Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Ride of my life: The story of the bicycle

I caught a documentary on BBC4 last night called the Ride of my life: The story of the bicycle. It was by the writer and cycling enthusiast, Rob Penn based on his book ‘It’s all about the bike’ published this month. I missed the beginning but I was gripped by what I saw I re-watched it online via the BBC iPlayer website which will keep the programme for the next 6 days.

The story is about how Penn commissioned his bike from the various bike component manufacturers across the world. It wasn’t about getting the best parts but the parts he wanted for his dream bike. Great history of the bike running alongside Penn’s progress around the globe. I would have liked to have heard something about the Sturmey Archer hub and I guess other bits of bike history have been missed but I learned a lot of little things. The bicycle is an amazing invention that for a brief time we put aside and now we are beginning to appreciate just how fantastic this machine is.

My favourite part of the documentary was Penn’s visit to Portland, Oregon a city that has made huge investments in cycling infrastructure.

After watching the section on the Brooks saddle factory I am seriously thinking of getting one for the Brompton for my third anniversary next February.

For those who are interested the doc is still on line but the BBC usually remove programmes after a week. So it will be gone by August 3rd.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Reading about cycling

I did intend to go out on the Brompton, but it was hot and the latest edition of London Cyclist  magazine from the London Cycling Campaign arrived this morning so after I did the gardening I came back inside to get out of the burning sun and put my feet up to read.

Articles of interest are:

1. The campaign for better bike parking in London - Many times I have been grateful for being a Brompton user because of the lack of secure parking in some areas of London.

2. An update on the new Cycle Hire Scheme due to hit London this Friday 30th July. I am not sure about the scheme but I hope it works out because it is just too expensive to fail and the fallout will stop any other grand vision scheme for cyclists in London

3. Info on the LCC work on the new Superhighways cycle routes that opened this week. The positive aspects are being overshadowed by the hype.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Problems with maps and routes

The new cycle lane crossing London created by Transport for London (TFL) called the Barclays Cycle Superhighway was officially launched this week. It has opened but it appears that a number of the routes have not been completed. The one that I could use taking me from Woolwich to London Bridge is not due to be completed until 2015! From what I can see it appears to be just like the other cycle lane road markings which are currently green but this route is blue. It suffers from all the current problems that we have with current cycle lanes, namely other vehicles parking in the lane. Personally I am a bit disappointed with the highway, but maybe I will feel differently in five years when the route from Woolwich is open. I don’t think calling it a ‘super highway’ helped as it raised my expectations.

Transport for London is not in my good books this week. I went to the revamped map gadget on the cycling web page today, put in the relevant post code for a route from Highgate to Hornsey and after a minute I as was given a route in South West London to Uxbridge. I was not happy and I have sent them an email. In the mean time I have gone back to the other TFL journey planner which can also give you a cycle route as well as the a list of bus and train routes.

One cycle path I would like TFL to provide is a joined up route right along the Thames on both sides of the river. Two days ago I went cycling to the shops and took the long way round along the river, taking photos on the way, and cycled from the Thames Barrier to the Greenwich Peninsular. This is a beautiful route which goes all the way to the Dome but then stops. Such a shame.

The fuzzy quirky colour photos are done on purpose and come from my low-tech digital Harinezumi 2 camera. 

Monday, 19 July 2010

Time to get the Brompton serviced

It’s that time of the year when I finally remember to book the annual service. Given that I brought my bike in February this should have taken place some months ago. But I never remember and I am always too busy to take time out to do anything about it if I did. Anyway the Brompton has been fine and I haven’t had any problems. It may be time to change the break cable or blocks, but apart from that I don’t think there any surprises.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Red plimsols by Next

I got these canvas shoes from Next for my holiday but I haven’t been wearing them much since I got back. The sun came back today and this afternoon I was in the West End on the Trek with my little Harinezumi2 camera taking lots of picture and videos. Sadly the iPhoto crashed just after I had uploaded everything and I lost it all. So after eating some cheese cake to cheer myself up I got on the Brompton, started again took more photos and films.

Can’t think why I haven’t wore these shoes more often.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Back in boots

The weather took a sudden sharp turn to wet and windy in London on Thursday You would not have believed we were struggling to breathe five days ago because the temperature was in the 80s.

I pondered about whether to wear shoes, sandals or boots but accepted that I would rather have hot feet than wet feet so on went the boots and off I went to my late meeting in Wandsworth (lots of traffic and a crazy one way system) and then on to Shoreditch to a summer party (work event).

I left the Brompton locked up in a quiet car park as I wasn’t planning to stay long. Turns out when I went to hand in my coat another Brompton rider had left their bike in the cloak room. Had I been staying until after dark I would have brought my Brompton inside too.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Connection problems

My internet service provider is currently have problems and I have no Broadband today. I do have a dial up connection but it costs and is so slow. Which may not be a bad thing as I have some gardening to do.

I remember when I had to be persuaded to take up broadband. : )

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Brompton, too hot to carry the lock

I usually carry my heavy D lock in my messenger bag but with the recent heat this extra weight has been a little too much. I have finally worked out how to strap the lock to the rack so that I can whiz around without the rattle and the fear of it falling off.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Binging on baskets

I was cycling in Spittlefields today and I saw so many baskets on all kinds of bikes. The rear basket was on a very small bike and held on by string.

Black leather bag

In my search for a formal alternative to the great and wonderful Timbuk2 messenger bag I have been using for the past two years I have found this.

This bag fits the bill for those formal work occasions when I need to bag that I can cycle with on my bag and then show up at an appointment in style.

It is expandable and can carry large files, and all my stuff. When it is not full it flops in half. It has a caramel coloured lining so you can see everything inside. Although no pockets on the outside the inside pockets are well placed and hold my purse, wallet, phone and camera. What sold it for me was the large wide adjustable strap. Too often large shoulder bags do not have a wide enough strap which means that it is painful to carry a full bag on your back. My Brompton bags do not get used because of the thin straps and dark inside lining.

I got the bag in Fenwick department store on New Bond Street in the West End of London. I rarely go to this shop but I was shopping with M who was tracking down a tote bag which is now only sold in Fenwick and I came across this. It is made by a company called Moroccan Bazaar which I had not heard of before. Beautiful.