Sunday 31 March 2013

Going beyond the limit

After the #iBikeLDN East(er) Ride yesterday I was riding back to "The HiVE" when I could feel something odd under braking. I pulled over to check if something was caught in the wheels and discovered something so gruesome it brought a tear to my eye

My dear readers, the photos below are of a graphic nature you have been warned.
Worn out Rim
Serious wear
The gruesome sight

But do not fear, Bumble B may be a little poorly but he will be back on the road in no time and better than ever. This has just bought forward a series of upgrades I have been planning for the last few months.

I had been warned by my local bike shop when I had his rear cog and chain replaced just before the IG London Nocturne back in January that my rims will need replacing soon and to keep an eye on it especially the rear one.

Bumble B is 4 yrs old in June and that is a long time for rims to last on a small wheeled bike. I probably do more mileage than some riders I guess and I really push myself and Bumble B to the limit especial recently with my extra training for the rides I have coming up in the next few months.

We managed to limp home but he is totally out of action till I get his upgrades, hopefully sometime this week.

I have a big ride coming next Saturday 6th April (LBC Ride: London to Cambridge) and may not have all the parts needed for the full upgrade I have planned but he will be functional. I'll work something out one way or the other cause I have a major score to settle with this particular ride.

Don't worry dear readers he will still look just as awesome but he will be a different beast mechanically as I'm turning him into a M6L (3 speed to 6 speed)

Brompton Bumble B 2.0

Bumble B at the iBikeLDN East(er) Ride

Waking up VERY early in the morning all excited to be going to the iBikeLDN East(er) Ride around the east side of London.

All ready, fuelled up & Bumble B was oiled up and almost scratching at the door to get on the road. I wasn't sure if I was going to ride all the way to the meeting point at St. Paul's Cathedral, so we decided to head out early. 

With Bumble B fully serviced and oiled up he ran like a dream, he felt so good I just kept going all the way to St.Paul's Cathedral in quick time so I was a very early. In fact I was the first one there >:D
Bumble B close to St. Paul's Cathedral

After about 30mins I saw a few of the LBC rolling up, a good turn out for the LBC as always. Exchanged our welcomes as always and I finally got the meet my cycling partner's new Ti Orange Brompton.
A few of the LBC gang

St.Paul's Cathedral
iBikeLDN ride leaders calling everyone together for quick briefing in front of the Cathedral to the amusement of all the tourist in the around.

Saw a few other Bromptons & their riders that are not apart of the London Brompton Club and promptly invited them to the fold. One young lady even took a photo of Bumble B. He loves the attention.

The gathering
We headed off into the wilds of Central London passing though Guildhall, We actually did a few circuits. I think the tourist think we is pretty wacky and they are right, we are.

Bumble B showing off his new yellow leather mud flaps
Passing though central London we could see lots of building work going on. We passed The Pinnacle, The Shard, Lloyd's and probably lots of other buildings I don't know the names of.
Lots of construction going on in Central London's financial district
Anne P with some of new friends
Finally coming out of the city we rolled up towards The Tower of London & the Thames. One of the LBC's old haunting grounds on the LBC Triple Chaser. I think we maybe adding parts of the iBikeLDN Ride to this in future.
Gathering near Tower of London
We then continued on though a few parts of Docklands I haven't been to before. Stepping locks.

After going under the Thames at the Greenwich Tunnel

The Cutty Sark

Bumble B & Cutty Sark

Swing Bridge

Tower Bridge
Heading deeper into Docklands and some of the residential areas

Mr. Orange just can't stop admiring his new Brompton
Dockside views


We then started to head towards Canary Wharf. At one of the security check points one of the guards gave me a "High 5" as he saw us coming though. Probably made his boring bank holiday weekend a little less boring when 100 cyclist rolled by.
I just loved how these 2 columns are sitting almost like a portal to another dimension, in Docklands looking towards Canary Wharf in the back ground.
Canary Wharf

Bumble B making a new friend
Looking up The Thames

This was the end of the iBikeLDN at a pub called 'The Angle' & a very enjoyable ride it was. I always look forward to the iBikeLDN rides

Afterwards a few of us wanted to get something to eat so we headed off into the direction of Tower Bridge and ended up at a place called Cafe Rouge where we had well earned meal and talked alittle before heading back to our homes.
Earned a good rest

Nice and comfy
Me and OrangeBrompton finally headed towards Oxford Circus where I decided to head towards Tottenham Court Road Station as Oxford Circus was abit crazy with people.

While I was heading down New Oxford Street I made a gruesome discovery..........

Friday 29 March 2013

Mudflaps from Kettering Leather

Yesterday I had a delivery for Bumble B, a little surprise for him.

Today while overhauling him I put some new leather YELLOW mud-flaps on. I got this from  Jim Barret of Kettering Leather who works with leather and also a Brompton fan

Drilling out the rivet on rear mudguard
Installing the new mud-flaps was pretty easy, only thing was that I had to drill out the rivet on the rear mud guard. Came out pretty easy. As suggested by Jim B I put mud-flaps on with the wheels off. Makes it ALOT easier to get to the bolts on the inside edge of the mudguard blades to make sure they secured properly.
Rear mud flap

Front Mudflap
Front & rear Mudflaps
I have to say I'm liking the quality of the leather, I almost don't want them to get wet or dirty now they look so good.

You can also get leather top tube protector, handlebar /saddle  bags & hub shiners in different colours to match your Brompton. There is even a "bespoke" section for something unique you may have in mind. Check out the link below to order your leather for your Brompton.

Kettering Leather

The Bumble B Overhaul

Today I gave Bumble B a well earned overhaul & cleaning. It's been a tough week for the B as since All Night Monopoly Ride last weekend I haven't been able to do a proper maintenance cycle on him.
Since that ride the weather has been pretty crap. His had to deal with just about all the elements, wind, rain, icy snow, frost & salt on the roads too.

Today was his day for some TLC again

Cleaned up his rear cog, chain, crank-set, front hub & a surprise in another post.

As you can see from the photo below my front chain crank-set needs changing, the teeth look like they have been slightly "melted" in places.

As part of his major upgrade plan in the coming weeks I will be sourcing the new 2013 Brompton crank-set for him which has a replaceable chain-ring which needs no special tools to remove. The current one you have to remove the whole crank and arm, the 2013 version the ring itself is a separate and can be easily changed out.

Well worn crankset
Then I moved onto the rear wheel and took apart his rear cog and giving it a good cleaning, I already had a 14T rear cog I bought awhile ago but never used so I thought I'd put it on to see if there was any difference.
14T rear cog(New) & 13T (Old) rear cog

Rear Sprocket cleaned

Rear hub with cog removed and cleaned
All back together and no left over pieces >:D

14T Rear cog on clean rear hub
After that the front wheel and hub is easy, but DANG look at how mucky it gets, no wonder Bumble B was feeling slow. Once again I shall be upgrading his front wheel and getting the new 2013 light version which has a sealed hub, so no more mucky front hub cups :)
Mucky Front hub
Good cleaning and re-greasing and its running smooth again

Cleaned but slight pitted hub cups
This is something I do to Bumble B after bad weather for the most part if not atleast every few months. The big difference after a good overhaul is amazing. He runs so much smoother after a overhaul like this.

Go on give your Brompton some love, you know you wanna........and I had a little surprise for him after, check in the next post

Sunday 24 March 2013

The Night Monopoly Challenge

Once again dear readers, we of "The FOLD!" step into the abyss of Central London on a Saturday night.

Now during the last few days it has been snowing, yes SNOWING over most of the UK and alittle has fell in London.

I had been watching the weather all the whole time wondering if we would be able to go out.

Bumble B was very ready, all clean & oiled up. I was ready fully fuelled, rested and ready for the Monopoly Challenge.
The board by Ann P
I decided to ride all the way from home to the meeting point at the McDonald's in The Strand. I wasn't sure how long it would take me so I just pedalled on at a far old clip. I was pretty surprised I got there quiet fast in a time of 47mins to do 9.75miles (Av Cadence: 82rpm)

I was first to arrive and was pretty early but with London still in full swing it was still pretty busy at 23:30hrs. Being right next to Charing Cross mainline station party goers where heading to pub/clubs/home. After a little while me & my fellow hardcore LBC "BADASSES" arrived bringing our total  number to 6.

I could see on Mr. OrangeBrompton's face that he couldn't really believe what he was seeing of the party goers behaviour. It was pretty crazy and as he would tell you a real eye opener to to him as to what really goes on in Central London at these kinds of times. Almost on cue we saw a young lady being EXTREMELY sick in the corner outside the McDonald's with her friend comforting her as best she could. We swiftly exited the area, got our wheels rolling and left the party goers to their own devices.

Our first stop was HM Revenue & Customs building near 10 Downing Street. As where stopped to take a few photos we heard a voice come from no where, it seemed the secruity of the building was talking to us though the intercom by the main door asking if we was alright. Mick B had a little conversation telling the security on the intercom what we was up to and they seemed satisfied. Well we didn't see any armed security guards running in our direction so we made our escape.
HM Revenue & Customs
Just up the road we stopped off at the gates to 10 Downing Street for a few minutes and said hello to the 2 armed police officers standing behind the big gates. Poor guys standing in the cold but very well wrapped up.

On wards to our first surprise of the night that David P had in store and this one was for Mr. OrangeBrompton. We ended up at a street called Orange Street :) ofcourse we had to stop and take a few photos.
Mr. OrangeBrompton @ Orange Street
Once again I heard the sound that strikes terror into any Brompton owner's heart that of a Brompton falling over and crashing to the ground. Parked on a uneven surface this is something that does happen and always scares the hell out of me.

We then moved on down the Strand and cruised past The Old Bailey & Central Criminal Courts.
Central Criminal Courts
The weather wasn't playing nice but we all soldiered on against the wind, snow/hail and cold.
We was guided towards a place I had been to before on a iBikeLDN Ride to the Russian Tank on a private piece of land. Last time we was here a few artists where painting the tank & seems to have been finished & now be very colourful. It's said that the barrel is pointing towards the local town hall that tried to get the tank removed, as you can see they failed.
Russian WWII Tank with new paint job
We then headed off and crossed Tower Bridge which was very nicely light up and also pretty close to where I did my Multimedia Degree a very long time ago.
Tower Bridge
Next stop was Fenchurch Street Station which is very tucked away behind pretty big buildings and it would easily be missed if you didn't know exactly where you are going.
Fenchurch Street Station

Bumble B & Lady Gaga
Heading into East London a little bit, we ended up an the Old London Electricity board building which now is used as a film sets etc.
Cause it was so dark in this area under the building I ended up slipping and falling on my side, not bad but I got abit messy, but most importantly Bumble B didn't fall as I kept him upright till someone took him off my hands while I got up and brushed myself off. (Take note Mr. OrangeBrompton >:P)

Next stop was was Pentonville Prison, we didn't want to stay here too long incase there was an escape and they wanted a get away fold up Brompton as you do when escaping prison.
Pentonville Prison
Our next stop is a place that I go past all the time when working, the Water Works. I've seen this building being renovated a few years ago and turned into flats but due to planning restrictions they are not allowed to change the main structure of the building but they made flats on the inside.
Renovated Water Works
Heading towards St.Pancras Station
We was about the half way point and headed to St. Pancras Station to get warmed up and refills on coffee.
Taking a little break at Starbucks
The "BADASS" Brompton Line up

After our little break we headed off towards Marylebone Station. I did like the ironworks from the station exit to the Hotel.

Ironworks outside Marylebone Station
While on way to Buckingham Palace we past this, not sure what it is but I love the lighting on it.

Almost past this without noticing
With dawn fast approaching we headed off to the last few stops, Pall Mall, Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Hyde Park Corner.
Waiting at Traffic lights

Buckingham Palace

Hyde Park Corner
Finally we came to the place where it all began, the birth place of the design of Brompton Bicycles on Brompton Road
Bromptons on Brompton Road

Bumble B on Brompton Road
This was the official end to the ride and what a damn good ride too. We all headed back towards the start point hungry for some breakfast. Here we said our goodbyes to Ann & David P and Clara P. The McDonald's on The Strand was still pretty busy so I set my Garmin to find another one and me, Mr.O & Mick B headed there and had a hearty breakfast.

Afterwards we parted ways as they had they cars to get to so we rode towards Oxford Circus where I decided  to head home on the tube.
Me & Bumble B heading down the tube
It was a hell of a ride with very trying weather conditions. Wind, icy snow & cold. We laugh in the face of these things we just put our heads down and keep spinning. I have to say the SealSkin gloves held up pretty good in the conditions, very glad I got them now. Only this I really have to look into is better footwear. For the whole ride my feet where pretty cold as the trainers I have are pretty old and probably made for summer anyway.

To my fellow LBC BADASSES I salute you, us brave 6 cycling though the darkness and into the light.


This is the start of a busy few months as there are a few rides coming up both big and small that I have put my name down on.

In the next couple of weeks I shall also be undertaking a major upgrade with Bumble B and transform him into something wonderful. Watch this space as there will definitely be a full report on the process. I'm both scared and excited at the prospect of the transformation.

As always below is my ride data captured on my Garmin Edge 800.

Until the next time, PEACE