Saturday, 22 December 2012

Not doing the Christmas shopping with the Brompton

I have left the Brompton at home this week while working and doing the Christmas shopping. Firstly it has been raining. Not at bad as April but the road surfaces are more slimy because of the wet leaves and the residue of grit that has been put down to dissolve the ice. The other reason is the combination of other Christmas shoppers and a Brompton bike in a shop is not a good mix. It is the one time of the year that we wander around in a fog of not knowing what we want or if we have the right thing. In the West End I prefer to make a quick dash and back to the train station with bags. The other thing is that more pedestrians just walk straight into the road without looking. They look out for buses and taxis but forget that there are cyclists. I think they are dazzled by the Christmas lights and decorations and shop signs for pre holiday Sales.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

The cutest bag in the Brompton world

I came across the Ortlieb Mini O bag last week. I wanted to take it home but it is a little small for my needs even if it does come with a shoulder strap. The cost at Cycle Surgery was £80 same price as on the Brompton site. Reminded me to get out my Ortlieb zip city bag.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Brompton, Boots and Bagaboo

The freezing weather has arrived and it is warmer to pedal than walk. As much as I love my Superdry bag I had to get out the Bagaboo because I need to carry my lock again and iPad and all the other stuff like bike lights. When it is this cold having a bag on my back keeps me warm. The soft sole ankle boots I got in September are still fabulous on or off the bike.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Rush Hour in the City

The clocks have gone back and now we are all using our lights on the way home and first thing in the morning if you leave before 7am. The Brompton is lit up like a Christmas tree.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Black Brompton, Brown heels and Red backpack

I was busy typing on my ipad when I saw this Brompton owner and her red backpack on the train. Someone else who doesn’t use the bike to carry stuff. The double image is there because I took the photo through glass and you can see my iPad screen.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Ankle boots - Aldo

Still not found a pair of knee high boots yet but found another pair of ankle boots by Aldo. Good colour contrast with the black colour of the Brompton.

Friday, 5 October 2012


I have been looking for a new bike bag and I came across the Superdry Japanese clothing company this week while web surfing. Turns out there is a huge store recently opened on Regents Street in the West End. I love this bag. It is sturdy, not too big, a wide strap for carrying over the shoulder a good deep pocket on the outside and one on the inside. It comes in lots of colour combinations just like Bromptons. Oh yes, it is vinyl and would stand a good shower, but not a heavy downpour for a long time, despite the name. Best of all at £39.99 it is cheaper than a bike messenger bag. I think I am moving away from traditional bike messenger bags for now. I end up carrying too much stuff and weighing myself down. I have been using my Brompton pannier a lot this year but again this is a very large bag and I would prefer to just keep it for shopping. I have thought again about the Ortileb Brompton bags but I find the high price off putting because I like to change my bags so often. (Just like my footwear.) I don’t want to pay that much for a bag that I know I will not be using in a year’s time.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Two tone Brompton

Yellow and black Brompton seen on Neal Street in Covent Garden this week. Note the heavy duty blue Arbus lock.

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Ankle boots for autumn

Got these boots a couple weeks ago from a shop in Greenwich. They are by Claudia Ghizzant and despite appearances are very comfortable. The platform gives me the same heel height as my brogues and the thick soft soles make them comfortable to walk in. I just bounce along. These are the first heels I have used on the Brompton in ages and have a good grip on the pedals.

I still haven’t found a pair long boots to replace my much loved but worn Office boots but I will continue on my search.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

The lights are back on

My first week back cycling to my print making class in Shoreditch this evening and it was also the first day I needed to remember to pack the bike lights for the Brompton because the sun now sets at 7.30pm. What little summer we had is nearly over. I noticed that all the road closures and road works that were around in July have gone and the main roads have been resurfaced. The Olympic effect, but great for cyclists as we will have good roads for winter.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Cycle parking at the Tate Modern

I dropped into the Tate Modern bookshop after going to see work at the Bankside Gallery next door. Because the British Museum has now stopped accepting heavy luggage in the cloak room I was worried that the same rule would now apply at the Tate. But not so. As I was locking the Brompton a helpful security guard came over to tell me that I could leave it in the cloak room. He even called the cloak room to confirm but couldn’t get through. I decided to leave the bike as it was already locked and I wasn’t staying long. I did go to the cloak room to ask about leaving the bike in the future and they said they would accept folding bikes, the attendant even told me to go and bring the bike. The Tate is bike friendly. They allow cyclists to chain their bikes on the railings just outside and don’t stop you from cycling on their land. The British Museum does have cycle stands but at a distance from the building, and on the last occasion when I cycled to the parking area a guard came over to politely tell me that I wasn’t allowed to do this.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Going up West

I was back commuting with the Brompton today for work which involved a trip to Shepherds Bush in West London. This yellow Brompton caught my eye because the owner, who kindly posed for a picture, had a lovely Royal Blue jacket that just went so well with the bike.

Didn’t take long to get used to the tube trains and roads again. There are a couple of large roundabouts in this area but thankfully there are cycle paths on the pavements to keep you out of the heaviest traffic.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Back on the Brompton

I barely did any cycling during August and I didn’t take the Brompton into the centre of London during the Olympics. It was easier and better to use public transport when I could, including a trip to the Olympic Park last Wednesday to see track events in the Paralympics. You get a free travel card to get you to your venue. I saw a green Brompton being wheeled through the park but it was too busy to get a photo. I think the owner was probably a member of staff as the security was high. The same as an airport. I will visit the Olympic Park again now the games are over as the venue is impressive. I want to see how the cycle lanes work and I want to go up the Orbit the art sculpture by Anish Kapoor.

Autumn is here and I have taken my Brompton for a late annual service to Compton Cycles. Got it back the next day all clean and shiny. Cost £99. This includes a replaced chain & 6 speed cog set which was worn. I have been for a test ride and there is now a smoother gear change.

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Didn't use the bike

I have not used the Brompton in central London since the start of the Olympics. But despite warnings of chaos on trains, travelling was problem free all during the month. There was also no need to ban bicycles on some trains, but I think rail staff relaxed this policy because I saw non folding bikes around London Bridge.

I will be back on the bike again this month. But first I need to book the annual service. I am late this year.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

The sun sets on the River Thames and London

It has been a brilliant Olympic games and I have enjoyed watching it.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A folding electric bike

The owner told me that he got this folding bike on Ebay for £300.

The August Break

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Taking an August break

I am taking part in the ‘August Break’. An idea started by blogger, photographer & writer Susanna Conway. The point is to rest from the keyboard and just post pictures for a month rather than write.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Saw the Olympic torch

I didn’t use the Brompton yesterday as I was working in Barnet, North London and this requires a long journey by underground to East Finchley and the heat and crowds at London Bridge at the moment is just too much to carry a bike.

At lunch time the Olympic torch passed through on the high way. I just about got to see the top of the torch bearer from where I was having lunch. Watching the torch bearers is the best event of the prequel to the games. They just look so happy to be taking part and you just feel happy for them too. But the downside to this occasion was the overpowering corporate sponsorship that surrounds the torch bearers. I can see the point of having the bus convoy covered in logos before and after the torch bearers as they are part of rolling traffic block that protects them. But giving out fizzy drinks, and corporate banners to wave it a step too far. Did no one think of providing small Olympic flags for the crowd? You can still have your logo on the handle and it could have been a keepsake. All my photos are full of coroporate ads and no torch bearer.

I used the Trek bike to get to the station & from my local train station and I wore my hand made leather sandals from Gohils on Camden High Street. I have had them for years and get them out them out whenever it really is too hot for anything else or when I am on holiday in the sun.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The World is coming and the Sun is here

Back on the Brompton again yesterday and today and it is burning hot. Like everyone who travels across London I am making alternative travel plans arrangements on busy days. Next Monday London Bridge will not be accessible for those of us who travel to Greenwich after 6pm. Yesterday I took an alternative route through Soho and cycled up Wardour Street. I had forgotten how peaceful Soho is in the monring. On the way back I cycled down Regents Street which for this week only had less traffic because the school holidays have begun. Regents Street and Oxford Street are decorated with flags from all the countries of the world who are in the Olympics.

I have missed the Olympic torch being carried through my borough but I am in North London tomorrow for work and the torch is due there so I may still see it.

It has finally hit me that the World will be watching London from Friday.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Getting out the flat shoes for the Olympics

We have one week until the Olympics opens in London. I have discovered the following
  • The VIP lanes on the roads appeared in Greenwich overnight
  • Cyclists can’t use the special lanes and we will be fined £130 if we do.
  • The Olympic cars in the VIP lanes are BMWs. I thought this was a ‘Green Olympics’.
  • Everywhere on train platforms you hear a recorded message from the Mayor telling us that public transport is going to be very busy during the Olympics.
  • We are told to avoid London Bridge Station. Tricky for those with journeys to the outer reaches of London and beyond.
  • After taking part in a trial run of being ushered into London Bridge Station last week, I plan to add an hour to my journey time.
  • There are walking maps that show you how to get to your destination in Central London.
  • The bright pink Olympic signs directing you to the various venues appear to start in the centre of town, miles away from the venues and give the impression that you are nearby.
  • There are still unsold tickets for events.
  • I don’t know if I can cycle because of the crowds and if I do I am not sure I want to leave the Brompton locked anywhere
  • It may be easier to walk if the rain continues.
No one knows if all the transport plans will work, but you can’t say that they didn’t try and that we were not warned. The games part will work and I will be watching the opening ceremony next Friday from the sofa.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Trying to look on the bright side

It is raining again in London. I think the last week that was rain free was two weeks ago, but maybe that was a dream I had. I haven’t been on the Brompton all week but I have seen lots of rainbows.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Beautiful balmy evening in the city

Yesterday was my last night of my printing course and it was a joy to be on the Brompton cycling through the city. Everyone on the street was in good mood and even getting around the never ending road works was fun. When the group of cyclists I was travelling with couldn’t get around the traffic we all jumped off our bikes and trotted along the pavement to the next gap in the road.

I was cycling back home at 9.45pm along London Bridge with the setting sun and rising moon in the sky.  Lovely view of Tower Bridge now carrying the Olympic ring logo.

Perfect night.

Shoe note. My Clark cloggs seem to prefer Brompton pedals. No slipping.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Training for the Olympics

I am now getting ready for traveling across London during the Olympics with the Brompton. This means extended times on the bike for journeys that would have been done by train or underground tube. Ensuring that I carry as little as possible which will be tough for me because I just like to carry stuff for just in case, giving more time for journeys, carrying water for the heat, getting more sleep and keeping up with my running to ensure I have the energy. I have still to work out how to read the Transport for London Get Ahead of the Games travel map. The last time I looked it was confusing.

Only flat shoes, during this time too.

This should work, providing the hard rain we have been having for the last few months takes a break for the games.

Friday, 22 June 2012

No bikes* on trains during the Olympics


As I wheeled my Brompton through the ticket barrier at Cannon Street Station last week I was handed the above leaflet. The train companies that cover the Olympic venues will not allow non-folding bikes on their trains during the Olympics (27 July to 12 August) and Paralympics Games (29 August to 9 September). This will be tough for many long haul commuter cyclists who get in before the rush hour times or are able to get on after rush hour and then get a train after 7pm home.

*Bromptons are allowed but even Brompton owners have to ensure that the bike is completed folded before you enter the station and during the journey.

I see the word ‘compact’ is used. Now there many folding bikes but not all are compact. It will be interesting to see how far the train companies will take this.

I haven’t seen any notices about folding bikes on the Underground or Docklands Light Railway (DLR). But in truth I don’t think I want to be with the Brompton on the Underground during the Olympics.

I am preparing for the occasion that even if I get into central London with the Brompton on a train, I may have to cycle all the way back home because it is just too crowded.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

The Holstee Manifesto on a Bike

Run away if you don’t have a sweet tooth because a big dose of sugary sentimentality is being served. I have seen this manifesto before and just thought ‘nice idea’. But now the Holstee team have put their message on bikes, and I’m ready to sign up.

Found this video via Sarah Wilson's blog pages on cycling.

Got to Sarah Wilson via Susannah Conway's weekly web info.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Two folding bikes

I saw this bike folding bike on my train home on Thursday night.  It is a full size bike that folds in the middle and from the look of it this maybe just for storage or transport purposes.  I wonder if the owner is able to get on the tube or the DLR.

Friday, 25 May 2012

The sun is back - get out the sandals

On Monday we were freezing but suddenly we have heat wave in London. Yesterday afternoon I just gave myself up to enjoying riding around the back streets in the Elephant & Castle & Walworth area of Southwark while listening to Fleetwood Mac ‘The Chain’ on the ipod nano.

I am also back to just using my Bagaboo courier bag, but it is too hot to carry so I am strapped it to the back of the Brompton. I didn’t want to use the pannier because I end up carrying so much, but the Bagaboo is also a little big. I will get out my Ortlieb zip city bag this weekend which may be a good compromise.

I don’t have any clear evidence but I think the numbers of cyclists are up in London as I see so many people using the hire bikes. I suspect there will be a further increase in a few weeks when the Olympics begin and getting around will become more complicated.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Brompton celebrates London and the Jubilee

Caught sight of these Brompton bikes in East London. The expensive London bike is on display at Evan Cycles in Spittlefields. I thought the other bike was a special edition to celebrate the Olympics but I have checked the Brompton site and this bike was made to for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. This bike is on display in the window at Cycle Surgery just around the corner from Evans Cycles. They are using the bike to promote the Olympics in particular the cycling team. The price recommended by Brompton is £1,200. A little cheaper than the London Bike

The details for the London Brompton can be found here.

The details for the Jubilee Brompton can be found here.

I think I prefer the Jubilee bike.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Hello to some cyclists

This cheeky advert by Southeastern trains has been running for a couple months and it first appeared without the photo of the folded Brompton. My guess is Southeastern have been turning away a lot of non folding bikes and they wanted to get the message out to cyclists who use their trains. The times you can take a non-folding bike on a Southeastern Train going into London are after 10am and not between 4 and 7pm. I have had the experience of turning up once with my Trek bike at 6.55pm only to be told that I could not go through the barrier for another five minutes. No problems with the Brompton provided it is at least partly folded. Two weeks ago I and another Brompton user got to the barrier at Charing Cross to get on the train and I was let through but the other cyclist was stopped because he hadn’t folded his bike. I think Southeastern are one of the more bike friendly train companies. Staff always say hello and assist when necesary. Greater Anglia trains which operate from Liverpool Street Station seem to barely tolerate bikes, even folding bikes. You can travel but they just may not let you through the barrier on time to get on the train in the first place.

I am getting ready for the travel across town during the Olympics but I am worried that there may be a total ban on bikes on trains for the games.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

New shoes for Spring - Camper flats

Although it is still cold and damp I am getting ready for when the sun comes back. I have been wearing these Camper shoes (called Peu circuit ) almost all the time since I got them this week because they are so comfortable and look good in jeans or with a dress.

I haven’t tried them on either of the bikes yet as the weather still requires boots.

Camper have knocked Clarks off the top of my list of great shoe shops.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

April showers are still here

I didn’t post at all during April because the heavy rain we had on most days just left me feeling low and I had a cold at the beginning of the month. I used my Brompton when I could. I dug up my extra large rain mac by Raleigh and just got pedalling. Still there were days when the rain was too much and too risky to cycle. The UK saw the wettest April on record. The rainy days are still around but it is a lot better. Upside is that London is looking very lush and green.

I saw plenty of Brompton owners on their bikes cycling in the rain.

My wonderful biker boots I got from Office two years ago kept my feet dry all through April but they will not make it for this coming winter so the hunt for a replacement will begin in the late Summer when the winter boots arrive in stores.

One of the obvious but still brilliant things about having a Brompton when it rains. You can fold it and go by public transport.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Spring has sprung

It has been warm enough to bare my ankles, so I got out my clogs and peddled off to evening class. These clogs just slip off the pedals of the Trek but are fine with the Brompton pedals.

The road works in the City just feels never ending. As soon as one stretch of road (ie Broadgate ) reopens another (ie Cannon Street) is dug up. I have kept the Brompton tires pumped up and so far no problems with all the grit I have had to ride over.

I saw these pumps in Marks & Spencer. I am gradually beginning to change my mind about ballet flats. I have them but not ‘mad keen’ on them. But occasionally I see nice ones. I tried on these blue suede ones with thick black tights and they worked for me. Didn’t buy them. Just thinking about them.