Monday, 28 December 2009

Christmas with the Brompton

I was away for Christmas but of course I packed the Brompton into the boot of the car with the presents and took it with me. The snow was gone by Christmas Day and I cycled back to Greenwich Park passing the runners and dog walkers. I cycled to the Royal Observatory which was free of tourists due to the holiday and I got a grand if cloudy view.

On Boxing Day the sun was out and I cycled to Ladywell Park. I saw more runners on the paths. I used to go for a run on Christmas Day, but I can’t run everyday unlike with cycling and I don’t need special clothing to do it either. In truth I am a fair weather runner.

I was given a copy of David Byrne’s book Bicycle Diaries for Christmas and I have just started reading. I am keen to know about his travels on his folding bike.

Walking in the snow

On Monday 21st December we got more snow. This time it fell on a wet surface so just beneath the white carpet is a layer of ice, hence the crunching sound underneath the wellington boots. Too risky for a bicycle or a car so I got out my paisley print wellington boots which are an old Christmas present. I only use them twice a year when we get snow.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

Snow & the Brompton

The video is of the moment snow hit at midnight on Friday in South London. By morning we had the usual transport meltdown. Trains were running late, cars sliding in the slush, long cues at the bus stops. I had an appointment at Liverpool Street at 2.30 pm and I needed to carry four files of papers. At first I planned to use the Trek, because of the ice on the road, go to the railway station and then cycle from London Bridge. But as I said the trains were running very late. So I got out the Brompton and the large pannier I rarely use but it was perfect. I was able to get to the Dockland Light Railway which was working and make my way into town and back. No problems cycling on the slush and ice or cycling with a very heavy load in poor weather. It started snowing again as I was on my way back to Bond Street tube station. In poor weather I am always grateful for a folding bike.

Shame the snow came a week early. I bet we have a sunny Christmas day.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Bobbin Bicycles

I went to Bobbin Bicycle shop on Tuesday after work. They now have a lovely store in Angel full of traditional upright bikes. The last time I went they were in a basement in Clerkenwell, not too far away. You had to ring for an appointment so that someone could meet you for the sale. They didn’t have any baskets for the Brompton, I subsequently got one from Velorution. Now I have the Trek for my local journeys I wanted a proper basket for the front.

Getting the Trek from South London to North London during the weekday wasn’t too much of a problem as my work appointment was in the afternoon and I could travel on the train into Charing Cross outside the designated commuter travel times when no bikes other than folding bikes like the Brompton can travel. Then it was weaving my way through traffic from Fleet Street up to Angel via Holborn. I notice that I am less confident on the Trek than when I am cycling on the Brompton. The Brompton has a faster response time which is handy when you are cycling in areas when you are not used to the traffic flow. I had a Brompton cyclist whiz past me reminding me how of fast a Brompton can go when necessary.

My hands were really cold when I got to Bobbin and I didn’t want to stay long, but the staff were truly welcoming and friendly. They have a room full of baskets of all types including a covered Little Red Riding Hood type. Basket heaven! However the Trek is a hybrid and they are a little bit more difficult to fit. I brought the Trek into the shop and we tried out the various baskets until I found my perfect match. My basket clips on and off and I can use it as an additional bag. I also got a new bell. They had boxes full of bells and horns.

As for the bikes they looked beautiful and the prices were very reasonable. If I didn’t live on or around hills and if I didn’t have to carry my bikes upstairs to get into my home I would have gone for a three speed traditional bike as my second bike. Still I do love my Trek T30 Navigator and whoever designed it was taking their references from traditional upright bikes. With the basket on the front the Trek looked at home in the Bobbin shop.

My rating for Bobbin Bicycles is now a 9. The shop is a feast for the eyes. They spent time with me ensuring that what I wanted matched my needs and they did the fitting for free. I would have stayed longer to look at the various panniers and other bags but I had more shopping to do in Oxford Street.

Now I understand why I see so many cyclists in the Islington area, they are buying from Bobbin.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Snow & swans


We had snow today, but I went to Blackheath on the Trek. The snow didn’t really settle on the ground but I got iceflakes on my lashes. I was warm enough in the big fake fur coat I have for these occasions but my fingers got a bit cold. As I passed the pond on the heath at I saw swans and cygnets flapping around in the icy water. Just as I worrying about how they will get food and why haven’t they gone south, someone came out to feed them.

Despite the very cold weather in London over the last couple days I have seen plenty of cyclists still peddling around but with bags of shopping. Pedaling is the best way of keeping warm.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Bloke & Basket

I noticed this basket first as it was going across Oxford Street then I saw it was being carried by a man who was returning to his chained up bike. I had to ask him where he got the basket and he told me it came from the bike shop Bobbin as did his bike. I had been to Bobbin before but they have now moved to bigger premises in Angel. Bobbin sell traditional upright bikes and lots of accessories. I’ve been thinking about getting a wicker basket for the Trek so I think I will be making a trip to Angel to check out the new Bobbin shop.

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Cycling at night

I had forgotten to get onions, tomatoes and potatoes (what was I thinking) so I had to make a second trip to the supermarket. I haven’t done any night cycling since I first got the Brompton. I mean choosing to wait until it is very late and then going out on the bike. This worked for me back then because I was still re-learning to ride and I felt it was safer to do it at night on quiet roads.

I took the Trek because I wanted a slow journey (still woozy from a Friday night out) and I had to get up the hills.

These are the Christmas lights outside the supermarket where inside customers were treated to a medley of Christmas songs. But I was listening to ‘Christmas Wrapping’ by The Waitresses on my iPod.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Cycling in thigh high suede boots

I have added another pair of boots to my collection. These are from Zara and are very long. No problems pedalling on the Brompton and I was very warm. On this journey I took my first Tram trip with the Brompton from East Croydon to Mitcham. Which made me realise that the only form of public transport I have not taken the Brompton on is a bus.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Bike baskets

Bike baskets are loveable but often not very practical. I admire all those cyclists who use them on a regular basis.

The first two were seen outside Angel Station and the other was outside Archway Station

Friday, 4 December 2009

Finsbury Park Cycle Park


I had an appointment in Crouch End and I took the Brompton on the train to Finsbury Park tube station and then cycled the rest of the way up Crouch Hill into Haringey. I found a large Cycle Park just outside the station across the road. You can’t miss the giant stainless steel sign of a bicycle. (Subtle and obvious.) This park is run by Transport for London and has an attendant during the week. The cost of parking is nothing compared to what it would cost to park a car outside a station (50p for 24 hours). Sadly cycle parking outside stations is bit like a ‘lucky dip bag’ you don’t know what you will find until you get there and you may get lucky or not. There are a couple bike stands outside my own station but I would never leave my bike (Brompton or Trek) as it isn’t secure enough.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Green Brompton

I caught this Brompton while crossing platforms at London Bridge. In fact I saw three Bromptons in the space of three minutes.