Archive for the ‘Brompton’ tag
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!
And so to Paris. The final day was a ride of three halves. Cold and windy to start, followed by warm and hilly and then a relaxed descent into Paris with bells dinging and observers either waving or muttering ‘Ils sont malades’ under their breath.
Friday was intended to be an easy day. A late start with a photocall for the local press and then a relatively flat 50 mile ride to Chartres. It was not to be. Read the rest of this entry »
My Alfine Tikit arrived yesterday. Superbly packaged, it was out of the box and assembled within an hour. It looks the business. The disc brakes will no doubt take a little care getting used to as they seem mega powerful. Tomorrow I may get a chance to get a quick ride although as luck would have it I am working this weekend at the Focus on Imaging show. Just when the weather turns warm, still I will get to spend some time with Jose Navarro whose photography I love (check out ‘Across Mali on a bicycle‘)
Anyway the main observation for today is that the Tikit arrived with a bill from Revenue and Customs, not for 15% VAT but what appears to be 47%. Now I don’t mind paying taxes, that how we can afford an NHS for goodness sake. But 47%? It appears I am not the only one to notice and it seems quite a few cyclists have asked Gordon Brown if he might do something about it. And it seems Gordon would love to, just that he can’t. Over to you Gordon to explain why
Hmm, well British jobs for British workers then Gordon, at least for the time being. The trouble is I personally do not mind whether the worker who builds my bike lives in the UK, the US, Taiwan or Italy. I do rather care that he or she works in a safe environment and gets a decent wage. And I am not sure how taxing bicycles helps.
In the meantime, it would appear the best way to import a folding bike rather than ride a Brompton would be to fly out, ride it around a bit to get a bit of dirt on it, fold it up and fly home as if you have had it for ages.
[Combing my hair warning: The last suggestion is illegal]
[Combing my hair warning: The last suggestion would rather defeat the carbon dioxide objective which may be why your are cycling rather than driving.]