Tuesday 30 April 2013

Thames Bridges Rider pack

Today I got the rider pack from Stroke Association about the Thames Bridges Bike Ride on the 12th May 2013.

I'm doing the standard Route which is 34 miles long, starting at Southwark Park and finishing at Cigarette Island

Standard Route is 34 miles and takes in 16 Bridges:
Tower Bridge was built in 1894 with machinery to raise the central road span in 90 seconds. It was once a thriving port where cargo ships came from all over the world to unload their goods. On the north side of the bridge is the Tower of London, while further to the east is Docklands.

London Bridge was built in 1973 (earlier bridges since the First Century). The Romans built the first London Bridge, slightly downstream to the present one, and it was the only bridge across the Thames in London until Westminster Bridge was built.

Southwark Bridge was built in 1921, although it replaced a much-avoided toll bridge. On the north side is The City and St Paul’s Cathedral, and to the south is Southwark Cathedral. Dickens grew up around the area and often wrote about it.

Blackfriars Bridge was built in 1869 (earlier bridge 1769) and was named after a Dominican Priory at that site. Fleet Street and Inns of Court are near the bridge.

Waterloo Bridge was built in 1942 (earlier bridge 1817). The original bridge was elaborate with nine granite arches and pairs of columns at the piers. Two of the piers proved dangerous so the bridge was eventually demolished and replaced with the present one.

Westminster Bridge was designed by Thomas Page and opened in 1862. With an overall length of 252 metres, it is a seven arch wrought iron bridge which has Gothic detailing by Charles Barry (the architect of the Palace of Westminster).

Lambeth Bridge was used for the 2004 film Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban for a scene where the Knight Bus must pass between two Leyland Titans.

Chelsea Bridge was built in 1937 (earlier bridge 1858). A suspension bridge close to Battersea Park and the New Covent Garden Market at Nine Elms. On the north side is the Chelsea Royal Hospital, and there is a community of houseboats lining the river on the Chelsea side.

Albert Bridge was built as a toll bridge in 1873, it was commercially unsuccessful; six years after its opening it was taken into public ownership and the tolls were lifted. The tollbooths remained in place however, and are the only surviving examples of bridge tollbooths in London.

Battersea Bridge was built in 1890 (earlier bridge 1772) and is a cast-iron bridge. When it was a wooden bridge it had a pier, and boats often collided with it.

Wandsworth Bridge was built in 1940 (earlier bridge 1873) At the time of its opening it was painted in dull shades of blue as camouflage against air raids, a colour scheme it retains.

Putney Bridge was built in 1886 (earlier bridge 1729) and links Fulham to Putney. It was originally a wooden bridge, but was eventually replaced by the present granite bridge. It is from here that the annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race starts.

Chiswick Bridge was built in 1933. At the time of its opening its 150-foot (46 m) central span was the longest concrete span over the Thames. The bridge is possibly best known today for its proximity to the end of The Championship Course, the stretch of the Thames used for the Boat Race and other rowing races.

Kew Bridge was built in 1903 (earlier bridge 1759). Again, it was originally a wooden bridge and later replaced by a stone bridge. On the Surrey side of the bridge is Kew Gardens, the famous Botanical Gardens.
Richmond Park - you will travel through this beautiful royal park which is home to 650 free-roaming deer!

Kingston Bridge There has been a crossing at Kingston since Roman times and it is believed that the first bridge of timber construction was built in AD43 following the Roman invasion of England.

Hampton Court Bridge (not extended route) was designed by the architect Lutyens to blend in with Hampton Court Palace.

Comes with a T Shirt, Rider number, Map of the route, Donation Envelope, Information sheet.
Front of T Shirt

List of Bridges on the back
Me and my cycling partner @LondonBrompton will be on this ride, should be a pretty good one and I can't wait.

Monday 29 April 2013

LBC Ride: Thames Ramble

Yesterday my co founder of the London Brompton Club Mick.B. said he would be having a little ramble around the Richmond area and to show some of our visiting LBC members from Malaysia (PUR)along the Thames river.

Seeing Mick.B was down I could return "Bluey" and thank him personally for lending me his Brompton when Bumble B was having his surgery.
"Bluey" & "Bumble Bumble B" strapped up
So off we all went, took a little longer as my SatNav was playing up abit but finally got to Richmond and met up with everyone. Then we was off down the road to go along the Thames River.
Our little gang on the River
Bumble B posing as always

Preparing for the classic "Brompton Lineup"
The LBC Brompton Line up
Bumble B with some metalwork
By the Thames River
Crossing the Thames

Laser single person boats
Along the way one of our number had a puncture, Mick.B. jumps into action and repairs puncture in quick time and we are on the road again.
Mick.B in action.
 Went along the river bank and came across this group having a great little picnic all dressed up as characters from a well known book. Asked me to show them the fold & unfold a couple of times.
Bumble B visiting a picnic
While out and about talked to quiet a few people about Bromptons as they where interested in what we was all doing together. Hopefully they will soon be a part of "The FOLD!" and members of our little LBC Group ;)

Saturday 27 April 2013

Bumble B goes overnight to Brighton

I have been alittle nervous about this ride for awhile, I wasn't sure my fitness level was up to it. I decided I was just going to go at my own pace and not try to keep up with the speeders.

So me and Bumble B 2.0 headed off to Central London. We was going to meet up with OrangeBrompton & Mark W at Trafalgar Square a little early and head over to the official FNRttC meeting point of the arch at Hyde Park Corner.

Got to Trafalgar Square pretty early as we all wanted to make sure we didn't miss the start of the ride. First to arrive was Mr. OrangeBrompton and then Mark W. Headed off to Hyde Park Corner.

Meet up with quiet a few other riders all sporting different kinds of bikes. Some bikes where super extra light and other types even a couple of recumbent bikes but we was the only Bromptons at this ride. After a roll call with Simon Legg the FNRttC Headman we started to head off into the darkness. In the end there was about 90 or so I think so we was quiet a sight winding out way though central London. There was a slight chill in the air but kept the legs pumping you didn't really feel the cold so much. Much to my surprise I got my clothing and layers just about perfect.

Found it hard going to start with but as I got into my cycling everything came together. Quiet a number of the other riders really liked what I had done to Bumble B and some said they remembered seeing me in the CTC & LCC magazines awhile back :)

Afew of the hills I managed to be able to get up a fair bit before having to dismount and walk up. Most of the time before I haven't been able to get up much so I can see a big improvement in my hill climbing with 6 gears now instead of 3. The only thing now is that I run out of puff while going up but I stop for a few mins I get my breath back and carry on. This seems to work, in time the pauses I take will get shorter and shorter till I don't stop at all and just keep going.

At about the half way point we entered into what I can only call "The Darkness" roads turned into muddy potholes, then bridle paths and then into plain muddy lanes. This lead us into the half way stopping point of "The Edifice, the grandest Scout Hut In The World just south-east of Horley." A VERY welcome sight for the riders. As we entered the hut we where greeted with warmth and the great smell of Hot Tea & coffee and sandwiches & CAKES :)

A few people had a few repairs to make but as always the Bromptons didn't need any tinkering. Just SOLID ready to get back on the road.

A BIG personal thanks to the people that have laid out a damn good spread at silly o'clock in the morning for us. Got chatting to a few of the other cyclist and noticed a few having overshoes on which meant they feet didn't feel the cold as much. Maybe something I should look into for future cold weather rides I think.

After about 40mins or so with everyone all warmed up it was time to head back out, after being in the warmth it was abit of a shock to the system when we headed back out and it seemed the temp had dropped a little again. Putting on my Pakajak to help cut the cold wind out was good and not too long afterwards after my body had warmed up I had to take it off as I was start to cook a little. I may look into getting a wind proof cycling jacket in the future with better ventilation.

Dawn was a great as always, we passed afew villages which where strangely quiet as being a Saturday, given a few hours they would be busy with people and traffic so we snaked though quietly.

At about the 52 mile mark we turned left and there it was. I've heard horror stories about this Ditchling Beacon and trust me its WELL DESERVED. It's the devil's hill and no mistake. I didn't even try to cycling up it as soon as I saw the incline I promptly got off and started walking. It's the long and winding road which definitely adds to its distance. I did noticed a few of the hardcore looked like they went up, came down and went up AGAIN a few times.


One of them even came down to help me back up just making sure I was ok and the last mile or so actually rode beside me as I walked up, pointed out the great sight of the valley below which I almost missed cause I was so focused on just getting to the top. Said my buddies where waiting for me at the top and there was a Deer sign just up ahead where the hill leveled off abit where I could problaby cycle the short distance to the summit. Finally getting to the summitt I was greeded by a small crowd and photographs was taken. The thoughts of the evil hill faded away and there was a big smile on my face as I knew that was the end of the BIG hill and it was all basically down hill into Brighton.

Nice open roads ahead of us after a little while I could see the sea on the horizon which spired  me on as I knew the end was insight where I could rest and have a WELL EARNED breakfast. About 3 miles out from the finish point my Garmin 800's battery gave out :( booo but we was ont he home stretch.

We pulled along the beach front and then by the sea at the Madeira Cafe. Very well earned breakfast awaited us.
Breakfast for Champions
We had an hour or so before our train back to London so we went around taking afew photos of our Bromptons near the Brighton Pier (wasnt open yet) and Brighton Palace

Brighton Pier in the background

Bumble B 2.0, OrangeBrompton & Green Machine

The Legend continues

Brighton Palace

Then went up the short hill towards the Station and caught out train home. There is probably a few snaps of me closing my eyes for a little while on the train.
Me and Bumble B2.0 waiting for the train home
I have to say I'm EXTREMELY pleased with this ride. It was WELL organized and lead by Simon Legg & everyone was very encouraging the whole way. Couldn't have done it without ALL of you. Big thanks to my cycling partner Mr.OrangeBrompton and Mark W for their encouragement as well, in time I hope to be keeping up to you guys.

Before this ride I was seriously considering not doing any more long rides like this as I didn't think I was fit enough for the distance. The last couple of rides have been a big disappointment but this one has really turned that around on its head.

Garmin Data: FNRttC: London to Brighton

Friday 26 April 2013

Preparing for Brighton Night Ride

Tonight, Bumble B 2.0 & I shall be attempting the FNRttC: London to Brighton with my cycling partner in crime @LondonBrompton & Mark W from the LBC.

On my last 2 long haul rides I haven't done as well as I would have liked. I could put the blame on a few things...

Only having 3 gears.(Bad for big hills)
Not riding my own bike
Not keeping my fitness level up as much when Bumble B was having his surgery.

But the buck stops at that face looking back at me in the mirror. Yup me.

Earlier in the week I did a major training session with my age old nemesis Richmond Park. I don't like Richmond Park due to the many long hills it has but I needed to see if the changes I've made to Bumble B would help.
My first circuit on Richmond Park was pretty bad to be honest. I was wearing way to much and was basically over heating. At the suggestion of my cycling partner/coach Mr OrangeBrompton I took off a layer and we did another circuit. Now folks for me I normally only do 1 circuit of Richmond & call it a day but I had to see what improvements I would see on Bumble B.

Garmin: Richmond Training Loops

The hills did feel much easier and I learned that my highest gear is my "save me if all else fails" gear, only to be used in emergencies.

Just trying to figure out what to wear on this ride is hard enough as the weather is changeable. I want to get this right as I can as I've been pretty down about the last big rides.

Packing light for changable weather

With the change in weather I now have to change what I wear when cycling. I have still been wearing basically my winter cycling stuff and now that the weather is starting to get a little warmer I have to remove layers. I never had a windproof / shower proof jacket before but I've heard good things about a few. My cycling partner recently purchased the Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Lite as a windproof/shower proof jacket for rides (review here). I personally would have loved to have the same one but due to not alot of places actually having them in stock and available at short noticed I had to go hunting around this morning for something. Cycle Surgery came to my rescue with the Endura Pakajak.

Like with all cycling clothing it fits close to the body so make sure you actually try it on or know exactly size that fits you.

  • Ultra lightweight & shower-proof ripstop fabric
  • Zip guard & storm flap; 2 layers of main body fabric bonded & lazer cut
  • Reflective trims on sleves, shoulders & rear
  • Underarm mesh vents for optimal breatheability
  • elasticated cuffs, rear neck & hem
  • Weight: 154g
Weights double that of the Pearl Izumi Pro Barrier Lite that I was looking for but at £39.99 can't go wrong.
The Pakajak fits into its own little stuff sack (assuming you want to use the stuff sack) that's 14cm long with an 8cm diameter; that's small enough to fit into a jersey pocket with space to spare.

Pakajak packed (14cm x 8cm ) 154g
Normal yellow not HiVis
As with most jackets of this type they are not for heavy showers but for light ones when you have been caught out in the rain when on a ride. This will probably always be in my Carradice Zip Roll Saddle bag for when I'm out and about as emergency back up.

Will be taking it out for the Brighton Ride later tonight and the weather is a bit changeable at the moment so got this for peace of mind. I also like the fact that its not HiVis yellow that alot of cycling clothing comes in these days. It can be a little over powering at times & I love just plain yellow.

Wednesday 24 April 2013

The return of the B

Well I know a few readers have been wanting to hear about Bumble B's upgrades so here is a few photos and my thoughts about them. 

I can assure you it wasn't easy for me to be without Bumble B for almost 2 weeks to be honest, I knew it was for the best but damn it was tough, but he's back and dang what an upgrade.

With my upgrade to a 6 speed from 3 I managed to get the new 2013 wheels/rims. As you have seen in previous post I wore my old ones so much the I broke though the rear rim itself. At the same time I got myself the super light front wheel too with sealed bearings which rolls like a dream.
2013 Brompton Light Front Wheel
2013 Brompton Light Front Wheel

I flicked the front wheel and it didn't stop for just over 5 mins and cause it was so silky smooth with its light weight and sealed bearings. I don't need to take apart and re grease on regular basis like with my old one.

The BWR on the rear is outstanding and makes Bumble B a complete different kind of ride. Will take time for me to learn how to use the gears again. Hill hunting is on the cards for sure.
Brompton 6 speed BWR
Next upgrade is the Brompton brake levers, they are awesome compared to previous ones I've had, more positive braking and control.
Easy to use just 3 even 2 fingers only. They just feel so right.
2013 Brompton Brake Levers
As you can see I also  acquired some yellow hand grips as well. I wasn't so sure about the updated grips but compared to the old grey original grips they are a BIG improvement. Only thing with the light colour they will look dirty pretty quickly. Just means I have to spend more attention on Bumble B in cleaning.

Did I nearly forget to mention the black handle bars? Looks awesome and then some ;)
Yellow grips, updated brake levers & black handle bars

Another great upgrade to your Brompton is the chain-set in which you to change the chain ring with out having to take off the whole crank set with special tools. The new design crank-set allows you to change the chain-ring without the need for special tools or to take off the whole unit.
2013 Bottom Bracket & Crankset
I've noticed that my chain ring isn't as close to the rear frame like the old one. I remember the first few months I had Bumble B that one of my crank arms kept getting loose over time and had to get the shop to completely replace it so maybe back then they forgot to put a spacer in or something as the new crankset there is a big gap so its not touching the frame again.

Well thats about it with all of Bumble B's upgrades, there isn't anything more to do on him other than wait for summer to really kick in and enjoy it.

p.s. ok I lied, maybe a black seat post will be the final finishing touch as I saw one in person at the LBC: Sheffield Ride last weekend >;)

I like to thank LondonFields Cycles & Brompton Bicycles Ltd for looking after him so well. Many MANY thanks to everyone that has been involved & helping realise the vision I had in mind.

Me, Bumble B 2.0 & Noah @ Londonfields Cycles

Brompton Bumble B 2.0 continues.....

Monday 22 April 2013

Bumble B explores Sheffield with some friends

Woke up this morning feeling great even though I didn't get to sleep till gone 01:00 due to working late shift and tinkering with Bumble B as it was his first night home & first major ride since his surgery.

Checked the weather looked like it would be alittle chilly to start with but warming up later on in the day.

I think Bumble B couldn't wait to get out of the door so we went.

Bumble B ready to go
Got to Kings Cross / St. Pancras with time to spare. met up with my travelling companions, Ann & David P and Mick.B.

Bumble B's first outing after his surgery
I think Lady Gaga missed him badly as she was snuggled up to him all the way to Sheffield on the train.
Lady Gaga & Bumble B plus Mystery B on top
Twisted church spire

We all ready to get off the train.
Bumble B 2.0 looks on

Team talk

40 Bromptons lined up for LBC line up photo

Tram lines

Bumble B 2.0

Old Steel works bulding

Bumble B having a chat with the other Bromptons

The art of Phlegm

Lovely canals almost like those in Hackney

Stop off at the Shopping centre
Watch out for that tram :)

Spotted the red brake holders

What they used to make steel

How BumbleB looked from above

Had a great fish and chip lunch with mushy peas, never had mushy peas yummmy
Awesome Fish & Chip Lunch yum yum

Bumble B & Tigger Bromptons :D

Daisy on top of a hill

Local Bicycle hang out, lovely pizza

Orange O Bag

Couple of big balls in city center

Bumble B is strangely attracted to this flower Brompton

Great water feature outside station

Portrait shot

End of a great day in Sheffield
Would like to thank everyone involved in this great ride up in Sheffield. First time up north must to do it again.

Great to see everyone and I think Bumble B enjoyed himself too, his first big ride since his surgery and he performed perfectly.

Proud of my boy