Thursday, 20 August 2015

Review: Sigma Brake Stop Light

I heard about this brake light though the London Brompton Club and thought I’d give it a go.

The tiny efficient BRAKELIGHT is suitable for all mechanical cable operated brakes. The product is equipped with a Good visible Red LED and is operated by the brake lever on the handlebar.Mounting of the BRAKELIGHT is done by an Hex screw clamping onto the inner cable of the rear brake.Fitment is possible to almost all cable operated brakes. 
The Sigma Brakelight illuminates when the bike's brake calipers close together, alerting anyone nearby that your bike is about to brake.

Unlike my rear dynamo light that only lights up when the front wheel slows down. This could be a good thing especially if you have other riders behind you and want to give them a little more warning that you are slowing down and the rear dynamo may not register the braking til its too late.
Sigma Brake Stop Light

It’s actually quiet small.

The light is water-resistant and is attached using an Allen key to the rear brake cable between the two brake calipers. It is compatible with any cable-activated mechanical rear brake. When the calipers are squeezed together while braking, the device acts like a switch completing a circuit which turns on the LED.

The Brompton brake calipers are a different design to most other bicycle brake systems as the cable doesn't enter from the top of the caliper but from the bottom. So to fit on a Brompton you have to install the Sigma Brakelight upside down to the instructions given.
I am unsure if the water resistance accounts for this so I may put some tape over what is now the top of the light to ensure water doesn't get in and causes a short circuit.

Installed and ready for action

Here is a short video of the brake light in action.

Link here: E Bikes Direct on eBay
Also comes in green, blue & black (£9.99) with 1 X CR2032 battery.

til the next ride, bee safe…..

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Review: B017B Mini Front Bag for Brompton from Vincita

Vincita send me some of their bags to review for the Brompton.

First up is the B017B Mini Front Bag for the Brompton

Vincita B017B "Mini Front Bag"
"A stylish and fun bag designed especially for the Brompton. The main compartment is an ideal size for you to get around town. It comes with a concealable bracket (for Brompton front carrier block) and a removable shoulder strap for using when off bike. Rain cover is also included.
Available in 5 colours, red with white polka dot, black&white check, black spring, red spring and chocolate spring."
  • Width 280 mm 
  • Height 250 mm 
  • Depth 125 mm
  • Volume 8 L
This small front bag is good for short day rides where you won't be needing alot of items to carry. I could get my spare set of cycling glasses, charger pack, a few energy bars, wallet, keys etc.

It clips in with ease into the Brompton front block just like any other Brompton specific bag.
This bag isn't fully waterproof on its own but it comes with its waterproof/showerproof cover. I personally don't think this cover would be up to the job of a heavy down pour but should be enough for light showers. Also comes with a easy removable shoulder strap.

Waterproof/showerproof cover
There is a small inside pocket to put keys, money or credit cards with a nice zip to keep everything together.

Inner pocket
It also has a small outside pocket with a zip

Outer pocket
The mounting bracket on this front bag is made out of metal which means its not as bulky as the plastic ones on the Mini O Bag.

Luckily Vincita have thought about this & built in cover for the mount with this cool little flap which tucks into its own pocket.

Flap designed to cover metal mounting plate
This is useful for when you use the shoulder strap so you don't hurt yourself with the metal edges, even though they are not sharp they could still do some damage.

Mounting plated covered
The biggest differences I found when comparing to the Brompton "Mini O" Bag is that this opens at the front not like the Mini O Bag that opens from the rear. I found this a little tricky at first but didn't take long to get used to it and its snap buckle.

Felt smaller to me than the Brompton Mini  O bag but it could be the dimensions are slightly different.
Vincita B017B Dimension - 280w x 250h x 125d (weights in at 958grams)
Brompton Mini O Bag Dimensions – 280w x 270h x 180d (weights 776grams)

Took me awhile to get used to it opening this way, I've had my Mini O Bag so long it seems second nature for it to open towards me.

Real World Test:

Mounted when B folded

On a recent ride it seemed to cope quiet well. Only problem I found was that the bottom of the bag would rest on top of my SON Edelux II LED Headlight and actually turn the switch. I could adjust my headlight so it doesn't rest on the light or bend the metal mounting plate of the bag but something to look out for. So if you have a headlight mounted under the Brompton block do check to make sure the bag is not going to rub on it which would make steering difficult.

Resting on the SON Edelux II LED Headlight 

Where the headlight rubbed :(
Overall it's a decent front bag for your Brompton. Not fully waterproof like Brompton's Mini O Bag & comes in different colors and patterns.

Can order yours direct here from Vincita Website: B017B Mini Front Bag for the Brompton for $94 USD (at time of posting)

till the next ride, bee safe.....

Monday, 17 August 2015

Surprises at the London Bikeathon 2015

We did this charity ride last year and was looking forward to doing it again.
There are only 2 routes this year a 26 mile & 52 mile route. We choose to do the 52 mile route as the legend and I are pretty comfortable doing 52 miles these days.

26 mile route kept you in and around central London’s landmarks and would make good photography backdrops as well as exploring this great city.

26 Mile Route

52 Mile route took in most of the same landmarks as the 26 mile one but then went further towards Richmond Park to the west before returning back to the start at Brunswick Square Gardens.

52 Mile Route

With the legend all cleaned and oiled up ready to go we left for the starting point. As always a few of my cycling buddies where there on this ride and arranged to go with the ones that where doing 52 mile route.

PAD: 15th August 2015

Arrived 10mins late for the official start time but my friends waited up for me. This wasn’t a race or anything it was just going to be an enjoyable ride with my crazy cycling friends as always.

Winding our way though London never gets old for me as there is always a change somewhere along the way or another path to take.

Big or small wheeled bikes we was cycling for a great cause and enjoying what our city has to offer in great weather.

Came across a few places we have been on with other London Brompton Club rides of the past.
After just 11 miles or so we came across out first pitstop at King Edward Memorial Park. As always on these rides there are many volunteers and even the odd bike maintenance guy giving help, advise and fixing simple mechanical problems you may have. Some cyclist’s this may be their first time on a ride like this and may have only ever just commuted to and from work. All those little niggling problems you may have had someone could have a quick look. It could be something really simple that just needed adjusting if they could they will fix it right there or at least advise you where to take it to get seen to properly.

This is when Samantha decided to give me a present she has been working on for me. I’ve been admiring her cycling caps and bags etc for her Brompton for quiet sometime and I had asked when she had some time if she could make me a “bespoke” cycling cap with black and yellow stripes.
I didn’t think she would be able to find the material but she did and made this awesome cycling cap with matching bow tie too.
I can tell you how honoured I was to receive such a gift from Samantha and I completely LOVE it! I almost wished I didn't have a helmet on so I could show it off more.

Bespoke Bee cap

It was good to see so many riding with the cycle official jersey on and I made a metal note to try and buy myself one at the end of the ride if they where available.

The forever smiling Jenny and fellow yellow Brompton.

Jenny making it look easy

Doing the 52 mile route we turned westward towards Richmond Park & the 26 mile route circled back towards Brunswick Square Gardens.
This is the place to do some serious training and always many cyclist in and around the park. There is also quiet alot of deer running freely around so you have to keep an eye out. Even with all the traffic moving around the deer's are so used to it they just keep doing whatever deer's do.

Not long after entering Richmond Park, I was hearing some very odd noises. I thought it was someone else's bike or a car with a problem then O hear an almighty bang and the rear of BBB shaking for about 3 seconds and then nothing. I thought my rear wheel had an explosive puncture or worse the hub gear and self destructed.

I had recently replaced my rear mudguard with a new black one and turned out the small wheel that goes on top of the mudguard had come loose and fallen off. Part of this goes on inside of the mudguard and this was what made all the noise as it came off between the tire and guard.

Managed to retrieve the small wheel and the bend holding plate but the nuts and bolts where gone.

Luckily this wasn’t a fatal failure and BBB could still be ridden as the mudguard just rested on the stays. I had to more care when putting BBB in “parking” mode as the mudguard will now rest directly on the ground and no on the small wheel.

While stopped at Cafe Roehampton Gate, in Richmond Park which was our just over half way point we had something to eat and toilet break.

One of Samantha’s friends wanted to try out a Brompton and I think he liked it ALOT, even pulled off a “wheelie”

After leaving Cafe Roehampton Gate we went though Richmond Park to the other side. There was a big hill just after this so I knew I would probably be walking it, which I did but I noticed I seem to get up it a little more than I have in previous attempts.

It was now just a hard final push to finish this ride off as I was starting to feel a headache coming on as I hadn't eaten enough proper food & didn’t want to stop. Note to self to bring some savoury sandwiches and not just jam & cereal type bars.

Once we was coming into London again I felt a little better but knew I had to have some serious food when we finished and was already thinking of where and what to eat.

Getting to Brunswick Square Gardens I could see the volunteers smiling, slapping and directing us to the start/finish line. I looked down at my Garmin and saw that the ride was actually 49 miles and not the official 52.

Crossed the line and received my medal although the same as last years one still love it just the same.

Another medal for the Legend
Took on some more water and a few snacks but needed some proper food and quickly as my headache was started to get a little worse.

We found a little place not to far from the park called the “The King of Falafel” which did a great little dish of the day. I had the chicken & trust me it tasted great and was EXACTLY what I needed.

About 10mins after eating this great meal my headache was all but gone.

It was a great ride with my cycling buddies and cant thank them enough esp Samantha for my new cap and bow tie. I can see other people wanting her services to make bespoke stuff for them.

Just before I left I asked after the cycling jerseys as I have said that for all the rides I go on that I will try and get a cycling jersey if they where available. Luckily they did have some to buy and got myself one at cheaper price as the charity is changing its name next month.

From Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research, which is abit of a mouthful tbh to BloodWise. With this they will be completely rebranding the charity with new design website, logos and other merchandise. So these cycling jerseys could become collectors items in the future :D

Another great ride, with wonderful people, weather and location. If you find any charity rides in your city please support it as best you can by riding and/or getting donations. Even more so if you have been effected in some way.

Here is our ride data as always

till the next ride, bee safe.....