Monday, 30 November 2009

Cold fingers

It is now too cold to cycle without gloves. I got these royal blue leather gloves last year from Marks & Spencer with a gift voucher I had been given. I have only been using them occasionally because I was worried I would get chain oil on them. When I first got the Brompton I seemed to get spots of oil on my gloves which hid the stains because they were black leather. I was still getting use to folding and carrying the bike back then. But my black leather gloves have now split from age and use. I am reluctant to buy another pair when I have these blue ones and a pair in dark brown. I will have to wait for another voucher.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Back on the Brompton

This week I’ve been working from home finishing off a report and it finally went off by email this afternoon. I am now playing catch-up with everything. The Google Reader is stuffed and I will be surfing the net this weekend.

I took the Brompton out after sunset to go to my local Post Office with various invoices. I haven’t used the Brompton for ages and this was the first trip using just the battery lights. I didn’t realise how much I had missed cycling until I was peddling around the common.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Brompton lights - On Off!

I haven’t been on a bike for a week. At first I was unwell then it was the very windy wet weather and for the last couple days the Brompton has been at Compton Cycles as I decided to have the dynamo lights removed.

Thanks for all those who sent advice on lights, it made me realise that I really didn’t need them and I was fed up with the fact they had become unreliable. Compton Cycles confirmed that Brompton have changed the dynamo lights since I got my bike. The final straw for me was the wear on the rear tyre made by the dynamo.

I collected the Brompton today and I was so pleased to get it back. No charge from Compton Cycles (thank you thank you).

After discussion with Compton Cycles I am thinking about upgrading to Titanium but I am not sure I am ready to sell my Brompton. I love it.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Cycling in New York

I got this video by Street Films in a link from the London Cycling Campaign e-newsletter. I try to get to New York every other year and I was last there in 2008. I didn’t see any cyclists in Manhattan (I saw a parked folding bike) but I think the cycle lanes are on the outskirts of the city.

Good to see that NYC bike community is supportive of each other and it doesn’t matter what or how they ride.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Beryl Walker still cycling at 84

This is an amazing clip of Beryl Walker who at 84 cycles around the streets of Gloucester delivering newspapers. From what I can see it looks like she is riding a Raleigh Cameo bike too!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Prada Mary Jane shoes

These heart stopping shoes by Prada were seen on a rare trip to Harrods yesterday. I felt too shy to ask the price but I guess they are probably the cost of a basic three speed no frills Brompton. Mary Jane shoes are for me the best type of shoe, apart from boots to cycle in.

I had to go to Harrods to collect a book when I came across an exhibition of Red Shoes by various designers to celebrate the 70 anniversary of The Wizard of Oz. Judy Garland as Dorothy in her red sparkling slippers is an enduring film image. You can even buy a limited edition copy of the shoes and part of the money goes to a children’s charity. I did take photos of the various designer red shoes studded with crystal but a combination of harsh lights and glass cases meant none of them are clear enough to post.

Friday, 13 November 2009

Too wet to cycle

It rained for most of the day. Hard rain too. With all the hills I have to get over in South London I usually cycle in the wet with the brakes partly on so that I can stop in time. However I don’t think the Brompton is built for a lot of surface water so no cycling for me this weekend.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Burly man with Pink Brompton

I was walking down Regents Street this lunch time and I caught sight of this man making a turn onto this side street, jump off and then stroll off into the distance. The picture is a bit fuzzy as I was struggling to get the camera out the bag before he disappeared.

I’ve just noticed the woman with the Orla Keily bag in the foreground. I’ve been thinking about getting one of these bags which are made of vinyl and come in vintage prints.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Brompton dynamo lights

Sadly my Brompton dynamo lights have let me down again. The lights have not worked consistently since the bike got the service in August. I had a few hiccups at the beginning when I first got the Brompton but the lights worked fine after this. Now I get the front or the rear light, rarely both together. Because of the hospital trips I have not had time to get to Comptons to sort out the problem.

Luckily I have always had backup LED lights. I am not sure about the make of mine. I got them at the same time as the bike and Comptons just put them on. They are larger than the ones on my Trek bike but I was really concerned to be seen at the beginning and I used them with the dynamo lights. When the dynamo lights work you get a good bright light and the rear light retains light for about three minutes after you stop pedalling. I was never happy with the placement of these lights on the Brompton. I think they are too low, but where else can they go.

Now I am considering removing the dynamo lights. It will be less weight to carry. Not much, but less. I also don’t see the point of keeping them if they are not going to work. The only problem with the LED lights is that most of them have the habit of switching on when they get knocked in the bag and of course at the wrong time the battery is dead.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Cyclists who don't like Cycle Chic

I saw a link in a post by Sheffield Cycle Chic to a blog by a woman cyclist who doesn’t like cycle chic. It has of course whipped up a lot of attention. I read the post which included a photo of a woman cyclist who was undressed, that is wearing tight Lycra shorts and top with her midriff exposed, cycle shoes, speed helmet and gloves as the bloggers example of proper cycle attire. I started to read the comments but then stopped and left.

I stopped reading because it doesn’t matter that she doesn’t like Cycle Chic. She is entitled to have an opinion. From what I read she feels that cycling in heels is a backward step for women and looks strange. I applaud that she is a feminist but it is apparent that she did not know that the point of feminism was to give choice to women and freedom also means choices that to others may not appear appropriate. In this case some women may cycle in heels and some don’t. Does it matter if one group thinks the other strange when the real goal is to promote cycling in all it’s forms.

I also wonder if she just had a problem with high heels off or on a bike. That’s ok too. Not every woman likes or wears high heels and neither should anyone feel they must conform to doing so. But never underestimate the power and force of fashion and style in our lives. People who are anti-fashion are just as caught up in being ‘anti’ as those who adhere to fashion trends but consider that they are not playing the same game. What we wear is important to our psyches and is a marker of our identity. Linda Grant novelist and academic outlines the importance of clothes in her great book ‘The Thoughtful Dresser’. The uniform of the Sport Cycle tribe sends the message ‘take me seriously because I take cycling seriously just like an athlete’. Economically this is a powerful group as a lot of money is spent on high end bikes, specialist clothing and accessories. So much money on looking just like other sport cyclists is odd to me. But then there is the comfort of fitting in when you wear a uniform. To each his or her own.

I also felt that perhaps she has missed the point of Cycle Chic which is to get more people back onto bikes and cycling just as an everyday ‘no big deal’ event. The Sport Cycle tribe attracts other people who wish to take cycling seriously. That’s great for them but I don’t want to be part of this tribe. I am not a cyclist but a woman who happens to cycle (in her own clothes) and I am interested in people who do this too.

It would be interesting to know the research of what type of cyclist attracts more non cyclists to cycling.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Cycling in the rain and the dark

I got wet last night getting home from a visit at Lewisham Hospital. I forgot to check the BBC weather site or the Yahoo weather report on my iPhone so I didn’t realise it was going to rain. I am a wimp when it comes to rain and I would have considered driving except that it is impossible to get parking space at the hospital and the surrounding area. If you manage to get a space it is also expensive. But at least there is parking for cars. There are no cycle racks for visitors at the hospital but I have seen hospital staff take their bikes (including a red Brompton) into the hospital. I had to lock the Brompton to the railing near the entrance. (I feel a letter of complaint coming on.)

If I had known it was going to rain I would have taken my big yellow rain cape. I wasn’t keen on cycling in the dark in the rain with Friday night traffic but it was ok. I did have lights, my reflector Sam Brown belt, reflector ankle strap and orange hat by Fred Bare. Still in the rain I would have preferred the cape.

Once again I have nothing but praise for my M&S suede boots which repelled the rain and kept me warm and dry all the way home.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Pink Shoes

I am still getting used to the cold so I decided to cheer myself up and go and try on shoes I have no intention of buying.

This pink patent courts are by New Look. They have a hidden platform so to the wearer they are not as high as they appear.

I think these would work very well on the bike as the pink colour would be seen on dull winter days.