Thursday, 27 May 2010

Cycle Chic vs Cycle Challenge

 Two videos which hit my radar this week. The first is by Streetfilms is on the rise of Cycle Chic across the world. The second is by Transport for London to announce June 2010 as Cycle Challenge month. The purpose of both films is to inspire you to get on a bike. Only one of these videos works for me, sorry TFL.  But to be fair to TFL they are addressing the fact that cycling with someone else will get you on a bike and if you cycle for a month maybe you will keep going. I see the logic of that. It’s just the film is informative but a little dull.

I note that neither film features any folding bikes. In my own completely biased opinion, folding bike owners who also wear their own clothes are style mavericks with a strong streak of pragmatism. We rock.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Hot day in the city

Apparently the temperature hit the 80s today in London. I had a formal work appointment in East Croydon so I was cycling in the sun this afternoon as well as using the train. There was a problem with the rail signals which brought all trains to a stop and I fell asleep for 30 minutes with the Brompton at my feet.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Hat and sandals

Today was my first trip on the Brompton for over a week. I was working from home this past week and any trips I made were done by car. I also had to deal with a roofing and garden crisis. The climbing Jasmine shrub at the back of my house had invaded the roof and guttering which caused a flood. I can’t believe that 7 days ago in London it was cold and raining. But that’s spring weather in London for you.

I have brought a straw trilby hat from GAP along with a pair of strappy sandals to cope with cycling in the sun and heat. The sandals are more secure than cycling in flip flops. I got a pair in black too. Having used my Trek bike yesterday I was taken off guard at the speed of my little Brompton. My hat nearly flew off as I was freewheeling down hill.

Speaking of speeding Bromptons I see that the Japanese Brompton Championship is next week on the 30th May and the World Brompton Championship will be in October 2010. Registration is open to the latter from now. Hmm. Do I enter this year?

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Love your bike

The London Cycling Campaign have produced another helpful video for cyclists, this time on the best way of locking your bike.  Of course we Brompton users do have the advantage of being able to take our bikes with us but as I have written before I do have a strong Abus D lock because it is easier to be able to leave the bike somewhere when I am out shopping.  I had never thought about using two locks before and I am not sure whether I would because of the extra weight when using the Brompton.  However it seems like a good idea for the Trek.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Ouch! My Brompton fell on my foot

Yesterday just as I was getting ready to get off the tube train at Neasden the sudden jolt to the carriage sent the Brompton toppling onto my right foot. Although I was wearing thick tights I was wearing my new black Camper shoes which did not offer much protection so I had a sore foot for most of the day and today I can see a small blood blister. I was still able to cycle and in fact because I was sitting on a saddle it was less painful than walking.

Lesson. Pay more attention as I get off and on the train.

Photo: Me and the Brompton on the escalator at London Bridge

Friday, 7 May 2010

Red Satchel

I have just had a birthday and I was given a beautiful red satchel handmade by the Cambridge Satchel Company. (Thank you M.)

I love the colour and size. This one is a 14 inch. No, it cannot do the job of a standard messenger bag like the Timbuk2 but I am beginning to realise that I miss not having an ordinary smaller bag at times. I have faithfully used my Timbuk2 for 2 years which is a long time for someone who buys a new shoe every two months. My Timbuk2 bag is also beginning to look worn.

I had considered getting a ‘Brooks’ bag once upon a time but was put off by the expense. This satchel is a good alternative when I need something classic and I don’t have to carry a lot of stuff. Oh yes, they come in a range of colours including tan.

I have had a glimpse of the new Brompton bags on the Brompton site. To tell the truth I am a little disappointed. I thought that teaming up with Ortileib would produce a more interesting range. Brompton bags now come in two additional colours to black. The very expensive tan leather ‘A bag’ (£350) or a shiny pink ‘O bag’ produced by Ortileib. I don’t find any of the new bag styles interesting enough to want to part with the money. My Ortlieb Zip City cost £60 last year and still works for me. But to be fair I haven’t seen these new Brompton bags in the flesh so I may change my mind.

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Cycling at sunset

Despite the return of the sun we had a cold day in London today. I had to get out the boots and fur coat this evening for a cycle by the Thames. I have come back from holiday to lots of work and I just felt the need to clear my head with a ride by the river to the Dome. I didn’t see any cyclists but there were plenty of runners. I like this time of the year when the sun doesn’t go down until 9 pm.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Summer sandals by Clarks

I have found a lovely pair of summer sandals. These are by Clarks, still one of my favourite shoe makers. They have a very comfortable soft platform, so I have height without the pain of a high heel. I have used them with ease on the Brompton and the Trek.

They are called Gwyneth Susie.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Cycling in the city

Yesterday I used the Brompton for the first time in about three weeks. I have been on the Trek since I got back from my holiday because I had been doing a lot of local journeys. Plus before I left I was aware that the Brompton was squeaking and I didn’t want to face doing anything oily. The chain is now lubricated and no more squeaking.

But cycling in the West End was a shock after Grenada. To suddenly see so many cyclists every minute was delightful then a little overwhelming. Then I realised when I tried to park and lock the bike that, of course, the weather has turned and the Summer Cyclists have now come back to the roads. Who doesn’t enjoy cycling in good weather in spring and summer! I look with envy at the blogs of LA Cycle Chic and Riding Pretty because they have good weather most of the time.

But it is not all joy in the West End at the moment. The London Cycling Campaign is highlighting the dangers of cycling around the ever increasing road works in the city. The video above is a route I often take and when I wrote recently about how difficult it was getting around the West End this was one of the routes I was talking about. On Oxford Street I worry more about pedestrians who think the road is closed to traffic and just step off the pavement at any point. When I can I do go around these various ‘hot spots’ but as I said road works are on the increase in London and there are very few clear roads.

Back to joy. I have new sandals, seen above, and I will write about them in the next post!