Monthly Archives: January 2014

One from abroad

It’s been an anxious week. When would CheekyTransport advise that “Wotsitsname” was ready for pickup? Yes, the new Brompton S6E for Mrs Aussie was eagerly awaited & all we’d had was an email after the order to say the new bike was on the way… Hell, how do people cope with the B-Spoke order time-frame?

Eventually I took the decision to phone the busy boys at CheekyT & ease the planning concerns for the week. A couple of days later, I phoned to confirm the Brompton was ready & the journey commenced…

The Brompton pickup was pretty quick & then it was off for a celebratory coffee stop. Once home, the new Brompton was quickly unloaded & welcomed, admired, inspected & test ridden. (As for my attire on the day, Mrs Aussie produced this T-shirt as a Christmas pressie.)

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Mrs Aussie does seem rather pleased with her new flat-bar 6-speed bike & I’m certainly envious (although there’s probably no sympathy for me, as Ralph (my own flat-bar Alfine 11-speed Brompton) is a buzz).

Just when I thought the “Wotsitsname” name may have been final, it seems the new Brompton is to be called “Peregrine”. (Now that I’ve consulted Wikipedia I’m quite impressed – although it certainly shows up my lack of imagination with names?)

So here we are – first flight of Peregrine…

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Price shock

Funny how things change. It’s always hard to keep up but recently I was checking out the Brompton Australia Distributor’s website (http://www.kobie.com.au/brompton-bikes.html) & was rather shocked to see how prices have changed. I’m not talking about all the Brompton parts on the website (those parts & accessories that would previously have required an online purchase from overseas – or very slow supply via a dealer order?) but indeed the prices for the stock Bromptons available on the website!

It’s been quite some time since I first noticed Bromptons included on Kobie’s site & what was immediately disappointing was that prices seemed so much higher than what the Brompton Bike Builder system suggested should be the A$ MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price). When the local pricing is hard to define for Bromptons that need to be ordered as B-Spoke supplies & with inordinate/vague lead-times, perhaps the Kobie site prices were true local prices? Still, no need to involve myself as Ralph & Robinson were sitting happily at home & our Brompton family seemed settled? Of course, another o/s trip is always an appealing way of picking up a new Brompton (at a competitive price?) isn’t it?

However, my recent Kobie website shock was in fact, a very pleasant surprise. First, the number & range of Bromptons listed had grown. Next, the later entries were shown with prices the same as Brompton’s A$ MSRP figures! Finally, I was amazed to see “Special prices” listed for these new entries, with discounts that seemed about 10% Surely I was dreaming? A bit of research needed here, I decided.

Back at the Brompton website, there were more surprises in store! (How does one keep up with change?) Aside from seeing that Australia was now listed as having a 2014 Brompton National Championship event (albeit still to be confirmed), the Australian dealer listing was nothing like I remember & for example, showed 5 dealers in Sydney. Gotta look into this I thought & headed out for some visits. At the end of the day (as some are fond of saying?) I was still confused. While those dealers I visited were mostly still pale imitations of what I expected a good Brompton dealer to look like (decent stock of bikes & accessories, professional display of product, knowledgeable staff?), at least things are happening? As for the new prices I’d seen at Kobie’s website, I got the impression no-one knew much about it? (Belatedly a CheekyTransport dealer website update appeared about the “supplier receiving a huge shipment” – but with nothing up-front about pricing?)

With the tantalising new prices & some stock bikes that were very appealing, it wasn’t long before an order was placed for the S6E Brompton in Cobalt Blue for Mrs Aussie. Woohoo!

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Cool trip

Wanting to start 2014 with a little mid-week break away from the heat of Sydney, we thought that taking the Tardis (our VW T5 Campervan) to the coast for a few days was going to push us into the school holiday crowds that we would normally avoid. So instead, we headed for the Blue Mountains to take advantage of that possible 5-10° cooler environment? Also, a chance to check out how the recovery from the recent bush fires was going? The likelihood of getting a site at BM campgrounds was slim so we headed further west to Lithgow for a couple of days (much quieter & cooler). Off for a ride the next day, we took in Blast Furnace Park, a memorial to the Steel-making days in Lithgow.

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Stopping for lunch in town & parked at a cafe & did our mini-security act of folding the handle bars. A “resident laptop user” in the cafe noted our bikes as folders but thought they were recumbents; reminding me of a lady on a train that thought my folded Brompton was a folding wheelchair?

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Our stay in Lithgow took in more of the Coal & Steel historic sights & then it was time to move on – even for no other reason than escaping the overnight single-figure-degree temperatures? (A lot cooler than we were expecting.) Heading for Mudgee we detoured via the Kandos/Rylstone road & came across a great little cafe occupying the old railway station at Kandos.

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Settling in at Mudgee, we reflected on the current temperatures: Sydney 30+°, Lithgow 12°, Mudgee 24° – a good decision!

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Strolling the short distance into town for dinner, the old saying came to mind, “Red sky at night, a farmer’s delight”?

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Awoke the next morning to see some funny little bubbles all over the van & awning? I suppose farmers may have been delighted to see some rain but it wasn’t what I was expecting. Oh well, good excuse to settle down with some wine-tasting & lunch at a winery?

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