Wednesday 9 August 2023
Monday 1 May 2023
If you live or work in central London, you cannot help but notice all the preparations for the coronation next Saturday.
There has been bunting, large flags, seating going up at Horse Guards and outside Buckingham Palace and even two new arches in Carnaby Street. Shops have out up displays and Burlington Arcade has gone Chelsea Flower Show with national flowers of the countries of the UK.
There are several road closures making it an absolute pain to get around. The best description of what is happening was and overheard conversation with a 'Big Issue' seller and someone buying a copy when they remarked, 'Chuck is getting a new hat!'
The road closures naturally cover almost all of St James and Whitehall but also that around Waterloo, Blackfriars and Embankment. I for one will be avoiding the entire area at all costs, only to return when it is all over.
Until next time, stay safe out there people and see you on the other side!
Sunday 30 April 2023
The Tweed Run returned to London yesterday. It is essentially a cycle ride through iconic parts of London with participants wearing as much tweed as they dare. Tickets usually sell out very quickly but this year I didn't even try. I'll explain.
My first Tweed Run was over ten years ago and I have participated in several up until the 'C' word stopped all the fun. This year tickets cost £50 and despite being fortunate enough to be able to afford the entry price, I just couldn't bring myself summon up the enthusiasm to but one.
The Tweed Run is great fun as you cycle around London and its iconic landmarks, making wonderful backdrops for photos but it is only about 12 miles and painfully slow. On several of the Tweed Run events I have attended, after taking lots of photos, saying hello to people I know and nodding at members of the public who are beguiled by so many cyclists decked in tweed, I have become so frustrated at the snail-like pace I have abandoned the ride as I had had enough. I suppose living living in London and seeing many of the iconic bits whenever I feel like it, had a part to play in this. There are many occasions where I find myself on one of my Brompton bicycles, in a suit, in London and get the same reaction from people as I cycle by.
I think everyone should experience The Tweed Run at least once and I count myself lucky to have done so several times. However, I can easily get out a Harris or Donegal Tweed sports jacket with a hint of orange at will.
Until next time, stay safe out there.
Saturday 29 April 2023
Last week I paid a visit to a friend at Barbican. Despite being there many times over the years, I always enjoy going there. I cycled there on my Brompton and parked it up, leaving it nice and secure and headed inside.
Barbican is a mixture of residential properties and next to the Barbican Arts Centre and former Museum of London - now closed and will eventually move down the road to Smithfield Market. The whole site is a rather fine example of brutalist architecture and has a Grade II listing. The estate was built between the mid 1960s and 1970s and not intended as social housing. My friend bought their property a few years ago when it was rather expensive. It is now eye-wateringly so and as many are leasehold, various annual charges can be £10,000 plus.
The Conservatory is always a particular favourite of mine. It is the second largest in London - the Princess of Wales Conservatory at Kew Gardens taking top spot.
Saturday 22 April 2023
A few weeks ago I noticed a little play in the cranks when cleaning my beloved Orange Special Edition. This was a sure sign that the bottom bracket needed replacing. This Brompton is the oldest in the fleet and has covered many miles and been on lots of adventures. With the sort of rides I go on, it pays to have a Brompton that is in excellent condition all the time. Having all the tools needed to replace the bottom bracket, I decided to have a go myself.
There are a few aftermarket options when considering what bottom bracket to go for, but I opted for a nice and new standard Brompton. At just under £20 they are more than good enough and as mentioned, it has served be well more several thousand miles.
After watching a couple of videos tutoring you in the art of all things bottom bracket, I placed my Brompton in the work stand and got ready.
The whole procedure was fairly straightforward. Having the correct tools is definitely a must before undertaking this. If you are thinking of ever doing this job yourself, there really isn't a great deal to fear. Just make sure that you know which direction loosens and which tightens and you cannot really go wrong.
It didn't take too long to swap out old with new and the bike really did feel better to ride. Having now done this, I have the confidence to do it again on my other Brompton bikes.
Until next time, stay safe out there people!
Wednesday 12 April 2023
Last Sunday was the Cobblemonster. I have been taking part in this event for many years. It used to be called, The London Classic but it's pretty much the same thing. The Cobblemonster is a bike ride around London inspired by the Paris-Roubaix. This means that the Cobblemonster has cobbles and a few lung busting hills.
Up bright and after punching in the directions to the start point at Brixton Cycles on my Velo 2, I headed off for the just under four miles it would take me to get there from St Paul's Station entrance.
Monday 10 April 2023
Thursday was quite a busy day. I had been out with the family visiting a few places but I had been very organised and had the choice of either of my two Orange Brompton bicycles, both clean and raring to go. This ride to Felpham, not far from Bognor Regis was to be the first night ride of the season as the previous ride to Southend - which would have been the first - was cancelled due to poor weather. I set off with my Orange Titanium and made it to the start point in good time.
Wednesday 5 April 2023
The other day I went on a little amble with nowhere in particular in mind at all. I decided to test out the Velo 2 that the lovely peeps at Beeline had sent out to me to test, so I decided to be give it a try. (Much more on the Velo 2 at a later stage once I have really given it the once over, so keep coming back to read about that at some point).
I started off at Finchley Road just on the border of NW8 and cycled down past Abbey Road and its famous studios. there was no one there taking a photo on or near the famous zebra crossing for once. From there I cycled past Regents Park, the British Museum, through Clerkenwell and then to Barbican. There, I had to stop off at Florin Court which to those of you who are fans of the television series, Poirot will know that this was used as the home of the famous detective, Whitehaven Mansions.