Friday 29 March 2024

Brompton trio adventures in the dark, wind and rain!

For many different reasons it has been ages since Dr John and I ventured out on one of our nocturnal adventures. Far too long. Putting yesterday's date in the diary for many weeks in advance - and also inviting Geoff - we put aside yellow weather warning for windy conditions - to go on one of our favourite rides, London to Brighton overnight. 

My rather lovely Brompton Electric is still very much a recent addition to the fold, however I did want to get away from never using it in the wet. Having a look at various forecasts that predicted all sorts, I decided to revert to sticking my head out of my front door, conclude it would probably rain lightly and dressed accordingly. 

Making sure my little front Brompton Electric bag was packed and the rain cover (sensibly orange in colour) safely stowed away, I headed off for the meeting point not far from the London Eye. 

My plan of attack was not to use the electric motor at all until I came to an incline. I also packed rather light and didn't even use a saddlebag. 

Arriving at the meeting point fashionably late as I had totally misjudged the how busy the traffic would be, I saw Dr John and Geoff waiting. It was great to see them both again - especially Dr John who I had not seen for over a year I suspect. With the route eventually loaded, we were off into a chilly night, but thankfully was without the really strong winds that had been a feature of the that day and early evening. 

Nocturnal mode engaged

The rain came down not long after we had set off and was to be a feature of the remainder of the ride. At times it was quite heavy but the common theme was it being relentless. 

My strategy of not using the motor worked rather well. There were long ascents but going through the 12x gears meant that I always seemed to find one that was just right. Of course I wasn't going too fast.

At Farthing Downs just past Coulsdon I decided to turn the motor on and set it to power setting 1. I zoomed up to the top in next to no time and having cycled up this several times, it was very noticeable how easy and quick it was and what a huge difference it made. 

I didn't take too many photos but did take the two above of Dr John and Geoff on the top of Farthing Downs with Croydon twinkling in the background. I didn't take many photos as my hands - and feet - were freezing, to the extent that it was becoming difficult to change gears!

The rain increasingly became heavier and heavier. This did not mix well with country lanes. It made potholes invisible as they filled with water - that seemed to be everywhere! It was in one of these that Dr John went into and fell off his bike. Thankfully, both he and bike were okay but it made it clear that with 16 inch wheels, the ride was over. 

The nearest station was Gatwick about 9 miles away. With this destination punched into the Wahoo we were off. A couple of miles away from Gatwick, I spied a station which turned out to be Horley. We boarded our train and soon we were saying goodbye to Geoff at London Bridge and me to Dr John at Farringdon. 
Dr John and Geoff's Brompton bikes

My Brompton Electric did perform really well. Strangely, one of my rear lights died and I had to use the lights that came standard on the bike. This didn't seem to be a drain on the battery at all. Once I reached Farringdon I put the battery on power setting 2 just to enjoy the power of that motor and it was as if a couple of gentlemen's gentlemen were giving you a little push along. It is quite wonderful.  

There is rarely a dull moment riding a Brompton on a nocturnal adventure! The Brighton run is now obviously unfinished business. When schedules permit and dry weather is a guarantee, I am sure we will do this again. Many thanks to Dr John and Geoff for their company. 

Until next time, stay safe out there people!
My Brompton Electric survived

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