Sunday, 19 October 2014

North Kent coast with the LBC

There is something to be said for going on a multi modal trip. Cycling to a main line station to catch a train to unexplored lands is always exciting for me. I have to also say I do enjoy heading to Britain's coast line. There is something about heading to the seaside that I just love. Can never get far by walking but on a Brompton well you have the whole coastline and there are always cycle lanes etc all around too.

Meeting up with Luka G, Graham P, David P, Anne M & my cycling partner Mr. Orange we boarded our trains having got our prepaid tickets at Victoria Station.

Just meeting up with the gang. Oh look it's the #sonxs & #sonedeluxii club

As always on these train journeys we managed to have a good chat about our up and coming rides this time its the St. Crispin's Day Night ride next week. This will be my first 100 mile ride and I'm looking forward to it as well as a little scared at the same time. But with my cycling buddies it will be fun none the less.

In the train to Faversham with @orangebrompton, David P, Anne M, Luka G & Graham P

We arrived dead on time at Faversham Station and was met my 2 local LBC members, Ivo & John +1 who I hadn't met before.

  Greetings to the locals and off we went winding out way out of the town.

Not long after we hit the open road with the weather being so good we all started to strip off a few layers.

Quick stop to strip off some layers. #lbclub #bromptonbicycle #urban

on our way to Whistable we passed a couple of touring tourist, maybe German couldn't tell who we all said hello to as we whizzed passed. They seem to be in no rush to get anywhere & they where loaded with just about everything.

Loaded for the long haul

While we was heading into Whistable I started to recognised a few landmarks. Last time I was this way was on a Friday Night Ride To The Coast ride long ago. This time though I hadn't been riding though out the night from London and was able to enjoy the scenery abit more.

Finally we came up to the Whistable itself and came across the port market were we regrouped.

Lovely scenery

Port Market

Family Photo?

My kin folk >:)

I would have bought a couple but I didn't have any where safe to put them while I was riding as we still had  quiet a number of miles to go yet. But I took it as a omen, good or bad I'm not sure yet as I would find out later on.

Right by the #sea. #bromptonbicycle #urban #seaside
BBB enjoying the sea air.

Just after I took this shot BBB fell over due to the wind. No biggie but then just as I was abotu to cycle off I found BBB's chain had come off and was caught between the rear triangle in a odd position. Took me ages to get the chain in the right position and ended up with very oily hands. Must remember to pack baby wipes or something that I can use to wipe oil off quickly.

In the distance you and just about see our next stopping point. A crumbling church at Reculver called "St Mary's Church"

St Mary's Church in the distance
Heading St. Mary's Church

The legend at the ruins of St. Mary's Church
Now this is where the fun begins.

After the church it was a long haul towards Margate. We cycled along a long VERY exposed wall road. Being on the coast it was pretty damn windy. Lucky it wasn't a full on head wind blew from the side so I found myself at times leaning into the wind.

Exposed pathway

We made it to just outside Margate where we decided to have lunch at a cafe. With the wind we had gone though it would take us a good few hrs to get back to Faversham.

Rest stop & munchies. #food #hotchocolate #ketchup

I did have a pretty good Lasagne and Chips. The weather was so good that there was alot of people here most of which where eating on the tables outside.

After out lunch stop we headed back to Faversham back across the exposed walkway. Again the wind was hitting us sideways but we just powered on though it.

As we got into town we stopped off for some well earned ice cream at a local ice cream parlour.

Won't be a proper trip to the #seaside without having a icecream now would it.
Rum & Raisin Ice Cream

Like they say, you can't go to a seaside town and not have an ice cream no matter the weather. It wasn't long till we heading back to the station to catch our trains home. We was very lucky with the weather as on our way back we could see it starting to get cloudy in the distance.

Another great ride with my Brompton buddies and extra thank you to Andy L for recommending it and David P for is awesome guidance. Catch our trains home we said goodbyes to Ivo, John & friend. On the train back to London I was remembering to keep stretching as best I could, I even had a little nap. It had been a long but enjoyable day of cycling.

Now my mind is thinking to next weekend when we shall be attempting out first 100 mile ride, the St. Crispin's Day Night Ride.

Cycling Data: LBC Ride: North Kent Coast


Monday, 13 October 2014

"Let there be light", and at once there was light

With autumn arriving and the daylight hrs getting shorter and shorter my mind was turning to my lighting. Don't get me wrong I simply LOVE my CREE headlight but one a couple of occasions I forgot to charge the battery and found I had to commute with my backup flashers.

I always have atleast 2 sets of fully working lights on BBB just in case batteries run out on my main set but I always find a BIG difference in what I see and the way the traffic actually interact with me while riding.

With the big CREE headlight EVERYONE sees me coming and I have no problems with getting cut up by other traffic or people walking out infront of my just as I'm riding past. When riding with my back up flashers its a hell of a different story.

It wasn't a hard deciding which dynamo I was going go with anytime I have asked anyone about dynamos Schmidt's Original Nabendynamo (SON) has always been mentioned regarding there reliability and no maintenance.

With that I ordered up the new SON XS Brompton front wheel hub in silver and black. I could have got yellow but would have taken an age to get. Also ordered the SON Edelux II LED Headlight & Busch & Müller Toplight Line Plus dynamo LED-rear light brake light.

SON XS hub wheel, SON Edelux II LED Headlight (Gold) & B&M Toplight Line Plus
SON Edelux II LED Headlight

SONdelux XS

Fitting was easy, just replacing the light front wheel with this one, being a front wheel it was done within minutes. The longest part was swapping the Marathon tire and inner tube over.

When I was trying to install the Busch & Müller Toplight Line Plus dynamo LED-rear light brake light I realised I ordered the wrong one, the mounting is too wide for the Brompton's bracket. I got the 80mm version and not the 50mm which the Brompton bracket is so I will have to exchange it. Connecting the rear light is simple enough just a cable that the light comes with plugs directly into the Edelux II and controlled by it too.

PAD: 11th October 2014
All done

I have ridden with the SON XS hub and my greatest fear was that I would feel some resistance, but I'm happy to report I found it no different than before tbh. I have to get used to not being able to turn it off instantly using the switch as even when you turn it off the light stays on draining the charge from the inbuilt battery which takes about 4 minutes. In some situations like on a train station platforms this could be a problem as your not supposed to have any lights on the platform as the driver could confuse it for a signal. Luckily by the time you've entered the station and got to the platform is more than 4 mins and will be off. The B&M rear light also turns off as it is connected to the same circuit as the Edelux II so will turn off and on at the same time but also has its own off button too.

As of this posting I have actually used the light twice and I'm very pleased with this upgrade. Just need to get the rear light and it will be complete.

Looking forward to any night-time adventures with confidence knowing that BumbleB is ready to rock and roll at anytime, day or night :)

Quick video I just edited together.... Need to go somewhere proper dark to really show it off though.


Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Buzzing the Cotswolds with the LBC

Woke up feeling excited that I was going on yet another London Brompton Ride but this time we was heading northwards to the Cotswolds where we, the legend and I haven't been before.

I was dreading and excited about this ride cause it offered me something I hated but 2 things I loved.

Hills, cupcakes & brownies.

Made arrangements with Samantha S to meet up with James H who was driving to Charlbury Station from Kings Cross.

3 Brompton's & riders ready to go

When I was looking at the GPS profile that Dina & Rob had provided on their many recce rides I made the mistake of looking its profile. When looking at the profile you could see this ride was going to be a hilly and demanding one.

We arrived in plenty of time at Charlbury Station where everyone arrived by various means.

The first surprise, well for me was that Dina had made cupcakes for the ride and even a couple of extra special ones.

LBC is now fuelled by cupcakes
Legendary BBB cupcake
We wasn't expecting it at all,  well I was expecting cupcakes but a cupcake designed just for us. I decided to save mine till the end of the ride as a reward to myself.

The gathering of Bromptons
With everyone gathered and Rob & Dina giving a brief outline of the coming ride we set off from the station carpark in a classic LBC peloton. No matter how many times I go on a group ride, riding with other Bromptons there is something extra special. All basically the same bike but unique to each rider, even the bikes have personalities.

As soon as we exited the carpark we hit the first big hill, according to strava a "Category 4 Climb" according to strava.

Categories are determined by a number of factors (Strava)
  • have a gradient of at least 3%; and
  • achieve a score of 8,000 or higher (so 1km at 8%; 1.5km at 6%; 2km at 4% etc).
If the minimum criteria are met, climbs are classified according to the following points scale:
  • 8,000  or greater: Category 4
  • 16,000 or greater: Category 3
  • 32,000 or greater: Category 2
  • 64,000 or greater: Category 1
  • 80,000 or greater: Hors Catégorie
No matter how you look at it, its still going up dreaded hills on a Brompton but then the fun bit was going down the other side.

The trick is getting into the right gear from the very beginning of the hill, you may feel that your in the wrong gear as your "spinning" to fast but when the hill does hit your spinning will slow down as the incline takes hold and you will slow down but your cadence will be good. My normal cadence is around the 90's which I can keep going forever if need be.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it felt, I know I've been improving somewhat over the last few months but it always surprises me.

Me & Samantha getting to the top

With everyone hitting this hill and getting nicely warmed up we all stopped at the top started to strip off as it was turning out to be a very nice warm day.

Everyone stripping down
Banana's the fuel of cycling
The hills where coming thick and fast but this time I wasn't really bothered by them as much as I used to be. Yeah I rode up them slow but I RODE up them.

This time I decided to also take my InfraRed converted camera seeing we was gogint o be out in the countryside.


Onwards we go but after a couple of miles someone had a puncture at the back of the pack, we pulled over and waited knowing it would be fixed in no time.

 Only one puncture on this ride but it was all under control with seasoned Bromptoneers.

We came across a lovely little spot and decided to take a group shot not to far from where we was going to have lunch.

LBC group shot
There is always something really interesting to see on our rides.

A kindred spirit


The lunch stop (Church Hill Lodge, Bluewater Lodges) was about 10miles from the end of the ride and a lovely place it was too.

Mmmm yummy chicken breasts #lbclub #food #cyclefuel
Chicken Breasts with Tomato sauce & new potatoes
Lovely little lunch so I topped it off with dessert.

Mmm lemon tart and ice cream #food #cyclefuel #sweets
Lemon tart with Vanilla Ice Cream
Not long after leaving our lunch stop we turned a corner and found this great sign in stone.

PAD: 27th September 2014

Another short hold and another photo opportunity and things are starting to get a little silly.

As always Jenny enjoying herself

They go 2 by 2
and finally down to the towards the station.

After a good ride I was looking forward to my prize, The BBB cupcake and yummy it was too

The BumbleB cupcake by Dina. And yummy it was too. #lbclub #bromptonbicycle #food #caketime

Another good ride with the LBC, thanks to Dina & Rob for organizing and the yummy cupcakes & for everyone that had a chance to come along. I got a feeling cupcakes should be the main stay of future LBC rides ;)

Garmin Data of the ride: LBC Ride: Bromptons go wild in the Cotswolds