Sunday, 17 November 2013

Going to the shops

Took the Brompton to Oxford Street yesterday to return a couple items. It has been so long since I have cycled in the West End on a weekend that I forgot my rules. 1. Don’t cycle on Saturdays in the centre of town. 2. Don’t shop on a weekend five weeks before Christmas. It was crazy. I also forgot that there is no place to lock a bike Oxford Street. I managed to lock the bike on a handrail outside Marks & Spencer, but had to take it with me inside Debenhams. I got the refunds and then straight home, by tube. I found pedestrians wandering into the road more dangerous than taxis and buses.

I wore my new ankle boots that are from John Lewis and they passed the Brompton pedal test.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Hurrah! It's Autumn

I confess that I did very little cycling this summer. It was a lovely summer but just too hot for me to pedal around in. I didn’t use the Brompton for weeks. I sometimes used the Trek bike to get to the station where I left it and just used the train. There were days when I walked and used buses. We have a great public transport system in London and if you use smart phone apps to tell you when buses and trains are arriving you can usually have a seamless journey.

My Brompton got dust on it. It hasn’t even had the August Service. I forgot. Still it is Autumn and I am back using it. I have had to get out the bike lights because the sun now sets around 6.30. Autumn is the best time to cycle, not too hot, not yet cold.

 I am back in boots because I have finally found new boots I like after a three year search. I can finally put my Office boots out to pasture. They did so well through the crazy extreme weather we had over the past few years. I wanted a pair of brown boots and after much deliberation between a pair from Clarks and a pair by Steve Madden from Dune I found these in Matalan of all places. I have never brought shoes from this discount shop before but they are fabulously comfortable, well made and only £50, two thirds less than the other pairs. I have teamed them up with my bag from New Look. I am not using my Bagaboo bike bag yet because it is big and I end up carrying too much stuff. Small light messenger and cross body bags are thin on the ground at the moment. Muji used to have a great range but have pulled them this year.

 Now I need to book that service with Comptons.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Burning on the bike

It is too hot to cycle and I have restricted my journeys to very short runs. This is what I need to get around. Wearing my new cheap and cheerful sandals from H&M. They won’t last but they will do for the couple weeks of warm weather we will have.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Other people's Bromptons - the cheap one

I was at the print making studio yesterday on a photolithography workshop. Three Brompton owners were present and discussing the difficulties of managing hills when you are traveling in North or South London. The classic Red Brompton seen above was purchased in Amsterdam for £250, second hand. Bargain.

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Buying a Brompton - Step 2 - It's all about the handlebars

I was thinking about getting a S model (the model with the handlebars that are T shaped). I liked the look of the handlebars but spraining my ankle made me reconsider this option. When my ankle was still sore I had to rely on being able to push the Brompton along using the Eazy wheels and I realised that doing this would be more difficult if I lost the height I currently have with my Brompton.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Other people's Bromptons, other people's shoes

Spotted these quirky crackled leather Brogues and Black 3 speed Brompton yesterday at Atlantis Art Materials shop in Spittlefields. I haven’t worn my tan Brogues all year, because of the bad weather.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Back on the bike

My sprained ankle is almost healed. I can cycle and I don’t feel sore compared to when I walk. My biggest problem is carrying the bike up and down stairs as I am still a little worried about keeping my balance. The sprained ankle has made be think about what kind of Brompton I would next buy. Already I know I don’t want to give up the Eazy Wheels. I also noticed that I can carry my Brompton for a longer distance than I thought even with a sore ankle. Our weird weather continues. Lots of bright sun but bitterly cold.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Buying a Brompton - Step 1 Go the website

As it has been five years since I brought my Brompton and I am thinking about getting another I thought I would do the research and see what is different. I went to the Brompton website. It has changed and it is better but it still takes a little work to find out about the Bikes and what you can get. The information is there but you have to look for it and know what you are looking at. There is a lot of jumping back and forth on web pages when you are looking for information. Not sure why Brompton has not sorted out having a page that allows you to compare the basic specs of all the models at once. Complicated but not impossible. I like the brochure. If you are new to the Brompton or just trying to get an update the brochure does list everything in one place. It doesn't give you information about the weight of the various parts. For that you have to go back to the main site. When I was first looking at the Brompton 6 years ago I downloaded the brochure from the website, printed it off and read it on my commute to work. What has improved on the website is finding a Brompton supplier and the site gives information as to whether the supplier is trained by Brompton. They didn’t have this information before, they had a list of suppliers but not the training which can make a difference if you are worried about this. I originally brought my Brompton from Compton Cycles and they still tick all the boxes in having a large range of ‘off the peg’ Bromptons which mine was and they can order for you as they have a good relationship with the Brompton factory, they are friendly and know about the bike. But the downside for me this time around is that they don’t yet offer an interest free credit scheme and I know that my Brompton will not be cheap. The other issue is that my usual travel routes are going into the central London and I thought it may be easier this time around getting a bike from one of the shops that I usually pass on my various routes. But for me the most important thing is having a good relationship with a bike shop. I know I have had a Brompton for a long time but I still don’t remember the logic of the names of the different models. I look at the handlebars and I ask myself why is the T shape bike called S, why is the U shape bike called M and why is the W shaped bike called P? I know that the H bike is a taller version of the M but it still looks like a U. I know it is related to what they do, but that is how they look to me. I think Brompton should give them proper names but I guess letters makes the bike more teckie sounding and must be good for the market. Tips: 1. Go to the website and play around. You will get lost but you will find interesting things about the bike and the Brompton community. 2. Look at the brochure. This brings everything together in an accessible way. 3. Find your nearest supplier on the website.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A million more women on bicycles

I got sent the link to this video yesterday. It is part of the British Cycling campaign working with Barclays to get a million more women in the UK making regular trips on bikes by 2020. I want this to happen but I wonder at times. Maybe it just feels extra hard at the moment because of our current never-ending winter weather. I have posted the video because it features Caz Catlin of the impressively stylish Cycle Chic website and blog London Cycle Chic. This woman had one of the first UK based bike blogs giving advice to women about cycling without the lycra. When it comes to having courage to get on the bike it was bloggers like Caz not sports women like Victoria Pendleton that tipped it for me. I have been looking at the Cycle Chic site and I am tempted to buy a helmet.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Ankle Boots - Dune

The weather is still so dull, and cold in London. No one can believe it that April starts this weekend and we are expecting more, yes more cold weather. There has been a rash of unexpected bargains in shoe departments and I have brought another pair, of ankle boots this time from Dune, although I am not sure if these are shoe boots. With this weather it will be boots, boots and more boots until the summer. I have not brought shoes from Dune before. Not one of the usual shoe shops that I visit. But they have now just gone into the top five. Although I will wait again until the sale before making another visit. These black suede boots have been waterproofed. They come with a thin rubber sole which give them a very good grip on the bike pedals and a bounce when I walk. The day after I took this photo last Thursday I sprained my ankle while coming down stairs. So I will be off the bikes for a couple weeks while I heal.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Ankle Boots - Gap

I have fallen in love with ankle boots. I especially love the boots that I can wear with a dress or with pants. The weather is still cold, very cold and I am tired of wearing long boots all the time. I was in GAP this week because I had a discount voucher and I saw this boots on sale for £40. Bargain. They are fine on the Brompton pedals but I will get a rubber sole put on for a better grip.

Friday, 8 February 2013

Happy Fifth Birthday

I can’t believe it. I have been cycling on my Brompton for five years! Here are my favourite posts from when I was just starting out. The one thing that has changed is the weather as when I got the Brompton in 2008 it was mostly a warm and dry early Spring.

The first day
The first time in the West End.
Feeling sore all over. 
Bike lessons.
First messenger bag
Shopping by bike.
Brompton basket.
Passing the cycling proficiency test.

The Brompton has held up very well.  There are now some small chips in the paint work on the forks but given the run of bad weather (snow, rain, road grit for frost) and the little attention I give the bike it not surprising.  Despite the small wheels it can take small potholes which again were unavoidable in London due to the endless road works we have had over the past five years.  I have only had to replace the old style foam seat which split after a year.  Not fit for purpose in my view and the new one is much much better.  And I got rid of the original dynamo lights which were temperamental and wore out the rear tyre.  I hear that the new lights are better but for me not really worth the extra cost.  Best of all in five years I have only had one flat tyre to deal with. 

It was a big expense at the time but truly worth it.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The shoes that got away

I have been looking at shoes in the sales and I would have brought both of these had they been in my size. The grey suede shoes were in Clarks and the black suede shoes were in New Look. Both were just one size too small and I am beyond buying shoes in the hope they will stretch. Ah well.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Stiff hinge

The Brompton has a stiff hinge and a stiff hinge clamp. I am hoping it just needs a little oil but I will be getting advice from Cycle Surgery when I next peddle by.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Cycling in the snow

The snow is back in London. It started on Friday morning and I took the Brompton into the West End because I knew there would be train cancellations on the way back and did not know how I would get home. In the end I managed to get on a train after a long wait. Cycling in light snow is fine as long as I wear my wrap around glasses so I can see. It has been snowing all day today and it is now too thick to cycle, so time to get out the wellington boots and walk until it melts.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Parking at the Supermarket

Because of the ongoing wet weather and a late start back to work I have not been on a bike until this week. I decided to pump up the Brompton tires to be on the safe side as I couldn’t recall the last time I did this. October? I realised that I had forgotten the tire pressure so it was a guess. I will look it up this weekend and I have two types of tires to consider. Had a speedy trip to Woolwich and parked at the newly opened large supermarket in the centre. I have mixed feelings about the parking spaces for bikes. 1. I am very pleased that there are two large designated areas for cyclists to park. 2. But they are underground in the car park and you have to watch out for drivers looking for spaces. 3. I like the design of the lock frames. 4 Not sure why they also did not put a few upstairs and just outside the front of store for quick trips. 5. They have allowed cyclist to ride right up to the store and there is a cycle paths to assist. Usually you are asked to dismount when there is a large pedestrian area. 6. The supermarket is open 24hr Monday to Saturday so if I feel the need for something in the middle of the night I can cycle down the road. My Brompton was the only bike in the bike park. Not sure if other local cyclists are aware of this new facility.