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  from  South Downs Distribution for UK/European Distribution

Direct link: Vincita B017B Mini Front Bag for the Brompton for £100 (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.....

Saturday 15 August 2015

Onboard at the Brompton World Championships 2015

Well its finally here. I hope you enjoy it & gives you the feelings that you was actually there.

I think I will try to find a better more stable place for the front view, saw someone mounting a camera around the headset by taking off the front block and using the GoPro big tube mount.

as always best viewed in FULL HD mode & FULL screen ;)

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

Monday 10 August 2015

A new bicycle for Mr. Ni-San

In this blog you will see that I have ridden with Samantha Skye a great number of times and consider her a good friend. She made me the best black and yellow stripey bowtie a few months ago which i just love to bits.

It was with a heavy heart that I found out that her father's bike had been stolen.

This was his only means of transport.

So another good friend of mine Annie Panda created this "Crowdfunder" page to get some money to help get Mr Ni-San back on 2 wheels.

I don't do things like this often but I know there are some really good people out there.

Please check out the crowdfunding page here, every little helps.

and the legend & I deeply thank you.


Thank you for all your DONATIONS
Will update you in future posts of the bike Mr. Ni-San chooses.

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

The man behind the legend

While we was at the Brompton World Championships we was approached by Kris HM Gomeze who is the owner & publisher of Bicycles United Magazine & Steven Lim from MightyVelo in Singapore.
They said to me that they have always enjoyed reading this blog and Kris wanted to interview me for her online magazine.

Kris HM Gomeze & the Legend

The legend & I was very touched by this couldn't for the life of us think why would anyone want an interview. After talking for a few minutes I realised that the legend & I have a pretty big following in the far east & many read this little crazy blog of mine.

So we arranged to meet the following day as it was pretty crazy at the Brompton World Championships.

©2015 Steven Lim

We talked about everything from how I started cycling and why I choose the Brompton Bicycle. How a simple Brompton became a living LEGEND & how the London Brompton Club started

After what seemed like a few minutes which was actually a couple of hrs (time flies when your having fun eh) BBB got some attention as always.

Even while we was travelling to and from Look Mum, No Hands for the interview a few cyclist passing (returning from the Surrey Ride 100) said they had seen us at the Brompton World Championships the previous day. Well we was kinda hard to miss :D

Kris HM Gomeze

Steven Lim

Just before we left, Steven gave me a nice little surprise of these great Brompton Badges, carry strap & a special bike badge celebrating Singapore's 50th year of independence.  They will have pride of place on the legend soon.

Like I've always said we love meeting new people and have met alot of people from all over the world from all walks of life doing the one thing we all love doing.

Riding our little Brompton Bicycles.

I don't think Andrew Ritchie had any idea what he started back in the 70's but I'm sure am glad he did as I wouldn't be having so much fun on this crazy small wheeled bicycle & making so many new friends.

©2015 Steven Lim

Thank you Kris HM Gomeze & Steven Lim for a great afternoon. We hope to get to see you again & maybe a little ride.

Not sure which issue the interview will be published in but as soon as we know we will post the link but lots of other issues in Kris's online magazine Bicycles United Magazine to read in the meantime.

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

Saturday 1 August 2015

Legendary Brompton World Championships 2015 in London

Today was the day that we have been waiting ALL year every year.

The day we would be racing in the Brompton World Championships 2015.

This would be our 4th World Championship and we still get goose bumps EVERY year.

As always I had been tirelessly preparing BBB for his big day. Making sure he was clean, stripes straight and buzzing. I took everything I dared to get him as light as possible, well thats abit of a lie. I could have taken off the mudguards and changed the tires to Kojak but this time I truly there to have fun and enjoy the atmosphere of the whole experience.

As we made our way to Central London I could feel a buzz in the air, something was different. I wasn't driving a long way to get to the worlds but just a short ride in my home town, London.

Upon arriving at the entrance to the Brompton enclosure I was greeted by many admirers of BumbleB. I actually found it hard to get registered cause everyone wanted to say hello to us and of course wanted to take a few photos and I hadn't even got the legendary jacket out yet.

Arriving at the Brompton Pit
First things first was getting BumbleB chipped and settled in the Brompton paddock. I did a quick check of the security and was happy with the arrangements of the Brompton staff looking after all these Bromptons. Well personally I would have added fully armed guards, electric fences & guard dogs but I guess the budget couldn't stretch that far.

Timing chip looks out of place

We started to explore the Brompton Pit and bumped into Kris HM Gomeze, Owner/Publisher of a great online magazine  Bicycles United in based Thailand.

I know we have a big readership especially in the far east it wasn't til now that it really hit how big. It wasn't long before lots of fans of this little blog came up wanting to say hello and have photo with me and the legend. Many of them have said as soon as their friends knew they where coming to London, England that they had to get a photo with BumbleB.

Very excited fan of the legend
A very excited reader of my blog wanted me to sign his Brompton. Yes I kid you not.

When I was signing his Brompton I noticed that Andrew Ritchie's signature, the founder & inventor of Brompton Bicycles was also on his bike. What can I say. I was almost overwhelmed by this.

Walking around I managed to find a few familiar faces from various other cycling groups that I ride with.

Lovely beautiful ladies enjoying the BWC
Food was excellent as always, so much so that I was so excited I couldn't finish my meal.

As always I checked on BBB making sure it was alright, all these strange Bromptons around he should be used to it by now. ;)

Wondering around I was strangely drawn to this Brompton which had a basket full of sunflowers in. Weird I just couldn't help myself.

Meeting and greeting so many people was very overwhelming & it just gets bigger and bigger every year. I swear I met a few thousand people all from different parts of the world & it was great meeting you all.

Time almost flew past and it was time to get BBB and head to the start grid. There was 4 sections to the grid, as all 500+ riders couldn't start off at the same time we where divided into 4 sections, A though D. We was in the D section the last and riders thought to take the longest to do the 8 mile distance.

BBB on the grid
Later on I found out that the Brompton I was next to was an mark 2 edition, pretty rare and very sought after.

We had alittle time to kill so I went looking at for other riders and caught up with Newton Gooner Dixon Jr who flew over from the USA to be in London just for the BWC. I just had to get a photo of us together in all our BWC glory. As always it was a honor riding with you brother & hopefully again real soon.

Riders milling around as we waited for our official start time of 17:00hrs. The nervous where starting to build a little as announcements and interviews with the top riders on how they think they would be doing in the race.

Nail biting stuff
It was time for me to relax, focus on breathing and get my "Game Face" on.

Getting my "Game Face" on
Finally it was the final minute, then seconds and then the 10th Brompton World Championships had begun. Being in group D met that we had to wait another 40 seconds as each group where separated with a 10 second delay to make sure there wasn't a huge bundle with everyone unfolding and trying to get ahead of everyone.

As I completed my unfold I realised I was boxed in by the riders around me, a flash of anger at myself for not realizing this at the beginning. I could almost hear my what my cycling partner Mr. Orange would have said in a situation like this would have been "Oh dash it all, excuse me kind sir, would you mind allowing me to pass!"

But  ever the gentleman I calmly wiggled BBB out of harms way and headed down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace. What a backdrop, racing in the capital maybe in front of the members royal family themselves.

The first couple of laps I was just enjoying the crowd screaming, cheering on the riders and many a time I heard "Go BumbleB" or "Buzzzz" as we went round. I did recognize a few of the voices in the crowd from people I have ridden with in the past and I couldn't help but smile & sometimes wave the whole way. The thing I also noticed was that with this being on road the surface was pretty rough in places and a few potholes here and there too. With the tires are race pressures everything was rattling. I was worried I would loose a filling in some parts.

I had almost forgotten this was a race of 8 laps and had forgotten to focus on my breathing & keeping my legs going at a decent cadence. I knew I wouldn't be able to completely the official 8 laps in this Criterium style format. Basically the first rider to finish the 8 laps was declared the winner and no matter how many laps you had done the next time you came up to the finish line that was the end of the race. I knew I probably wouldn't be able to do the full 8 laps as the circuit being pretty much flat the whole way round was going to be VERY fast.

Not sure which lap it was but there was a pretty bad crash I came across while exiting a very tight right hand turn by Horseguards Parade that happened about a 30 seconds before I got there. First Aid & marshals where on the scene with in seconds and tending the single female rider & guiding the riders around. Enquiringly later I found out that she was basically unharmed in the incident.

I could feel the wind as the much faster riders flew past me and  kept out of the way as best I could, a few managed to shout words of encouragement to me as they flew past. On my 5th lap I heard a familiar voice & a flash of orange "Come on Andrew" was my cycling partner would was really powering away with some speed and always makes it look so easy and effortless.

I could hear from the commentator over the loud speaker that  the lead riders where on starting their final lap so I knew I would be able to get 6 laps in for sure. Abit disappointing as I wanted to get 7 laps in but the course was EXTREMELY fast.

Then it was over, my 4th Brompton World Championships was over and done with. As all the riders slowed down to be ushered into the riders area to pick up their medals and much needed bottled of water and recover from the race.

My 4th Brompton World Championship medal
Now this year the medal was different and I feel probably the best one yet, it was a real cog and could actually be used on a bike, Only thing that was missing was yellow ribbon but I may do that myself at a later date anyways ;)

After the race it was time for food and drink. Brompton as always put on a damn good spread. A MASSIVE vegetable & chicken paella which was very tasty. You could also get beer, gin & tonic & other drinks too.

Joe Brown enjoying a hard earned beer
Not long afterwards news began to tickle though that the results where in.

1st: Emsley, Mark (GBR)
2nd: Mitev, Yavor (GBR)
3rd: Gomes, Eduardo (GBR)

1st: Hastie, Isabel (GBR)
2nd: Myojin, Kim (KOR)
3rd: Tanaka, Nao (JPN)

The rest of the results can be found here 

Well done to everyone that took part and hope you all had a great day I know I sure did.
Brompton once again have done a pretty good job with their World Championships.

I was planning on doing the Brompton Urban Challenge earlier on in the day but with the Prudential Ride going on it took me a good long while to get to the Brompton Pits to sign up cause of the crowded roads. Will make sure I just do the BWC only next year if there is more than one event going on the same day and make sure I go there directly instead of going with the feeder ride from my local area as this was quiet slow with a big group of new inexperienced riders & many toilet breaks and regrouping.

My Times:

Place 287/575 (maybe less riders on the actual day)
Distance: 12.55km
Av Speed: 25.14km/h
Moving Time: 29:57
Laps 6/8

Our thoughts are already turning to Brompton World Championship 2016 and what would I change?
  • Loose the mudguards & make BBB as light as possible
  • Loose alot more weight
  • Put on some proper racing tires (Kojaks)
  • Train  (I've done no training what so ever this year)
  • Change BBB's gearing if the location is going to be flat.

Well that's it, the Brompton World Championship 2015 is all over and done with. I feel kinda sad as I have been focusing and looking forward to it for months. But then again I still have other events & London Brompton Club rides coming up so its all good.

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