Monday 26 January 2015

Year of the Bus & Brompton Factory Ride

Yesterday the kinds folks at Brompton Bicycles organized a ride from their shop Brompton Junction near Convent Garden & a visit to the Brompton factory in West London.

These visits are great as you can see where every single Brompton bicycle has been made even your very own B if you have one.

Numbers where limited to actually have the tour of the factory itself but I joined for the ride and to see a few of my Brompton friends.

Before the ride though I wanted to visit the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park where Transport for London where showing of ALL 60 bus sculptures that will be auctioned off for charity in the spring. The charities involved are Kids Company, Transaid, London Transport Museum

Presented in partnership with Wild in Art, the Year of the Bus Sculpture Trails brought businesses and artists together to create a series of free and accessible public art sculpture trails across London in 2014.
It was billed as a family day out to see all the buses at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

I have to say it was great seeing all the sculptures again, it was like seeing old friends that I had visited while on a cycle touring. Links to my past blog posts about the bus trials are below with my friend Daniel.

Not only where the actual New Routemaster bus for you to explore and sit on there was also the London Transport Museum exhibition bus and the 1914 'Battle Bus'

The 1914 Battle Bus & the legend

The engine of the Battle Bus

I got there a little later than I planned so it was pretty busy with lots of families and a few bus spotters  enjoying the sculptors & the park.

 One of my favourite buses, can't see why though, can you?

I even managed to spot a new bus sculptor with I think I read was commissioned over the same weekend

A new bus on the #YOTBTrail #YearoftheBus #urban #bromptonlife #QEOPTrail

Having seen the sculptors once again I had to zoom off to Brompton Junction store in Convent Garden, while I was heading out I bumped into a couple that had recently joined the London Brompton Group and where riding their Bromptons around the park enjoy the day as well. As always the legend & I are pretty distinctive but I had to cut our chat short as I was running late to meet up with the rest of the gang at Brompton Junction.

Wanted to ride to the Junction but I was late so had to go multi-modal and jumped on a bus. Just about made it to Convent Garden store with seconds to spare as everyone looked like they where just about ready to go.

Having said our hellos to everyone, old and new friends. Yavor Mitev our ride leader gave us a quick briefing and outline of our route to the factory and off we went.

As always seeing so many Bromptons in a pelaton is always a grand sight.

As we cycling along I noticed that Sleebus J's rear wheel was looking alittle odd, at first I thought it was because of his Marathon Winter tyres but infact he had suffered a slow puncture about a mile from the factory. Sleebus could either repair the puncture at the side of the road or see if he could pump the tyre up as best he could ride to the factory. Took about 2 times of pumping up the tire when he called it a day and just walked to the factory.

When we finally go to the factory me and a few others who where not going to the tour went to find a local pub. We found a pub called the One Over the Eight pub. Once there we where able to bring our folded Bromptons and have them next to us at our table. We placed our orders for drink & food and waited.

Reordered and waited some more

and waited.....

and waited even more.

Yeah the drink took awhile and the food even longer.

I had ordered the Steak & Pride pie, mash or house chips, balsamic roast beets which when it finally came tasted pretty good. I even had a treacle slice and ice cream to finish it off which was okish but I expected better.  By the time we had finished our food some of the other riders that went though the Brompton Factory Tour started to arrive just as we finished paying and called it a day. I needed to get home pretty quick as I was start work very early the next day. Made it to a near by overground station where I was able to get a train back to the HiVE.

My Garmin data: Brompton Junction Factory Ride Out

Links to my other blog posts regarding the Bus Trail below

2014 Year Of The Bus: Westminster & River Trails

2014 Year Of The Bus: Olympic & Croydon Trails

Sunday 11 January 2015

#YearoftheBus SlideShow

Thought I'd make a little slideshow of all the buses we visited on the Year of the Bus Trail.



Monday 5 January 2015

#YearoftheBus Olympic & Croydon Trails

Today me Daniel finished off the 2014 Year of the Bus Sculptors that have been placed around London. There are 58 of them all together and we wanted to take photos of our B's next to all of them.

We went though the Olympic Park trail again as Daniel hadn't done them yet but was fun doing it this time with someone else.


'Ding! Ding!'

'Journey to Anywhere'

'Time Travel'

'English Herbaceous Border'

'Hold Tight'

'Union Jack'

'The Paralympic Bus'

'The Paralympic Bus' ©2015 Daniel Robinson

'Invisible to the Environment'

'Invisible to the Environment' ©2015 Daniel Robinson
'Invisible to the Environment'


STOP theft :D

'Dazzler' & ArcelorMittal Orbital
Right then that's the Olympic Trail done now off we go to the Croydon Bus Trail. Daniel had worked out a route which I had downloaded onto my Garmin Edge 800 and between that and his iPhone we set off.

Passing the Thames River

Been past the Three Mill studios on many a ride.
Three Mill Studios

We've been past this bridge so many times but never noticed this sculptor here before, maybe its new?
Ugly head on pole
As we was on our way to Croydon we passed Compton Cycles and just had to pop in for a little look. Daniel, Chris & me had a nice little chat, even got some advise about a little niggling problem I've had with BBB's rear hub.

While we was there I was finally able to check out the new colours of the Bromptons. I have to say there are very nice in person but I'm still going miss yellow though. *cries*

Daniel & Chris talking Bromptons

Finally we got into Croydon and started the bus trail. We was going to have something to eat first but the light was starting to fade so we got on with navigating and finding the buses on the trail.


Just as we found the Pearl Bus which is right next to a college there I overheard one of the students saying " That bike is just SICK!"

I guess that's a good thing right? ;)


'The Magic Carpet Bus'

'At the bottom of the Garden'

Well what did we discover here? A bumble bee with a very sad face. Tried to to an impression, I don't think Daniel wasn't impressed though.
'At the bottom of the Garden'

'Croydon Layers'

'The Library'

"Surrey Street Market" Bus was placed in an odd area, pretty much out of the way in a very quiet spot of the market, but then again I guess you don't want to be tripping over it in a busy market place.

'Surrey Street Market'

Daniel taking a shot of our boys & 'Trammin'' :D

Next to the "Trammin'" Bus there was this stencil artwork of three people. I thought it was pretty nice actually.
Some odd looking characters around here

Friendly people of Croydon
Reminds me of the KFC Coronal

'Queen of the Sky'

'Do The Locomotive'

'Wild Ride'

'The '75' to Crocus Valley'

'Circuit Bus'
The last three buses where inside Whitgift Shopping Centre. So we had to fold our bikes up and wheel them though.


'Poppy the Party Bus'


'Flower Fairies'
Well that is ALL 58 buses done. A well earned dinner so we retired to the Milan Bar and I had a great chicken burger with pulled pork (I can never stop giggling at that) with chips & onion rings.

Well earned meal

Lots of fun doing it and can't wait till 24th - 25th January when all 58 buses will be on show before they are auctioned off for charity at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, East London.

I will be there at the park to catch them all again as the London Brompton Club is having a ride that passes though the Park.

I'd like to thank my fellow transport buddy Daniel for his navigation and company on this adventure as it made it even better than just doing it on your own like I was planning when I first heard of the sculptors.

If you hear of anything like that going on in your city why not do it on your Brompton eh? :)

Garmin Data: Year of the Bus - Olympic Park to Croydon