Monday 22 January 2024

Air horn instead of a bell!

Some time ago I wrote a blog post in which I recalled someone using one of those bottles you could pump with air, attached to a horn that would emit a loud near-trumpet blast. A few days ago I saw something similar that left me somewhat speechless. 

On Victoria Embankment, almost starting from Westminster Bridge towards Blackfriars, I saw a gentleman on a very tatty looking mountain bike shout at anyone in his path. I did think that a bell might be less stressful for him but as I was soon to discover he had this covered. 

When a few tourists strayed into the bike lane, he unleashed a noise so loud and with such a shrill, it made me jump. As for the poor tourists, they were rendered rabbits in the headlights. They didn't know what the noise was, what matter of creature it came from and actually looked skywards after they had jumped upwards. To my shame I was already laughing and this was made worse by the gentleman shouting at them to 'move out of it!' Another blast of whatever he had made them jump further and run into the direction of each other. I was forced to stop pedalling and almost looked to see if cameras were pointing at me for my reaction - I could barely breathe. The tourists made it to the safety of the pavement but the gentleman gave another blast when he had past them. This caused more panic and induced me to give up cycling and semi-fold my Brompton and pretend I was looking at my Wahoo. 

Some time later and after some research I think I have identified what he had. It is billed as the world's loudest bike horn and it possibly is. I would love to know what your thoughts are on this. If I or someone I rode with used this in anger, I doubt I would get too far. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Sunday 21 January 2024

The Brompton 12x speed

A few weeks ago one of my dear readers pointed out that in an owners manual about adjusting gears for the P Line, it mentioned a 12 gear version. It seems that along with more than a few other rumours, the reality is here. 

I think that it was always on the cards. A version of the Brompton gear hub would fit quite nicely in a wheel along with the 4x sprockets and all the other bits needed to run the gear cable are present and correct on the P Line - and I suspect the T Line. Think of this version as a Brompton with knobs on! 

The prospect of 12x gears will appeal to many out there. It would make ascending hills easier and motoring along the flats even speedier than before. Could this be the direction of travel for all future Brompton bikes?

It does seem likely that an all steel version could be on the cards. There is after all already a 4x speed Brompton Electric. A non-electric version is perhaps next to complement the P and T. 

With so many people happily commuting or going on adventures on the 2x, 3x and 6x speeds, these are all perfectly okay. I would imagine they will still be going strong in years to come. 

If you are at Brompton Junction in London, you will be able to view this 12x speed in all its glory. It is set to be released to the buying public soon.

Will I be getting one? Almost certainly not but never say never. The more important question is, will you?

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Saturday 20 January 2024

Planning for upcoming adventures

I don't know about you, but after Christmas and once January is well under way, thoughts usually turn to what adventure can I go on. The night rides to the coast schedule looks set to be out sooner rather than later and this year may feature no rides in March and October. This is a shame but it does provide an opportunity. Firing off a text to Dr John I asked him to pencil in a date for the future. 

2023 was not a particularly good year for night rides to the coast. I combination of strike action meaning no trains back, clashes with other dates and availability meant that many plans were cancelled. There was another reason that prevented me on going on a few of these rides, but that is for another time perhaps. 

Dr John powering along

I have missed the night rides.  For many of you out there, the appeal is unfathomable and you cannot comprehend cycling through the night, into dawn and then get the train back for a bed and a few hours sleep. I suppose therein lies the appeal. The photo above and below (different locations) were taken not soon after dawn. The colours, sights, sounds of nature and otherwise silence is all rather addictive. 

As I type this looking out of my NW London window, I can see a light frost making me feel cold. Hopefully, in a few weeks the adventures will begin. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Wednesday 3 January 2024

Strange Brompton goings on up Swain's Lane!

Highgate and the surrounding area is one that I know very well for as long as I can remember. In the last 12 months I have been much more intimately acquainted with all things N6. Swain's Lane is quite good for cyclists - especially Brompton riders - as it provides quite a challenge, with a testing gradient. Just behind me in the photo below are the East and West entrances to Highgate Cemetery - one of the magnificent seven Victorian cemeteries in London. During the day, when this photo was taken and I had Mrs Orange and the Orangettes as company, there isn't a problem. Safety in numbers and all that. It is when the sun sets that things can get...interesting.

Now before you say it, no I do not believe in ghosts or anything like it - despite the rather gothic surroundings of Highgate - but I do not like cycling up Swain's Lane at night or in the early hours well before sunrise. I cannot count the times where I have started to cycle / walk up it to be greeted by fog slowly drifting over from either the East or West side of the cemetery (or both)!

So, I found myself cycling back and having to go up Swain's Lane only a few days ago, at a time when the few people that might be about were almost certainly fast asleep for a few hours. Thankfully there was no fog this time but as I cycled up I heard horses hooves clip clopping ahead in the distance. I turned my Exposure Toro light to it high setting just in case and vered more to the left, just in case. In doing this the sound stopped. As I turned the slight camber in the road, half expecting to see some lunatic on a horse, I saw nothing. Cycling up to the top I heard no more sounds and saw nothing. All rather strange... I suspect you will ask, had I been drinking? The answer to that is no as I am tea total and always have been. 

Telling Mrs Orange, she was not surprised and asked whether when at Pond Square I saw someone dressed as Colonel Sanders or Dracula and that perhaps it was the ghost of the long lost thoroughbred racehorse Shergar. It took a few moments for me to realise that Mrs Orange was joking with me and referring to some of the more famous supposed ghosts of the area and a famous horse that disappeared in mysterious circumstances! 

I have been up Swain's Lane since this happened both at night and very early in the morning and thankfully seen and heard nothing. Should you find yourself in the same position, perhaps keep it to yourself!

Until next time, stay safe out there people!

Monday 1 January 2024

Welcome to 2024 on a Brompton people!

2024 is here and I am hoping that as far as the cycling front is concerned things are a little better than 2023. 

Many of the rides I go on require a train back into London and sadly many of these adventures had to be cancelled due to strike action being taken. This has meant getting there would be fine but the return journey back...would be a nightmare and all but impossible. There were even a few rides cancelled due to weather conditions. Even the rides I go on with Dr John couldn't happen due a combination of the above and availability of one or both of us. 

So, 2023 has seen me fall back on the sort of rides I used to do ages ago. These are basically adventures in and around London. They normally have an historic vide but I have done rides where the theme has been Art Deco, Brutalism, Harry Potter locations, the books of PG Wodehouse, locations of my favourite television programmes from my childhood to name but a few. I have of course taken hundred of photos while out and about on these journeys.

I have also come to the decision that I am going to sell my Cloud Blue Brompton. I still really, really like this colour and the bike is pretty much perfect but I rarely use it to cycle to work anymore, which was its intended purpose. Whoever eventually buys it will get a wonderful Brompton. 

I will not be doing the Ride 100 or the Dunwich Dynamo this year. (Well in truth still undecided about the Dynamo). I do plan to do as many of the night rides to the coast as I can and supplement the official ones with as many as I can drag Dr John on as possible. 

So dear reader. Have a happy and healthy 2024 and if you are a cyclist Brompton or otherwise, keep pedalling. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!