Sunday 24 February 2013

Event: LBC Richmond Park Social

Today was WICKED cold, my Garmin registered 0C but with the wind it was definitely colder, but we Brompton Riders are BAD ASSES. Met up at Costa Coffee right next to Richmond Station. Met up with everyone and a little chat with a few and then off to Richmond. While we was there Mick B was there but still suffering from a flu/cold bug so couldn't ride but still good of him to come down and send us on our way.

Off we went with our Master Navigator David P with his best buddy the Garmin Edge 800 that his just got himself. Our short stop was the great looking Richmond Bridge

Richmond Bridge over the River Thames
While on this ride Andy L offered me his M6L with reduced chainring set to have a go at the Hills in Richmond Park. I have been playing with the idea of getting reduced gearing for The Legend ever since the LBC Ride: London to Cambridge. I made a lot of mistakes but one that I couldn't do anything about was Bumble B's gears. With only 3 gears it can be pretty hard to get up some of the big hills and getting more gears could help me in this. So as soon as we entered Richmond Park there was a hill which I tested out Andy L's 6 gears & reduced chainring. I have to say I felt a HUGE difference and felt I could go up the hills much easier.

Cute little Brompton Bicycle Badge/Pin
That convinced me to definitely looking onto getting a conversion kit for The Legend to get him 6 gears which would mean, new rear wheel, gear cables, gear lever, de-railor and probably some other bits. I've heard there is a conversion kit but seems to be hard to nail down.

What would be perfect for me is if I could get the new 2013 rear wheel as they are a better design. I've fired off an afew emails explained the situation and see what happens. *fingers crossed*

After the first hill Andy L pretty wisely wanted to swap back over but he was honoured to have ridden The Legend, as he should be :P I don't let many people ride him if ever most of the time.

With this route in Richmond Park we went though a few of the dirt tracks which me and my partner in crime Mr. OrangeBrompton normally stick to the roads. I have to say that riding on the dirt tracks took me back to my childhood days of riding my Super Tuff Burner by Rayleigh  (Black & Gold BMX) tearing though the forest land and I damn well LOVED IT!. Much more fun than the roads and alot less cars to deal with. But then we had to use our ninja skills in avoiding the many runners, mountain bikers, dog walkers, families etc.

After this there was a major incline in which I'm afraid I had to get off and walk up as my first gear was just too hard for me to pedal up. If I was in doubt before about upgrading Bumble B's gears this just about made up my mind to find out what I need to do. I'm not sure if I will do it myself (with assistants) or let someone more professional do it.

Anyway back to the ride. After doing I think about a circuit a few of the others called it a day. Me, David P & OrangeBrompton made our way towards Richmond Station but made a little detour to Nightingale Road. I'm not going to kid you we was at the top so we went down and its a pretty shot but STEEP hill. I've heard this hill mentioned a few times but some of the LBC nutters about going up it. Yes dear reader we got down to the bottom but Mr. OrangeBrompton suggested we go up it to see if we could. Well it was a no brainer for me NOT to do it, I have trouble enough with the hills in Richmond Park let alone this infamous "little hill"
David P was still recovering from a bug so it was left to Mr.OrangeBrompton do have at it

OrangeBrompton returning with a smile
 Looking at the big smile on Mr. OrangeBrompton's face I think he enjoyed going up this hill. I think in time I shall do the same. Probably after I've upgraded The Legend's gears to 6 speed.

Me and The Legend waiting at the bottom. We shall return
I have to say I felt much better and much stronger in Richmond Park today. I tried to keep my cadence up as much as I could which is what I'm trying to do most of the time as I can feel a huge difference in my cycling in general. I got a few more areas to work on but I'm feeling a difference and its in the right direction >:D

Below is the data collected by my Garmin Edge 800.

Oh and if you look closely its like a heart

Saturday 23 February 2013

Review:Park Tool Home Mechanic Repair Stand

Using proper equipment for maintaining Bumble B has taken a big leap forward tonight. Using a proper bike repair stand to work on him at the maintenance session last week I found how much easier it was to do and makes me feel more confident on doing more complex tasks. Only thing I don't like is that its blue. I shall be assimilating it when I get the chance don't you worry dear readers, it won't be blue for long.

Damn you LBC Maintenance Session & Ealing Bike Hub :P

Park Tools PCS10

Park Tools Tool holder & Bowl

Keeping a good hold on "The Legend!"

Perfectly held for repairs & cleaning
I love it but I think I will need to get a few more better tools to work properly. Atleast this folds up pretty small to.
Park Tools PCS10 folded for storage

Amazon for £89.99

Sunday 17 February 2013

Getting dirty with London Brompton Club

Today was the day that I would attend the LBC Maintenance Session at Ealing Bike Hub's workshops near Greenford. I have been to a Brompton Workshop before where I learned quiet alot, but this time I didn't get lost and turned up good for time.

Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session
Class in session
The Legend all clamped up ready to go. At this session I wanted to change ALL my cables and have a good look at the gear hub.

Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session
The Legend all clamped up
I see another purchase of one of these bike stands Park Tools PCS-10 so much easier to work on The Legend.

The next few shots are of various advance  processes or different repairs/replacement parts & tools needed .
Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session
Removing the crank arm with special tool

Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session
Moving onto the headset
Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session
Headset removal and re-greasing

Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session
Matching dust caps ;)
We're not always serious :P
Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session

PAD: 17th February 2013
Does my butt look big on this?

Unique LBC Brompton Maintenance Session

Unique LBC Brompton Maintence Session
David trying to improve his balancing skills

Unique LBC Brompton Maintenance Session
Me receiving the prise for Fastest Unfold & Fold in 24.5secs

Unique LBC Brompton Maintenance Session
Getting dirty with The Legend's 3 Speed hub

I would like to thank David E & Michael (Hub Wizard) B & The Ealing Bike Hub for taking the time and effort for letting members of the LBC have an awesome LBC Maintenance Class. As well as David P for organizing everything else too and ofcourse everyone that managed to come along and make it an enjoyable but dirty oily day.

With all the rides quiet a few of us have planned we really do need to make sure our Steel/titanium steeds are in tip top condition.

Saturday 16 February 2013

Event: iBikeLDN Love2Ride with The Legend

For the first time in a good long while I've been out on The Legend. Just didn't feel the need to even after the snow had melted.

Well the crazy folks at iBikeLDN thought up another ride but this time in South London.

As always for the iBikeLDN rides we met up in Hyde Park. according to the Facebook event there would be just over 100 people attending the event and it sure looked it.

May quiet a few Bromptons and a few new faces to the fold as well.

In no time at all we all started off around Hyde Park.

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
Changing of the Guard

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
Horse Guard's Parade

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
Anna & David posing for photos

We then headed off South of The River Thames. We ended up near Portobello Road Market where there is an alley way where graffiti artists paint walls with some crazy and creative artwork.
iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
The Legend is a moving piece of art

Our next big stop was the Imperial War Museum, started to get a little cold at this point as we where there for quiet a long time. Another layer needed next time I think.
iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
Imperial War Museum

I heard though the grapevine that someone who had ran with the Olympic Touch had brought it would them. Everyone made sure they had a photo with The Touch
iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
The Legend with the Olympic Touch

Another surprise on the route was this WWII Russian Tank painted white

The basic story was that a father bought this tank for his son but the council said he couldn't put a tank on his own land. I guess he really showed them. The barrel is pointing towards the Town Hall LOL.
iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
WWII White Russian Tank

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012

The next surprise was this awesome restored Windmill. I have to say I was pretty surprised to see this sitting there.
iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012

We then headed off to Battersea Park. With the open park a few of us managed to get abit of a good fast ride on. Afterwards we went though the Brompton Cemetery. I'd always heard about it but never been.

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012

iBikeLDN: Love2Ride 2012
After the cemetery the end of the ride was  the Builder's Arms in Kensington. I didn't stay long as I was starting to get cold and needed to start heading back to My Hive.

Another good ride and the biggest this year, people wise.

Thank you iBikeLDN folks, you did a goo job with so many. Can't wait for the next iBikeLDN ride

Also managed to use my new Carradice Barley saddlebag which I have to say is awesome. It's HUGE and I had just about everything inside it needed for a big ride. Review on that soon...

As always my Garmin Edge 800 Data below.

Friday 15 February 2013

Die Dust Caps

Mark Woollard of the London Brompton Club had got some awesome colour coordinated dust caps for his Brompton. How could I not get a set or 2 ok 3 for The Legend.

Yellow Die with Black spots
Black Die with Yellow Spots
Transparent Yellow Die with White Spots
Now I just don't know which to put on, too much choice >:D

PAD: 14th February 2013
The Legend's new colour coordinated Dust caps

Wednesday 13 February 2013

Training using Cadence

Earlier today I decided to try and do some Cadence training. I used my normal commuting route to work as a test of sorts.

I basically ride to work in my lowest gear (1st) on The Legend (Standard 2009 M3L)

After the initial 5 mins or so I felt my legs get into a good rhythm and tried to keep my cadence around the 80 - 85 rpm mark. There are a few slight hills on my commute which I normally feel but this time I didn't feel it so much as I have in the past. Maybe cause I was wearing my proper cycling gear and no heavy O Bag at the front weighting me down but still it felt good. Normally I would be wearing my work uniform and my O Bag at the front with other work bits in. I thought for sure it would take me slighting longer to do my commute but when I looked at the time its roughly the same as my average commuting time.

Home >Work
Distance: 5.13miles
Time: 27:58
Avg Bike Cadence: 79 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 96 rpm

Work > Home
Distance: 5.34miles
Time: 29:07
Avg Bike Cadence: 79 rpm
Max Bike Cadence: 106 rpm 

Not too bad I guess, in time I hope I will improve my cadence to around the 90rpm at a regular basis. One thing I have noticed when I was "spinning" is that kinda bounce up when I'm just about to go on the down stroke. This to me tells me that I'm starting to "push" down a little too early cause I'm pushing my body upwards and wasting energy instead of putting it though my legs, to the pedals, to the wheels & onto the road. I've been watching a few cycling videos of riders and I haven't seen this. 
Also notice that my shoulders rock from side to side more than anyone else as well which I'm thinking is also wasting energy. Now that I have seen my current riding style on video I got a better idea on what I need to work on to improve. I need to do alot more prolonged straight cycling on a track of some sort or maybe a cycling machine which I have been looking into. Then I don't have to worry about traffic and needing to stop. I'm thinking once I get my pedalling style down and second nature everything else will become easier and my overall cycling will improve. I'm going to be basically starting from  the begining and re training my body to be more energy efficient.
I'm excited as its like I've been blindfolded. Suddenly now I can see everything and see how it all falls into place.

While I was near my work place I went to my local bike shop and had a look at the Carradice Barley Saddlebag which is 7ltr which is 3.5 times bigger than my Carradice Zipped Roll Bag. As I've been reading on other blogs and my own experiences having a small bag when on day rides would be of great benefit instead of having my HUGE Brompton O Bag. Don't get me wrong I love my O Bag and very glad I purchased it but for the full on major rides I have planned for 2013 I can see it being more of a hindrance than a benefit. I love my Carradice Zipped Roll bag but its just not big enough to hold everything for a full day of riding.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

The Ultimate Saddle?

Over the last couple of hours my cycling partner in crime Mr. OrangeBrompton has posted about his Brooks B17 Mandarin Saddle he just got for his new Brompton currently on order. I've never really thought about the saddle on The Legend to much but after a few comments people have been saying about Brooks saddles I'm considering it.

I have been searching though the Brooks website looking at their saddles and I spotted these bad boys.

Brooks B17 Standard "Ochre"
Brooks B17 Standard "Black"

Also saw on the Brooks website it mentions "custom colour service" regarding saddles so maybe look into that some more. If the Ochre colour isn't a good match for Brompton's yellow maybe ask for something closer to it or maybe even be completely bonkers and get a black and yellow striped Brooks saddle?

I have to say I'm abit taken with the Ochre coloured one but been warned that the colour doesn't always stay as good after time. Dirty, grease, grime, etc would probably make it darker in time, just have to look after it.

Monday 11 February 2013

Review: The BXC Hidden Magnet for Cadence Sensors

Not so long ago I decided install my Garmin GSC 10 Cadence/Speed sensor that came with my Garmin Edge 800 with Heart Rate, Cadence & Full European Road Mapping.

Until recently I had only used the basic unit and the European City Maps. After the LBC: London to Cambridge Ride and talking with a few other cyclist I thought it would be time for me to up my training and strengthen my overall cycling. To this end I installed the Cadence Sensor which uses a magnet attached to the crank/pedal. The Garmin magnet is a big huge thing compared to the BXC Magnet.
BXC Hidden Magnet & Garmin GSC 10 Magnet

This is how I installed the Garmin GSC 10 Magnet on The Legend's crank arm. It has a sticky back but it didn't feel very sticky to me so I made sure it wasn't going to get lost by putting a zip tie around it.
Garmin GSC 10 Magnet

Garmin GSC 10 Magnet
With the BXC because its a very strong magnet I didn't need to use zip tie to keep it on.

BXC Hidden Magnet

BXC Hidden Magnet
I've used this indoors for now as the weather in the UK is pretty bad, as I type this it has been snowing. I shall update this review if anything changes regarding this magnet when I've been on a ride but I got a feeling this thing won't move, let alone fall off any time soon. On the information on the link below it says there is a strong force of attraction equal to about 2kg and should resist the pressure of a jet wash. Hell I needed a screw driver to get it off when I tried to remove it. It's THAT strong.

The BXC is available in Silver & Black

Link: BXC Hidden Magnet for Cadence

Thanks to Macro Bartalini for the BXC Hidden Magnet Sensor for review

Saturday 9 February 2013

Free Mapping on the Garmin Edge 800

Yesterday a member (David P LBC's path finding wizard) of the LBC group made a posting about Garmin Edge 800 and using free OSM maps. I had always wanted to put different more detailed maps on my Garmin but always found the sites I looked at very complex to do so it put me off.

I read David's posting then followed the yourtube video he had found. Followed the instructions and it was all done within 8mins (most of that was just copying over the file to a microSD card)

Do a search for website "talkytoaster" (should be the first thing to come up on your search) to download the maps & follow the video instructions below. (Video tells you exactly which file to download from talkytoaster)

Here is a couple of screen grabs of my Garmin's screen with the different maps. 

City Maps
OSM Maps

City Maps
OSM Maps

My Tips:
  1. Copy the file to your MicroSD card though a card reader as it's much faster than doing it though the Garmin itself.
  2. Get a good quality (High Class) MicroSD card (I personally recommend Class 10 & 4Gb minimum)
    You probably won't fill it all unless you intend on using ALL the OSM maps for the whole planet at once