Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Warm & Merry Christmas in London

We are having mild weather this year.  A complete contrast to last years snow.  I have been cycling with no gloves on.  It was busy in central London on Thursday and difficult to find space to park the Brompton to avoid taking it into crowded shops.  As I was unlocking my bike to leave I found another cyclist waiting for the space.  By the time I got to Covent Garden I gave up looking for space and just pushed the bike into the shops.  The Brompton got a compliment at the Apple Store from an assistant who told me that she was getting a Brompton for Christmas. The photo of the Christmas tree is the view from outside the Apple Store in Covent Garden. 

I was able to wear my almost new ankle boots from Clarks.  I have had them since September but I'm only enjoying wearing them now because we suddenly got a brief late summer in early October and then we got a lot of rain.  Good rubber sole which gives a good grip on the pedals.  

No cycling for me over the Christmas as I am worried that I may get another flat tyre. 

Sunday, 18 December 2011

New bag for cycling

This is a velvet bag by Cath Kidson. I love the texture, the pattern and colour which is bright enough to be seen when cycling. Of course it cannot really serve as well as a bike messager bag but it is just big enough to carry what I need and soft enough to be placed inside my Brompton Pannier and taken out when I fill up the pannier with shopping.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Pink scarf, blue gloves and grey coat

It is cold, but not too cold to cycle. I have to wrap up to keep warm, but considering this time last year when we were buried in snow this weather is still mild.
 I have been taking the Brompton on the underground again and noticing how helpful or unhelpful some transport staff can be when it comes to getting through the gates with the bike. I always get through but some staff make you wait while they will continue a discussion with another colleague or another passenger, then they make a point of stopping to carefully read the ticket. I remain polite because most staff are helpful most of the time and I think that creating a fuss will only make it harder the next time I have to get through or for another Brompton owner. But given how often the gate staff have to stop to sort out faulty tickets, give directions or just let through luggage, prams and bikes, I can’t see how we are going to manage next summer when we have the Olympics.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Blogging interupted again

Little did I realise that I would not be able to do my usual posting. My ladder fall at the start of October was the beginning of having my whole house painted which caused major disruptions. The poor Brompton got covered in plaster dust until I got it under some plastic. I had limited access to broadband and just having a clear space to work. I discovered that having your house painted is the equivalent of the pain of moving house but you don’t go anywhere. Work was very busy with extra long days at the start of November and this week it was confirmed that my ladder fall had caused a small tear in the retina of my right eye and I had laser eye surgery to fix it yesterday.

I had my Brompton with me at the opticians in Covent Garden when I was told that I had to go straight away to Moorfields eye hospital. The Optician asked if I was going to cycle and I reassured her that I would be going by underground which I did. Once again I am very grateful for the flexibility of a folding bike.

After being seen by the consultant and told to go home rest and come back tomorrow for surgery he saw the Brompton and asked me if I was going to carry it as he had just advised me not to do any heavy lifting. I had to demonstrate that I could push the bike along before he would let me go.

With blurry vision I travelled with the Brompton back home to South London by public transport and walking. Wheeling the bike meant I was able to stabilise myself.

My sight is not affected and I am able to drive and cycle now the eye drops have worn off. But I have to go back tomorrow to see if the treatment worked.

So it will be brief posts over the next couple weeks.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Cycling in boots again

I am back on the Brompton but only using it once a week at the moment. The weather has taken a sharp turn towards cold and I felt the need to get out the boots and my gloves. The first weekend in October gave us the hottest weather in records and now the frost has arrived, and the daylight hours are dwindling away. (Sigh) Last night I was surprised to see a few cyclists still not using lights. I wonder if they are in denial that we really are in Autumn.

Another reason for getting out the boots and ensuring the Brompton tyres are pumped up is the road works are at a peak going through the City of London at the moment. Lots of pot holes and uneven surfaces. I think it is the rush to get road works done in time for the Olympics next year.

My boots that I got last year from Office are holding up very well and I don’t see the need to get a new pair. They are still a comfortable ride and give a good grip on the pedals. I saw another Brompton user just outside Liverpool Street Station and noticed that she was wearing trainers. I have only cycled once with my trainers and I found it I could not get a feel for the pedal because of the padded sole and lack of flexibility which is similar to wearing clogs. Speaking of summer shoes, they now have to go into storage. (Sigh)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Like to Ride a Bike

Like Riding A Bike from Dominic Latham-Koenig on Vimeo.
Found this video and photography project via a link on Sweet Georgia Brown cycle blog (thank you).

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea in south west London is trying to get more of people on bikes and see the best way to do this is to show the local residents on their bikes going about their everyday business. The link to the photographs is here.

Works for me & much better than seeing posters of all those Olympic cyclists. I can’t wait to get on my bike tomorrow.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Two Bromptons at the supermarket

I am still not doing much on the bike at the moment but it was nice to see two Bromptons outside a supermarket in New Cross at lunchtime. They reminded me of the two Bromptons I saw at the local supermarket in Greenwich.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Short break

I fell off a ladder recently and hit my head. The stitches come out today. I cannot believe it happened. All the care I take when cycling and I injure myself in my own home.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Brompton meets a rival

The Brompton and I made another trip to Chingford this afternoon. On the third part of the journey (train from Liverpool Street to Ponders End) we were joined by another folding bike in the carriage. The bike was made by The Saxon Bike Company and is called the 'Fold it' bike. On the internet it states the retail price as £199.99. I couldn’t find any details about the bike company on the internet. It looks sturdy but I admit that I would not trust a bike that cheap and without information about where and how it was made.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Time to switch on the lights

The shorter days have arrived and I am now back to carrying my lights. I will get fresh batteries today as my main lights don’t look as bright as I would like. These lights have done well for the year. I will throw out my cheap lights because the cost of battery replacement is more than the cost of the light but they did last for over a year. I got a spare set when I found this out.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Yesterday Chingford, today Hornsey

I am back to traveling with the Brompton by underground train. I have avoided this over the past month due to various reasons, the weather, the summer crowds and feeling too tired to carry the bike up and down stairs. But the sun has returned for a final burst and I have had a couple of long distant journeys across London and just outside my usual area. I was in Waltham Forest yesterday an outer London Borough but if you take the overground train to Chingford you are outside the travel card zone for London. Instead I took the train to Enfield and cycled the rest of the way. Lovely ride too. Today I was in Hornsey which meant a trip by tube train to Finsbury Park. Had a quick chat with another Brompton cyclist at Kings Cross. We agreed that it was at times like this when you have to navigate the stairs and escalators we should have brought the titanium version. To get to Hornsey from Finsbury Park you have to cycle up the hill, but it was too warm so I got off, wheeled the bike and picked up chestnuts. Freewheeled back down on the return journey.

I have barely worn my brogues this year, a perfect transition shoe for the changing season.

Sunday, 4 September 2011

It rained!

So much for the predicted weekend sun. It rained today so learning to screenprint at Print Club turned out to be a better a choice than the Sky Ride after all. I was able to park the Brompton in the studio by the print aprons and later on another bike arrived. This bike is Swedish by a company called Skeppshult and the owner got it from Bobbin Bicycles and added a Brooks saddle. She said it was very handy to for carrying her printing screens and she really appreciated the kick stand.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Brilliant weather for cycling this weekend

After the chilly and wet days we have had a final burst of summer weather in London and the good weather will last until Monday.  (On Tuesday I was in my boots and yesterday I needed sandals.)

Two cycling events going on this weekend in London. Today at 11.30 am the Cycling Embassy of Great Britain will launch their organisation with a ride to Victoria Tower Gardens in Lambeth for a picnic. I love their manifesto and the link is here.

Tomorrow is the Mayor of London’s Sky Ride now an annual mass cycling event. I will be cycling but sadly not with the Sky riders. I am booked to do a screen printing course in Dalston.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

August Break - Winter white

It’s the last day of my August Break. I saw this white Brompton with a matching helmet at the station this evening. I don’t often see white Bromptons and I was impressed by how shiny and clean this one was.

Monday, 29 August 2011

August Break - Happy Bank Holiday

Today is the last of our sunny bank holidays and to celebrate here is a bright fuchsia pink Brompton as seen in Covent Garden on Saturday.

September is nearly here and it will be time to look for winter boots.

Friday, 26 August 2011

August Break day 26 - Funny weather

The Brompton is now running very smoothly after it’s service but I’ve only been able to use my Brompton once this week due to the funny weather. It has been raining very hard with pockets of bright sun.

Friday, 19 August 2011

August Break day 19 - The Brompton is back

I collected my Brompton today from Compton Cycles following it’s annual service. I had a break cable replaced and one of the reflector lights. Cost of Service £54 but with the extra checks/work including the cable the total cost was £63.95.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Sunday, 14 August 2011

August Break day 14 - First time on a London hire bike

How to hire to use the London Hire bikes.

1. Before travel download the free London Cycle App which tells you where to find the nearest hire station and how many bikes and spaces there are at the station. (I don’t know how else you quickly find an a hire station without this very handy App.)

2. You need a credit card or debit card and you follow instructions on the terminal. The terminal will register you for the day and you will be charged accordingly. You can pay for longer but I only wanted a day.

3. You will need to insert your card again after you get your receipt for the daily hire so that you can hire a bike. This time you will get a code that allows you to release the bike.

4. Enter code on panel on the left hand side of bike station. When the green light comes on you can release the bike.

5. Releasing the bike is tricky. It is heavy and you need to lift up the seat and pull back.

6. I missed this the first time around and the bike got locked. If this happens call Transport for London TFL using the number on the terminal station. Sadly the operator was unable to help other than tell me to try another bike. The code did not work.

7. Discovered the code only works for 10 minutes by which time I got another code by putting in my debit card again. (I still don’t know if I will be charged for two bikes but because I called I hope that they will have a record that I had difficulty getting the first bike out.)

8. Lift and pull the bike out and thank everyone who helps you.

9. Work out on the London Cycle App where your nearest docking station to your destination is and whether there are spaces for you to drop off your bike.

10. Adjust the seat and off you go.

11. When putting the bike back, make sure that it is firmly locked on the station or you will be charged for the time.

Verdict. I will use it again. The seat is comfortable but the gears on my bike were useless and I just kept in the highest gear.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

August Break day 11

It rained today.  No Brompton.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

London - August Break day 9

Sad events in some parts of this town at the moment but like many other Londoners I am carrying on. This morning as I was pedaling along I saw this gold Chopper bike in a shop window on Oxford Street and this afternoon I have stunned to see images of devastation on the television. It is difficult to believe it is the same city.

Monday, 8 August 2011