this is what a Brompton Electric is like? However, turning a corner and now facing the wind head on, I could barely turn the pedals. Once back inside after travelling less that 500 metres I decided that tomorrow - assuming the weather and weather warnings are not the same - would be better!

Hope that you were all okay today!? Until next time, stay safe out there people!!

RideLondon-Essex 100 route on an Orange Brompton

Well, in less than 100 days I will be rocking up to the start of the new route for the RideLondon Essex-100 from Victoria Embankment on my Orange Brompton. With 100 days to go the much anticipated route has been revealed in all its glory. 

The route does not feature any of the famous hills that appeared in the previous version but I am not really bothered about that. The route is rolling with ups and downs and more than enough to keep things interesting. 

As always I am sure that there will be some moaning about not having Box Hill and Leith Hill but cycling 100 miles on closed roads, with thousands of others cyclists, most of which are riding to raise funds for charity is surely what it is all about. 

From the Ride London website

I do not have any elaborate training schedule to get me ready for this. My commute to and from work, Brompton social rides and night rides to the coast (official and unofficial) will be more than enough for me to feel comfortable about cycling 100+ miles on the day. (Just hope that it isn't raining)!

For this ride I am almost certainly going to take my Orange Titanium with me but I won't rule out any of my other Brompton bikes either - the joy of having a choice. I will enjoy mixing it with the lycra-clad roadie brigade, with which I have but a nodding acquaintance. Oh and for this type of cyclist who bemoans the new route, why not try completing it on a Brompton ;)

Un til next time, stay safe out there people!

Tuesday 15 February 2022

Views from an office!

Being on holiday, this morning I cycled from NW8 to the City, paying a visit to the workplace of an old friend. Apart from chewing the fat and trying to convince him to buy a Brompton (he has a couple of road bikes) the other bonus was the views afforded from his office. 

Central London is still a great deal quieter than I remember. This was pretty evident by the fact that the roads seemed pretty quiet. 

My Brompton was folded and brought through security with ease - as my friend could vouch for me -  despite the fact I quite possibly looked up to no good. 

How my friend gets anything done with those views I do not know. Being the kind of person who at the best of times is unable to sit still and easily distracted, one glance up and I would be...easily distracted. For a while we walked around taking in the views, landmarks, trying to spot where relatives lived and where some of our cycle routes were. I have been here many times but always find the views breathtaking. 

I really enjoyed myself and look lots of photos. I took them all with my iPhone 11 which does seem to be the only camera I take around with me nowadays. It is just so convenient. 

I didn't managed to convince my friend to get a Brompton yet, but will work on them the next time I pay them a visit. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people. 

Monday 14 February 2022

The sun will come out tomorrow!

It gets to this time of year when thoughts start to turn to the ride calendar ahead. As I type this, the sun is shining and despite it being chilly, with a few grey clouds there are patched of blue that hint of better weather to come. 

Two bikes in my Brompton stable that haven't been out and about this year are my Cloud Blue and my Orange Titanium. The Cloud Blue in particular is a bike that I associate with the summer and sauntering  around London.

My Orange Titanium also likes the summer months better but is the bike I usually employ for longer rides and nocturnal adventures. When I do the Ride100 in a few months time, it will be this bike that comes with me. 

My Orange Black Special Edition is my my everything else bike. I use it for pretty much whatever I fancy and has become my commuter bike. 

Why three Brompton bikes I hear you ask? Well, three does seem like a good number to me for the reasons stated above. I could and have quite happily lived with just the one Brompton - most people do - but with the sort of rides I go on, having more than one seems sensible. I mean if I only had one Brompton and it were out of action I might have to resort to big wheels and I wouldn't want that!

The night ride to the coast season starts in a little over four weeks and I am greatly looking forward to it. I would imagine that you will read about me heading off to Brighton (and perhaps elsewhere) in-between the official ones with Dr John.

Stay safe out there people!

Sunday 13 February 2022

Brompton bikes being stolen

I have been here before on the subject of bike thefts here in London. Sadly, it does look to be on the rise again. 

The way most bike thefts are carried out hasn't really changed over the years. Put simply you lock your bike up somewhere and the chain is broken or cut through and your bike is gone. The new way has involved traditional scooters and the electric variety which can really motor along and almost silently. Along with the new way has been the increase in the level of brazenness and violence employed to get your bike.

Most Brompton riders take their bike with them, folding and carrying with it never out of slight for long so the theft of your Brompton being chained up somewhere is rare - only because most Brompton user do not do this.

There have been a few reports recently of usually two people on a scooter knocking people off their bicycles with one pedalling. In addition that level of violence mentioned previously is definitely there. 

Report it to the police and you will probably get a crime number which you can forward to your house insurance company to see if you they will cover some of the cost of replacement. Apart from that, many report that nothing else is really done. 

Your chances of recovering your bike a limited but you could register for free your with schemes like 'Bike Register' which often pop in various locations so that an identity number can be etched somewhere on your frame. If you are a Brompton owner you can register the frame and serial number of your bike on the Brompton website. 

For many it would be very tempting to defend yourself and your bike and in the right set of circumstances, this might be okay to do. However, my 9+ years of Judo and Karate in my youth taught me that flight is always better than fight. 

As always I welcome what you think, so please leave a comment. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Sunday 6 February 2022

Four out of five days for my new Brompton commute

Last week saw slightly better weather so I decided to commute to and from work on my Brompton. I have to say, I am very pleased that I did. 

As you may know if you have been reading this blog for a while, I have three Brompton bicycles. The oldest is my Orange, Black Special Edition. Next an Orange Superlight with a few titanium bits and the newest arrival a Cloud Blue, that despite not being orange I really like a great deal. My Orange, Black Special Edition has pretty much become the Brompton I use for wet weather and commuting on. No particular reason here but it just seems to work well for me. Saying that, I have used all of the my other bikes for commuting and wet weather riding and it is very much decided on the day as to which one I fancy taking out. 

You might have seen the ride profile of my commute in a previous post. It is a very short commuting of just over four miles but the first three are all pointing upwards. Nothing terrifying but enough to keep things more than a little interesting. The return after an initial slog uphill then sees things loving more or less downhill until I reach a little lump before getting home. 

I have really enjoyed this commute and that feeling of better weather on its way in the not too distant. Another feature of the commute - if I leave at a certain time - is that I pass an elderly gentleman on his mobility scooter coming in the opposite direction. The first time I said hello but the second time I stopped to have a chat which was lovely. I didn't see him again until the last day I took the Brompton to work but again I stopped to have a chat before pedalling on. 

The Brompton really is King for the daily commute as far as I am concerned and wearing a suit and seeing the reaction of people as you glide by always brings a smile to ones face. Next week the weather looks good for most of the week, with the only thing stopping me if if I see lots of ice on the car windscreen. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!