Archive for the ‘Cycling – My Bike Friday Tikit’ Category
Taken a while to edit this video. Stage One of the folding bike LEJOG: Land’s End to Bristol with quite a few unplanned diversions on the way
Just about ready to ready off to Lands End for this year’s Folding Bike Challenge. This handlebar shot shows:
- Non-matching brakes – following an emergency replacement of the front (LHS) set up following the SLX caliper starting to leak oil onto the rotor
- Handlebar mount for GoPro camera
- Rixen Kaul stem mount for map holder
- Cat Eye computer with nearly 1899 miles on the clock
Just got to spend a day on the train to the start now.
After the exertions of the past two days, it was downhill all the way – except for Iain and Graham who had stayed in Stanhope and so started the day with the climb up Crawleyside, Graham pinging out a spoke in the process. The route was exclusively off-road and there was plenty of time in the sunshine to take photographs
It may have been dry, but it was still cold – hence the condom look.
24 hours after ‘doing a Bimal’ the emergency services arrived and attended to his knee and then promptly took to sunbathing in the pub car park
Peter unfortunately suffered two punctures – the rough trails proving too much for the Dahon Speed Pro specific Schwalbe tyres. And then we were done -140 miles, 5 punctures and 2 broken spokes
Quotes of the trip:
John: ‘I ended up putting the GPS in my bag’
Graham: ‘There are many types of Dahon spokes’
Day two didn’t start too well. Graham had a broken spoke and then Bimal got a puncture. The first five miles took something like 90 minutes. Then it started raining and the road seriously started to go up. Half way up to Hartside, Martin got a rear wheel puncture – but previous rehearsals paid off and the Nexus hub was disconnected and the puncture fixed in good time. And the road kept going up.
By the time we reached the Hartside cafe I could ring the water out of my track mitts and beanie. An excellent rice pudding later and I can’t say I was keen to go out into the pouring rain. The descent to Garrigill was fast, cold and wet. By the time I was half way down I was shivering and the bike was shimmying like crazy, there was no alternative but to slow down and that meant I missed the most spectacular event of the day. Bimal approaching a T-junction at speed and seeing the dry stone wall opposite, took the risky decision to part company with the bike. Luckily it paid off and no great harm was done. The phrase ‘doing a Bimal’ entered our lexicon and he was not going to be allowed to forget it.
The rest of the day comprised a succession of damp tough climbs, hairy descents and extended coffee stops in Nenthead and Allenheads. Conditions felt pretty wintry.
Finally and spectacularly the sky cleared and the beauty of the North Pennines were revealed – deserted roads led onto Stanhope and Crawleyside – this final climb, a mere, 274metres high and rated 7/10 in the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs was the final straw. Coming at the end of a hard day it was sheer willpower which honked my Tikit to the summit and a blessed relief to waddle into the showers at the excellent Parkhead Station
One year on from the first Folding Bike Challenge and seven of the original crew found their rear wheels nervously dipped in the Irish Sea with 140 miles to go to the North Sea. 3 Bromptons (Iain with a kneecap-popping two speed, Bimal with a 3 speed and John with the somewhat more sensible 6 speed), 2 Dahons (Peter and Graham), a Ridgeback (Martin) and my Season Tikit. The weather was fine and a gentle tail wind pushed us onto the Whinlatter Pass, the major climb of the day.
However before we got there, it was time for a coffee break and a technology check.
Whinlatter is rated 5/10 in the 100 Greatest Cycling Climbs – but this refers to East-West climb and it is easy to see why from the profile. From the West the gradient is really quite tame towards the summit.
Keswick provided an opportunity to buy a beanie at the Lakeland Pedlar, and refuel at their excellent vegetarian cafe. Leaving Keswick saw the group split in two, with Martin John and I climbing past Castlerigg Stone Circle
Regrouping at the Troutbeck Inn, we then made the classic mistake. Martin and I powered onto Penrith assuming the group was all behind us. In fact John was between us and following group and when he took the wrong turning was cut adrift and didn’t arrive in Penrith until an hour after the group.
I got my Tikit largely as an all weather low maintenance commuter. It has served this purpose pretty well over the last 18 months, but it has been to the LBS more frequently than I anticipated. The latest visit was to sort out the front disc brake – one of the pads had stuck, dramatically reducing the stopping power – not something you want if you are going to be riding hilly roads in a group. Anyway, Chris has sorted it now and I have the panniers in place – two Ortlieb Front Rollers which fit sufficiently far back to give good heel clearance. I like the way they are low down, but have yet to ride with the panniers stuffed.
My form hasn’t been brilliant recently, a DNS for the Phil Liggett Challenge and too few rides to work. Other members of the C2C group have no doubt been training harder – one apparently with 15 lb of Millstone Grit in the panniers!
One year on from the first Folding Bike Challenge and seven of us are nervously preparing for a new challenge. Next Friday (17/09) we will be gathering in Whitehaven to ride the C2C. On one level this is an easier challenge, being only 140 miles in 3 days. However, this time we are unsupported so will be carrying all our own gear. This is Peter’s set-up which weighs in at 18 Kg. I am aiming to put some front panniers on my Tikit rear rack.
Then there is the small problem of the hills, here’s the profile for day one
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.
The Planet Bike front mudguard that comes as standard on the Tikit is fixed to the bike in only one place, on the fork crown. The short forks combined with small wheels send shocks to the fork crown and the mudguard has a tendency to vibrate. In my experience this has led to two mudguards dropping off while riding along. Without a front mudguard spray hits the bottom bracket area (and the lower half of the rider). So I took the bike Chris at Tony Butterworths and asked him to do his best. And his best turns out to be pretty damn fantastic. Using a standard SKS mudguard, the fixing point on the right hand side is the only fixing which is standard. At the crown he fixed the new mudguard to the remaining tab of the Planet Bike mount. This has the advantage of ensuring that the mudguard can be fitted and removed without risking the need to reset the headset.
On the left hand side he shaped the stay so it clears the disk mechanism.
Nice! I’m pretty confident this set up should last.