Friday, 27 May 2011

Back in heels

Glad to be back on my Brompton today and wearing for the second time my new Office shoes that I got in the sale a few months ago.

As for yesterday. I had to take the car to get the MOT and service done. I sat in rush hour traffic for an hour reliving the days when I used to sit in the car in traffic everyday!

I am so very very grateful for my Brompton and my shoes, and my boots, and my flats and my sandals.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Taking the Brompton to the Apple Store

I am considering buying an iPad2. I have been thinking about it for ages but other priorities have come up. I went to look again to have a look. I am mainly worried about the word processing apps that I can use on the iPad. If I can’t get acceptable word processing then I might as well stick with my iPhone and get a notebook. (When will Microsoft just ‘get over it’ and produce Office apps for the iPad?)

I usually go to the Apple Store on Regents Street but the area is so crowded and I remembered a new Apple Store is now open in Covent Garden. Much more space to just sit down and look at the products without someone looking over your shoulder. Plus the lift works. (The lift at Regents Street is often out of order when I visit and I have to carry the Brompton up and down busy stairs.)

The photos above are of the Brompton in the glass lift of the Apple Store and on the third floor by the iPad accessories.

I have decided that I will get an iPad2, but not just yet. I can’t get one anyway. Everyone is out of stock.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Blogger has still got problems with blogs and comments

From what I can see anyone who posted a comment or wanted to post a comment on a blog after Wednesday 11th May has not been able to or the comment has been removed.

The information Blogger has given to us is it that they are in the process of putting back the missing comments.

At this point I can only hope that my posts are still all there but apart from a couple posts I have all my work backed up on my MacJournal where I write them and then send them to Blogger. Unfortunately I don’t have access to Comments and if any are lost by Blogger they are gone for good.

I am also having trouble getting in an out of my blog but this could also be a problem with Firefox which I upgraded this week and seems a bit buggy.

Update:  Monday 16th at 18.34hrs.  Comments are working again but I think some have been lost.  

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Brompton Launch Ride and Factory Visit

A bundle of Brompton riders
Break at The Brompton Cemetry
Our Bromptons all parked while we had lunch
The only silver Brompton in the world?
This bag I like and want.
All boxed with their address labels and ready to go.
Final stages in the factory
Interesting sport shoes for summer
Bromptons with Brooks, a good combination

Yesterday I took up my invitation to take part in the 2011 BWC Launch Ride and visit to the Brompton factory. It was a great day out.

We had a group ride starting from the Mall outside Buckingham Palace. There were about 100 riders and we were escorted by Brompton staff through South West London, (Kensington and Chelsea). The route took us past ‘Brompton’ landmarks, The Brompton Oratory, The Brompton Hospital and The Brompton Cemetery were we stopped for a short break. (None of the landmarks are connected to the Brompton bike factory.

We had a final ride along the river to Kew, home of the Brompton factory. Our Bromptons were tagged and parked and we were given drink and a hot lunch. After the 14 mile ride the wine gave me wobbly legs.

Then came the tour around the factory.

Some facts I can recall:
The factory is operational at the weekends.
To keep up with the demand they have moved to assembly line production.
The turn around for an order is now three weeks.
70 percent of the bikes made at the factory are for export.
Staff get given a Brompton when they join. This must be returned when they leave, but they get a discount to buy one.
The quality control is extremely high. Every aspect of assembly is tracked.
Different countries have different demands for the colours.
Sales of Bromptons are on the rise in Holland.
They still use the old style saddles but only as a marker that the bike will receive a custom saddle.
The steel joints are built to withstand knocks and falls.
The bike is tested to it’s breaking point to ensure it can withstand knocks and falls
There are only two matt Raw lacquer (The Bronze colour) Bromptons in the world.
There is only one Nickel (Silver) Brompton.
Brompton are open to regular colour changes and additions.
Black it still the most popular colour.
It is cheaper to buy a new Brompton than get your old one re-sprayed a new colour.
The Brompton Pods (the cases that allow you to safely pack the bike for long distance travel) will be back in production in the new year.
They don’t give away bikes to celebrities. Everyone must buy their bike.

While I loved the ride and trip around the factory. (Think Willy Wonker Chocolate Factory but without Johnny Depp.) The really best part was meeting other Brompton owners and swapping information and stories. Loved it!

Lots of interesting talk about the Brompton bags. I will look again at the C bag but while they have improved the T bag (the Touring Pannier by giving it a yellow lining they have not changed the carry strap. It is still too thin and with no padding.

Roll call
Ed, with the S Type Brompton with very stylish Brooks handles and Brooks saddle. Ed told me that the London School of Economics has secure bike parking for students that requires access through three swipe card doors.
Adrian, with his 2 speed M Type Brompton that gets him through traffic from Liverpool Street Station to The Strand each day.
Jane who had rented two tone (Aqua and Yellow) Brompton for the day for £20. She had her own much loved 6 year old Brompton stolen a week ago. She is upset about the loss but looking forward to choosing a new Brompton.
Sun, with a her very new one month old red M Type Brompton that she got from Evans after a short delay.
Ms ‘Stylish Hat over a Helmet’. Brought her hat from Bobbins with her Titanium Brompton. She said she had no regrets about spending the extra money to get a lighter bike.
Mr ‘Interesting Sport Shoes.’ He got his shoes from a recent seasonal sale at Lidals Lidl supermaket for £3.

I was so inspired by the ride and the day out that I said I would sign up for the BWC in August. (It may have been the wine talking.)

It was also so nice to meet people who had read this blog and I am very glad to have helped in any bike related decision.

Oh yes. Big big thank you to Brompton staff.

NB. Still some problems with Blogger. Not sure if this post and access to comments will go live as planned.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Meet Stanley

This is Stanley. This Brompton is the staff bike of The Princes Drawing School in Shoreditch London. I have just started life drawing class and I was taking the stairs instead of the lift when I saw Stanley tucked in this alcove. My class is in the evenings so there were no day staff around to ask how often Stanley is used and for kind of journeys. From the style of the seat and colour and gloss of the paint I would guess that Stanley is about three years old.

My own Brompton was downstairs tucked away behind the reception desk.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Problems with Blogger

There has been a system failure at Blogger which stopped anyone trying to access their account for the last 24 hours or anyone attempting to leave a comment on any blog. 

It seems everything has been fixed and sorry if you have not been able to access this blog.

I have just noticed that today is Friday the 13th!!

Update: Saturday 14th May.  I am still having some problems with the blog and Blogger have posted that they are still sorting out the system.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Brompton World Championship 2011 launch

I got an email from Brompton today. It was remind me that registration for the 2011 Brompton World Championship opens on Monday 16th May 2011 and they have also produced this video to launch registration. I like the music. I want to go see the BWC but not do the race.

I also got invited to the BWC 2011 launch ride in London this weekend.

Those of you with strong thighs and fast folding skills, get on line on Monday.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Warm enough for flipflops?

We are still enjoying the early warm weather in London. I am sticking with my Clarks originals for now but as I was cycling this evening through the city I saw a cyclist in flip flops. I usually don’t see these shoes until July.

Monday, 9 May 2011


I have got a new bike messenger bag. I have been testing it for a few months before doing this post.

It is made by a company called Bagaboo and it replaces my now three year old Timbuk2 messenger bag.It is strong and carries everything I need. It is a little bit larger than my old medium size Timbuk2. It has enough pockets. I would have preferred a key holder but I now just stick my keys in the smallest front pocket.

Above is a photo of the stuff I usually carry in my bag including a lock for the Brompton. No problem finding anything against the bright orange lining.

The strap has a generous pad that sits on the shoulder. I like the pulley system that enables you to adjust the strap while the bag sits across your back so you can get it just right.

Problem. The pulley system does slip and I have found the bag slipping down by my side when it is just hanging off my shoulder. However this only occurs when I the bag is not across my body. I have also found that somehow the shoulder strap can also get twisted and this requires me to straighten it out again. But this doesn’t happen that often.

I am not sure if I will keep it as long as my Timbuk2 but it is good for now.

Why didn’t I get another Timbuk2? For some time the supplies of Timbuk2s messenger bags in London have been very low up until the end of last year when a new range and supply arrived. But the colours of the bags I like all have a dark blue or black linings. Crazy. Previously all linings were white. As I have said previously, having a dark lining within a deep bag is useless when you need to find something in a hurry or find something period. I lost my first iPhone two years ago when I had to take everything out of my Brompton front pannier with the black lining because I was looking for my camera. I didn’t pick up the iPhone and by the time I went back to the shop it had been stolen. (They had left the bag the phone was in.) I could get a Timbuk2 custom made for me, but I don’t see why I should at this point and I thought I would have a change after having used one for three years.

I have found a video by a cyclist who has worked out how to use the strap system. Once you get it, it is simple. But I am not sure if I get it yet.  The link to the video is here.

Thanks to Mary at Velorution who went out of her way to help me with the Bagaboo.

Nearly forgot. Cost £130 approx. I think it is more now. Oh yes. It is waterproof, the bag, not the price.

Here are the links to other bags I have brought for cycling and my views on buying bags.

When choosing a bag.

Brompton bag vs Timbuk2 

Ortlieb zip city

Update: Saturday 14th May.  I have discovered what I was doing wrong with the adjustable strap.  I wasn't securing it and this is why it was sliding down.