Archive for the ‘Cycling – Bromptoneering’ Category
I’m grateful to John Bibby for alerting me to this video. I like the idea of microadventures. It strikes me as a great way to combine the challenge of an adventure without all the expense and environmental impact of long-haul flights etc. It may be a sign of advancing age but I have never been convinced that a gap year in New Zealand represents more of a challenge than a month’s Inter-railing and what this shows is that the challenge can be found even closer to home. That said, I think that there was probably a lot more planning that went into this trip than the video reveals – crossing the sounds in an inflatable boat is probably only advisable at certain points in the tides for example.
Here’s how to microadventure
The objective was simple, to win the Veterans’ team Prize for the Barnsley Hospice. The plan? Well there arguably wasn’t a plan. But the video shows it all. The nutrition, the target setting, the team equipment, the team presentation, the pre-race nerves and tactics discussions. And then the race itself….
Have got my Brompton up and running and am now officially in training for the World Championships. I am riding for the Barnsley Hospice A Team. It has not been explained to me whether the ‘A’ stands for Ancient or Ace. If you feel so inclined you can find more about the team and sponsor us here
One of the things I so like about riding a bike is that it is a personal experience but at the same time inherently sociable in a way that driving a car never could be. Arriving at Sheffield Station yesterday morning I was asked by another cyclist what I thought about the Brompton. Tim, a fellow member of Cycle Sheffield, told me he was thinking about getting a folding bike and had narrowed it down to a Brompton or a Bike Friday Tikit and what did I think?
Now given I have two and a half years of riding Tikits and over 2000 miles in the legs and one afternoon (25 miles) and yesterday (8 miles) on the Brompton there is no way I could make an even handed comparison, but I have already spotted a number of differences, advantages and disadvantages.
Focusing on the positives:
Folds smaller and the head tube feels more secure than the hyperfold Tikit
Is potentially lighter than the lightest Tikit
Is less expensive than the Tikit (in the UK at least)
Folds faster (but there is not a lot in it) and doesn’t move the saddle height or alignment when it folds
Rides better – in part this is down to the fact it is available 3 sizes and the fact that you can adjust handlebar height and stem length to get an optimal position
Uses more standard components, so is more readily upgradable – the Tikit’s choice of 8 speed Alfine hub and 8 speed derailleur are markedly better than the Brompton 6 speed set up
Are these differences significant? On balance I favour the Tikit and if buying new today would probably go for the impulse fold (which uses a twiddly knob to secure the headtube) rather than the hyperfold. However if space was at a premium I could see a strong argument for the Brompton and if I lived somewhere flat(ish) I could understand the attractions of the Brompton 2 speed model. In the end however, if you are using a folding bike as a means of commuting, I believe it is reliability which trumps all other measures. And there, I cannot make direct comparisons at this stage.
It is not often that my day job in arts education and my interest in bikes overlaps, but on Friday it happened twice. Firstly, I was still musing on whether to buy a Brompton for the World Championships on eBay. The thing is – I really do not need the Brompton as an ongoing addition to my modern lifestyle - just need to get used to riding it, compete and then get off. The trouble was that while eBay seemed like the obvious answer I was worried about provenance. Familiar to art historians, provenance is basically, ‘is this what it claims to be?’ If I suddenly put what I claimed was a Picasso up for sale, it would be greeted with great skepticism. It would be down to me to prove that there was a history of the canvas going back to when Pablo gave it to his dealer. On eBay you tend to see lots of things that doubt the provenance of bikes up for sale – one obvious clue is when the bike is photographed in a public place rather than in the house or the back garden. Another is when there doesn’t seem to be any understanding on the part of the seller of the specialised nature of the bike. You can always ask questions, and honest sellers shouldn’t be upset. But if the answer to the obvious question ‘Do you have proof of purchase?’ comes back with a tale worthy of Tolkein, probably best to stay clear.
Helen Pidd has some useful advice on spotting stolen bikes for sale in her new book Bicycle: Love Your Bike: The Complete Guide To Everyday Cycling which I also received on Friday. And what should be on the title page? An illustration of a Brompton by Olivier Kugler who I hope my colleague Jane will be interviewing for our new Illustration course very soon. A small strange world.
As I say Helen’s book is useful, a great present for someone new to cycling. It is clearly from the cyclechic rather than lycrachic perspective, but none the worse for that. Just one thing – 16 inch wheels do not mean you have to pedal faster (p26) – it’s a gear thing Helen.
BTW the way one thing eBay is very good for is vintage bike parts, so if you want some 1990 Campag Chorus brake callipers you know where to go – and I still have the receipt!
I’ve signed up for the World Championships, I’ll be riding in the Barnsley Hospice A team. This sounds good but I think the ‘A’ stands for ancient.
There will five of us and timing is on the third rider, so we can afford to drop two riders. As I have learnt to my cost, team time trialling on a folding bike requires concentration and a knowledge of the fellow riders, so I have been trying to pick up tips from this video (and failing). Meanwhile there is just one small problem, the absence of a Brompton. The plan is to buy one from eBay and then to sell it afterwards, thus keeping the costs down. We’ll see.