Monthly Archives: December 2014

Clarence mods

Clarence, my new Claret colour Brompton S6L, has undergone some recent mods. Before I get onto telling what I’ve done to Clarence, I’ve got to thank Brompton Australia for their efforts. In my blog posts I’d previously mentioned my liking for the colour & that I’d been offered the stock bike currently on its way to Australia. What I hadn’t mentioned was that the bike arriving was an M6L & that Brompton Australia had offered to convert it to my preferred flat bar S model. With the cessation of the colour choice, it was a deal that I couldn’t resist.

So what have I done to my newly converted S6L? Some of the mods are simple additions or replacements that may or may not show up in the pic below? They include an frame decal, Brompfication hinge clamps, front & rear lights, Cateye Strada computer, Brompton Eazy wheels, my Bidon cage setup, Presta-valved tubes & a Tiller Cycles 40T crankring.

For two of the important body-contact areas (bum & hands) I just had to repeat mods from other Bromptons: a Brooks B17 saddle & Ergon grips. It took some time to decide the saddle colour but I eventually settled for black. However, a set of Ergon GP1 grips was a harder mod than I expected. Whereas Mrs Aussie’s Peregrine setup with Ergons was straight-forward, Clarence proved difficult. The pic below shows the state of the original grips removed – & probably indicates that Brompton Australia’s budget for handgrip adhesive (used during the conversion from M to S bars) is far too high?

Finally, a comment on two mods that I haven’t made (for the moment). I’m sticking with the standard Brompton tyres (whereas Schwalbe Marathon & Marathon Plus tyres are used on our other Bromptons) & it will be an interesting evaluation/comparison? The standard Brompton pedals too are an experiment; my usual choice is MKS removable pedals where I use flat or clipless versions as required (mostly clipless). I have no idea how long this trial will last.


2014 Seasons greetings

Seasons greetings to all from the Aussie household – & may you all ride long & safely

Some of our Christmas lights courtesy of Clarence & Peregrine’s Bromptoncase

Bag & frame flexibility

Brompton luggage

“Oh dear! That didn’t work!”, were my words for a little tweaking I was trying in my quest for the perfect luggage solution.

Robinson, my original (used) Brompton came with a C bag & by chance this bag also suits my second acquisition, Ralph, a flat bar S-type Brompton. Normally the C bag ought not to be used with the S model Bromptons (owing to bag handle clearance issues around the brake cables) but because Ralph has a set of Shimano brake levers, the brake cable angle raises the cable above the C bag handle & avoids any conflict.

Mrs Aussie’s Brompton, Peregrine, is a standard S model & we purchased an S bag for her use. With the arrival of Clarence (an S model again) there was likely to be a need for another S bag, this time for my use. However, it seemed a shame that the C bag couldn’t be used with Clarence, as the latest brake lever design seems to allow more cable clearance & the cables aren’t snagging enough to start applying the brakes when turning the handlebars?

Yes, I’ve seen some C bag hacks on the Internet, where the handle is cut off & maybe replaced with a strap or cord arrangement? Maybe I could do better? Maybe it just needed the handle to slope forward a little more & provide enough cable clearance? With the handle of the frame clamped in a vice, I tried a little flexing to see if the handle could be made to bend forward? After a bit more pressure I had my answer when the handle snapped off the frame! Oh dear, bother, etc… (apologies for no pics of the destruction – “too occupied”?)

The opportunity to fashion my own strap was “now available” & I started giving it some thought. Before long I had my resolution with a couple of large cable-ties & the original handle…

Once the “Aussied” C bag was fitted to Clarence it seems an ideal solution, with the new handle being nicely flexible (& strong enough?) Will it work out? We shall see…

Local flavour

Announcing today, the setup of a new Facebook group, the “Sydney Brompton Club”. Having been a member of the London Brompton Club on Facebook for some time, I’ve come to appreciate the updates from many hundreds of Brompton Owners in sharing their tips, comments, questions, stories, adventures, photos & videos about Bromptons. So, I’m expecting the Sydney Brompton Club (SBC) to operate along similar independent lines to the London group & aim to provide a local flavour to Brompton matters.

From my observation of the London BC, owners sharing their experiences helps to grow their knowledge, abilities & confidence. To have a local group ensures that the news, tips, questions, etc have local answers.

Membership of any of the Facebook Brompton groups is available to all & you could even do as many others do, & join them all (eg Sydney Brompton Club, the London Brompton club & many others such as those from Brisbane, Melbourne & other localities). I think the Sydney Brompton world has grown substantially & we need to ensure ready communications between owners, regardless of shop ties or loyalties. Sydney’s original Facebook group was started by the long-standing Brompton dealer, Cheeky Monkey, at Newtown & this group has been tremendous for providing a media connection (albeit initially for their own customers). With the Brompton growth in Sydney, I’m hoping for an independent group for owner conversations – even if the various shops do wish to provide connections & information for their own purposes.

Please check out the new “Sydney Brompton Club Facebook group page” & press that “Join Group” button.

BTW, receiving news on Brompton happenings by you joining the SBC group may be the only step you need to take. On the other hand, if you want to dig further then all the forms of social media have links with Brompton info. For example, my regular checks of sources via Facebook groups, Twitter, website Forums (such as BromptonTalk & Folding Fanciers) & Brompton Blogging sites provide a lot of info by itself, but also provide links to all aspects of the Brompton world.

New home

Brompton storage

Our hallway has a funny little glass-panelled alcove beside the front door. A hat rack has lived there for some time but very recently Mrs Aussie made the observation that “a Brompton would look good there”! With me grappling with the “Brompton storage” demands of late, it seemed to be an inspired suggestion – but not for just one Brompton! Those cube-structures that you see at all the best Brompton shops would be ideal but as yet I’ve not seen anyone producing them for sale? I started thinking that I’d need to construct something so took to measuring up the space a Brompton occupies & deciding on the optimum sizing (eg not too squeezy, as some shop displays seem to be?).

While considering design & manufacturing requirements, I noticed that our IKEA “Billy” bookcases seemed to fit the bill very well – suitable width for a Brompton & a good match to the alcove size (width & height). Billy bookcases are also exceptional value when you consider the price of the raw materials I would need & so before long I was unboxing a new unit & looking very hard at the pieces! The taller Billy design has three shelves (at top, bottom & centre) bolting to the sides & 4 relocatable shelves, as well as a back panel which gives the structure some rigidity – & keeps your books from sliding right through? I decided to re-drill the sides so that I could move the central fixed shelf down to “Brompton size” & to dispense with the back panel to allow the frosted glass alcove to do its job. An upper relocatable shelf forms a “Bag shelf” with a Brompton-size space below. Voila! – a new home for Clarence & Peregrine & 2 large luggage bags!

The lack of rigidity was resolved by screwing the supplied fixing strap to the top of the alcove. The one fault with the Billy bookcase however, is that the shelf-depth is not really ideal for a Brompton! While the Brompton “base footprint” is about 50cm x 23cm, the Billy shelf is only 26cm deep, which means the folded bars protrude in front of the “Bromptoncase”. Fortunately our alcove has an extra 10cm at the rear before the glass & so I was able to slice up one of the surplus shelves & mount the pieces to the rear of the fixed shelves that the Bromptons sat on. (I used aluminium angle strips under the fixed shelf to support the new extended shelf portion – & disguised the slight gaps (my sawing quality?) with adhesive white cloth tape.) Now the Bromptons can sit further back on the shelves, contained within their Bromptoncase.


Our recoveries seem to be progressing well? In light of so many kind queries on Mrs Aussie’s status I feel an update is called for… (as well as many thanks)

The broken left arm & sore right hip that has been with Mrs Aussie since our BAC escapade in late October have progressed to the points that Mrs Aussie is back driving our manual change car (although not the Tardis, with its manual shift & long stretch to the handbrake) & I’m once again left in her wake while out walking? The surgeon has been happy with his bone-pinning handiwork (& impressed with Mrs Aussie’s job at damage?). Regular self-administered physio will be required for some time yet & I expect that an attempt to ride Peregrine again may happen early in January? (refer pic of Peregrine sporting a new set of Ergon Biocork GP1 grips – & a set of mudguards)

Another recovery seemingly going fine, is for me – after undergoing Cataract surgery! (wonderful to have Mrs Aussie back driving & able to chauffeur me for a change?) A recent annual opthalmological test had highlighted the rapid development of a Cataract. I was rather surprised at the examination but progressive deterioration can be hard to pick. Certainly understandable with my unusual issue of short sight in one eye & long sight in the other. With spectacles to adjust my vision & my short sighted eye being dominant, the Cataract in my long-sighted eye wasn’t noticeable for me (until being made aware of it),

The surgical process was quite fascinating (as explained with computer visualisation beforehand): a teeny cut in the Cornea, ultrasound to pulverize the Cataract & then the pieces sucked out, before an implant is inserted. The cut is far smaller than the implant, as the implant expands upon insertion. Anaesthetic to have me awake but unaware of the activity & then a patch over the eye until the next day. Eye drops for some weeks but vision already fine – & I’m advised it will improve as the eye heals! Because I’ve had the short/long sight my whole life & can see well without spectacles, the specialist suggested a new lens to return vision to what it was before. When viewing things, I automatically use whichever eye is needed & the brain then processes the image. My use of spectacles was really forced on me by the eye testing requirements for 50+ years of driving licenses, but now the specialist has surprised me by recommending that I go without spectacles for most things!? – & he’s to supply me with a letter to the licensing people for an exemption!

Some downsides from the recovery guidelines are that I “do not play golf, bowls or tennis for a week” (bother! but no mention of not riding my bike? – probably related to the usual audience for the instructions?). Also that I don’t lift heavy objects for a week (is a Brompton heavy?) Oh well, time for some coffee walks & blogging…

100 up

Two years ago I had the thought that I needed somewhere to store the info & pics that I was accumulating during life with my Bromptons, Robinson & Ralph. An all-encompassing online system that would cater for a variety of media & be readily accessible by me? A blog system seemed to fit the bill – & maybe it would assist others too?

Accordingly, my blog named was born & as of today, this posting is my 100th entry! It’s been a surprisingly pleasurable challenge, to gather material, decide what to do with it or what to say, & then concoct the blog posts. Of course, some posting ideas are difficult to convey but more often than not, it’s a challenge of what to leave out when trying to keep the blog “clean & simple” & not over-burdened with text or images?

I often wonder whether the blog is an effective storage/resource tool but every time I consider changes, I seem to impinge on my “clean & simple” preference – & I’m reminded of the backlog! That’s enough of this milestone malarkey; I’ve got a blog to run!

Shopping around

Brompton stockists

With the custom setup of Clarence continuing (nearly done), I wanted a Brooks saddle & decided that a Brompton dealer visit was necessary to help decide which saddle would suit. When I returned from a UK trip last year, I had discovered that Sydney (& Australia) now have many more Brompton dealers than I’d thought & so I set out to visit the 5 in Sydney. Unfortunately I never actually finished my task but the one that stood out was “Belrose Bicycles”, who had stock of 12-15 Bromptons & many accessories & spares. This was quite a revelation in comparison to the past, when a few seen in Sydney would represent a lot.

So it was that my latest shopping trip started with Belrose & yes, I was able to decide on my purchase from a very good range of Brooks saddles. For a non-Brompton accessory I wanted I was out of luck & once home again, I decided to phone around to various likely bike shops for what I wanted. “Out of stock” or “not that model” was a common response & so I turned to an Internet search of local shops as a last resort to an Internet order. This time my phone enquiry returned a positive response but on reviewing the shop’s website I was surprised to see that they also were “Brompton stockists”!? Apparently a very new addition according to the website & from my check, not even showing up yet on Brompton’s Dealer Listings? I just had to go for a visit to this “Omafiets Dutch Bicycles” shop!

Omafiets are located at Redfern, right along a bike path & pretty close to Redfern & Central train stations. On arriving there on Ralph. I found a fairly tiny shop that was part showroom & part workshop? Hardly what I was expecting but it was readily explained by their very recent move to Redfern & everything still being setup? I was then taken out of the shop & down a lane next door, into one of those gigantic “old Sydney” warehouses containing countless bikes – with a nice spot to one side for the Bromptons! Once again, all very new & while the Bromptons were on display, the accessories & spares were still being unboxed. My 2 pics below only cover a small section of the shop.

After lots of discussions & wonderful efforts from the staff to come up with the pieces I wanted, it was time to depart. Back onto Ralph & a short ride (via a cafe lunch stop) to Newtown for a visit to another Brompton dealer: “Cheeky Transport”. No stock of an additional non-Brompton accessory I was looking out for, but what I did see was another 10-12 Brompton bikes! From 5 Brompton shops that I’ve seen in the past 2 weeks, they probably have about 40 bikes on display!? So very different to a Sydney not so long ago?