Sunday, 27 July 2008

I so love my Timbuk2 bag

I have a number of bags and now a basket but my favourite remains my Orange Timbuk2 messenger bag. It is strong and big enough to carry all my stuff and I can either sling it over my back while I cycle or carry the Brompton or it sits on the bike rack.

Timbuk 2 after a trip to M&S and Sainsburys.

Enjoying the summer

Despite heat exhaustion from Cycle training I got back onto my Brompton and cycled down to Greenwich town centre again. I used my ipod to keep me motivated through the heat but I kept remembering ‘to communicate with the traffic’ so they would know what I was doing and I could be sure that they can see.

The town centre wasn’t as busy as I thought it would be only tourists and cyclists out for a Sunday ride. I guess the locals are either away on holiday or in their gardens preparing barbecues.

I think that cycling is the best way to enjoy the summer. You get the light, sun and your body gets some exercise making you feel better.

The song that got me to Greenwich, ‘Drive in Saturday’ by David Bowie. The songs that got me home, ‘What goes around comes around’ by Justin Timberlake and ‘Fighter’ by Christina Aguilera. Yes they are obvious but they work so I don’t care.

It was the hottest day of the year today.

Black bird at Cutty Sark Gardens

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Cycle training in the sun

Week 2 of the Level Three Greenwich Cycling Course. We cycled from the Royal Arsenal to Greenwich town centre. We took a break at the Cutty Sark and then cycled back along the fast and busy Woolwich main road. At the town centre we cycled around and around the one way system learning to navigate the traffic and multiple lanes.

After the two hour class I was exhausted from the heat but we all really enjoyed the challenge. I just can hardly believe how far I have come with my cycling and my confidence in managing my bike on the road.

Friday, 25 July 2008

Red sky at night

The setting Sun seen from Plum Lane.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008


Finding somewhere to park the Brompton in Central London is challenging at times. It’s summer and the peak time for those who want to use their bikes. There are a number of bike parks (U bend type railings) for cyclists but there are not enough. Most of the time they are full and then I am wandering around for a sign post that is small enough to get the Arbus lock around.

Of course I know that having a Brompton means that I don’t have to lock it up any way. I can part fold and wheel the bike around various shops. I do this half the time when I not carrying a lot of stuff and I don’t have to negotiate getting upstairs. But having said that I did get the bike upstairs in HMV Oxford Street on Monday via the escalator only to discover that the down escalator was not working and I had to carry the bike. (Boy, I am strong these days.)

The free paper I found on the train up to Seven Sisters had an small article on Cycling by our new Mayor Boris. Our Mayor is determined to get Londoners to dig up their neglected bicycles and get out on to the road. Boris we need somewhere to park the things when we get off. More bike parks please!

Monday, 21 July 2008

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Back at Cycle training

After a two month break Cycle training started again today. I was late due to traffic and I just caught them in time. We did lots of roundabouts and some cycling in traffic on the Woolwich Road. I learned something new about how to approach a roundabout and where to position myself to exit.

There was another Brompton user on the course D who has had her bike since last October. She has a Cream coloured bike. D has fashioned a littler basket for her dog to ride with her on the back. So cute.

Although I do cycle in all sorts of traffic I still appreciate learning the best way of getting around. It is about safety. Having this knowledge makes me more confident and a better cyclist.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Bike talk

I have been talking about bikes and cycling while on my travels this week. The sunny weather has prompted other commuters to ask me, ‘how much is that bike?’ On Tuesday while at Old Street I met another Brompton user (Navy blue) and he told me that his bike was his third Brompton and he was about to upgrade to an even lighter one. On the same day I was on a training course with another woman cyclist (non-Brompton user) but she had a lime green Timbuk 2 bag and we had a natter on how great they are to carry everything you need.

I can bore people forever on Bromptons and finding the right messenger bag.

Friday, 11 July 2008

I made it to six months!

Me & the Brompton sitting in a luggage alcove on the 17.29 from Charing Cross

It is now 6 months since I have had the Brompton and I have been cycling on a fairly regular basis. It has been a lot harder than I expected but the worst was the first 2 months when I was physically tired from learning to reuse muscles and build up strength and stamina. Although I had got the bike during a fairly bright and warm spell in February, the weather turned to snow a few weeks after. I was also unprepared for all the hills I had to tackle in Greenwich and South London in general. ‘Get fit or die’ was the mantra I had for those first few weeks.

What helped me to keep going was getting cycle training. Without this I would have probably lost confidence and just kept the bike for off road trips. With training I can cycle safely on local fast and busy roads and manage traffic in the West End and City.

Most of all I am still an advocate for cycling in style. Style = going at a slower pace than other cyclists and wearing your ordinary clothes. They are many cycle clones (cyclists in Lycra, helmets, back packs and yellow tabards) But in an funny way I think that other traffic ignores them because if your see one yellow jacket you have seen them all. On the other hand me in my dress and heels will be noticed by taxi and bus drivers if only for the novelty value. I don’t care because it means that being seen means I stay alive.

I have used my car a lot less over the last 6 months and I have grown to appreciate driving. Yet the increase in petrol it means I am likely to reduce my journeys by car in the future.

I am really pleased that I got the Brompton. It is a fabulous bike. I have had very little problems. It is easy to fold, unfold and transport about stations and shops on it’s wheels. I have learned to carry mine but I wish I had the money to buy a lighter model. Carrying all my stuff and the bike can be tough occasionally; but this is only when navigating stairs.

I am amazed how much I like cycling, it’s a rush without side-affects. I am considering getting another bike.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Another Red Brompton

Saw another Red Brompton today in Piccadilly. Red appears to be a very popular colour among Brompton owners.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

The yellow Brompton

I saw a bright yellow Brompton today while in ‘Waterstones’ book shop at Gower Street W1. I wanted to get out my camera and sneak a photo. But the owner was too close. He was in the doorway, waiting for the rain to let up. In the end I just went up to him to ask him about the bike. I said that I hadn’t seen a bright yellow Brompton before. He told me that he had recently seen a Brompton that had been stripped of all it’s paint and was just the original metal colour.

We Brompton owners are fascinated by other Bromptons.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Another Brompton in South East London

I met another Brompton user as I got off the train this evening at my local station. We had been in the same carriage but I didn’t see him as I had got a seat and parked the bike by my side.

Of course we had a chat. D has had his grey Brompton for 18 months and loves it. it is also a six speed with dynamo lights. He also got his bike from Cromptons in Catford. We agreed that it was rare to see another Brompton bike in South East London. I told D that I had seen another Brompton three days ago by the Woolwich Common. So that’s three of us in the area!